Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Re-creating a sustainable farming system on the Eastport Peninsula

The Eastport Peninsula could be a completely self-contained agricultural area just as it was a century ago. With the ocean to provide nutrients, the sandy soil to provide the ideal medium for plant growth, and the warm dry summers to allow those nutrients and soil to combine in order to feed the crops. As world food prices climb due to the ever-shrinking amount of agriculturally suitable land, the numbers of farmers decline, and rising oil prices cause multiple effects such as the petroleum-based fertilizers getting more and more expensive not to mention transportation costs skyrocketing local organic farming is returning as a viable way to feed local populations.

Just as our grandparents did (and generations before them) NL farmers today are looking to the land and rich natural resources around them to sustain life. Looking past the office jobs and learning how to utilize local inputs to grow food is indeed a viable way to earn a sustainable real living in today's world, as it is in many other regions of the western world where the local food system has all but collapsed due to an over dependence on chemical fertilizers and grocery store chemically laced toxic waste labelled as food. Newfoundland is an island blessed with vast natural resources which can be utilized to generate exceptionally healthy soil, and thereby exceptionally healthy food. Our oceans are clean and fed with currents from ancient glacier water not polluted with the chemicals and contaminants from the past fifty years of human abuse and neglect.

Our province, although not known for its rich soil can very easily provide for its residents some of the cleanest and healthiest food on the planet yet we are some of the unhealthiest people in the western world. Why is that? Well, its a result of being dependent on 'the system' to feed us, and that system is failing miserably. Being at the end of the North American food chain is not a place to be a human being in this day and age.

Our food is mainly being grown and packaged by cheap labour in the United States, Mexico, and China. In the US and Central Canada in particular, where water is pumped from already polluted rivers and overtaxed aquifers and farmland is drying up and blowing away due to an overtaxed and overworked soil, there is a crisis looming. By using up the nutrients in the soil left from the last glaciers to pass through, the North American food system based on chemical fertilizers, subsidized petroleum transport systems and immigrant labour is not serving the best interests of the planet or the people it is meant to provide for.

If we look back through history and study why it is that civilizations fell we will find at the heart of that failure an agricultural system that could not support its population. Small scale organic agriculture, utilizing local inputs, selling locally, and being a caretaker of the land is part of that answer for our society.

Eastport Organics is about being a part of that answer.