"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau

 

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Tuesday
Mar132018

The Great Deal, The Compost Pile and the New North

Being raised in a low-income family has shaped the way I see the world, partly for the better but also for the worse. On the one hand, it gave me a strong tendency to seek out value in things that others didn’t necessarily see. A broken bike or a used toy, for example had more value to me than to some of my schoolmates who had more. To this day, I can’t look at a discarded item without thinking that there is certainly still some use for it. But my upbringing also had another effect, which was to set my mental compass on a new North: getting the “Great Deal”. I doubt that I am alone in this.

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Tuesday
Mar132018

Regenerative Agriculture

At the February Prarie Organic conference in Brandon, a number of speakers spoke about the principles of regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture improves soil health compared to sustainable agriculture which only maintains the soil as is. Since our soils have degenerated considerably over the last 150 years, regeneration is a good strategy. The principles of regenerative agriculture are:

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Wednesday
Feb282018

Our High-Cost, High Input, High Emission Food System

Archaeologists tell us that agriculture, the nurturing of plants so they can be harvested and consumed, probably began about 10,000 years ago. Prior to that our ancestors depended on hunting and gathering. When agriculture began, the inputs going into food production were labour, and sometimes, depending on the sophistication of the system, manure fertilizer and irrigation water.

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Tuesday
Feb202018

Legalizing Marijuana

Recently, with the imminent legalization of marijuana, there was a presentation in Steinbach on the medical uses for marijuana. Many people have obtained relief from a variety of symptoms when using marijuana where conventional drugs have had little or no effect. It is a very interesting subject and we, the public, have a lot to learn. Cannabis is the proper botanical term for the plant genus, while marijuana refers to any species that provides pharmacological effects. Hemp is the term used for the agricultural varieties that are grown by farmers for fibre and seed. Traditionally rope has been made of hemp fibres and currently one can buy hempseed oil or straight hemp seeds that are very beneficial health-wise.

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Wednesday
Feb142018

Oil is a Scarce Resource

Tar sands in alberta 2008Building a country or a region's economy on the extraction of a resource is fool hardy. A resource extracted is gone! It is no longer there! Inevitably payday will come, maybe not within our lifetime, maybe not within our children's lifetime, but it will come. True, by the time that resource is extracted, there may be new technology that reduces our need for that particular resource, but those who believe that have an extraordinary amount of faith in human ingenuity. Surely it is better to avoid building an economy on resource extraction if at all possible.

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