Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canada

Vancouver and the Agassiz area are not only picturesque beyond comparison.....

Black squirrelimage Raccoonimage Salmon travelling upstream to spawnimage

 

image
The view from my bedroom window
image image

Some local scenes

 

....but also have a nice local emphasis, when it comes to producing food....

Judy has a herb and vegetable farm just out of Agassiz...image Rosemary grows magnificent scarlet runner beans...image .....and George has a goat dairy.

image

Agassiz is a food bowl for Vancouver because of its rich, fertile river-flats soil and yet it faces the same "progress" issues as Adelaide and other regions in that developers are being allowed to subdivide land for housing. The best soils in western Canada are being covered with houses and concrete driveways and along with Rosemary and Garth, my wonderful hosts, I do wonder at the power given to local councils to decide on important issues like land usage for the future.

Fuel prices here and in the USA are much lower than Australia, Europe and the UK, with petrol here today being C$1.15 and there are still lots of big cars, enormous road systems and traffic like you wouldn't believe. The motorways are full of semi-trailers trucking goods around the countries and Vancouver harbour, and Seattle and Singapore are a mass of ships loading and unloading never-ending supplies of the stuff that seems to be expected, to live in a modern world today.

And yet, only an hour or so away from Vancouver people are doing what people do best....growing and producing food with a passion equal to anything I have seen anywhere. You can see from the photo above right, how much George's goats love George! He has 400 goats, farmed out here and there, and most have a name! There are several breeds, which mostly looked the same to me, but George knows how old each goat is, who their parents were and how much milk they produce! His Swiss wife makes the cheeses and they are very, very good....I didn't meet her as she was away in Italy at a cheese conference. Soon George's land could be covered in houses and George would be a rich man if he sold his property but George loves goats, there is a shortage of goat milk already and it is a crazy world.....

It is the same with the corn fields and the buffalo breeder and the cow dairies and the market gardeners.....here and the world over....and swathes of beautiful virgin Canadian forests are being cut down and making very ugly scars on the hillsides too, to make way for people and their houses....as the never-ending cancer of human greed sucks the life from its own sustenance, like a parasite, not stopping until the host is dead. Fishing fleets that once plied the rich waters around Vancouver have sucked the life from those waters too and the boats sit idle in the harbour, while the restaurant and overseas markets' demand for seafood sends the bigger ships far north to plunder those seas, without much thought for sustainable methods.

This area of Canada is so spectacular and has such rich soil that there needs to be someone to shake the decision-makers and force them to see the inevitable demise they are causing, in the name of progress. Do what they do in some parts of the UK and Europe and draw a line around the towns and say "That's it! Develop inside these boundaries and leave the outside as farmland."

Suddenly this plane has hit a turbulent patch....again I have 3 seats to myself and have slept for ages, having left Vancouver at midnight bound for Sydney and it is now about 7.30am .....about half way there then. I have just been given a second cup of tea and excellent tea it is too. This is a beautiful new plane and I can even plug my laptop in to power! Maybe the next generation of planes will have free wifi.....next stop Melbourne to meet up with Roger and stay with some friends for the weekend and then visit Gavin, from the Greening of Gavin, on Monday......the vagabond is not finished yet!

Of course there are lots more photos here.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Hi Kate, what a fabulous place Canada seems to be, even though, as you say, it suffers the same "cancer of human greed" as everywhere else.
I read recently that some airlines have already introduced wifi connections in upper class cabins...it won't be long before it is commonplace...just like the tv in the seat back and power point in the arm rest.....