Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Food for Thought – Canadian Organic Conference Gala Evening – Dr. Wayne Roberts – February 28, 2010

Food for Thought

I attended the Canadian Organic Conference Gala Evening Friday, February 26th; an evening which has traditionally kicked off a Saturday of workshops, lively conversation and information pertaining to Organic and Sustainable farming practices.  It actually has the flavour of a country social where old friends and new gather to eat, laugh and share.

Dr. Wayne Roberts from the Toronto Food Policy Council, author of ‘The No Nonsense Guide to World Food’ and local food and green economics weekly columnist for Toronto’s NOW magazine was the special guest and speaker during the Gala Evening. One of the items that Dr. Roberts mentioned during his sharing was the fact that we now have more obese people in the world than those who go hungry.

‘It is not because of the amount of food that these people eat that they are obese, it is because of the amount of non-foods that they eat that they are obese.’  He was referring to empty calories, non-foods that provide us with negligible nutrition.

According to information on Dr. Roberts blog, the top 10 selling grocery items as of the 52 weeks ending June 14, 2009 were, in order of dollars spent from most to least, Carbonated Beverages, Milk, Fresh Bread and Rolls (didn’t specify white, whole wheat or whole grain), Beer/Ale, Salty Snacks, Natural Cheese, Frozen Dinners, Cold Cereal, Wine and Cigarettes.  This information certainly justifies Roberts’ comments.

Blatantly missing from this top 10 is fruit, vegetables and meat or beans.  Dr. Roberts challenges us to a little experiment…exchange some of these overly processed foods (which is often laden with added sugar, salt and oils from corn and Soya beans, often grown from genetically modified seed with chemical pesticides) with fruits, vegetables and your choice of an unprocessed protein.  After a few months trial you will probably be convinced to make it a priority to spend your grocery dollars on food that will feed your body and mind; food that will nurture and energize you.  You may also find that the natural foods that sustain you are grown or raised in a manner that is also respectful to the earth and all the lives that surround it.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

As spring is quickly approaching I find myself turning to the task of spring cleaning.  I have already noticed people are in the same mind set when I start to see the larger no longer used items by the garbage can destined for our local landfill.

There is a saying that says ‘one man’s junk is another man’s gold mine’. I would ask you to consider to repurpose these items by taking them to your local Agape, St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army or a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for reuse.

This one act will extend the life of our landfill, perhaps make a little money for the organization to continue helping, and potentially be welcome and greatly appreciated by the new recipient. That is also really making the most of the resources that it initially took to make the product.

Last note, I was visiting the City of Cornwall site for garbage information and noted that they encouraged residents to ‘Recycle old tires at the point of purchase’ and to ‘Deliver old tires to the City Landfill Site.  Tipping fee charges will be levied.’

Please do not pay the dump to take your used tire.  As of September 2009 most local tire retailers will take up to 4 of your tires per day for recycling at no charge. Call your local retailer or visit this link for local drop location information.

Your thoughts and comments are encouraged and welcome. What topic would you like discussed in future columns?

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