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Sustainability this year's theme for World Food Day
World Food Day is Oct. 16. Something to think about as we harvest our gardens.
This is a day that was first dedicated in 1945 by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization to raise awareness of hunger and poverty throughout the world. Every year a different theme is chosen to promote a common focus towards an area requiring attention.
The theme for 2013 is: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.
Other themes from the past have highlighted small farmers, rural youth, trees for life, water for life, food for all, the right to food, united against hunger, biodiversity for food security. You get the idea.
It is all about food, food for all, food issues ... and it is worldwide. Good we think about it with a global population of over seven billion and still counting.
That is a lot of mouths to feed. And so many are not being fed adequately. Can it even be done?
First off, does everyone understand what a sustainable food system really is?
It refers to a food system that will continue to be diverse and productive over a long period of time. Decades ... even centuries with care.
But that will only happen if we protect our food security. And who better to do that than each and every one of us.
I mean that.
We have to embrace the issues surrounding our food supply between where and how it is grown and how it winds up on everyone's plates.
I do not think we can hope to have sustainable food systems in every single country without factoring in the security of food at its highest nutritional level.
One thing I do know. There are many movements afoot that are making inroads in addressing these very issues globally.
The Slow Food movement, the organic certification program, Seedy Saturdays (and Sundays), seed banks, local farmer's markets, community gardens, and more.
There are also groups lobbying governments to step up and help in such things as supporting small farmers and protecting food consumers through proper labelling. Admittedly, not many battles are being won in that department but losses are proving not to be total defeat.
If at first you do not succeed, try again. Especially if it involves something as important as food. We all need it.
Here in North America we are so lucky to have bountiful harvests. Is there anything you can do to make a difference in those countries less fortunate?
Please think about it on Oct. 16.
• • •
On a lighter note, John and I would like to introduce our new garden greeter, Sadie.
Judging by the fact her tail only stops wagging when she is sleeping, we think she will be the perfect greeter.
But first off, Sadie needs to learn proper garden etiquette. Like staying out of the garden beds, no pruning the shrubs, no dividing the plants, no eating chestnuts.
The biggest challenge is all the things that go into her mouth. Have to watch her like a hawk because there are a surprising number of plants that are poisonous to pets.
I already mentioned the chestnuts. They are starting to fall off the tree now and while they are more harmful to humans, cattle and goats I do not want to take a chance with our puppy.
Certainly hostas are toxic with the saponins contained in the plant. And I have a lot of them in my shady front garden. Chewing these leaves will not kill Sadie but they will cause vomiting and give her diarrhea.
But more on poisonous plants another column. This one is all about cute. Don't you think?
Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.