RD Jan/Feb 2015 Letters

A favorite tool
RD:  Please thank Hélène Redden for continuing with handmowing (see photo RD Nov.14), and yourselves for pursuing handmowing (a favorite small farm tool of mine – the scythe). For this reason I will renew my subscription. I know the publishing game is tough.
Rusty Ephemeris
Cheltenham, Ont.

(Rusty: Thank you for writing, and for your renewal. Maybe you can help satisfy a question Peter Redden has raised. That is if our annual Maritime Handmowing Championships is the one and only event of its kind in Canada. We know of two in New England, and of several in the U.K. and Europe, but no others this side of the border. DvL)

Population options
RD: On page 48 of the November Issue of Rural Delivery, Charlie Gracey discusses the possibility of feeding the world’s mushrooming population, mentioning that Thomas Malthus did not grasp the importance that mechanization and the use of temporarily available fossil fuels would have on food supplies when he warned that growing human numbers would outstrip food production. 
    Gracey is optimistic that we can feed 10 billion, but less confident that we can feed 29 billion people, however he does not allow fossil fuel depletion to influence his deliberations. 
    Rather than struggling to produce a series of new Green Revolutions designed to increase agricultural production so that our exponentially increasing numbers can further displace most of the other creatures on Earth – we have the option of decreasing our birth rates to One Child Per Family (OCPF). 
    The United Nations could orchestrate a worldwide plebiscite/referendum in which each of us would vote on the desirability of OCPF behavior with the understanding that, adopted now, this birth rate would result in shrinkage to about one billion people by 2100. In the lead up to the plebiscite/referendum the thorny subject of population would get an airing for the first time as biological realists squared off with religious and other supporters of unfettered growth. 
    Humanity would be encouraged to consider and vote about the consequences of a world less or more dominated by our species.
Peter Salonius
Durham Bridge, N.B.

Not just farming
RD: Interesting reading as always, but your article, “Is small farming viable” (RD Nov.14) made me wonder about a bigger question, “ Is small business viable?” I do not define small in the same way the government does, but rather a business one can work in, supporting yourself and your family, and not have to ship your product or service more than two hours away. Farming is a business much like any other, so let’s look at the problems associated with running a small business in rural Nova Scotia and all the inherent roadblocks, struggles, and solutions people have found.
Doug Brown 
Belleisle, N.S.

Famous reader
RD: We love your magazine and tried a lot of recipes, construction ideas, etc. Attached you will find a pic of our daughter, famous reader too! She loves the great pictures. Thanks so much for your hard work.
Wiebke Tinney and family
Grand-Barachois, N.B.

Market gap?
RD: Along with my cheque, enclosed please find a friendly business suggestion born as a result of reading the excellent articles about the troubled Maritime dairy industry (RD June 14).
    Since the industry is unique in having the most diverse assemblage of dairy breeds in Canada, and since Ontario has a burgeoning population of amenable and well-disposed professionals (the largest number of hotels, restaurants, caterers, cooking schools, bakeries, etc.), and everyday “foodies,” but a very limited supply of butters to work with and enjoy, it would be more than worthwhile for a dairy or a co-op with diverse breeds to take advantage of this odd gap in the fine-foods market.
    I think it’s fair to suggest that the enclosed advertisement carried in the Nov. 30, 2014 New York Times Magazine, featuring Irish butter, is an indication of the financial and logistical feasibility of supplying Ontario’s similarly large population with artisanal butter. We have access to most other fine-food basics, but not this.
Marita Dreger
Toronto, Ont.

(Excellent idea, Marita. As Quebec companies now control the Maritime milk processing sector it might take accommodation between that province and Upper Canada to pull off such an imaginative marketing strategy. DvL)

Fireside read
RD: Just a quick Christmas greeting to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your December issue last night by the fireside in the city. The article by Sam Ainsworth was captivating. I savored every sentence. And Rose Doucet’s Christmas decorations inspire me. I have all the ingredients (even a four-year-old  “helper” grandson) except the tree. That will come. 
    Frank Macdonald was a hoot as usual. Nice. And Vandana Shiva and the conference were so well covered. Then, just when I thought this plum pudding of an issue had no more surprises, behold! A recipe from Sylvia Mangalam whose splendid cookbook “Cooking Where Cultures Meet” I am happy to have on my shelf. 
    At this time of the year, when we reflect on things in our lives for which we are grateful, I am once again giving thanks for your wonderful magazine and my 35-40? Year relationship.
Janet Baker
Halifax, N.S.

RD: Rural Delivery is the only subscription that I receive these days. One of the few magazines worth its price. Please may I continue on from the last issue (volume 39 #4) October 2014. Thank you for the bonus issue, we can all use a bonus of some sort these days.
Scott MacPherson Webster
North Tay, N.B.

(Scott, can’t you say something nice? Hold it. . . What I meant to say was “welcome back,” and thank you. And to you and all our readers best wishes for a rewarding 2015. DvL)