Monday, September 27, 2010

garlic and carrot acting up for the environment

This is the most interesting civil disobedience locally in a long, long time...It also brings back memories of being arrested with Toronto Action for Social Change for planting a vegetable garden at Queen's Park in Toronto in the fall of 1996 (it was Winter Wheat and Jerusalem Artichokes that time) to protest the slash and cut policies of the Provincial Conservative government.  rk.

The Carrots and Garlic of Climate Change
The Hamilton 350 Committee is participating in the global day of climate action on Sunday, October 10 – 10/10/10. We need your help.

As the title suggests, our action focuses on the implications of climate change for food security. Hamilton lost 20 percent of its agricultural land between 1991 and 2006. On October 13, 2010, city council decides whether to convert an additional 2050 acres of foodland around the airport into an aerotropolis industrial zone. 

On the morning of October 10 (Thanksgiving Sunday) we’ll be planting a message on those aerotropolis lands – with garlic. You can get there on our Garlic Bus and we’ll supply the garlic. Tickets are $3 per person to cover our costs. These may not be public lands and we may be trespassing. We are looking for peaceful radicals! 

Garlic is one symbolic crop for our campaign. Not only is it is planted in the fall, but nearly all the garlic now available in Hamilton is imported from China. By planting local garlic on lands designated for aerotropolis development, we are sending a strong message to city hall: Productive agricultural land should be used to grow food, not warehouses! 

Without a protected and supported local food system, Hamiltonians will be vulnerable to global price fluctuations and world food shortages. It's about our fundamental right to food security. It's about our community's need for food sovereignty. And it's about climate change. Global climatic disasters this summer in Pakistan, Russia, Saskatchewan, Australia and elsewhere pushed wheat prices up 70 percent! We need to guarantee access to locally-grown food so that we can also reduce the number of miles our food travels from farm to fork-thereby reducing the contributions our food makes to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Hamilton 350 Committee is also using “giant carrots” (see photos at to alert the public about our concerns. Unlike garlic, there are still lots of locally-grown carrots available. We’re distributing the attached carrot flyer – and need your help to do this before October 10! Please respond to this email if you can help. Please forward the flyer to all your friends and connections!

Want more information about aerotropolis development plans? Check out Hamiltonians for Progressive Development.

More information is available at Hamilton's latest 350 campaign is part of the global 10/10/10 movement, organized by

Sunday, September 19, 2010

away from Tracts and calls to "revolution"

"To the ordinary working-man, the sort you would meet in any pub on Saturday night, Socialism does not mean much more than better wages and shorter hours and nobody bossing you about....His vision of the Socialist future is a vision of present society with the worst abuses left out, and with interest centring round the same things as at present - family life, the pub, football, and local politics. As for the philosophic side of Marxism, the pea-and-thimble trick with those three mysterious entities, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, I have never met a working man who had the faintest interest in it."

George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier

Saturday, September 4, 2010

meeting the hunter

I've often found meetings to be a waste of time - not always - but especially when it comes to creativity, you can't schedule a good time for everyone to be on the ball.
This insight into Inuit hunting (below) was, for me, not a revelation, but an affirming articulation of some of the process that I've always felt a meeting can't address, and of course the idea of "long range planning" (some of which, granted, is good and required) is also shown to be artificial as events continuously shift and change:

Hunters make thousands of critical decisions each year. The processing of this information leads into the domain of spirituality and metaphor, where accumulated knowledge, intuition and the subtlest of connections with the natural world can generate choices on a basis that is quicker and surer than a narrow rationality. In this way, the decisions of hunters are close to certainties of artists. By denying a reduction to a limited set of variables, the fullness of both culture and consciousness come the bear on each day’s activities. The mobile and flexible behaviour of hunters is inseparable from this state of consciousness, this form of decision-making. Actions cannot be planned long before they occur; too many of the important variables are constantly changing. There can be no long interval between a decision to act and the action itself. By the same token, there can be few simple continuities and little formal organization: hunters must respond to an ever changing environment with quick alertness. Each individual or small group plans and alters plans with spontaneity as swift as it is subtle. There is no room for committees, organizers or institutional formality.

Living Arctic: Hunters of the Canadian North. Hugh Brody