The sun shone brightly on August 18, 2013 when Bill Lishman aka “Father Goose” flew his ultralight from the Pickering Lands to the farmland of Melancthon. He was joining a Food & Water First party to celebrate the defeat of the proposed Mega Quarry. Bill was a mere speck in the sky buzzing over the farmland, forests and rivers we had saved. As he approached a bumpy hayfield for his landing, we noticed he had painted our message on his wings. It was a total surprise and we were deeply touched.
Sadly, Bill Lishman died before New Year’s. While he was famous for using his ultralight to lead geese on a migration route, Bill was also an artist, visionary, activist, writer and environmentalist. We will never forget Bill, his flying machine and how he helped us soar that beautiful summer day.
As we settle in for another winter, it’s a good time to prepare for what will be a busy and significant 2018. Ontarians will vote in a provincial election next June and Food & Water First will be asking candidates for their positions on the protection of prime farmland and water resources. Our future depends on their answers and their actions.
Food & Water First’s Executive Director, Donna Baylis, offers these thoughts as 2017 ends and a challenging election year is about to begin.
Food & Water First was born of the Stop the Mega Quarry movement. The opponent was a 2,400 acre proposed quarry bigger than 1,800 Canadian football fields. The reasons to object were clear – we wanted to protect our food land and source water.
Today the fight to protect water continues with bulk water-bottling companies taking on the role of Goliath.
However, fighting to protect farmland is not as easy. The agricultural industry is in transition. People can see family farms changing – becoming industrialized – and there seems to be little difference between one ugly, toxic industry and another so it’s hard to champion the farmland cause.
Yet, we need to eat and we want our children to be healthy so we can’t abdicate our responsibility. Now more than ever we need to have our say.
But what do we say and when? How do we defend an industry that pollutes? Uses pesticides and herbicides? Distributes GMOs? There are often more questions than answers.
So Food & Water First has tried to answer those questions and give you food for thought. We hope to give you compelling reasons to champion farmland in the next provincial election.
Go to www.foodandwaterfirst.com, hover over “PARTNERS” and select “Volunteer Handbook”. If your questions are addressed then let us know. If you have another point of view, then tell us. Or if you have another question do not hesitate to ask. Help us to prepare our talking points for a Volunteer Action in 2018!