Monday, 9 July 2018

Opinion - In defense of TGOD – Lloyd Ferguson your NIMBY Politics are a local embarrassment – it’s not even in your riding…….

The Green Organic Dutchman known on the Stock Exchange as TGOD is currently the brunt of our Councillor Lloyd Ferguson’s ire.  

Currently, under the city’s rural official plan, marijuana grow operations are limited to 2,000 square metres, said Ferguson. But the councillor said over the last few months, city planning staff and his office have seen a dramatic increase in companies seeking to set up much larger pot operations in the rural areas.
He went further to state his opposition to Cannabis.
Turn the clock forward to 2018 – Councillor Ferguson is now actively denouncing existing law abiding local employers too.  The publicly traded and consciously minded company Green Organic Dutchman, has been in operation since 2014, and is an active member of the Ancaster Community, employing local people and making regular donations to the Hamilton Food Share, from their on-site community garden.
So……. let’s look at Lloyds question to the community…. 
Do we want to take up prime agriculture to grow marijuana to get the city high?
First of all, it’s called Cannabis, Marijuana has not been the label of choice since Reefer Madness was mainstream, (released in 1936……).
Lots of real research has happened since 1936 Lloyd.  You need not fear the pot zombies.  It’s all perfectly safe.  
In 2016 The World Health Organization penned a report on “The health and social effects of nonmedical cannabis use “, world-wide it is largely agreed that Cannabis poses no major threat to society and if fact there are even beneficial aspects of this misunderstood Plant.
(FUN FACT - It’s funny that Lloyd trust the opinion of the WHO when advocating for stricter water measure at the Ancaster well, and yet will dismiss the WHO’s world-wide call for an end to prohibition of Cannabis.  It's also a funny fact that the funny business with the Ancaster Well also took place when Pasuta the Chairman of HCA was on sick leave.)

What Lloyd is really pissed about is that this is in his back yard and that 100 acres of land sit’s amongst his family’s spread on prime developable property….. having an Organic Cannabis producer in your back yard won’t look good for the high-density developments that Lloyd has a penchant for.  This is simply a prime case of NIMBY – this is not even in LF’s Ancaster riding, neither is LF’s home any more……. Boundaries have changed, and Hwy 52 is the deciding line.  TGOD lives in Robert Pasuta’s territory now and Pasuta supports this industry as any rational farmer should.

Rob Pasuta actively engages the Cannabis growers in his riding and has no concerns.

Why would City Hall push for zoning amendments and regulatory changes prior to the legalization pending for Oct 17th.  Let the laws play out – Municipalities enforce the Federal and Provincial Laws, Cannabis will have had its long day in court and the majority of the country support Cannabis for recreational purposes. 

Lloyd is a NIMBY, and he now no longer lives in his own riding, he lives in Pasuta's riding.  Ward Boundary changes will affect this sitting Councillor after Oct and he knows that.

So to answer your own question Lloyd.  Yes, many people within this region support the initiatives of companies like the Green Organic Dutchman.  Cannabis is a real Agricultural industry whether you like it or not is irrelevant.

Monday, 18 June 2018

For the last couple of months, I have been working with the Green Party in my riding for their bid as the first Green MPP in Ontario.   While we did not get the seat in our riding, my hope is that the momentum in all ridings helped to carry Mike Schreiner of Guelph and leader of the Ontario Greens to the first Green seat in Ontario Parliament.  Well done. 

Having never voted Green before there really was a bunch of thoughts that led me to volunteer my services as Campaign Manager.  I have had many a conversation, with peeps in previous years that perhaps the Greens are just a little too flaky to be taken seriously. As nice as flaky people are as individuals, green hair, clown ties, and loud shirts will in my opinion never get elected as leaders, plus a whole wack of green flakes running govt, well that’s just silly.   Put the costumes away, this is our real-life that your Politics fucks with. Personalities aside, because it does take a certain kind of crazy (perhaps myself included) to make the trek into the world of Politics, the Green’s actually do have some good Policy. 

Policy was what I was genuinely interested in.  I have over the past couple of years become addicted to docs on society moving forward.  It seems to me the economy is fucked any which way you look at it.  Whichever “major” party gets in it’s the same, I felt the pain of not wanting to vote for anyone, and I really did look at the party platforms and the Candidates in my riding before jumping on the Green Wave.  What really struck me about the Green Platform was that it had a good synergy with my vision for what the future might look like if we started changing our policy to local and sustainable, building on small business and even a little bit thumbing the nose at large corporations, by putting the burden of taxes on their backs.  How-ever it seems the majority of people just can’t get past the flaky to dig into Policy.

 I also dug the slogan People Powered Change – and while each party this election embraced the idea of change in their official slogans, the Green message for me embraced the idea that to change the world we must change ourselves.  Why do we have a hate on for Politicians?  Are they really all smarmy liars?  Growing up, my world view was in a Democracy, it’s the people that are supposed to be the stop-gap to corruption.  How can corruption happen if we all are listening to our own inner bullshit meter, and calling each other out on it?   How is that corruption in Politics has become so main stream that people accept it as normal behaviour.

The reports of fraudulent voting practices adopted by 29 of the Progressive Conservatives including one in my riding was truly shocking, allegations of stealing Identifications of 407 ETR users and then falsifying identifications to allow illegal voting at Ancaster High School during the Candidacy Ballot 2017 for the PC’s, blew my mind that more people were not talking about the level of LOCAL corruption.   What was truly mind blowing was one of those three Candidates thought Fraud was so mainstream in his cultural mindset, he literally expensed it.  It looks like this Ancaster connection was the trigger which began the unraveling of the 407 scandals.   

Nothing short of a complete draining of our local swamp is in order, it is refreshing to see the Liberals lose official party status after the ongoing decline of faith and respect of our Provincial Govt.  Changing out our local 4 term Politician upsets the local food chain and local political alliances.  Next, we need to change our Councillor, and call for a fresh start.

My own bullshit meter has been ringing off the hook locally with the Ancaster Well.  It is my world view that our local Councillor is so corrupt that he chooses to dis-obey a legal land deed, in an attempt to help local developers, lift Land Restrictions on a parcel of land in Copetown.  It has been 6 months since the fence was erected around the Ancaster Well, so it would be perfect time, for an application by the HCA to lift the Legacy of William Kennedy.  It has always been my view that there is no issue with the health and safety of the water at the Ancaster Well, and that there is indeed no health order by the City of Hamilton to close or fence the well, this is a voluntary action on behalf of the HCA to manipulate land use.  

My intuition tells me that the Ancaster Well story will turn out to be all about Real Estate Law.  A change of use of a property is considered the same as a sale of a property.  It is my guess that the Hamilton Conservation Authority plans to use the change of use at the Ancaster Well as a trigger to sell themselves back the well property and lift the covenants.  Now it is up to the community to protect the well and surrounding Green Belt. 

When I saw the video of Doug Ford offering up our Green Belt to foreign investors– my inner alarm clock went on high alert.  There are a number of choice properties in Copetown with prime highway access that would be ideal for the ongoing urban sprawl and power center mentality of our Ancaster Council. This type of development I personally would like to see an end to.  The thought of selling off our Green Belt to foreign investors so that they can build high density town homes is to me little smart, short sighted and just plain offensive and greedy.

With a local election coming up in October, now is the time to start asking questions in our community to our local Politicians and City Hall, there are some that might say, what’s wrong with developing “chunks” of green belt 

At least one Politician in the running for Councillor of Ancaster Dundas and Hamilton West is ready to step up to the challenge of protecting the Ancaster Well and that is John Scime.  I look forward to following his run for Ancaster Councillor – find out more about John – here

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018, May Peace be with you..........

2017, I concentrated long and hard on growing, I dug dirt, planted seeds of intention and tended my garden.  I thought about everything in triplicate, I meditated for long periods of time and listened to countless hours of esoteric ancient teachings.   I spent time alone in the forest for weeks at a time even.  My life I thought I had been doing, but I was thinking about doing.  I dug a lot and reaped little of substance from my garden, but it was in the not doing that I grew, it was only in the not doing.

In the not doing I found love for myself, with every shovel full of dirt, and love for the earth with every plant I watched grow.

I took time for myself, a lot of time walking in silence, thinking and forgiving myself and healing my past.   I felt like I should have been doing something else, but I didn't.   I could lose my thoughts in the forest.  I became thoughtless, and mindful even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I found peace in the forest.  (and win win - I also lost 30 lbs and a lot of baggage)

Some of those close to me have been a little concerned, spending too much time alone, studying Hermeticism and peace within, embracing far reaching concepts of god or god like and Christ consciousness. 

I have said the words many times in the past that I do not believe in God, and I still don’t believe in the god as preached in dogma, we are all really god, primordial soup.

We cannot wish for Peace – we must become Peace.

Much love to all of my friends and family and my wish is that we all find our own Peace in what ever way it manifests, no labels, it just is.

Blessed Be, Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Collaboration and boundaries

Collaboration and boundaries of surface dwelling

These are two elements that I need to improve in my life, and since this journey of sustainability keeps moving forward, they must be considered.

So the centre of my little ojo journey has been my awesome 1966 Avion Mobile kitchen.  I really have a tremendous amount of affection for my trailer.  She started as a camping trailer, and was renovated with the help of friends and local contractors mostly in my driveway.  In my driveway ojo has sat since our last service of 2016.  She received a little make over, a high shine polish, but mostly she has been waiting for her next adventure.

So collaboration, while I am channelling my inner tank girl as I tow and haul, as much as I might hate to admit it, Tank Girl needs a Mad Max.  Two hands are always better than one.  No one can be successful all on their own, it takes team work and trust and respect.

So in my real world career I have been 20 years with an International Engineering company.  I get to work with 99% super smart extremely professional top of the line dudes.  I have been lucky to be part of some big negotiations, and travelled all over the world with men, I have generally been the only girl.  I really miss these guys, 20 years with a company things change, people retire.  We all have some of our best stories from these trips and times, and I feel really honoured looking back at the respect and camaraderie that I was treated with.  I miss knowing that I am part of team and that I know the team has my back, deep trust and loyalty we had that. 

Becoming an Entrepreneur has been a rather eye opening and somewhat humbling back to basics experience.  Instincts become key as you can no longer rely on the pre-approved evaluation of person as defined by their location on an organization chart.  There is no workplace policy for sexual harassment or verbal abuse.   I quickly realized how much I took for granted the structure of what I called the “Borg” element of our workplace, and what an awesome boss that I had for 17 years of it.  

So call me uptight what ever, but I just don’t take kindly to being yelled at in the workplace. Small business is like the Wild West of the Workplace.  Kitchens especially, and I am equally as guilty here as I had a boyfriend on the truck cooking, it completely changed the dynamic due to the level of familiarity, and as a result yelling and swearing at me the owner, which would never of happened if a true employer/employee relationship.  

So new challenge is how to move forward as a small business and surround myself with people who I can respect and trust, and who can trust and respect me.   Trust is truly a challenge for me, pretty sure I have got some well earned  trust issues so a huge amount of consideration went into moving ojo.

Boundaries, you don’t have to say yes to everything and everyone, since there are no org charts to review each individual must be considered on their own demonstrated merits, it’s like re-discovering critical thinking.   It’s scary sometimes being in charge or your own life, when there is one else to blame for your good or bad decisions.  Perhaps I ruminate too much, and my inner me & I have it out on future decisions.

Social media can be a pretty cool thing for exchanging ideas and connecting old friends from high school, among them that stood out online was Harry White with his concept for Surface – I was an immediate fan of his concept and volunteered to make his first brochure 5 years ago.  

Surface has been developing as a small urban farm, and I have been hanging out, helping out and otherwise pondering life and options.  One thing I have learnt on this journey is beware the boastful person.  If the only time you hear how great a person is – is by their own words, that should be a trigger for the truth finder button.   On the other hand, when kind words, compliments and trust are placed in people, that is the strongest indicator that the person is existing in a place of goodness, so hanging out at Surface with Harry and his Surface dwellers has been a refreshing reassurance that genuine cooperation and collaboration and trust are alive and well.  

So Ojo has a new home, a little tweaking and polishing to come along with some planting and harvesting at Surface Farm.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Beet the System

Beet the System

I have an abundance of beets thanks to Manorun Organic Farm, and have spent the afternoon, roasting and pickling.  It’s easier than you think to pickle and preserve, and can be a great meditation practice, my pantry is going to look pretty nice at the end of this growing season.  I am genuinely trying to buy in season and preserve. There is a lot of money to be saved, plus it is way healthier.

So,  solo cutting, roasting, & marinades, leaves me thinking to two summers ago when we had just finished building our canning kitchen up at Soldaat’s Poultry, some fun times were had there chopping veggies with Plan B Organic Farms .  We had lots of preserves going on, and it was awesome, fun and tasty…. but we couldn’t make money at it.  Perhaps someone smarter than I could of, but the bottom line is the cost of small scale Artisan production is too high for the market to support if you calculate all the costs in.  Food preservation tends to only work well if your raw materials are free and labour is free and you enjoy it. Small scale canning companies are virtually non-existent in Ontario for a reason, they are not fiscally viable.   I had my whole business plan wrapped around a food truck and small scale condiment production, I never fully anticipated the regulations and cost associated with a commercial kitchen, and food production.     

During that time and still I have managed to juggle a “real” job, event planning, so every now and then I was away for a few days, so I took off and left the kitchen to the home team, we were in the final stages of Inspection with the City, about a week away from our “green cert”, and we were running the truck on location for fries and lunch.    Upon my return I found my team had decided to make pickled beets instead of being on the truck, and the health inspector had visited.  It was sort of at that moment that I realized how flawed this whole idea had become, I had just paid about 250$ just wages and materials for about 40 jars of pickled beets,(about 7 $ cost per jar) that I couldn’t even sell because no green cert, plus all the regulations for labelling not considered.  I took the beets home and they sat in my garage, and it bugged me when I saw those beets.

Now there are two sides to every story and if we change the way we look at things the things, the things we look at change.  When I returned from my trip and saw the jars of Beets, I was not excited, in fact I was clearly disappointed that I did not come back to a spick and span ready for inspection kitchen and an open food truck, my team however was so proud of Beets, cause there were no customers and they had kept busy and made something…….. They looked at me like what’s her problem. I looked at the Beets and thought, this is going to be a problem. And there the beets sat in the garage and when I looked at them it bugged me and when my team looked at them it bugged them that it bugged me, so they figured let’s eat beets.  I suppose there are worse things in life than having 40 jars of beets in your garage.

So how did I go from happy to preserve – crank the tunes – chop veggies and fight for my right to host a Farmers Market to eyeing mason jars of beets with extreme disappointment. 

Food is not for profit.

Food is for consumption, food is for community, when profit becomes the driver ethics are lost.

The reason I ever contemplated getting into the food industry was after becoming a cog in the Animal Feed Industry.  A thoughtful series on this was recently aired on PBS

Two years later, today I canned just for myself, pickles and beets,  having an abundance of local food is a nice thing. In my own kitchen for myself, and it was peaceful and comforting.  Pickled Beets, & Pickled Cukes, and about 20 jars cost me about $50.  Or about 2.50 per jar, no labor included just produce and jars.    

Now that is way cheaper plus organic and local. 

To truly beat the system we have to become engaged in our food production, by growing our own and preserving in season, just like in the “old days”. 

Find your local farmer and find out what is in season and abundant and preserve it. 

Food is not for profit.