Pot Luck November 2014

About ACORNs and shooting first
    It’s deer season. The height of fall color is already a memory with the most brilliant red and blaze-orange maples having shed their capes. Yellow birch and bronze oak now punctuate dark evergreens that dominate forests here on the shore. 
    We have been blessed by a warm fall season. While there have been pockets of frost, nothing like a killer found its way here. Still picking raspberries, tomatoes that the chickens missed (they’ve gained entry to the garden while a new and larger gate is being readied) will be plenty to eat around here at least through January. I’ve yet to bring in carrots and beets, and to plant garlic.
    This long growing season has been a blessing for almost all of Southwest Nova Scotia and it’s no freak occurrence. Three years of extensive monitoring of the weather at more than 40 stations, including one not far from our barn, have confirmed we are, as we often crow, “the banana belt” of the province. The work has been carried out by the Applied Geomatics Group (the Community College in Lawrencetown) and Perennia, the province’s ag extension service, with funding and impetus from CBDC (Community Business Development Corporation) offices in Shelburne and Yarmouth.
    What’s exciting is that there is now reliable data to support and encourage agricultural development in a region long considered good for fish, pulp, and little else (aside from mink along Route 340.) High value grapes, raspberries, everbearing strawberries, late-season apples, peaches, nectarines, High-bush blueberries, and thornless blackberries are good choices, according to Perennia’s horticulturist John Lewis.
    The larger implication is the fact that there are opportunities galore for rural enterprise in these Atlantic provinces and not just farming, although that is a big one. We may not see the possibilities in our own back yard. So be it. We can gather the best information and build the best infrastructure supporting transportation, communication, education (including lots of small rural – as opposed to town – schools), and health care and be confident that new immigrants from other parts of Canada and beyond will find this a great place to settle and build.
    The most important, informative, and fun annual gathering for organic growers is coming up this month, Nov. 12-14, in Halifax’s Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. This is ACORN’s (Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network) 15th Conference and Trade Show, and will be special for the fact Food Secure Canada is meeting at the Marriott immediately after – so close on the heels the two will be sharing keynote speaker Vandana Shiva, author, environmental activist, and founder and director of Navdanya, a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 17 states in India.
    More than 20 speakers and panelists from the Atlantic provinces and beyond are on the conference agenda, including Jack Lazor from Vermont, co-founder of the Northern Grain Growers Association. Lazor and his wife Anne, manufacturers of certified organic yogurt, were the subjects of an RD feature on Butterworks Farm in Nov. 2009. 
    As if waning fall colors were not enough to cool our hearts, a mentally ill man with a deer rifle struck at the heart of Canada’s psyche the other day, killing an unarmed soldier on ceremonial guard duty near parliament. 
    Will we respond rationally? Or will we, in hurried reaction to one breach in 147 years since Confederation, be a nation suffering a kind of bipolar disorder in which society as a whole swings between poles of fear and confidence?
    Rationally, we would realize that once in a century and a half a person with a mental disorder violated everything Canada stands for in the way of freedom and open-ness. We are strong, more than 30 million strong. We can survive this sad and hurtful moment and with confidence carry on as before knowing that we have been on the right path.
    The irrational response is out of fear and doesn’t need describing. It is what we see all around us and have suffered since 9-11. Guards, barricades, security checks, armor, SWAT teams, lock-downs, and invasions of privacy in the name of security have become too commonplace. It’s big business. 
    This is not to forget or make less of the fact that a couple of days before the assault on our capital another unarmed soldier was killed, this time in Quebec, run down by another troubled young man. The fact that both of these mentally ill people shared a fascination with extremist Islam shouldn’t shake us up. Why not look on it as the old savior complex with a new focus? 
    Or was it something else that possessed these two? It’s awfully hard to answer that question because they are both dead. Police shot and killed the first perpetrator as he was climbing out of his overturned car brandishing a knife. The second was shot and killed after he was cornered somewhere in the parliament building. 
    It’s the Wild West. Shoot first and, oh yes. Forgot. We had a couple of questions . . . . 
    Remember those two crazed men in Woolwich, England, last year? They ran over and butchered a soldier, then stood around with bloodied knives and cleaver waiting to become martyrs. Police ruined their plans by shooting both men in the legs and carting them off for medical care – questioning – and trial.
    What if our two crazed assassins were inspired by ISIS, were bent on holy war, and following direction from Iraq or Syria? How then might we respond? Retired Lt.-Col. Stephen Day, former commander of the armed forces Joint Task Force 2, an elite special operations unit, is quoted by Steve Mertl of the Daily Brew (Yahoo News, Oct. 2), “We shouldn’t have a knee-jerk reaction off this because then we’re just playing into what these extremists and terrorist ideologies want us to do, which is to be afraid.” 
    The answer, he told Mertl, is not to erode our sense of freedom by putting more of government behind walls but by providing flexible, layered security that identifies the threat before it gets to the door. 

    Enjoy the weather. It won't be long before there’s more than leaves drifting ‘round the door. DvL

And the winner is. . . .
        The winner of a copy of “Getting Rid of Alders” gleanings from the first quarter century of Rural Delivery, is Elaine Bourque from Amherst, N.S., who’s going to “build a good woodshed” when she stumbles on a pot of gold. Thanks to Elaine and others who took the time to fill out our readers’ survey in the October issue. Find the survey this month on page 42.

Where are the seeds?
    In December we are publishing an extensive a list of seed suppliers as research and space allows. Please let us know of your own favorite suppliers. The list will only include a bare minimum of information so that readers may chase down a seed or two maybe from a new source.