Story of Stuff and Solutions

November 25, 2013 by  
Filed under News



This month, we are featuring a double bill

1) The Story of Stuff

It began by producing a twenty minute video to make us aware of the material econommy.  The process of extraction to selling  increase awareness of how corporations manufacture, process, distribute and sell goods, and our need for buying ‘stuff’.  From the way desire is created for buying to our paying to collect the stuff, the video gives us the process in bite size and an easy to understand presentation.

2) The Story of Solutions

Following five years of community awarenes, come and see how you can take actions that lead to solutions and save money and the environment.


Cuba: A community working together

October 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Reel


This movie show us how a community can look inward and work together to survive under political and environmental crisis.  Because of the peak oil crisis, the Cubans developed a sustainable farming philosophy that responded to taking things in their own hand to survive.  

When:  October 22, 2013

Where:  Durham College, Gordon Wiley Building, Room C113,


- Cuba leads the world in sustainable farming

- Growing your own food can divert starvation in a crisis

- Dependence on fossil fuel is a deterrent to health

Case study

Of course every culture is different, and the Cuban real-life experiment can’t necessarily be applied to other places wholesale. But the Cuban story offers so much hope not only because the freak-show apocalypse failed to materialize, but because several amazing, and indeed wonderful things, did happen.

While the initial shock did mean a government rationing of food, and individuals having to stretch food to make it until the next allotment, the film depicts the calm and enlightened response of the people in moving quickly to establish individual gardens,communitygardens and small farms. And, much to the benefit of their health, all of these new local food efforts were organic because the  fossil based pestcides and fertilizers were no were no longer readily available for use.

The filmmakers – director Faith Morgan and her writing partners Pat Eugene Murphy and Megan Quinn — interview many Cuban growers who speak to the transformative effect this peak oil/local food diet had on Cubans, beginning with their eating more produce over all and resulting in a healthier population.

Hoofing it

The energy withdrawal of liquid fuels that affected Cuban transportation also proved an unexpected boon to the health of locals as walking and a mass influx of bikes got Cubans out from behind the wheel, making them have to use their bodies as the main way to get around. That was just as inconvenient to Cubans as it would be to anyone else living in industrialized areas or cities who are used to driving or relying on mass transit. Mass transit was still available in Cuba (including some new, improvised forms) but because of the glut of new passengers, long waits and crowded vehicles made walking and biking a preferred option.

All in all, Cubans lost an average of twenty pounds through all this hoofing it, which also made them healthier, a nice side effect when access to medicine was on the decline, due again to the peak fuels crisis.

Probably the most troublesome aspect detailed in the film is the intermittent electricity available to Cubans, which slowed the pace of business and services. But because bemoaning the situation was a useless response, the Cubans again showed resilience in adapting to the new conditions, building more passive solar housing units and employing solar panels and solar hot water heaters to take up the slack.

- See more at:

World Food Day: 2012

October 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Food

Growing food for a healthy planet

As world food prices soar, it becomes imperative for local communities to develop local solutions that they can implement, support and benefit for their sustainable livelihood.

The United Nations have declared 2012 as the International Agricultural Year of Cooperative as a key to feeding the world,  supporting and investing in farmer and producer organizations.   One step in achieving food security is to support and invest in farmer and producer organizations. Getting smallholders organized in cooperatives allows them to increase their food production, market their goods, create jobs and increase their own livelihoods, in all agricultural sectors, such as agro-industries, and fisheries.

Cooperatives are a good example of becoming self sufficient, eating fresh nutritious food.

October-Double Bill Movie Night

October 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Reel

Food for thought


In our continued journey to screening provocative and informative documentaries, and having just celebrated Thanksgiving, it makes to look at our food decisions and choices.  The two documentaries highlights our dependence on the food system that looks at  how efficiency is deficient from different perspective.

Growing your own food, living healthy and caring for your community is a sustainable way to live.

The Power of Community: Whether you are a global warming skeptic or not, the fact remains that oil from fossil fuels is a finite resource. One day it will run out. What will the world look like and what will we do when that happens? There are so many products and services that we use in our daily life that rely on oil, either for transportation or in their manufacturing: * Fuel * Pesticides and fertilizers * Food * Pharmaceutical medicine * Plastics * Cosmetics * Appliances


The Story of Food: USC Canada’s new short, animated film will get you thinking about our broken food system. It identifies whats gone wrong, and what we can do to rebuild it.

Water, the food of life

July 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Food

  Because the growth of the population is estimated to be over 7 billion by the year 2050, food and food security is a top priority for all governments and people.  The World Water Day Campaign for Rio highlights the seriousness of the situation by creating World Water Week, which is August 26 to 31st, 2012.  The goals are to create access to nutritious food for everyone, including:

Following a healthy sustainable diet;

Consuming less water-intensive products;

Reducing the scandalous food wastage: 20% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!

Producing more food, of better quality, with less water.

Water is a major part of growing food, and address clean water is a basic right for everyone.  Access to nutritious food is providing food security for everyone on the Earth.

World Food Day 2011

October 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Food

The Food and Agriculture of the United Nations (fao), motto is a world without hunger. and the focus for 2011 is food prices.

Food security is being addressed in communities all over the world, from collecting seeds to cooking nutritiously, including supporting  buy local – farmers’ markets, community gardens.  What happens when you don’t have those choices, relying on an unreliable source of food, buying it.  You have a crisis: no money, hunger and rising food prices.

According to the World Bank, rising food costs in developing countries (2010 – 2011) have pushed more than 70 million people into extreme poverty.  On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society.

Child hunger in communities in Canada have reached crisis levels.  Seen as a developed country, how is it possible that we have so many hungry children.  It is shameful.

Moving from crisis to stability, let’s look at ways to encourage growing food and teaching the basics of self sufficiency, because only then will we be able to have a stable community and a stable world.

New Food Collaborative in Ontario

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News


The Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (OCGHEPA), is a provincial not for profit that is looking at the determinants of good health, which includes eating well, physical activities, and includes access to food.

Its mission is to improve the health of all Ontarians by advancing healthy eating and active living initiatives through strategic partnerships, knowledge exchange and collective action.  Our vision for 2015 is an Ontario that supports healthy eating and active living for all.

The Collaborative have been working together for the past few months and will start to formulate the organization’s principles.  They have identified the priority areas and will be working with stakeholders in the near future.

Visit the OCGHEPA is working on the following priority areas:

  • Making Ontario the healthiest province
  • Developing an Ontario food and nutrition strategy
  • Improving access for all Ontarians to healthy food and physical activity opportunities
  • Using the 2015 Pan Am games as an opportunity to promote healthy eating and active living
  • Childhood obesity
  • Food security
  • Healthy eating/physical activity in school
  • Built environment

Home Farming – Looking back for the future

September 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Learn


The convenience of harvesting your own produce is also cost effective, sustainable and tasty, of course we can add  nutritious.  The idea of growing vegetables, fruits, berries and small livestock is called home farming.

Joan Kerr’s home gardens ( front and back yard) is full of food, flowers and beauty.  Having planted food interspersed edible flowers,  perennials, herbs and berries for more than thirty years has given Joan the knowledge to share and encourage others to do  the same.

To launch the home farming concept,, though its Windfields Community & Teaching Gardens Project, cultivated the Oshawa Victory Garden an as example of an easily replicated model used used for growing food during both worlds wars.


The model has a prescribed schemata that includes: potato, turnip, corn, tomato, beans, parsnip,

beets, carrots, peas, cucumber,and squash.

We are embracing this model, and expanding it to include other vegetables, fruit and berries, and also canning/preserving your harvest, storing, fermenting, dehydrating, and cooking.

Help to reach our goal of 300 people who are home farming by 2015.

Join us and share ideas as we grow our own food, caring and maintaining, control pests, canning and storing and finally tasting the harvest.

There is just something wonderful about knowing what you grow and eat.




Growing food in a community garden

September 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Food

According to Wikipaedia: A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively a  group of people.  There are many ways to operate a community garden, usually decided by the operating group or by the members of the garden.

Windfields Community and Teaching Gardens, is home to 27 allotments and 30 demonstration plots that grow  peas, corn, tomatoes, radishes, beans, zucchinnis, cucumbers, beets, lettuce, okra, onions, carrots, leeks, peppers and pumpkins.

Research has shown that grown locally is more nutritious than food that travels for days.

Growing food in a community garden is a great way to try and learn about different types of vegetables, their cultural practices, care and how to eat them.  Try joining and supporting your local community garden, grow your own food, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Youth volunteers help to weed and water the garden while having fun.

Obesity costs billion$

September 6, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The benefits of growing  or buying local food are numerous, including supporting local farmers, the increased nutrient value of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and leads to a dietary shift that can lead to healthy living an a daily basis.

This is an increasingly important consideration since a new research study called Obesity in Canada, estimates that about 25% of adults and children aged 6 – 17 over 6% are obese.  Report highlights:

Approximately one in four Canadian adults are obese, according to measured height and weight data from 2007-2009. Of children and youth aged six to 17, 8.6% are obese.

Between 1981 and 2007/09, obesity rates roughly doubled among both males and females in most age groups in the adult and youth categories.

The economic costs of obesity are estimated at $4.6 billion in 2008, up about 19% from $3.9 billion in 2000, based on costs associated with the eight chronic diseases most consistently linked to obesity. Estimates rise to close to $7.1 billion when based on the costs associated with 18 chronic diseases linked to obesity. Factors that influence obesity include:

  • physical activity;
  • diet;
  • socioeconomic status;
  •  ethnicity;
  •  immigration; and
  •  environmental factors.

Strategies to combat obesity and address the environments that encourage obesity fall into three main categories: health services and clinical interventions that target individuals; community-level interventions that directly influence individual and group behaviours; public policies that target broad social or environmental determinants.

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