I took the opportunity to watch the video with Margaret Webb. Although I am not familiar with her or her work she seems to speak for the local farm movement. I can tell that the journalist interviewing her has a bias towards large coorporate structure farms. He comes across as believing that the price of food is King and do whatever it takes. Food nutrition has come down considerably in the last 40 years due to this type of mentality. The idea that you can chemically treat food production and get the same health results is proven to be a failure. The only reason why some in the industry choose not to accept a wholistic, scientific approach is because they have invested so much time, energy and money into an industrial agribusiness frame work that to umwind such a faulty sytem will damage allot of egos and dwindle allot of bank accounts. Yes farming is a business and yes in order for a farmer to be sustainable he/she has to receive an appropriate return on his time and investement. But on many farms peek efficiency has already been reached. Many organic or almost organic farmers take the approach that the quality of the end product is what's important. They will use the most efficient methods available to ensure that the price is competitive for the best produce without sacrifcing the health of the consumer. I see agri research stations still researching ideas of how to make food cheaper rather than better and more nutritious at the expense of the environment, good soil management, and healthy, vibrant agricultural communities.
Agriculture is not only about the dollars. the lifestyle is inseparable from the business. Another individual (Joanne) commented that agribusiness is not agriculture. I agree with this statement. Although the two entities have a relationship they are distinct in their function. Society can do without agribusiness since humans can't go without food but it cannot exist without agriculture.
That interview was geared towards the urban mentality as does her writing.
Margaret Webb had a series printed in the major papers last fall along the lines of the recent interview. When I questioned her ability to submit recommendations without any mention of farmers' Sovereign rights, she responded with "I am quite fascinated with the historical details you share and, no, I did not have time to dig into this research during this very short series. But I am a history nut and certainly want to do so, so I appreciate your direction on this." Obviously, she still has not found the time or inclination.
The interview opens with the caption, "Instead of an unofficial "cheap food" policy, we can create an official "good food" policy. If we built this food hell, then we can also fix it."
The Crown introduced the "Cheap Bread Policy" in the British Colonies in the 18th century to force men off the farms and into factories. The price of bread was legally and legislatively suppressed to subsidize labour which in turn developed and strengthened the manufacturing of finished goods. The Crown had/has the legal right to determine the price of produce under ancient Excise laws. And as we know, Excise is an absolute right to property in Ontario. The Government of Canada did not build the "food hell', the Crown still has the final rights to all things "OF" the soil. Until the Crown releases the farmers of their obligations to the soil and give us the absolute rights to property, we are at the mercy of the Crown.
She mentions "Farmers create fantastic healthy foods".
Let’s set a few things clear. Plants and animals are NOT FOOD. They are organic organisms or living creatures that have the POTENTIAL to become food. Humans can also be a potential food source depending on the ingestor. Farmers DO NOT CREATE FOOD. Farmers are a class of people with skills that work in conjunction with natural resources. That is also the definition of agriculture. Margaret Webb does not understand that agriculture is about "persons" and “natural resources”. Agriculture is neither an industry nor a zoning.
Ms. Webb continuously confuses agri-business with agriculture, trying to intertwine the two concepts, leading people to believe they are one and the same.
She states, “Where does the supply come from? Our food supply starts in the field.” And further, “What kind of farmer do we need? What kind of crops do we need to produce?”
Farmers in Ontario were given Sovereign franchises. Farmers have Sovereign licenses to produce ANY legal agricultural product that is indigenous to this province.(wheat was placed in trust, I understand, therefore can be viewed as indigenous) for personal use.
How dare she question our rights to production!
A cow in the field is NOT food. It is a living creature. When the cow leaves the farm gate (marketing)……it usually falls into the agri-business category. It may or may not end up as food and for the most part, it is out of farmers’ control. That is where commerce comes in……and Ms. Webb conveniently ignores the constitutionality of marketing “regulated” agricultural products.
Lastly she states “consumers are demanding local foods”. While that statement is unsupported, it could possibility be the case but….. price usually dictates the consumers’ final choice.
Commerce sets in motion consumer habits.
But throughout the whole discussion, Ms. Webb completely misses one of the most critical components to the “food” debate. Ultimately each individual has the responsibility to ensure they have the proper nutrition to survive. If people choose to abdicate that duty so to pursue other economic rewards, that is their right.
If people choose to abdicate the sovereign benefits of domestic agricultural production and marketing then release the farmers of their sovereign obligations of domestic agricultural supply.
I don't see how Ms. Webb is questioning your rights to production. Nor do I interpret that she is calling cows food. I believe you are missing the very valid points she is making. We all need to question our current farming practices. There are many farmers, scientists, investigative journalists, nutritionists, food activists and advocates who believe our current practices are not sustainable, are becoming increasingly unsafe and unhealthy. Because food production, processing and distribution is driven by the bottom line - agriculture has become agribusiness. She has not confused the two. Food policy and the giant food companies have.