The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by myself, the intrepid farmer-in-process at Old 99. I send out a message every week, but most are set with a delete date about two weeks later. I archive some of the posts if they have content other than weekly availability of produce and meat.

You can send me questions too, which if they are of a general nature, I can post to this Old99 blog.



 
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Old 99 Farm Week of Dec 2, 2012


For orders, go to www.old99farm.locallygrown.net. Bring egg cartons PULEEZZ@!!

We had a successful event with Nicole Foss last sunday; over 60 people attended, 2/3 stayed through to the end of the discussion and were still asking questions after 5o’clock. Her conclusions:

  • prepare for a very different world
  • there will be a major initial shock, (maybe financial, maybe energy related) followed by a long (decades) period of adjustment
  • no more business as usual
  • embrace a simpler future
  • contrast expectations of entitlement with reality of limits

She was emphatically supportive of permaculture design approaches to local food security. I will have another post summarizing the many points she made in her 2 hour lecture.

For now, suffice it to say that indeed you can jump in and learn what your options are with permaculture design of your home or small farm, this weekend. This was not planned, but my permaculture mentor, Peter Bane, is travelling to the Buffalo area and has agreed to come for a visit and workshop. Sunday Dec 9, 1pm to 5pm, cost is $100 for one to three people. So round up a couple of friends and come to the farm (or Copetown Community Centre, depending on response). Register here online or via email but advance registration is required.

Nicole was quite positive about what permaculture can contribute to building family resilience to shocks and surprises, financial, energy, etc. in coming years.

Peter will speak on “Designing Resilient Communities: How our Towns and Suburbs can Incubate the new Eco-Agriculture and Launch a Food Security Revolution”, building on his handbook. This is for people/families with a quarter-acre lot or a small farm, in the city, suburbs, or beyond.

The Permaculture Handbook will be available for sale, price C$45. If you want one, let me know in advance so Peter can bring enough with him. I think this book offers a clear and comprehensive picture of what low-impact, high-satisfaction living can look like in the post-petroleum age. It shows how to reduce dependence on money, on fossil fuels, and on distant supplies of critical resources. The book answers such vital questions as: how much food will the family need; what kinds of crops are most important and valuable to grow; where can we invest our scarce financial resources for the biggest return; how can the farm enhance local ecosystems and communities; what tools and machines are really needed to take care of the land; and a thousand others. More importantly, it teaches the reader how to make complex decisions about land and livelihood consistent with new and emerging economic and ecological realities.

see www.permaculturehandbook.com

Old 99 Farm Week of Nov 25 2012


List of available produce and online ordering at www.old99farm.locallygrown.net.

Consistently cool even slightly below freezing at night, but mild compared to norms. We’ve covered a few crops in the outdoor garden, like kale and spinach, carrots, to extend their season.
One new addition this week is claytonia, a mild salad green, aka Miners Lettuce. Good to add to salads or eat fresh with a vinaigrette.

Nicole Foss talk this friday is generating a lot of interest, I am optimistic we will fill the room (about 50 capacity) at the Lions Community Centre.

See this link for an investigation of the way public opinion about the safety of sugar has been managed by the sugar industry. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign

Old 99 Farm Week of Nov 18 2012


More cool nites, but hey it’s lovely in the greenhouse. Mist or frost most mornings.

Lots of greens, no new carrots yet, first cutting of claytonia this week.

I’m going to regale you with my speech to the Copetown Lions Club tonite, the live in-person ‘trailer’ for Nicole
Foss talk on Food, Farms and Family.

Here it is.
p(. News flash: the Lions Club voted in favour of being a co-sponsor of this event, along with DundasInTransition and Local 351 of the National Farmers Union in Ontario.)

Trailer for Nicole Foss: Food, Farms and Family, Building Resilience within Limits
Why would you come to a talk like this?
Do you sometimes feel fed-up, cynical, angry, discouraged with how the world is going? Do you doubt some of the positive spin from elected representatives and corporate execs in the news?

I’m going to suggest that A Great Disruption is upon us, and it goes by many names. We see it in many forms: real estate bubble, extreme weather events like Sandy and Katrina, price of fuel, ecological disasters like Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez
Because you can’t have unlimited growth on a finite planet, it happens that we are the endgame generation, it’s happening in our lifetime.

Limits in food production are all around us: fisheries, topsoil, clean water, and minerals like phosphorus, and the big one: fossil fuels, limits on where we can safely dispose of our waste. We’re seeing superweeds and resistant insects and plant diseases, we’re seeing health epidemics like obesity, cancer heart disease to name just a few tangible signs of limits.

People seem to side with one of two extremes in facing this: we’ll be saved by technology, or are doomed by human greed and stupidity. Nicole proposes a middle way which gives more room for action: a ratcheting down of production and consumption, but not entirely by choice because of events beyond our immediate situation.
But if by choice it will be a lot more comfortable: as they say, it’s a lot more fun to jump that be pushed.

But if you do stay the course, stay in the mainstream cultural trance beamed by mass media, tv and the papers, you often end up feeling disempowered, helpless and by turns, like I asked at the outset: fed up, cynical, angry cheated. Why?
The lies and half truths from sources we want to trust, like our elected reps, disempower us.
The regulations that tie us in knots and keep us feeling like schoolkids, help some people and some of them a lot. Like corporate interests who can very easily afford to comply where small farmers, family businesses and proprietorships cannot

We are already in the post peak era, we are past the peak rate of extraction of conventional oil and natural gas and other minerals too; what remains to be seen is what the rate of decline is going to be. It can’t be a prediction though, not like predicting how long to fill a glass of water one drop per second.
It’s more like how to predict when a fish is going to find your bait and try it out for dinner. Too many factors at play to be a simple prediction, but we can forecast the likely scenarios.

When it comes to financial matters, Nicole says change can happen very quickly because of mass behaviour. We go with the crowd, on the way up and on the way down. Mass mood is very fickle and always seems to overshoot the target. We therefore often get a worse reaction that the facts really merit.

Also government action can change the picture, printing money, delaying consequences, making international trade deals, holding elections that avoid talking the real issues.

There is not direct causation in climate upset between burning oil and putting carbon in the air, and Superstorm Sandy. There is a multiplicity of intermediate steps, that’s systemic causation.
NO DOUBT burning fuels, putting carbon in the air leads eventually to catastrophic weather events.

Our local food and farm scene here in the Dundas Flamborough area is pretty good. For food security the farm infrastructure is good;

  • good soil and plentiful water,
  • 4 butchers, 4 feed mills, 4+ equipment dealers,
  • 2 Agricultural Societies with excellent fall fairs,
  • at least one really good men’s service club ,
  • a bee club, poultry club and 4H
  • and some world class farmers,including some organic dairy cashcroppers and market gardeners,

However we are not isolated from damaging events that happen elsewhere. We can’t duck the knock-on effects of an XL Meat Packers disaster, or a drought in Texas, and there will be more.

So along comes Nicole Foss to Copetown, a 50ish woman who lives with her husband on a farm near Ottawa, with a background in biology and environmental law and she says “I think we need to talk about all this”. She is one of those rare courageous people in my opinion, who see through the deception and false optimism in the mass media; she connects the dots for us and speaks out. She has given hundreds of speeches in 15 countries over the last three years. As a result you can make up your own mind and be more in control of your situation. That my friends, is what resilience within limits is all about.

Food comes from farms, better local farms than far away, Farms need paying customers they can rely on. Families need nutritious affordable food. In a time of disruption to the business as usual world we want to believe in, these are all in question. Nicole asks us to consider what we going to do about that for ourselves and gives us a head start.

Come out on Friday Nov 30th at 1pm to listen, learn and think for yourself. Nicole will speak from 1 to about 2:30 and we’ll have informal discussion from 3 to 5. There will be lots of times for questions.

thank you.

Food Farms & Family Announcement Nov 30


Old 99 Farm and Permaculture Site

How to contact us:
Our Website: Old 99 Farm.locallygrown.net
On email: ianagraham@rogers.com

On Thursdays, 4 to 6pm: 1580 Old Hwy 99. From Dundas take Governors Rd west to Binkley, turn left and immediate right onto Old 99, second farm on right.
Or by appointment, please call ahead.

This newsletter contains background on Nicole Foss, coming to Copetown Community Centre, Nov 30, 1 to 5pm.

Food, Farms & Family: Building resilience within Limits

Copetown Community Centre, Nov 30 1 to 5pm.

Nicole is a Canadian with a science and legal education who is travelling the globe (15 countries so far) to engage people in the drivers of change in our time. We have the great good fortune that she is passing through our area and has agreed to speak on Food, Farms and Family: Building resilience within Limits.

Most of her work consists of speaking to community groups, and latterly municipalities as well. She has done hundreds of lectures worldwide over the last three years, including media appearances (five Max Keiser TV interviews, many radio interviews on Financial Sense Newshour, national radio in Australia and New Zealand, national TV in Sweden, many local radio shows and many newspaper interviews).

“I worry a lot about food production in the future. We’ve built a farming system with critical dependencies on things that won’t be there, at least to anything like the same extent, in the future. I also worry about the health timebomb we’ve created in the era of industrial food production, as it will be harder to deal with chronic health issues in an economic depression.”

“What I typically do is to integrate various subsystems into a bigger picture, so that people grasp what limits to growth really means, and I explain about different timeframes. Almost no one talks about the bigger picture, so people struggle to integrate information in context. I help them to do that, so they can identify critical vulnerabilities and prepare for challenging times.”

“I always address money and energy. Energy is foundational, and financial crisis has the shortest timeframe of all. Ontario is a financial disaster area in waiting. We’re seeing the beginnings of dealing with that in the dispute with the teachers. If people don’t understand financial crisis, then they risk losing all their freedom of action at the first hurdle and then have no capacity left to deal with other challenges. People need to know about finance because finance is the operating system, and it is about to crash. If people are not careful they will end up watching unprepared as all the assumptions they have built their lives on are invalidated. They need to know about energy, especially in Ontario. It’s all about helping people to prioritize scarce resources (physical, financial and time) in a changing social/psychological context – the psychology of contraction.”

Nicole will discuss food, agribusiness, landbanking, strip-mining soil fertility etc. Food & Farming is certainly a critical system. “I do typically emphasize the tendency towards centralization and increasing scale, and why I think it’s so important to decentralize and restore local control.”

So dear subscriber, if you have read this far, please go ahead and sign up for a very important event that will shed light on the near future that your family is facing.

Old 99 Farm, Week of Nov 11, 2012


For orders go to www.old99farm.locallygrown.net and be amazed at how much selection there is!

This week I’m reserving this post to announce an important event happening on Nov 30th. Nicole Foss is coming to Copetown Commmunity Centre to present her views on Food, Farms and Family – Building resilience in this era of limits. Nicole is well-known outside Canada, has lectured in 15 countries over the past two years. Before that she was E.D. of the Agri-Energy Producers’ Association of Ontario. She says" I live on a farm myself and was once a biologist and an environmental consultant, so I have plenty of background in these areas. I also have a great interest in health and nutrition, which fits in with a food focus, and a considerable dislike of GMOs."

I hope you will make every every to attend and bring your teenage or older children if you have such. I think Nicole has a sparkling way of exposing the cliche assumptions about the future and presenting real alternatives.

Copetown Community Centre, 1pm to 5pm, Nov 30. Donations suggested subject to ability to pay: $10. You can register with your Old 99 membership account.

This event is co-sponsored by Old 99 Farm, Transition Dundas, and the Wentworth chapter of the National Farmers Union.

Week of Nov 4th, 2012


Well,I just blew my whole month’s Rogers web download (pay-per-use contract) on watching David vs Monsanto, a 2009 European documentary on our heroic Sask farmer, Percy Schmeiser’s fight for seed rights and food purity. You should too. Spend an hour and watch. You’ll be appalled and dismayed by the ruthlessness of Monsanto (it could also be Dupont, Syngenta, Dow, BASF) , but also heartened that there are indeed still people like Percy and Louise, who will stand up to corporate malfeasance, no matter the cost.
bq. “This film is reassuring. Reassuring to all who fear that as an individual, no one would have any power to confront policymakers, large corporations or the business world. “David vs. Monsanto” proves the opposite.”
The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X1A31gCeOA4#!

Yes there are vegetables, meats and eggs here this week, all grown organically with no (known) GMO contamination. As of Nov 4th, I can offer the following crops: potatoes, tomatoes (last week) basil, chard, spinach, kale, carrots, onions, baby lettuces, parsley (two types), mizuna, arugula and hot and green peppers. For meats, I have lamb, pork, beef and roasting chicken and geese (just a couple left).

Now the climate is another matter, worthy of your consideration. But a matter with personal consequences for you and your families. We have to get real about fossil fuel based carbon pollution. It has to be a matter of public debate and private choice every time we shop, travel or consume.

I excerpt below from a recent interview with Kevin Anderson, the Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre, an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories. He will be giving the annual Cabot Institute lecture, ‘Real Clothes for the Emperor’ on 6th November in Bristol, UK, which has already sold out. Read the interview here: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-11-02/rapid-and-deep-emissions-reductions-may-not-be-easy-but-4-c-to-6-c-will-be-much-worse

“I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy. I do not think that the future, for those of us that are in the very fortunate position of living in the West, is full of win-win opportunities. People who have done well, very well out of our western system, and live very carbon profligate lifestyles are going to face difficult challenges, and we should not pretend otherwise.

Until we actually embrace alternative means of finding value in our lives, I think that transition from where we are today, high-carbon, high-energy lifestyles, to ultimately lower-carbon lifestyles is going to be both difficult and unpopular. But ultimately, I do not see an alternative. Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy- but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse.

But also I find it increasingly difficult not to challenge friends and family, who often appear to have complete disregard for the impacts of their action. I’ve got to the point now where I think that when we’re profligately emitting, we’re knowingly damaging the lives and the prospects of some of the poorest people in our communities, both in the UK, but more significantly globally. Yet we obscenely carry on doing this. We’re happy to put a few pence into a collection pot in the middle of town to help people living in poorer parts of the world but we don’t seem to be prepared to make substantive changes to how we’re living our lives- even when we recognise the impact our emissions are having."

Week of Oct 28th 2012


Very late with this reminder this week. Orders are already coming into my inbox. We got 3" rain since Sunday so it’s pretty soggy. www.old99farm.locallygrown.net

Beef, Lamb and Pork are in the freezer, so you have a bounty to choose from.

Kittens. I have 6 lovely 4 month old kittens needing good homes. Free.

As of Oct 31st, I can offer the following crops: potatoes, tomatoes (should be last week) basil, chard, kale, carrots, onions, baby lettuces, parsley (two types), mizuna, arugula and hot and green peppers.

Meats
I am adding a beef; have 3 quarters available now (Oct31st.

Free range broiler chicken are sold out.

Oven-ready roast duck is sold out, but will have goose November 8th. Still taking deposits as long as supply lasts.

Lamb, have two lambs in the freezer now. Dorset breed.

Pork, two pigs, 6 months old, in the freezer. Tamworth breed.

Thoughts on Food
from Sustain Ontario
“It can be easy to forget how important butchers are in local food systems, but
the truth is that small farmers really need local processors in order to get
their healthy, ethically-grown meat to the people who want to eat it! Demand
for organic and/or local meat is on the rise, especially in the wake of the
disturbing news of beef recalls and food safety issues in some of the large-
scale meat processing plants in the country. Unfortunately, the infrastructure
that farmers need to keep producing local meat is disappearing…”
http://sustainontario.com/2012/10/17/12687/blog/events/upcoming-webinar-mobile-abattoirs

Week of Oct 21st, 2012


No market list attached; go to www.old99farm.locallygrown.net to browse and order.

Please see end paragraph on latest climate research summary.

Pork is in, I am pleased with the yield and selection of cuts from my butcher, John Mediema at Gourmet Meats.

Kittens. I have 6 lovely 7 week old kittens needing good homes. Free.

As of Oct 21st, I can offer the following crops: potatoes, tomatoes (should be last week) basil, chard, kale, carrots, onions, baby lettuces, parsley (two types), mizuna, arugula and hot and green peppers.
Meats
I am adding a beef; have 3 quarters available which I expect to fill in late October.

Free range broiler chicken are sold out.

Oven-ready roast duck is sold out, but will have goose November 8th. Still taking deposits as long as supply lasts.

Lamb, have two lambs in the freezer now. Dorset breed.

Pork, two pigs, 6 months old, in the freezer. Tamworth breed.

Eggs
My flock is producing about 35 doz a week, 80% large sized. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton.

Raw Honey
New offering as of early August, raw honey, liquid and comb type. From bees working on Old 99 farm!

CONCLUSION (from Joe Romm, http://thinkprogress.org)

“The possibility that unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases would not do unimaginable harm to humanity has become vanishingly small. That’s because:

  • We remain near the worst-case emissions pathways
  • There is little prospect of major national or global action any times soon (thank you, deniers)
  • Many impacts are coming faster than the models projected, and
  • The overwhelming majority of the scientific literature in the past 5 years has been more dire than the 2007 IPCC report, which itself was more than enough motivation for the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and countries to call for urgent action to reduce emissions.

And I haven’t even discussed the many, many studies that suggest in fact carbon-cycle feedbacks (like the defrosting tundra) are almost all positive (amplifying) and yet largely ignored in most climate models."

See the whole article at:
http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-10-16/illustrated-guide-science-global-warming-impacts