Canadian Organic Growers Conference, Toronto

I’m on my way back to Essex from the Canadian Organic Growers Conference in Toronto. Thanks to Tanmayo and all the volunteers who put together a great conference. I met loads of new friends, including Gavin Dandy, who runs a farmer training program at Everdale farm here in Ontario. I’m sure we’ll be checking in with him as we develop this Essex Farm Academy idea. I also met two graduates of the Everdale farmer training program, Angie Koch, who is embarking on her fifth year on 4.5 acres of CSA vegetables at Fertile Ground CSA, and Erica Lemieux of City Seed Farms, a (get this) bicycle powered farm run out of other people’s backyards in Toronto. She’s an inspiring example of the farm-where-you-are idea.

Last night, 80 of us attended the premier of SEEDS, a documentary play by Annabel Soutar, about the court battle between Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto over the ownership of genetically modified organisms — over the nature and ownership, really, of life. Torontonians, if you have any interest in the subject, go. If you don’t, go anyway. The play is crafted from court transcripts and transcripts of interviews that Annabel Soutar conducted with a score of the people involved on all sides of the story. As a memoirist, I found her process fascinating. She works at the intersection of journalism and art, and isn’t afraid to address the slippery nature of truth. I wish SEEDS a wide audience and a long run.

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