Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Urban Farming Steps to the Future

Good morning everyone,

So much of what comes my way lately has to do with gardens, food, agriculture and the interconnections. I feel dizzy sometimes over it all ... and with the big news items on radio and tv focusing on negative things, sometimes I feel pretty bad.

And then there's something like this, that lifts my spirits and reminds me of what's possible and that so many people near and worldwide are doing, good and amazing things.

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With two acres and 6 greenhouses right in the middle of the City, it teaches young people to grow food and sells the healthy produce to the surrounding community. It's pretty amazing and the best thing is to check out its website at: www.growingpower.org where you can even see a video or two about the project.

Growing Power was just awarded $450,000 to build 150 hoop houses (a type of plastic tent greenhouse) on vacant land within the city. 150 people will be trained and employed to work in these neighbourhood farms over the next three years. Growing Power will have to raise even more to do the project right (I think it will have to match funds and more), but founder Will Allen is confident in the program and its precedent for green jobs: "“We can find this money. The low overall cost for the benefits the program will bring – both in terms of creating jobs and providing fresh, nutritious food for urban families – will hopefully be a powerful formula for success.”

Allen and his co-workers/volunteers have done something incredible by bringing back to life a complex of 6 greenhouses that remained in the middle of urban Milwaukee. They went on to develop markets, education programs, and job training; this project adds a step.

Great stuff Mr. Allen! Great stuff Growing Power people!

Very best regards to all,

Why's Woman

reference article: Growing Power Initiative to create 150 new jobs aimed at African American males
from: Milwaukee Courier newspaper, 16 April 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Conservative de-funding

Hello everyone,

I am not an apolitical person. To me, everything is political.

I followed the Kairos issue - the "not" written in by Bev Oda - and shook my head at it because I've known of Kairos' good work for years.

This evening, through 6 levels of e-mails, came a list of organizations that have been "de-funded" by the Harperites in the current Canadian government. Its origin is mentioned within the text below. I have not personally checked up on the list; I do not have the time to do so, but I trust the people it came through. The cover note is (as best as I can tell) written by Dennis Gruending, an Ottawa-based author and former MP, former director of information for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, author of books including his latest Truth to Power: the Journalism of a Benedictine Monk published by Kingsley Publishing Services of Calgary.

feeling somber at the length of this list,

with concern for all of us,

Why's Woman


Stephen Harper's hit list

Here is a list of government and non-profit organizations whose funding Harperites have cut or ended. Dateline: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by Dennis Gruending

The Conservative government - or the Harper government as it insists upon being called - has either fallen or engineered its own defeat and the election is upon us. This is perhaps a good time to take stock of whom the Harperites have spent their time attacking in the past several years. (They have also lavished favour on their own, appointing them to be judges, to the Immigration Review Board, the CRTC or other federal agencies).

The Harper government has terminated the jobs of a dozen high-profile critics in vital public interest positions.

The list of organizations that have been shut down and cut back, and the individuals bullied, is a long one. We can expect it to grow if, as seems likely, Harper is re-elected. I have written extensively about some of these actions, including the government's attack on the ecumenical group KAIROS and the shameful treatment of the Rights and Democracy organization, but I cannot claim that my list is comprehensive.

Here, then, is an unofficial list of organizations whose funding has been cut or ended by the Harper government, including government agencies that supported civil society groups. The following list was compiled primarily by Judith Szabo and by Pearl Eliadis for 'Voices', a coalition of organizations and individuals which describes itself as "united in defence of democracy, free speech and transparency in Canada.

Organizations and watchdogs whose staff have been fired, forced out, publicly maligned, or who have resigned in protest:

1. Canada Firearms Program (Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director General)

2. Canadian Wheat Board (Adran Measner, President and CEO)

3. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen, chair)

4. Foreign Affairs (Richard Colvin, diplomat)

5. Military Police Complaints Commission (head, Peter Tinsley)

6. Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (Yves Coté)

7. Parliamentary Budget Officer (Kevin Page) (funding cut)

8. RCMP Police Complaints Commission (Paul Kennedy, chair)

9. Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development - Rémy Beauregard, President)*

10. Statistics Canada (Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister)

11. Veterans Ombudsman (Col. Pat Stogran)

12. Victims of Crime, Ombudsman (Steve Sullivan)

Community organizations, NGOs and research bodies reported to have been cut or defunded 1

1. Action travail des femmes

2. Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto

3. Alberta Network of Immigrant Women

4. Alternatives (Quebec)

5. Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale (AFEAS)

6. Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre 2

7. Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario) 3

8. Canadian Arab Federation

9. Canadian Child Care Federation

10. Canadian Council for International Cooperation

11. Canadian Council on Learning

12. Canadian Council on Social Development

13. Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada

14. Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance 4

15. Canadian Labour Business Centre

16. Canada Policy Research Networks

17. Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

18. Canada School of Public Service

19. Canadian Teachers' Federation International program

20. Canadian Volunteerism Initiative

21. Centre de documentation sur l'éducation des adultes et la condition feminine

22. Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

23. Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)

24. Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada

25. Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Specialink

26. Climate Action Network

27. Community Access Program, internet access for communities at libraries, post offices, community centres

28. Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)

29. Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)

30. Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)

31. Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in Dec/2010).

32. Democracy Council 5

33. Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit 6

34. Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in Dec/2010).

35. Environment: Youth International Internship Program

36. Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Toronto (Funding cut by CIC in Dec/2010)

37. Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia

38. First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

39. First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program

40. Forum of Federations

41. Global Environmental Monitoring System

42. HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs

43. HRD Youth Employment Programs

44. Hamilton's Settlement and Integration Services Organization (Ontario) 7

45. Immigrant settlement programs

46. Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel) 8

47. International Planned Parenthood Federation

48. Kairos 9

49. Law Reform Commission of Canada

50. Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre

51. Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency - has received only a promise of "conditional" funding if it avoids any and all connection with abortion.

52. MATCH International

53. National association of Women and the Law (NAWL)

54. Native Women's Association of Canada

55. New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity

56. Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

57. Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

58. Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)

59. Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

60. Pride Toronto

61. Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec

62. Riverdale Women's Centre in Toronto

63. Sierra Club of BC

64. Sisters in Spirit

65. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

66. South Asian Women's Centre 10

67. Status of Women (mandate also changed to exclude "gender equality and political justice" and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying)

68. Tropicana Community Services

69. Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)

70. Women's Innovative Justice Initiative - Nova Scotia

71. Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program

72. York-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto

Notes: 1 "Defunding" is the term used by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. In many instances, it is about turning down grant applications rather than cutting off funding midstream, but for organizations who rely on renewed program funding to support their work, and have done so for many years, it amounts to the same thing.

2 Citizenship and Immigration Canada cut or significantly reduced their principal funding - approximately $471,000. Source: The Globe and Mail.

3 Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Source canadianimmigrant.ca

4 The Office of Democratic Governance, which channeled much of Canada's democracy funding, has been disbanded by CIDA.

5 A forum for discussion and collaboration among Canadian democracy promotion agencies. It has reportedly disappeared despite stated earlier commitments and interest from both government and NGOs to see it continue and even expand.

6 Folded into the Francophonie and Commonwealth division.

7 Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Source canadianimmigrant.ca

8 Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Source canadianimmigrant.ca

9 Including Anglican Church of Canada, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Religious Conference, and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund.

10 The Centre has lost $571,000 - all of its federal funding - which represents nearly 70 percent of its overall budget. Source: The Globe and Mail.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A really super market garden - on the roof!

Hello everyone,

Friends who know my interest in gardening, agriculture and food send me the coolest stuff.

Today I received an article from Pam, "clipped" from the U.K.'s Guardian news: there's a supermarket in Crouch End, north London England, that has a vegetable garden on its roof!

The Food from the Sky project began in May 2010, when 10 tonnes of compost and 300 recycling boxes were lifted to the roof of the store. This is a real community project. Returning to London after living in Devon (a rural area of England), art consultant Azul-Valerie Thome took her green roof idea to Andrew Thornton, the manager of a Budgens Supermarket. The town council of Haringey donated the recycling boxes, twenty volunteers tend the garden, and the produce is sold on Fridays in the store. The view below is from the Guardian article.

The garden grows raspberries and strawberries, purple sprouting broccoli, kale and other vegetables. There's a composting area. And warmth from the supermarket's heating system keeps the winter chill at bay on the roof.

This year, there will be a permaculture course run in conjunction with the gardens, and primary school children are coming to visit.

Thome says that the aim of the project is "to create a template to show that produce can be grown in cities, and sold locally. One day, I want to see supermarket roof-gardens all over the country."

I hope Thome gets her wish and far beyond - gardens on many more buildings and mixed vegetable, herb, flower and fruit gardens on many, many available lands in her city.

Best regards, as always,

Why's Woman

To see this story with its related links:



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Food Charter and Community Gardens Review both passed Council!

Just to let you know!

London's Community Gardens Program Review and the Food Charter were both accepted by London City Council, Monday, April 4, 2011.

Now, let's see what we can get on with.

Great stuff!

Why's Woman

Seed Lending Library - a fascinating step beyond the bookshelf

Hello everyone,

A friend sent me a link to a really inspiring article (link below). Thanks Shane!

The San Francisco Library has teemed up with Transition San Franciso and the San Francisco Permaculture Guild to develop a seed lending library - from which people can take out seeds and bring back seeds they harvest from plants they grow. This fascinating project supports development of urban agriculture, food security and biodiversity.

People will borrow vegetable seeds from the Library's collection, to plant in their home or shared garden. Library programs will offer classes on how to grow out and save seed, to encourage gardeners to let some of their plants mature so that harvested seeds can be returned to the Library and augment the collection. Gardeners will learn to observe which plants are hardy and growing conditions which developed the plant.

Lia Hillman, Branch Manager of the Potrero Branch of the San Francisco Public Library supports the project for its role in greening the city, promoting health, and encouraging gardening for personal pleasure and strong communities.

Kevin Bayuk, a Permaculture Design Instructor , points out the everyday miracle of a seed: "The cultural practice of selecting and saving seeds demonstrates how we can catch and store energy -- though small, each seed is a dense package of incredible potential abundance of delicious local food, community connection and an astonishing amount of additional seeds to save ... natural surplus resulting in greater biodiversity, easier gardening and most importantly, fun in learning and connecting."

If you have some extra reading time, take a look!

Best regards,

Why's Woman

link to the full article: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/4/prweb8264038.htm

SF Seed Library: http://www.sfseedlibrary.org/.

San Francisco Permaculture Guild: http://www.permaculture-sf.org.