From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan by Andy Couturier

From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan" by Andy Couturier

Pages 264-265



“Sooo..” I begin to ask him, a bit apprehensive, not wanting to be insulting, “Gufu-san, why write all this stuff down?”


Unperturbed, he replies simply, “To make a record. If you don’t record things, you start to lose your sense of the place. It’s also interesting when you talk to other people, or when I want to look up something later. But it’s mostly just to make a record, even if I don’t use the information.”

“Yes, but how do you decide which things to write down?”

“Whatever is possible to write down, I write. How much the bus cost. How much the movie was, or how much the hotel was.”

“But why?” I ask.

“I didn’t have any purpose in doing it.”

No purpose? Perhaps I’ve been too attached to all my own actions being done for a reason. Utilitarianism is so deep in my culture I don’t even notice it. Listening to Gufu it occurs to me that it may not be so good to be always reaching ahead in time. Sitting here with my friend in a farmhouse in the mountains of Japan, I find my way of seeing the world start to deepen and change. All these little, unlooked-at details create the fabric of memory. By writing them down, we are refusing to let the experiences of our lives get subsumed in the tsunami of time, the onrush of the next, and the next, and the next. I think of so many travelers (myself included) zipping from one location to the next, taking photos of scenery or a building. Have I been missing the beautiful in the obvious?

Gufu is showing me--not that he’s trying to show me anything--that the whole world can come alive with these tiny details, ephemera, you might call them. But not just a generalized “world,” but a specific world, an India of a particular time, and, as it happens, an India that is disappearing every day.


Friday, February 14, 2014

---According to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the quasi-judicial agency mandated to ensure that Alberta's energy industry is environmentally safe and sustainable, Alberta frackers have drilled a quarter of a million wells since the mid-1990s, and 260,000 kilometers (160,000 miles) of vertical and horizontal shaft. That's five times the circumference of the earth. And in the course of preparing their wells for production, in 2012, the frackers burned off or vented 978 million cubic meters of gases into the atmosphere - a shade less than the annual natural gas consumption in Sweden.---------------------Diana Daunheimer and her husband Derek were a typical young couple pursuing their dreams. In the summer of 2002, they moved into a rambling old house just outside the village of Didsbury, an hour's drive north of Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.---------------Things began well. By 2004, Daunheimer's greens, herbs and vegetables were certified transitional. Full certification would follow a year later. But in 2008, a nastier crop sprouted around her property: oil drilling rigs pounding at the earth, gouging out deep wells. Each of the oil wells would be hydraulically fractured. By 2010 there were six in total, all within 500 meters (1,600 feet) of her home. At the height of activity, her home was pounded by deafening noise, bathed in light, and shrouded in diesel fumes and fracking gases.--------------Her family was healthy, they’re organic farmers, they didn’t have health issues and then they popped up at the same time the industry did, Daunheimer noted. In an open letter to Yukoners, she cautions against the myth that strong regulations can safeguard the territory. “Alberta states with confidence that they have ‘world-class’ regulations, yet I have mountains of files that show each and every well near our home was non-compliant on several levels,” she writes. Daunheimer told the Star she made her concerns known to the company about the air quality after the sour crude well went in. Those concerns were never validated or recorded, which is “highly non-compliant,” she said. And when she approached the Alberta regulator? She said she was treated like a “criminal” for reporting the company. When the Alberta Energy Regulator eventually began an investigation and did an audit on the well, the company was given a non-compliance because the family wasn’t notified of the continued venting. “They made them remove the venting tank and tie in that well so that those gases were mitigated and no longer venting,” Daunheimer said. “Each and every time a well comes in, you’re inundated with diesel fumes, you’re inundated with fugitive emissions, from the drilling process, the flaring process,” she said. Most of the wells near Daunheimer’s home were previously owned by Angle Energy Inc., but the company has since been bought out by Bellatrix Corp. Daunheimer explained that because the company refused to engage with them about their concerns and they had difficulties dealing with the regulator as well, they decided their only option was to go to the courts. “We feel so disappointed with the regulatory structure and culture that we feel we have no recourse but to circumvent their lack of protection and litigate against the company responsible for violating our fundamental rights of personal security and enjoyment of property,” she writes in her open letter.

It has been a productive day.  I did not read my library books but I will now. I feel a bit guilty as I did not go visit my sister but I wanted to spend the day working on the biomonitoring studies and the Turner Valley Gas plant business. I am curious why there are so many poor decisions made in government.

But for now I will fool around in poems and then read books until my head bursts like a ripe pimple.

I will put a few words down
and say that the day has been delicious
because  I have stewed in the words

the words need not be great
or even ordinary    they can be bad
but for me      I only want

to spin round and round
within that room   until I fall down
I am able to exist

entirely on words
the crumbs that come
and the silence   in between


how do others live without them?
the ash trees redden with the blush of its own language
the hawk that marks the corner streetlight with his paragraph

is making his own poem
I would even say that the firs
are essays in a language that is holy

perhaps the entire universe
is populated by life that is engaged
in singing (only we cannot hear them)


even if you do not write at all
you can begin    stop the desultory picking
at the tree of society and leave that empty field

go to the room where you are alone
the walls will fold you into an envelope
of writing   you will post yourself to someone else


*********************************

I write a bit of a poem and then I go to the real so that I can begin again.
Poems are ways to recover yourself when you become brittle with disdain.
The work of government that I read make me feel very old.
To rejuvenate myself, I write a poem--one that is hopeful for the most part--and let the words lead me to the next story that I will begin as if I knew anything about either writing or the topic.

You have to understand you will never know anything to the gold standard level--even if you are a Nobel prize scientist.
There are rooms of doubts and corners where you are blank always.
Even if you are Mensa level bright you will be dumb in some odd parts of your mind and soul.
If this is true of even the most endowed among us --then this means if you aren't bright--you are still able to write.

If you write for years looking for a topic, it may be that you need to branch into topics you don't know much about as I have done in my investigations of environmental messes and the health impacts on citizens.

I can't say my background is in this area but I am curious why no one is studying this connection between what appears to be environmental problems and health.  Here is yet another mummy yapping about the health impacts of fracking on her kids:

http://www.whitehorsestar.com/archive/story/fracking-dont-make-a-hasty-decision/

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Fracking: ‘Don’t make a hasty decision’

“Courteously decline.”

By Ainslie Cruickshank on February 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm

photo

Photo submitted

IDYLLIC LIFESTYLE – Diana Daunheimer and her family of four are organic farmers in Didsbury, Alta. the photo above is of their house. What are not shown are the six hydraulic fracturing wells on neighbouring properties, not 500 metres from their home. Left: DIANA DAUNHEIMER Right: INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBOURS – A sump at one of six hydraulic fracturing sites surrounding the Daunheimers’ property is tested. Photos courtesy DIANA DAUNHEIMER
“Courteously decline.”
“Give it another 10 years ... there’s a huge surplus in the system right now, so just sit on it for a little while, just sit and wait and see where we are impact-wise in another 10 years.”
Diana Daunheimer, an organic farmer and a mother of two, lives just west of Didsbury, Alta. on an 11-acre parcel of land.
There are six shale gas wells surrounding her property, not more than 500 metres away.
The first one was drilled in 2008, the last one just last year.
Her 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a benign but locally invasive tumor in her neck, when she was seven, and her six-year-old son suffers from chronic respiratory difficulties.
And now she’s warning Yukoners: “Don’t make a hasty decision.”
Daunheimer met with the Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing during its fact-finding missing to Alberta last month.
She shared her experience living in close proximity to hydraulic fracturing wells, and offered the same cautions she’s giving to all Yukoners now.
“Wait and see the fallout from what’s happening in the United States and what’s going to happen south of you folks, and then if you still feel it’s an economically wise decision, then look at it,” she said.
Daunheimer can speak freely about her experience because none of the energy projects are on her property so she’s not subject to a non-disclosure agreement.
Earlier this week, she shared some of the most significant impacts her family has dealt with, things like poor air quality, contamination of water wells, light pollution, traffic and surface contamination.
In 2010, a sour crude well was drilled 300 metres south of her home.
The company did what’s called a propane fracture, she said, which uses a propane gel rather than a water based fracture fluid.
The company then did a well test and flaring that lasted for 19 days.
That well continued to vent sour gas for three years, unbeknownst to the family.
It wasn’t long after the construction of the sour crude well that Daunheimer’s daughter developed the tumor in her neck.
The family didn’t know about the level of carcinogenic material they were being exposed to, so it wasn’t considered during her diagnosis.
Now that she knows, however, Daunheimer has made appointments with a pediatric toxicologist for both her children, and has a few doctors lined up who are willing to review her daughter’s case.
“But the medical community is very reluctant to draw those lines,” Daunheimer said.
“Sulfur dioxide is known to cause the type of respiratory difficulties that we’ve been having, irritation, lots of sinus irritation, longstanding sinus colds ... when you look at the health data sheets of the substances that they’re using, the lights go off,” she said.
Her family was healthy, they’re organic farmers, they didn’t have health issues and then they popped up at the same time the industry did, Daunheimer noted.
In an open letter to Yukoners, she cautions against the myth that strong regulations can safeguard the territory.
Alberta states with confidence that they have ‘world-class’ regulations, yet I have mountains of files that show each and every well near our home was non-compliant on several levels,” she writes.
Daunheimer told the Star she made her concerns known to the company about the air quality after the sour crude well went in.
Those concerns were never validated or recorded, which is “highly non-compliant,” she said.
And when she approached the Alberta regulator? She said she was treated like a “criminal” for reporting the company.
When the Alberta Energy Regulator eventually began an investigation and did an audit on the well, the company was given a non-compliance because the family wasn’t notified of the continued venting.
“They made them remove the venting tank and tie in that well so that those gases were mitigated and no longer venting,” Daunheimer said.
“Each and every time a well comes in, you’re inundated with diesel fumes, you’re inundated with fugitive emissions, from the drilling process, the flaring process,” she said.
Most of the wells near Daunheimer’s home were previously owned by Angle Energy Inc., but the company has since been bought out by Bellatrix Corp.
Daunheimer explained that because the company refused to engage with them about their concerns and they had difficulties dealing with the regulator as well, they decided their only option was to go to the courts.
“We feel so disappointed with the regulatory structure and culture that we feel we have no recourse but to circumvent their lack of protection and litigate against the company responsible for violating our fundamental rights of personal security and enjoyment of property,” she writes in her open letter.
“The only way to protect your family and land in the face of oil and gas exploration is to say NO! Insist your government find alternative methods of revenue generation and pursue renewable energy options that are not going to destroy the pristine ecosystem you currently enjoy,” she says.
Daunheimer sent her letter to the select committee last week. It has not yet been posted on the committee’s website.
The all-party committee was formed last May to gain a scientific understanding of the controversial practice and to make recommendations to the government about whether it should permit the practice for shale gas development in the territory.
Testimony from experts and comments from the public are available on the committee’s website athttp://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/rbhf.html
See letters,.


OIL

Canadian awaits verdict on fracking nightmare

Diana Daunheimer still finds it hard to believe that big mining companies have started fracking practically in her backyard. The Canadian vegetable grower sees a court case as her only way out.
Diana Daunheimer in her home in Alberta, Canada
Diana Daunheimer and her husband Derek were a typical young couple pursuing their dreams. In the summer of 2002, they moved into a rambling old house just outside the village of Didsbury, an hour's drive north of Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
With high hopes of raising kids and living the good life, Diana, 26 years old at the time, decided to grow organic produce on their 12 acres of land. High-end restaurants in Calgary and Banff would be sure customers. The short growing season would be a challenge, but the land had been free of chemicals since 1962. "I've always been a country girl at heart," Daunheimer recalls, "and wanted to raise our children in a peaceful, healthy and holistic way."
Things began well. By 2004, Daunheimer's greens, herbs and vegetables were certified transitional. Full certification would follow a year later. But in 2008, a nastier crop sprouted around her property: oil drilling rigs pounding at the earth, gouging out deep wells.
Each of the oil wells would be hydraulically fractured. By 2010 there were six in total, all within 500 meters (1,600 feet) of her home. At the height of activity, her home was pounded by deafening noise, bathed in light, and shrouded in diesel fumes and fracking gases.
Fracking since the 50s
Industry spokespeople are quick to point out that hydraulic fracturing has been around for years. Fracking - some prefer to call it "fracing" - was first practiced in Canada in the 1950s and decades earlier in the US. Over the past 20 years, however, something entirely new has become the norm: "Multistage, horizontal fracking" using a cocktail of chemicals to flush out stubborn oil and gas deposits.
Drilling Operation in Alberta, Canada
This fracking drilling facility is near Daunheimer's home
It begins with the drilling of a vertical well three or four kilometers deep, from which one or more horizontal legs are extended outwards over a distance of another three or four kilometers, along thin beds of compressed shale. A mixture of water or organic fluids, sand and chemicals is then driven through these horizontal shafts, under enormous pressure, in order to create fissures through which oil and gas can then flow.
All this drilling and fracking generates lots of noise and occasionally earth tremors. Most critically, before a fracked well can enter production, the millions of liters of chemical-laced fluid pumped into it - now contaminated with a host of minerals (some possibly radioactive) - must then be flushed out and discarded. "Produced water" is disposed of in a variety of ways. Alberta farmers are paid to have frack fluids and muds spread on their fields. Some allege that waste frack fluids are spread on public roads.
A forgotten issue
Fracking activity in the foothills of southern Alberta has attracted far less media attention than oil sands mining around Fort McMurray - a place that reminds Canadian folk-rock icon Neil Young of Hiroshima. But fracking statistics are mind-boggling: According to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the quasi-judicial agency mandated to ensure that Alberta's energy industry is environmentally safe and sustainable, Alberta frackers have drilled a quarter of a million wells since the mid-1990s, and 260,000 kilometers (160,000 miles) of vertical and horizontal shaft. That's five times the circumference of the earth. And in the course of preparing their wells for production, in 2012, the frackers burned off or vented 978 million cubic meters of gases into the atmosphere - a shade less than the annual natural gas consumption in Sweden.
Flared or vented frack gases are a great worry for Albertans like Diana Daunheimer. Frackers are only obliged to monitor their gaseous waste stream for hydrogen sulfide and small hydrocarbons like methane, ethane and propane. The more toxic "BTEXs" - benzene, toluene, xylene and their aldehydes - go unreported. Daunheimer and her two children have suffered a host of health problems that may well have arisen from exposure to these.
A cattle herd on the horizon, near a fracking vent
Cattle gather near a (presumably warm) fracking vent
So have members of a group called Cochrane Area Under Siege, just outside the town of Cochrane, 20 minutes north of Calgary. In response to their complaints, Alberta Health Services compared medical billing records in the Cochrane district with a similar area where fracking is less intense. The results of the study were inconclusive.
Dr. Richard Musto, medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services, admits that local health complaints are "biologically plausible" and that further investigation is warranted. He also indicates that further studies would benefit from a more complete disclosure of the content of airborne emissions from southern Alberta's fracking operations.
Into the courts
Well-water quality is another concern for Albertans living in the vicinity of fracking operations. Leaks arise in the layers of casing surrounding well bores, critics argue, and gases and liquids can migrate through these into the surrounding water table.
Rosebud, Alberta landowner Jessica Ernst launched a $33 million (22 million euros) lawsuit against energy giant Encana Energy, the Alberta provincial government and the Alberta Energy Regulator for an incident of this sort, in which fracked methane migrated into her well water, rendering it flammable (an Alberta provincial judge ruled late last year that the AER is immune from prosecution).
Meanwhile, Diana Daunheimer has launched a suit of her own. She is seeking $13 million from the Calgary-based Bellatrix Corporation for violating provincial fracking guidelines and endangering her family's health. Her allegations have yet to be proven in court.
Daunheimer's claim has rattled nerves. Late last year, the company that fracked around her home sold out to Bellatrix Exploration. A week later, Bellatrix offered Daunheimer $50,000 to settle out-of-court. She declined. Bellatrix's defense statement is due in court on February 7.

DW.DE


So with these new reports of families impacted by fracking and all the old hidden stories that are surfacing why aren't the folks at Alberta Health Services and Health Canada working together to do longitudinal studies on the impacts of emissions due to fracking and other oil industry related work on human beings? Why are there no biomonitoring studies being done to assess what chemicals are collecting in people? Why no epidemiological studies to determine incidence of illness -both respiratory and other diseases? Why isn't the AER doing its job of protecting the public? Or is the AER like everyone else in government only here to protect the oil industry? Who do the people in the AER, the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada work for? It certainly doesn't seem to be the families in Alberta does it?

Diana Daunheimer still finds it hard to believe that big mining companies have started fracking practically in her backyard. The Canadian vegetable grower sees a court case as her only way out. Tell us what you think of her story. http://dw.de/p/1B3XP (csc)


Or else why are the mummies going to court to protect their babies?
This family is from Didsbury, Alberta. They were part of the Alberta dream as noted here:

On the Menu

Nov 8, 2004
inShare
Farmers, marketers and chefs discuss the challenges and opportunities in getting regional cuisine into Alberta restaurants
By Mary Bailey
Picture this. You’re sitting down to enjoy a meal at your favourite chain. It’s probably a QSR, industry jargon for quick service restaurant, also known as fast food you can eat sitting down with a knife and fork. It’s the fastest growing restaurant category today.Chances are, the only thing on your plate that’s from Alberta is the previously frozen french fries.
We live in an agricultural province. We supply the world with canola oil, mustard seed and, up until recently, beef.
So why can’t we eat local in our restaurants? Why don’t we see more Alberta food on restaurant menus? Alberta Venture brought together a roundtable of farmers, marketers and chefs to talk about buying (and eating) local. Here’s what they had to say on the state of regional cuisine.
The chefs
Wilson Wu, along with his sister Judy, own Wild Tangerine Cucina Domestica, a 40-seat restaurant that recently opened in Edmonton. They’re long-term restaurateurs, having run Polos Café near the University of Alberta for over a decade. They would like everything they serve to be organic and from Alberta but find price and availability an issue. “It’s a full-time job looking for produce,” says Wu.
Liana Robberecht is the executive chef of the Calgary Petroleum Club. She’s responsible for three kitchens, 40 staff and menus for three meals daily plus cocktail parties, banquets and special events. She has spent several years building relationships to supply the Petroleum Club kitchen with high-quality, Alberta-grown food. “We’re 70% Albertan,” says Robberecht.
The farmers
Ron Hamilton and his wife Sheila operate Sunworks Farm near Armena, a certified organi­c operation producing 30,000 chickens, 1,400 turkeys, 400 lambs, 300 pigs, 900 ducks, 100 wild turkeys and eggs from 1,000 hens. They concentrate on retail at the Old Strathcona Market in Edmonton and the new Currie Barracks Market in Calgary. With this, Sunworks has created a distribution stream for their products and several other small producers of goat yogurt, milk and, when in season, strawberries.
Diana Daunheimer and her husband Derek bought 12 acres three years ago near Didsbury, one hour north of Calgary. Last year they planted one acre of greens, peas, herbs, edible flowers, root vegetables and radishes – crops that do well in our short northern season – and sold them to a few high-end restaurants in Calgary and Banff. Their farm will be certified organic in 2005 and they hope to grow their production by one acre per year.
You could call these families the new generation of farmers – people who have come to farming to support a lifestyle based on personal satisfaction and beliefs. The Daunheimers focus on organic vegetables not just because of their beliefs, but because it’s a niche market – something they can actually afford to grow.
“There’s lots of interest in our vegetables,” says Daunheimer. “But we’re limited by the fact we do everything ourselves. We have to learn to be more efficient,” she says. “You must sell a lot of lettuce to pay somebody $10.00 an hour to pick it.”
The marketers
Arlie McFadden turned decades of food service experience into Arlie’s Marketing Consultants based in Calgary. McFadden markets Alberta bison, elk and caribou from Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, Winter’s Turkeys and Galloway Beef. Recently, she took Vancouver chefs on a harbour cruise and fed them tapas of bison and elk to demonstrate the quality of the meats. “It’s not in your face,” she says, “It’s in your mouth marketing.”


Lori Menshik operates Full Course Strategies in Edmonton. She’s responsible for the sale of Edseland Bison, Dirt Willie Game Birds, Sturgeon Valley Pork and several other Alberta products to restaurants across the province. She wants her chefs to have a personal connection with the farmers who raise the food – so she takes them on road trips to visit.
Q: As a chef, what motivates you to take the path towards regional cuisine?
A: “It’s healthier, better quality food,” says Robberecht. “But first you have to sell your boss (on the concept). They’re business people and they understand supporting other local businesses. Even something as small as mustard. All our mustard now comes from Brassica in Calgary.”
Developing a regional cuisine program doesn’t happen overnight, she adds. Robber­echt says it took five years for the Petroleum Club to get to the 70% Alberta mark. “It’s not about this week or next month. It’s about building relationships, reliability and ethical pricing,” she says.
“We wanted Wild Tangerine to have fresh, wholesome, organic Alberta food,” says Wu.
“We cannot completely market our restaurant as organic because of the supply – it’s not always available.” says Wu. “The other thing is pricing. But we need the quality to support that. It must be better than the mainstream supplier. Clients can tell the difference in their tomatoes, less so in their sauce. (Nevertheless) I feel proud to support local and deal with local marketers.”
Robberecht agrees with Wu. “We use lots of local produce and price is a challenge. I’m not expecting a bargain price – but the quality needs to be there.”
“It’s important to establish good relationships, sometimes contracts. But at the same time we need tremendous flexibility from our suppliers. We can have 700 people at various functions within the club on any given day.”
“What often works best is to showcase a certain ingredient on a menu, not to expect to have it all the time.”
It’s a learning curve for all. “We’ve had to iron out a lot of kinks over the years with suppliers.”
Q: How do producers and marketers cope with the lack of consistency in supply?
A: Hamilton says it’s about co-operation. If one farmer doesn’t raise enough, perhaps several farmers working together can supply these larger food service clients. That’s what he does with the lamb, ducks and eggs. “We can only grow so much ourselves. We bring on other farm families to work together as a community to offer variety.”
Robberecht would love to see more of this. “It makes good business sense,” she says. “Band together – offer a good quality product at a good price. It’s easier for me to work with one person.”

On the Menu

Nov 8, 2004
inShare
Daunheimer offers the opinion that “in my experience, some farmers are very helpful, but some are almost paranoid about sharing info, which is unfortunate,” she says. “We need to trust each other, learn to work togethe­r, share ideas and farming practices. It’s not about stealing business.”
Marketers can help to find similar farms and work with them to educate. As well, they can offer the business. “If you raise X amount of animals, I’m buying them. It’s a guaranteed sale,” says Menshik.
Sometimes it’s about overabundance, not lack of supply. “It’s important to work with your chefs to help them take advantage of this by saying it’s asparagus time or straw­berry time – by showing them what’s in the garden goes on the menu,” says McFadden.
Q: Are restaurants an important market for producers?
A: It’s about price. “We offer only a 5% discount from retail and just can’t compete with the big processors or food service giants,” says Hamilton from Sunworks Farm. “We do work with a few people like Sal Howell at River Café in Calgary. They purchase whole chickens and cut out supremes. We then make sausage from the excess meat for them. They’ve absorbed some of the costs and are better able to control the quality in-house.” Hamilton finds it’s good marketing to work with restaurants. To have their name on a menu builds awareness of Sunworks Farm – off menu as well. “We’re making home meal replacements with Infuse Catering.”
Sunworks has been able to sell everything it produces locally. Now, it’s looking at a federal project which would allow it to ramp up production and send product to B.C. and the northwest states. The larger volume could bring down costs. “Farming is still a volume game – even if it’s organic – in order to make a living,” he says.
Q: How does processing factor into the equation?
A: “I have to do a dance to ensure that I have enough product,” says Menshik. “If a big function comes up and I run out, it’s difficult to get another processing date.” She has to work with four processors, getting slightly different cuts from each. “This can be a problem for restaurants. They demand consistency,” Menshik says.
Hamilton agrees: “The processors have their own agenda. If they say tomorrow you have a 15 cent increase per pound, I have nowhere to go.”
Q: So what’s the solution to the lack of quality processing?
A: “Education,” says Menshik. “Processors need to be taught about the portioning and cuts restaurants need. It’s different than retail.
“Meat cutters are getting older,” she continues, “and SAIT tells me that students think meat cutting is boring. It has to be about the art of meat cutting – the European traditions.”
Q: If you are a farmer and want to sell more of your product to a restaurant, what do you do?
A: “Hire a marketing agent!” say Menshik and McFadden.
“Come talk to me. It’s difficult to make time to go to a farm,” says Wu. “I’m too busy at the restaurant.”
They also like industry shows that put the producers in front of them as a group. It’s an efficient use of their time.
“I go to shows like Indulgence to meet producers,” says Wu. “Alberta Agriculture’s Alberta Food Showcase is a good platform,” says Robberecht. “And farm tours – amazing! Stays in your mind.”
McFadden offers Wild Game seminars, about which Robberecht says, “I’m now crazy about elk.”
Hamilton cautions that marketing is tough work. “If you don’t like marketing, see an agent. If you like it and can do a good job, you can do it yourself,” he says. “But keep in mind that it takes time. I spend 25% of my time marketing. Can you afford to take that much time off the farm?”


“Each farm, each family is different,” says Menshik. “It depends on the product … and balance.”
All panelists feel that opportunity exists within the wreckage left behind by the BSE crisis.
Q: What’s the opportunity?
A: McFadden thinks there’s more awareness of local food now. “With disasters, more attention is brought back to home agriculture,” she says.
“Consumers want more info – who’s raising this and where. A certain percentage of customers want to go beyond the grocery store,” says Daunheimer.
Q: How do you build awareness of Alberta regional cuisine?
A: McFadden says, “With enthusiasm! The bottom line? It’s about getting more Alberta food onto the plate. I like to involve producers with chefs and vice versa. Getting to know the chefs and having open communication is critical.”
Wu says, “Get children excited about organi­c and then we’ll see results. I want it to become a lifestyle, not a trend.” Hamilton agrees. “We’re hosting a Grade 2 class right after this conversation,” he says.
“People in Alberta want to see that the food they’re eating is healthy – chickens that see the sun,” says Hamilton “And locally it’s about cutting down transportation costs and pollution,” says Daunheimer.

Q: What’s the recipe for success?
A: According to our roundtable there are several ingredients to getting more Alberta food on the plate: more farmers co-operating to increase volumes, to offer the best price and to become more efficient. In return they’ll win steady food service customers and business stability.
The lack of processing space and quality needs to be addressed. To that end, we’ll see more vertical integration – producers owning processors and retail outlets. And the most crucial ingredient is building consumer awareness. Plans are in the works.
“The regional cuisine initiative of Alberta Agriculture is building a three to five year plan looking at education and communication as major factors,” says Wesley Johnson of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. “It’s a three-pronged approach – food service, retail and tourism.
“We’ve only scratched the surface so far.”
An informed consumer cares what’s on the plate, at home or dining out. Education is key. As we consumers become more aware of what we’re eating and where it’s from, suppliers will respond. When people realize the economic health of their community can depend on these food choices, they’ll pay more attention.




*****************************************************************************

Ms. Daunheimer has to go to court like Jessica Ernst to get the problems of government and AER collusion with big oil and gas resolved.
Even there I doubt that there is any sort of justice based on the dirty politics used in shuffling the judges by Harper in the Jessica Ernst case.
This sort of junk needs to end. The other recent cases (or ongoing cases since the people have to yap for centuries before the Tories do ANYTHING)  is the matter of Baytex.
What is happening in that case?
Nothing.
We have that pretense of an AER hearing that only happened because the families in the Peace are good at getting the word out.
  The families in the Peace have to go to court as well since they know the AER is useless.

Oil field fumes so painful, Alberta families forced to move

By Mychaylo Prystupa. This article was first published on Vancouver Observer.
Severe headaches, dizziness, rashes and loss of memory: all symptoms reported to a new hearing examining health effects of Alberta's rapidly expanding heavy oil industry
Alain Labrecque says his family has suffered from nearby oil field emisssions
Photos submitted by A. Labrecque
Northwest Alberta grain farmer Alain Labrecque recalls the first winter in 2011 when the fumes from oil tanks near his home in the Peace River area seemed to trigger terrible health effects for himself, his wife and two small children.
"I started getting massive headaches.  My eyes twitched.  I got dizzy spells.  I often felt like I was going to pass out."
“Next thing I knew, my [3-year-old] girl had trouble walking.  She had no balance.  She would sit at the table, and she would just fall off her chair."
"My [4-year-old] son - he was really black under his eyes all the time, and had big time constipation.”
“Then my wife fell down the stairs while carrying a laundry basket."
“We want through a weird winter like that," Labrecque told the Vancouver Observer by phone Sunday.
Labrecque, his family, and neighbours are part of a group of rural home owners now giving testimony to an unprecedented Alberta hearing, examining the health effects of the odour and emissions from bitumen extraction.  About 75 people packed the conference centre, each day of the first week of proceedings.

Homes abandoned due to oil fumes

At least six families have abandoned their homes, citing health concerns from heavy oil emissions from the Reno field, about 500 km northwest of Edmonton.
The hearing is also examining odour and emission concerns for the rapidly growing heavy oil industry in the wider Peace River area, which includes operators Shell Oil, Penn West, Murphy Oil, and Husky Oil.
The Reno operation consists of 86 bitumen oil storage tanks, run by Calgary-based Baytex Energy.
On Friday, Alain, his wife Karla, and Alain's uncle gave emotional testimony to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) forum on how this field has torn their lives a part. The AER is an industry-funded oversight agency.
A pad of four of heavy oil tanks is just 500 metres from Labrecque's home. Another 16 tanks are another 1,000 metres further.
The tanks release a toxic, flammable and aromatic vapour that includes volatile organic compounds, benzene, toulene and sulfur, an engineer testified.
The hearing revealed that Baytex did not initially install vapour recovery systems.
"In 2010, the facility and tank design in use at 4 Baytex sites did not capture emissions from tank tops," Baytex's Alberta and BC business unit VP Rick Ramsay admitted in his testimony.

Kids waking up soaked in chemicals

Labrecque says his small children Alec and Candace would often wake up soaked, trying to "sweat the chemicals" out, resulting in rashes and burns.
Fed up and terrified, he eventually moved his family to Smithers, B.C., even though he was enjoying his best income ever as a farmer in Alberta.
"I grossed a million dollars. But I just couldn’t stay there,” said Labrecque.
He prays his children have not suffered long term, but says many in his family continue to suffer memory loss, reduced sense of smell, and extreme chemical sensitivities.
“We’ve all become so sensitive now.  My uncle can’t even fuel his truck.  Any emissions give him a headache right away."
"[My wife] can’t go into a pool with chlorine.  If she does, it will trigger a huge headache, and won’t be able to function for a day.  Windshield fluid is the same thing.  She can’t use it."
“Then recently, we tried snowmobiling.  She tried it for five minutes, and she was bed-ridden until the next day," said Labrecque.
Baytex bitumen oil tank near Alain Labrecque's home - Jan 26 2014 v2
Expert toxicology testimony given at the hearing suggested sulphur from the tanks may be the main health concern.
An industry expert disputed this, suggesting the problem has to do with the terrible odour alone, and the effects are not as bad as reported by families.
A Baytex commissioned air study showed that concentrations of the chemicals of concern found down wind from the tanks were below guidelines.
Following complaints, Baytex executives said they took proactive measures to control the emissions, and the company is "committed to operating in a safe, environmentally responsible manner."
The Alberta hearing continues this week until Friday.





  • It is hard to believe we have Governments that allow this to happen to people, it in itself is testimony that the public votes for a goverment who does not protect the same public, but rather they are the mouthpiece for corporations.
    It is also why I have maintained that if we want to fix the problem, we need to change the rules on shareholders of corporations, we need to make them personally responsible for the business they are investing in. If we did that few if any bad corporations would dare to exist.



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        Thanks for telling your truth. Some people don't like hearing the truth, but we won't change, nor diminish for someone else's "sensitivities!" If we compromise being a voice, we compromise being a voice for others too. Generations notice.
      **************************************
      Yeah it is hard to believe that the Tories would let this sort of crap happen.
      But it was only happening to powerless rural families who could be made into Wiebo Ludwig fantasy families.
      That's how they kept the silence folks.
      They made all these victims into Wiebo Ludwig terrorist families.
      And we believed the crap.
      But now the mummies of Alberta are rising up.
      Long live the  mummies!
      Long may they rise up in Alberta!


      Like this post if you agree with Mr. Churchill.

      Then I think there were others yapping about their problems as well.
      I will yap about the other families later.
      After all we have a few more years of Tory oil monarchy in Alberta don't we?

      And certainly there will be more and more cases like this because the only constant in these cases is that the government of Alberta, the federal Tories don't care about families impacted by oil and gas or really any industry and simply lets us go to court to get justice.
      What is true in the foster care system is true in every aspect of government operation.
      As Jessica Ernst puts it--"We got secrets and lies".

      Indeed we did.
      And we kept our mouths shut until the kids who were being impacted were our own kids.

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