Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Druh Farrell: Resign Immediately from The Calgary Homeless Foundation Board of Directors as the City of Calgary's Representative

Druh Farrell: Resign Immediately from The Calgary Homeless Foundation Board of Directors as the City of Calgary's Representative

Reason: Gross Incompetence

The Facts: 


1.  Druh Farrell, Ward 7 alderman, sits on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF)

2.  Farrell has failed to discharge her duties as a representative of the City of Calgary.

3.  Farrell has failed to negotiate a single new affordable unit of 1200 new units in the Ward 7 East Village, which is a publicly funded initiative through the CMLC (Calgary Municipal Land Corporation) which is a wholly owned subsiduary of the City of Calgary, its only shareholder.

4.  Farrell also failed to negotiate a single new affordable unit in the Sunnyside/Kensington projects Pixel & St John's. Also in Ward 7 and only blocks from Farrell's own home, Pixel & St John's, have not allotted 1 new affordable unit of the 200 they are building.

A total of 1400 new units... Not one new affordable housing unit.

This is gross incompetence and Farrell should resign from the CHF immediately.

Here's Druh at a Calgary Homeless Foundation Event. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Corn Coated Seeds Kill Bees

Since seed coating with neonicotinoid insecticides was introduced in the late 1990s, European beekeepers have reported severe colony losses in the period of corn sowing (spring). As a consequence, seed-coating neonicotinoid insecticides that are used worldwide on corn crops have been blamed for honeybee decline. In view of the currently increasing crop production, and also of corn as a renewable energy source, the correct use of these insecticides within sustainable agriculture is a cause of concern. In this paper, a probable—but so far underestimated—route of environmental exposure of honeybees to and intoxication with neonicotinoid insecticides, namely, the atmospheric emission of particulate matter containing the insecticide by drilling machines, has been quantitatively studied. Using optimized analytical procedures, quantitative measurements of both the emitted particulate and the consequent direct contamination of single bees approaching the drilling machine during the foraging activity have been determined. Experimental results show that the environmental release of particles containing neonicotinoids can produce high exposure levels for bees, with lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opting out of Calgary Stampede Aggie Days

If you have a child in the Calgary Board of Education, they can opt out of attending the Calgary Stampede Aggie Days. 

Just tell their teacher or principal. 

Simply send a note... "I do not want my child to attend the Calgary Stampede Aggie Days."

Why are we suggesting our children "kidcott" the Calgary Stampede Aggie Days?

1. Learning is connected to a factual understanding of our world. Aggie Days are an inaccurate portrayal of the conditions on factory farms and battery caged operations within the Industrial Agricultural production system.

2. The Calgary Stampede Aggie Days has repeatedly denied local urban ag organizations the opportunity to participate in the event. Read the proposal here. Our goal has been to make a food connection with students based on hands-on programming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On St Patrick's Day, Think About St Patrick's Bridge

The St Patrick's Bridge requires some TLC (basic infrastructure maintenance), but as my engineering friend said, "This bridge isn't going anywhere for 50 years."

He suggested that the city has been neglecting this bridge for quite sometime. Some paint, lights and a little clean up and the bridge would just pop! 

And, perhaps more importantly, it wouldn't cost $25 Million!

Visit the bridge and decide for yourself!


Beautiful span!

Structurally sound!

Needs some paint! Wood is in perfect condition?


"What's the problem here?"

"Safe for everyone!"

"Remember... No camping!"

"Calgary Heritage deserves better!"

Here's the solution:

1) Do not destroy the exisiting span.
2) Light the pathway properly.
3) Build the shorter span to Bridgeland LRT
4) Save $23 Million dollars

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hypocrisy of Aggie Days... Are we lying to our children?

**UPDATE: The Calgary Stampede is preventing CLUCK, Urban Ag & Local Food Systems from participating in Aggie Days. After negotiating since 2010, Dr David Chalack sent me an email on March 8, 2012, stating that yet again, we would not be allowed to participate in Aggie Days. Subsequently, Dr Chalack offered to work towards our participation in 2013. Sceptical after 3 years of verbal promises, we asked for a commitment on paper. That commitment was not provided and we were told to wait a month. Subsequently, we are no longer waiting for the Calgary Stampede.

Apparently Max Fritz is the individual who has turned us down each year. He can be reached at:

Max Fritz   mfritz@calgarystampede.com
Ph: (403) 261-0164
Senior Agriculture Manager
Industry Relations & Business Development

Full Disclosure: Dr David Chalack has been a gentleman throughout this process. Regrettably, I believe the relationship that has developed between us will become a casualty. Thank you, David, for your efforts over the last 3 years.

Original Blog Post
This is the 3rd year in a row that CLUCK has been denied an opportunity to participate in the Calgary Stampede Aggie Days. We even agreed to participate under the banner of Urban Ag, which was also turned down. So, no Urban Ag display promoting opportunities to Calgary kids on how to connect to their Local Food System and 1000's of Calgary kids & students see a very distorted version of our food system at this event.

Stampede is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. A celebration of our rich agricultural heritage?

It borders precariously on lying to our children.

This picture does not accurately represent a chick in the Alberta Food System.

Here's the very simple and modest proposal to the Calgary Stampede:

Urban Ag booth at Aggie Days Proposal:

-1 booth for Urban Ag featuring:

• Prepare a ground plot
• Start & Transplant seedlings
• Use raised beds
• Provide cold protection
• Choose plant varieties best suited for Calgary
• Build simple plant supports
• Make compost
• Save seeds from your own plants
• Use containers for selected types of plants
• Start a school garden

-Booth would highlight activities that children/students can become involved with here in Calgary.
-Focus on how to grow food in an urban environment.
-Highlight initiatives around growing food in an urban environment.
-Booth would have an activity for the students.
-Booth would help students make the "food connection" and encourage respect for all food producers.
-Booth is to be free of political messages.
-Booth would subscribe to the same rules as all other participants.
-A good showing in 2012 opens the door to increased involvement in the future. 

This was turned down by the Stampede on its 100th Anniversary.


Alberta Barley Commission
Alberta Beef Producers
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
Alberta Chicken Producers
Alberta Egg Producers
Alberta Farm Animal Care
Alberta Irrigation Projects Association
Alberta Milk
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission
Alberta SPCA
ATCO EnergySense
Bar U Ranch NHP
Calgary & District Beekeepers Association
Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Pull Committee & Draft Horse Town
Calgary Stampede Swine Committee
Calgary Stampede Queens' Alumni
Cows and Fish
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Equine Display
Farmer Dave
Grain Display
Limarno Llamas
Potato Growers of Alberta
Science Alberta Foundation
There's a Heifer in your Tank (University of Alberta)
University of Calgary Faculty of Verterinary Medicine

Backyard Egg vs Industrial, Battery Caged, Factory Farmed (Walmart/Safeway) Egg

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Did Mayor Nenshi lie?

48 hours before the 2010 Calgary Municipal election, then candidate Naheed Nenshi told a crowd of voters at the Food & Sustainability Mayor's Forum, hosted by the Calgary Food Policy Council, that he supported local food production, imagineCalgary food targets and the Urban Chicken Pilot Project. Did Mayor Nenshi lie to us in order to get votes? Well, it wouldn't be the first time an aspiring politician lied... Let's explore this hypocrisy.

His actions to date? 

Nothing... other than to perpetuate Bronco's Local Food Dismissal Machine and the continued prosecution and outlawing of those who grow their own food... Examples?

1. (a) Well, for starters, I'm in court this week defending my actions against the 104 (full time equivalent) staff of the City of Calgary Legal Dept, and the prosecutor from the City of Calgary. Why? Because I had 6 urban hens in my backyard for food. I believe fundamentally that I have a Right to Food as per Article 25 of the UNHRD and apparently so does Mayor Nenshi and the city... but in a move reminiscent of Orwell, all 15 council members have  simultaneously attacked and adopted the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights...  and then they doubled down on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Don't believe me? Well, in January of this year, Calgary City Council unanimously reaffirmed their support for the Fair Calgary Policy, which in its opening "Whereas", states a commitment by the city to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms... Read all the hypocrisy here: Fair Calgary Policy Jan 2012 amended.
(b) The City of Calgary states that those that want to grow and raise their own food can do without for 8 months of the year or apply for a Land Use Redesignation with a $6,000 application fee with no guarantee of approval... and that does not include the fee for an architect and survey crew. The incredibly onerous process can take up to 24 months or longer. Perhaps consider cutting some of that red tape, Mayor Nenshi, in order to increase local food production (an imagineCalgary target, btw).

2. His staff tripped over themselves providing lame excuses for not planting a small 8' x 8' food garden at City Hall that a 9 year old could plant and maintain (I know, because my son did just that).

3. After numerous official meetings and endorsement from the Mayor's office for a Council Innovation Fund application, The Calgary Community Farm Initiative has been sent to the equivalent of bureaucratic hell, the Office of Sustainability.

4. Food & Shelter are the two most significant factors impacting those in an impoverished, low income, disadvantaged environment. Although Mayor Nenshi promotes his "Big Idea to End Poverty", he does not take any action on the vital food aspect of this issue. The status quo reigns in the Purple Kingdom.

5. Mayor Nenshi acted on Food Trucks, which satisfies a sliver of the population and is, for the most part, outside of the budget of low income Calgarians. Now, if only he could apply that "Get 'er done" approach to a policy on food that will actually benefit low income Calgarians.

And here's the goods:

Picture of Mayor Nenshi (l) and Jon Lord (r) at the Food & Sustainability Mayor's Forum at the International Hotel, hosted by the Calgary Food Policy Council, on World Food Day, October 16, 2010. This photo is taken 48 hours prior to the civic election.

"To Fix Food System, increase Local Food Production" says Olivier De Schutter, UN Right to Food Rapporteur

"To Fix Food System, increase Local Food Production" says Olivier De Schutter, UN Right to Food Rapporteur.

UN Expert Warns Of Global Public Health Disaster Caused By Unhealthy Foods

100 years of Stampede & we outlaw people who grow their own food... WTF?