The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by Ian and Adam, the resident farmers at Old 99. We 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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Time to Explore Permaculture Opps

Peter Bane, respected permaculture instructor/designer/author helped me design my farm in 2008/9, as I was thinking through my choices for living in the postcarbon transition. (btw, we are past transition now: climate change positive feedback loops are kicking in that will accelerate climate upset. But that’s another story.

If you want more stereo on your choices in designing your place of abode, be it condo, lux enclave, exurb or farm, you could do worse that spend a few hours with Peter’s book, The Permaculture Handbook.

If you don’t know about permaculture yet, go here for a primer:
Says designer Toby Hemenway, "At its essence, permaculture is about understanding and appreciating how systems naturally operate, and combining those systems in intelligent ways to accomplish intended goals, sustainably.

And while it’s mostly applied to food production and land management today, the principles of permaculture make just as much sense for our economic, energetic, social and other systems."

I maintain that the most positive action oriented response to climate/energy/economic dysfunction is a local hub of permaculturally informed households. We won’t stop, or mitigate one iota, the cataclysm of runaway climate change. (Changes have a 40 yr lag, so we’re experiencing climate upset set in motion by the cummulate carb on in the air in 1975!) We can make the years available to us more livable and become sources of help and encouragement to each other.

So its worth finding the people who will be the ‘early adopters’ and create the local network of more skilful living in a time of collapse.

Are you one of those?

Albert Bates quote, May 11 2014

Here’s a link from one of my fav permaculture guys, Albert Bates. is his blog, which is worth bookmarking. But the quote that caught my eye was this:

The problem we are addressing … at its most general layer, is an observable imbalance in Earth’s climate systems that is an existential threat to all of us.
We attribute this imbalance, now calibrated with a high degree of certainty, to the corruption of “normal” atmospheric chemistry with a superabundance of waste elements from the biological processes of a single, invasive, overly fecund species, you know, the two-legged ones. Since this species shows no sign of going away before it causes irreparable harm to its host, we few revolutionary cells, acting as antibodies in the greater system, are working towards effective and timely mitigation by finding ways to reduce and reverse the damage wrought by our deluded or disengaged brethren [ig: thatw would be youall].

Read more of it if you are intrigued by his solution set, which is decidedly low tech and local. the one he discusses here is about making biochar, basically charcoal, from waste wood and improving garden soils etc. with it. We could all be doing that this spring, with all the deadfalls from the icestorm.

Years of Living Dangerously, and WA Price chapters, Apr 6 2014

I’m going to lead off with cilantro… how many ways can you use it? I have a lovely crop right now, but it won’t last long as the days warm up in the greenhouse. Chop it up as a garnish on pasta, potatoes, soups, make into tabouli, add to salads, puree in smoothies.

How many of you saw anything in the news about the recent release of the IPCC5 report on climate change? Did you notice like I did a lack of coverage?
is about a related release: this time prime time movie/tv series called Years of Living Dangerously.

In a front-page New York Times story David Nevins, Showtime’s president of entertainment — the architect of hits like Homeland and Masters of Sex — explained that he puts a show like “Years of Living Dangerously” on Sunday night “because I want to signal to the audience: This show matters. This is a big show.”

“Years Of Living Dangerously” is going to be a very big show. It premieres Sunday on Showtime, April 13 at 10PM EDT/PDT.

Showtime has posted online the entire video of Episode 1 of its visually and emotionally gripping documentary series event, “Years of Living Dangerously.” The landmark 9-part series is produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — together with former 60 Minutes producers who have 18 Emmys between them.

James Cameron himself said, “This is 100 percent a people story.” And to tell these powerful stories, the series engaged top-flight journalists (like Chris Hayes and Friedman) and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (like Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Ian Somerholder, and Harrison Ford).

Maybe that will get more people to wake up about the current serious relevance of man-made climate change. “If we are to have any hope of averting the worst effects of climate change, we must fashion a 12-step program for universal carbon renunciation and impose penalties on those who aid and abet our continuing addiction.”

Finally, how many of my readers are members of the local chapter of Weston A Price Foundation? I’d like to know because I’m having a rush of ideas about speaker events and such for us all. We’re the leading edge food-conscious eaters, mostly with young families. Just pop me a reply, would you please if you are. Ontario has these chapters

  • Belleville: Eileen Joyce (631) 961-7450,
    Brantford & Brant Counties: Valerie Clement (519) 717-0249,
    Burlington and Oakville: Angela Kang (905) 582-3693,
    Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo: Christine Kennedy
    Eastern Ontario: Trisha Morris (613) 985-6194,
    Grey-Bruce: Elisa Vander Hout (519) 369-3578,
    Hamilton: Ken & Claire Dam (905) 580-1319 ,
    Kingston: Sue Clinton & Bob Clinton, DDS (613) 376-6652,,
    London: Donna Costa (519) 951-8182,
    Minto/North Wellington: Margo McIntosh (519) 338-2683,
    Ottawa: Gail Davis (613) 238-2782,, Pascal Desjardins (613) 728-0662,,
    Toronto (Downtown): Patricia Meyer Watt (416) 653-7112,
    Toronto (East): Joseph Ouimet (416) 439-4753,
    Toronto Area–West: Corey Evans, (905) 608-9314,,

Old 99 Farm, Week of Mar 23. 2014

My weekly advance notice of results in the greenhouse. Shows what you can learn if you keep on trying! I cover the beds in the greenhouses with lightweight ‘row cover’ as extra layer of insulation. It is slightly opaque, and just recently I found a site that does research on growing crops in greenhouses, low tech. I found that best practice is to uncover daily esp on cloudy days, and recover at nite, contrary to what I have been doing.

So, now I can say the growth has sped up and I have spinach, collards, arugula, kale and mizuna for sale this week. The new crops of collards, lettuce, arugula and kale are coming on faster too.

I’ll attach the available produce list to this email. I can include fresh ground whole wheat and spelt flour now.

The first chicken, duck and goose eggs went into the incubators this week. First order received for roasting chickens arrived on the weekend. Price still same as last year, till March 31st, then will increase 50c/lb. Please order in 5 bird increments. First birds will be available in July. These are Cornish Cross type of broiler, called White Rock, same as last year. They pastured well on the field behind the berry patch, no losses due to too rapid growth rate.

The Big Gulp on food integrity this week:

Philippe Grandjean, of Harvard Medical School, and Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, announced earlier this year, to some controversy, in the pages of a prestigious medical journal that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children. The experts named 12 chemicals—substances found in both the environment and everyday items like furniture and clothing—that they believed to be causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. Pesticides were among the toxins they identified.

Landrigan and Grandjean’s real message is big, and it involves billion-dollar corporations and Capitol Hill, but it begins and ends with the human brain in its earliest, most vulnerable stages.

Their new study is similar to a review the two researchers published in 2006, in the same journal, identifying six developmental neurotoxins. Only now they describe twice the danger: The number of chemicals that they deemed to be developmental neurotoxins had doubled over the past seven years. Six had become 12. Their sense of urgency now approached panic. “Our very great concern,” Grandjean and Landrigan wrote, “is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies.”

The Atlantic Monthly author, James Hamblin, found that the real issue was not this particular group of 12 chemicals. Most of them are already being heavily restricted. This dozen is meant to illuminate something bigger: a broken system that allows industrial chemicals to be used without any significant testing for safety. The greater concern lies in what we’re exposed to and don’t yet know to be toxic.

Thus, non-genetic, environmental exposures are involved in causation, in some cases probably by interacting with genetically inherited predispositions. Strong evidence exists that industrial chemicals widely disseminated in the environment are important contributors to what we have called the global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity.

No parent can avoid these toxins—they’re in our couches and in our air. They can’t be sweated out through hot yoga classes or cleansed with a juice fast. But to whatever extent these things can be avoided without better regulations, it costs money. Low-income parents might not have access to organic produce or be able to guarantee their children a low-lead household. When it comes to brain development, this puts low-income kids at even greater disadvantages—in their education, in their earnings, in their lifelong health and well-being.

Hope I got your attention, you can read up on each toxin in the post at the Atlantic.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Old99 farm week of Mar 16 2014

Something new at Old 99: flour ground here and sourdough starter. Camelia and I went to an Ecological Farmers workshop on saturday to see horse powered flour milling, learn about growing it, and then baking sourdough bread. Take a lot at this picture and tell me I have beginner’s luck. I’ll have some to taste for you this thursday. I’ll also have flour, whole wheat, milled here, and sourdough starter for you to take home.

Next thing new is Sheba, my female Maremma livestock guardian dog is now bred to a handsome Maremma male, borrowed from Jim Wright, a heritage livestock enthusiast on Powerline Rd. So if you are looking for a wonderful family dog, albeit on the large size, come by and see the pups in a couple months, likely June 1st.

At the market this week I have some spinach, collard greens and kale from the greenhouse. Lots of eggs and still good supply of meats.

Elizabeth May put out a request for a support petition against Keystone. Her four points are

  • Keystone hurts the Canadian economy:* The Keystone pipeline — makes Canada’s economy even more dependent on the export of unprocessed fossil fuels, leaving us in a vulnerable position when the carbon bubble bursts.

- Keystone doesn’t promote North American energy security: As proposed, the diluents which are added to make dilbit would come from Saudi Arabia!

- Keystone won’t replace rail transportation: We can do the math — if Stephen Harper succeeds with his plan to increase oil sands production to 6 million barrels per day (mbd), then even with Keystone’s capacity of 0.8 mbd and Enbridge’s 0.5 mbd we would be well short of transporting it all by pipeline.

- Keystone limits our ability to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: There is no doubt, based on the US State Department’s report, that Keystone will lead to growth in the oil sands. …our emissions are on track to be 734 MT — all progress on emission reduction at the provincial level is being wiped out by oil sands growth.

Canada needs a domestic energy strategy and a real climate plan that makes sense. So why don’t you add your name to the list of concerned Canucks?

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of March 9 2014

This time last year I had dozens of duck and chicken eggs in the incubator! Haven’t starting the breeding pairs yet this year.
I had two volunteers to do the protein cost research. Come where are the rest of you?
How about sending in a favourite recipe I can post here on locallygrown?

Early notice, does anyone want us to grow their transplants this year?

I’ll grow for you, using my on-farm compost. March is the month for tomatoes, leeks etc that take 6 to 8 weeks before planting out, April for the rest that take only 4 weeks. I’d say spring is a month later this year than last.

Eggs still $5 dozen, XL size. Limited greens available, cilantro, parsley, chard, claytonia. Pork, beef and lamb, stewing hens.

I’ve been wanting to show you the hotbed. Hasn’t been the slamdunk I expected, but then that’s what it means to learn by experience. Started with a pile of fresh manure in the empty North Greenhouse.

Then levelled it to about two feet high and fairly compacted (oxygen to feed microbes but not too much, so the heat will last about 2 months), built wood frame and lights (lids) and filled with compost and soil about 6inches. Planted rows short direction (N-S) about 7inches apart.

Planted short, fast maturing greens like lettuce and mesclun mix, spinach and arugula (hey Andrew get ready!) alternated with carrots. But had to replant some this weekend, seems seed was too old (I was too cheap).

The Post Carbon, Peak Prosperity universe

I loved this matrix format to make sense of who’s who in the ongoing saga of anticipating our collective future. We are in a crisis in the evolution of human society. It’s unique to both human and geologic history. It has never happened before and it can’t possibly happen again. Albert Bates, author of The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, brings you his personal map of progosticators. Left-right axis is a spectrum from peaceful coexistence to active resistance. The top-bottom axis is the range of outcomes of climate upset. This yields four quadrants. Find your favourite author and see where his/her writing fits. How many names do you recognize? Try reading some of the others, including Bates himself at where he elaborates on the chart and adds authors as they are suggested by readers. Very helpful to make sense of who to read. (example knowing that Jensen and McPherson are dark doomers helps a decision whether to read them.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Market Research: cost of protein

I have bottled up the last of the O99 honey crop, about 20L, now available.

A faithful member lent me the 25th anniv edition of More With Less cookbook, which has a chart in it of common sources of protein and costs. But the costs don’t match ours, so I’d like to do an update and publish it here.
Since I don’t go to grocery stores hardly at all, maybe I could get a few of the 175 subscribers to Old99Farm.locallygrown to offer to get the price data for say 10 items. I’d send you the list as a form and you’d take shopping with you. (would make a good educational project for kids too.) I’ll ask several people to do the same list so we can compare. Just include for each item, store, size (weight), price, date. that’s all. I’ll do the rest and share it in a future blog.

Speaking of sharing, I came across a nifty website, which makes it slamdunk easy to be a helping neighbour to someone who needs a tool, dvd, book, knowhow, etc. Or a source for you when you need sumthin. I’m in there.

Some powerful links readers have sent in to me: titles speak for themselves.
We don’t get to see much footage of the carnage being done in area the size of France, (yes that’s all slated to be strip mined for tarsand oil.) Allergy Fix

Childhood food allergies have more than tripled in the last twenty years. New research is testing old assumptions about how to treat them. Can they find an allergy fix?

Old 99 Farm, Week of Mar 1. 2014

March 1st and minus 20, we gotta say, this is a winter like they used to be.

But are we thinking about spring and food we can grow in the backyard yet? Has your seed catalogue from William Dam’s arrived (or see on line)?

I promised myself to get pictures of the ‘hotbed’ for posting here soon: current state: seeds planted, just starting to sprout today, 4 days later.

Available this week: meats (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goose, salmon), eggs and some vegetables, potatoes, garlic, cilantro, celeriac.

Now for the part of my post you are all waiting for! what have I been reading this week??
I got back to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallow to read up the ‘politically incorrect science’ on dietary fat. Yes, eat animal fat and eggs.

A farming neighbour gave me for my 60th, Joel Salatin’s last book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, a farmers advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world, 2011.
Sample: he gave his pastured burger and chain store burger to his cats for a ‘taste test’.

They refused to touch the supermarket burgers. he says, ’don’t take my word for it, go try withyour own cats, they are not funded by industrial food cos. ‘They don’t have political alliances, they are not peer-dependent or swayed by hours of TV ads. They are just primal beings whose sensory safeguards still function. Your pets probably have a better handle on nutrition than your doctor.

You can grab a read for yourself, put it in the loo alongside the TP.

Here’s the ‘Big Gulp’ on climate change, this week.

The stunning increase in extreme weather events — 25 disasters exceeding a billion dollars in 2011 and 2012 — which had long been predicted by climate scientists, has not gone unnoticed by the public (that would be you):

But what do we actually get fed by the media? Joe Romm ( did a study and concludes:
1. The broad [American] public is exposed to virtually no doomsday messages, let alone constant ones, on climate change in popular culture (TV and the movies and even online).
2. The same goes for the news media, whose coverage of climate change has collapsed
3. The public is exposed to constant messages promoting business as usual and indeed idolizing conspicuous consumption.
4. The political elite and intelligentsia, including MSM pundits and the supposedly “liberal media” like, say, MSNBC, hardly even talk about climate change and when they do, it isn’t doomsday.
5. At least a quarter of the public chooses media that devote a vast amount of time to the notion that global warming is a hoax and that environmentalists are extremists and that clean energy is a joke.
6. The major energy companies bombard the airwaves with millions and millions of dollars of repetitious pro-fossil-fuel ads. The environmentalists spend far, far less money.
7. Environmentalists when they do appear in popular culture, especially TV, are routinely mocked.
8. There is very little mass communication of doomsday messages online.
9 If you want to find anything approximating even modest, blunt, science-based messaging built around the scientific literature, interviews with actual climate scientists and a clear statement that we can solve this problem, go to the most widely read and cited site: his blog which is not even aimed at the general public. Probably 99% of Americans haven’t even seen one of his headlines.

What about food security?
Last year saw food prices reach their third highest year on record, corresponding to the latest outbreaks of street violence and protests in Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and elsewhere. This article tracks that

The recent cases illustrate not just an explicit link between civil unrest and an increasingly volatile global food system, but also the root of this problem in the increasing unsustainability of our chronic civilisational addiction to fossil fuels.

Global agriculture’s excessive dependence on fossil fuel inputs means food prices are invariably linked to oil price spikes. Naturally, biofuels and food commodity speculation pushes prices up even further – elite financiers alone benefit from this while working people from middle to lower classes bear the brunt.

Unfortunately, simply taking to the streets isn’t the answer. What is needed is a meaningful vision for civilisational transition -* backed up with people power and ethical consistence.* (that would be us.)

Hey, if you’ve read this far, here’s your reward, some good news.
Last year 6,000 neighbours met through Streetbank to carry out neighbourly acts of kindness. This year they are on track for more than 30,000 people to meet who will save more than £500,000 in the process. By the end of 2016 they expect 150,000 people to be meeting and saving £2.5m.

All Streetbank does is to make sharing with your neighbours easy – and because people are time poor that easiness is helping to unlock resources and generosity that would otherwise remain untapped. People and things are connected, community spirit is strengthened and large amounts of things and skills are kept out of landfill.

If people are interested, how can they get involved?

Head to – it takes about 90 seconds to join and once you have you’ll be able to see everything your neighbours are offering in your square mile.

Why don’t we do it for amongst our list?

Eating healthy,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm Week of Feb 23 2014

Ouch, wednesday already. btw, did anyone read that post I referred to last week about 16 wonderful farms leading the way?

We have 49 items in the market this week. I have updated quantities in stock and some prices up/down, depending. I had sort of hoped when I opened my inbox mail that there would be the usual sampling of orders for pickup tomorrow. Nope. It’s hard to be convinced that I have something worth offering here: healthy food, grown locally, picked fresh, organic. If not in a range and assortment that we are accustomed to in the supermarket, then at least the high nutrition heavies: pastured meats, eggs, leafy greens, honey, all organic.

So consider this latest post from
Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity site. About Sugar. (his excerpts indented.)

One of the interesting things to emerge from my recent research into nutritional health is the extent to which major food companies — for decades — have been suppressing information on the awful health effects of some of their major products.

Sugar is the biggie.

There is now overwhelming evidence tying heart disease and metabolic syndrome to sugar, and yet we have pretty much zero fresh guidance coming from the FDA and/or USDA. The evidence has been out there for a long time, and yet we have soft drink vending machines in nearly every public school in the nation dispensing “fruit juice” that is crammed with fructose, yogurt loaded with sugar, as well as soda itself (depending on the state).

Why have the government agencies responsible for public health allowed food and soft drink companies to load up our kids with sugar? And remained utterly silent, in general, on the topic?

Today we might be emotionally tempted to believe that all of this happened in the ‘bad old days’ and that nothing so craven could happen now. After all, we have access to much better information through the internet – surely they cannot keep the truth hidden? But the evidence doesn’t support that hope.

Instead, we should expect that nothing at all has changed. And that much of what passes for ‘good science’ in medicine and health today is polluted with corporate and financial self-interest that is, at best, only coincidentally-aligned with actual human and ecological health.

Okay, here’s the deal. Because we are surrounded by a vast marketing machine that works double overtime to assure we have poor access to good nutritional information, and because our daily shopping trips are more like hopping blindfolded through a minefield, and because ‘eating healthy’ is now much more expensive than eating poorly, we all need some support in this area.

I know I do.

In fact, studies show that success in sticking with new exercise and eating regimes is highly correlated with having good support networks.

[just heard of the book Younger Next Year, 2007, Crowley and Lodge, laying out the ‘how-to’ live healthier in the last 30 years of life. Especially guys over 60.]

On the other side of the question, who has the energy to scour the aisles and food labels to separate the gems from the grenades? Who has the money to afford to eat locally-grown organic vegetables with every meal and only buy pasture raised, non-hormone and antibiotic-free meat? Not everybody.

A big part of being resilient is being healthy; but now I want to amend that to say ‘being normal.’

[Grain Brain is one 2013 book I have read, with gusto, Perlmutter puts it on paper about the science of gluten induced unhealthiness.]

Chris says he’s “going to be dialing up our focus here on helping us all get the support we need to become normal, which is to say healthy, and that begins with eating well”.

If you ever needed one more nudge towards having a garden, this would be it.

[My hot bed is now ready for planting, temperature of soil is 10dC on top of 2ft of manure at 60dC. Should have baby greens in a month, started seeds a month ago. Maybe next year I can sell fresh cow manure by the pickup load for your backyard hotbed gardens!]

The idea here is not to suddenly decide to adopt an entirely new eating regime (although some might decide to go that route), but to go with our ‘step zero’ approach and pick just one thing. One tiny decision you can make today, to cut out one source of nutritional inflammation from your diet today.

[Our family started with swearing off orange juice and tetrapaks in the kids’ lunches. Now, 10 years later, it’s getting off gluten and GMO corn/soy.]

As soon as I can get the word out that I have a steady supply of delicious organic farm eggs, and the folks start coming, I’ll be putting the price back up to $6.50 for XL where it should be. Please help me do that so I can keep up my interest in the egg enterprise!

Yeah, healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Farming that works

I just finished reading Ontario farmer Harry Stoddart’s 2013 book, Real Dirt, An ex-industrial farmer’s guide to sustainable eating. He and family run an organic pastured meats farm in the Kawarthas (

The book is well worthy of your attention. He takes 200 pages to go through the issues raised by how we grow our food and puts industrial/chemical farming and organic farming in perspective: both have problems that are unsustainable. He takes a hardline on the definition of sustainability: the possibility that human and other life will flourish on earth forever. Anything less (including the famous Brundtland Commission’s attemnpt) can be watered down and co-opted by status quo interests.

The issues are about a dozen in total, but the big three that will result in social strife in Western democracies within our lifetimes, if left unchecked, are: antibiotic resistance, erosion and climate disruption.

Your decisions as eaters will have the greatest impact on how agriculture changes in the coming years, not government policy or activism. How you vote with your dollars to spend your food budget (and household time usage too, eg for doing some gardening, canning, bulk buying, etc.) is the way forward.

Does that make you optimistic about the future? Maybe not, if you are like me. I don’t see very many people making informed and deliberate choices with food, even people in my own extended family. But a future worth living for our children and grandkids has a better chance this way, than waiting for governments or technology to fix things. And you’ll be ABLE TO LOOK THEM IN THE EYE WHEN THEY ASK “what did you do to help?”.

I’ll say more about Stoddart in future posts. But since you might not go out and buy the book, here’s his simple list of what eaters can do:
1. Establish a relationship with your farmer(s).
2. Eat more perennials.
3. Don’t be alarmed that pigs and chickens are being fed food waste, including meat byproducts.
4. Buy rotationally grazed, 100% grass fed meats.
5. Don’t flush anything down your toilet that you don’t want spread on the ground that grows your food.
6. Cook your own meals.

He has a list of 18 questions to inform a discussion with your farmers (s). I’ll post that separately.

Finally, here is a link to a great post from Dan Allen, ecologically informed science teacher and essayist with many blogs on line. He gives you with this post a roadmap for getting on with right-sourcing your food. Check Feb 10 2014 postings on or paste this URL into your browser.
He starts by saying,
“I think most of us can agree that we are currently living in a very unsettling time — at the cusp of a monumental transition, with no assurances that the coming descent is even doable. Yikes!

So how then do we respond to this predicament? What choices should we make? …Well, the first step is acknowledging that a lot of conceivable options are just not on the table – namely those involving lots of fossil fuel energy and those that rely on environmental, economic, or social stability. Those options are now likely closed by virtue of our past sins. *But we do still have some choices. * Of course, there are no guarantees that things will turn out OK, but we can maximize our chance for success if we concentrate on making good choices from here on out.

And what are those good choices we can make:

•Find some land – You can buy, lease, rent, borrow or squat, but as the industrial infrastructure crumbles, it just seems like access to land is a prerequisite to maximizing our chances. There are pros and cons with every place. Weigh them and make a stand.
•Listen to the land – Learn the ecology of your chosen place. Watch, listen, taste, smell, and feel. Do this continually. Realize that no matter how much you know about your land, there is much you are missing. Embrace that ignorance – allow for wiggle room in your projects. Start small, observe, & then scale-up. Don’t do anything you can’t undo.
•Look for good examples to follow – Pick the best parts of the best examples you can find and start there. The farms profiled here can be a start, but look around in your area – good examples can be found in the most improbable places. Then try those examples on your land and watch for the response. Then alter your plans accordingly.
•Look to your community – You won’t make it through alone. Find like minded people and put your heads together. And learn to live with those who aren’t like minded. Find some common ground with them and start from there. Moving forward wealth will be measured in the quality and quantity of your relationships, not in stuff.
•Keep on the sunny side – There’s gonna be heap-loads of bad stuff coming our way. So much that it will be tempting to let it swallow us. Don’t let it. Look for the good in everything. Find reasons to laugh. Make your own fun.
•Keep on plugging away – There will be set-backs along the way. Sometimes BIG ones – ones that take us back to the start. Remember the lessons you learned playing ‘Chutes & Ladders’ and keep going. Don’t let the bastards keep you down.

The bulk of the essay profiles 16 farms that are benchmarking the way forward. So the least we can do is go out and find some like this in Hamilton area. Get involved in the local agricultural societies (Rockton, Ancaster): they need and want urban involvement.

But rather than just list the farms, he highlights just one key characteristic of each – one characteristic among the many key elements of the diverse ecological agricultures we need to implement. These key elements include things like a general ecological framework for agriculture, perennial staple crops, species diversity, polyculture planting, capturing rainwater in soil, drought adaptations, etc.. I hope you enjoy your family day, think about the food your family needs to stay healthy and happy.