Nathalie Chambers is an infectiously positive person. She is the only person I know of who has raised 2.7 million dollars in order to save her family farm and then turned around and gifted that farm to the community via a Land trust. What a bright, shining example of glorious possibilities. Thanks to Nathalie, this land will belong to the community. Forever. Food security is a pressing problem. Here is how Nathalie described it to me “Imagine the world as an apple, take 3/4 of that away for the oceans. We’re left now with 1/4 of that apple. That’s land. Now take the thin little peel on this remaining quarter slice of apple. This piece of peel is how much land we have for agriculture”.
When we lived in England, we joined the National Trust. This is a beautiful system by which the people collectively buy and protect historical sites, land and wildlife. People give as much as they can afford. It’s a delightfully democratic system with integrity. The British have much to protect. I think that Canada, given our sheer size, has way more.
Inspired by the UK Trust, Nathalie has a similar vision for Canada – and the World!- called the Big Dream Farm Fund. http://chefsurvivalchallenge.com/the_big_dream_farm_fund.html Last night she unveiled her new National Vision tonight at the Vista 18 restaurant at the Chateaux Victoria. So many people would love to farm but can’t afford to buy the land. If the community can unite to protect and own the land, then farming can be accessible to those who want to. Nathalie and her husband Dave are a fine example demonstrating that it’s possible to make a living farming sustainably.
What if every Canadian contributed just 10 dollars to preserving farmland – our glorious patrimony? Owning our farmland collectively, protecting it from land-grabbing speculators and big biotech companies who want to poison the soils and water with GMO Biofuel production (which is unsustainable, taking far more energy to produce that what it yields) or GMO food production which is highly unsustainable and scary in it’s misled monocrop vision. Monsanto claims to be feeding the world. What they don’t tell you is that 70% of GMOs are not intended for human consumption! Feeding the world, as they say over and over again – Bah Humbug. They’ve said it so many times that people believe them. Believe me -the Emperor is naked.
By committing to preserve farmland for sustainable agriculture, we can enhance our biodiversity, keep our water and soils pure and help supply the ever-increasing demand for organic foods (Organic means GMO free. Organic has never allowed GMOs). Nathalie has two upcoming events in September called the “Chef Survival Challenge” which brings together local chefs and local farms. Well-known chefs race and swim and do all sorts of difficult and goofy obstacles before getting to pick their veggies and cook them into a 3 star dish which is judged. The winning chef becomes the year’s Golden Broccoli winner. Applause please. Funds raised from this fabulous community affair go right into the Big Dream Farm Fund. Raucous cheering!
I will post more about this. Til then I’ll leave you with a farmer’s anthem written by my Grandpa Rupert in the 1950s. I can’t talk much about farming without thinking of my gentle, song-writing Grandpa Rupert, an organic berry farmer at Goldstream Berry Paradise. He loved the Earth and said, “Always leave the soil better than you found it”