I had such hopes of being a regular blogger and then this gale storm came along and whisked Gayl away down the road of life!
The day after my dear Peter Noddle left us on June 24, 2012, I had an interview for an agricultural scholarship. I pulled through it incredibly well (thank you Peter) and am proud to become the recipient of a 2013 Nuffield Scholarship. (Find out more at http://nuffield.ca/scholarships/). I am excited to begin my travels, but there is much ground work to be done first, including a literature review, speaking with many people about my plans and seeking input, and making travel plans. How about I put my intentions here, and lets just see over the coming months how they are transformed!
My research will ask: Can traditional food growing practices help restore the health of Canadian communities, by re-balancing our diets (and soils), strengthening local economies, building relationship between food and culture, and creating quality jobs on the land and in the kitchen for Canadian youth?
Updated: Later I became more specific about my topic. My study asks: if Agriculture1.0 is peasant farming, subsistence farming or traditional agriculture, and Agriculture2.0 is industrial agriculture, the Green revolution or the agriculture of ‘developed’ countries (which is creating serious health and environmental concerns in Canadian communities and communities around the world), then what might Agriculture3.0 look like?
Agriculture3.0 is the terminology that I am using bored from computer language to name the ‘version of agriculture’ that is my vision for the future of agriculture in Canada, one that offers farmers more choice.
I base this on 3 observations:
1) Nutritional decline – Since 1950, nutrition in some vegetables has decreased by 40%. Can traditional food growing practices improve the nutrition of our food by improving soil health?
2) The rise in diabetes – Participating in the production, culture and celebration of food improves our knowledge of healthy food practices which helps to restore health, and create a sense of belonging and sharing. Might local communities across Canada find ways to express their identity and sense of place through food produced with traditional growing practices?
3) The loss of life sustaining skills – Traditional food practices require many skills; skills that are being lost especially among Canadian youth. Mennonites have the skills to sustain themselves and adapt to a low fuel economy, as Cubans were required to do, but what about the rest of us?