On July 6th the Province took an important step towards better protecting nature and farming across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) with the release of regional plans for a Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System. The plans are an important step towards protecting and recovering biodiversity and supporting healthy, thriving rural communities, especially in an era of climate change.
The Natural Heritage System plan identifies a network of forests, rivers and wetlands that provide essential habitat for wildlife. “We’re thrilled to see the Province step up and lead this important mapping exercise,” says Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature’s Greenway Program Manager.
The proposed natural heritage system builds outward from the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt Plans. “Linking these natural heritage systems is the key to creating a more resilient, healthy landscape,” says Debbe Crandall, Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition’s Policy Director. “I am concerned, however, that the proposed linkage areas connecting the core natural habitats are much too narrow – only 500 metres wide. By comparison, linkage areas in the Oak Ridges Moraine are as wide as two kilometres. The corridors are critical placeholders. Once identified, they would be protected from urban development, and would present opportunities for ecological restoration and stewardship over time.”
The Natural Heritage System plan, was released with an Agricultural System plan. Together the two plans will bring Greenbelt-like protections to natural areas, farmland and other necessary infrastructure that supports agriculture across the GGH. “We will carefully review the draft plans to make sure that they meet the needs of nature and rural communities,” says Erin Shapero, Senior Greenbelt and Smart Growth Program Manager at Environmental Defence and the Coordinator of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance. “The government must consult with Indigenous communities, farmers, community groups and other local experts to ensure the plans will truly support biodiversity and agriculture over the long term.”
The Province released the plans on the Environmental Registry for a 90-day public comment period, which concludes October 4, 2017 (Policy Proposal Notices: EBR 013-1014 and 013-0968).
SAM ODROWKSI The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Alpacas are one of the most versatile types of livestock a person can farm.
Their wool is one of the strongest, softest, and most eco-friendly, fibres on the market today. Along with their deluxe fleece, alpacas also produce sought after poop, that acts as a fertilizer with an excellent source of nutrients.
“People who are into organic farming love to use alpaca poop for their farms,” said Sandra Bannon, owner of Forget-Me-Not Alpacas. “And people make it into [fertilizer] teas and do all kinds of things with it.”
The animals are also great for the land they live on, and are incredibly eco-friendly, according to Mrs. Bannon.
“They are really good for the land, they don’t have hooves like a horse or cow, they have feet. So it makes it really gentle on the land.” said Mrs. Bannon.
Alpacas are seven times lighter on the land than a cow, according to Mrs. Bannon.
“The way the ministry measures an animal is by a nutrient unit, and a cow would be one nutrient unit. If you have five units, you need to have a nutrient management plan. Seven alpacas make up one unit. That’s how gentle they are on the land,” said Mrs. Bannon.
She says they serve multiple purposes. “They are great animals to raise, they are quiet, and very peaceful. People do yoga with alpacas and they are now therapy animals. There [are] just so many things you can do,” Mrs. Bannon said.
Farming in general is a brand-new lifestyle for Mrs. Bannon, who was raised in Newmarket. “I grew up in the city, I worked like everyone else, a nine to five job in project management. But I’ve always been drawn to farming, the country, and being outside.”
Both her and her husband thoroughly enjoyed having their alpacas, after first purchasing them three years ago. Since starting, they have received overwhelming support from the alpaca farming community.
“The alpaca industry people are, very supportive, very wonderful people. We are just learning as much as we can from them and they are very willing to share that information,” Mrs. Bannon said. “It’s just a lovely community. I would encourage anybody interested in alpacas to look into it because there’s such a great support system.”
If anyone is interested in getting into alpaca farming, Forget-Me-Not alpacas has a few for sale, and Mrs. Bannon would happy to help anyone who is curious about farming them.
Mrs. Bannon’s farm is just outside Beaverton, at 1595 Concession Rd. 3, and can be reached by phone at 289-221-6102.
“Come to the farm and visit, even if you don’t want to buy anything, just come and see the animals. We enjoy showing them to people,” she said.
DURHAM: With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year, Durham Farm Connections, the educational committee of the DRFA, wanted to mark the occasion with a special legacy project. The 'Durham Region Farm Families Wanted' project was established with the hopes of identifying farm families, who have been continuously farming in Canada since confederation, but now farm in Durham Region. The legacy of these families has influenced Durham’s economic and community history for over 150 years.
The task of seeking out Durham’s farm families began in May of this year, and since that time, 73 families have met the established criteria of a Canadian Farm Family. The Durham Farm Connections goal, was to identify at least 65 farm families before our deadline of August 31st. The Committee now believes they may be able to identify 100 farm families.
The project’s research intern, Melissa Leger, recently stated, “There has been a tremendous response from farm families interested in our heritage project. It is really fantastic to see how involved the community has become in the project’s support and growth.”
The families will be honoured at the Durham Farm Connections 'Celebrate Agriculture Gala', held on October 26th in Port Perry. The families will be given a special gate sign, marking 150 years of farming in Canada. Last year’s gala was a sell-out, and this year, with this special tribute to our agricultural heritage, as well as recognizing our present agricultural excellence through our regular award program, the Committee’s 150th legacy project will be complete. The Committee does not want to miss anyone, so please help us track down all those hard-working families who are still farming in Durham today.
To find out more about the project and the Celebrate Agriculture Gala, visit us at durhamfarmconnections.ca.
SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
For most people, it becomes obvious when they need a massage, through the stiffness or soreness felt in their muscles. But for horses, it’s not always so easy.
“A horse can’t necessarily say, hey you know what, can we not ride today. My shoulders sore,” said Vanessa Beach, registered massage therapist who also specializes in massaging horses.
She says when a healthy horse isn’t riding as well it was previously or is developing behavioural problems out of nowhere, it could be because it is suffering,
“They are passive aggressive animals by nature, if they get to the point where they’re becoming aggressive they are usually in pain,” Vanessa said. “If we think of horses as athletes, they need to work hard and use muscle for every task we ask them to do. So they get delayed onset muscle soreness just like you or I.”
Fortunately, these problems can often be solved through massage therapy according to Vanessa.
“After a massage there seems to be more freedom of movement,” she said. “Most riders will notice their horse is able to bend or flex in a way they weren’t able to before”
Vanessa says massage therapy can be key in maintaining a healthy horse.
“We are a valued member in a horse’s healthcare team because we can find small things before they become huge.”
Vanessa treats up to 10 horses every week, while running a full-time massage therapy practice for humans. Some of the horses she massages are athletes who aren’t performing as well as they should be. Other horses often have a suspected injury or have recently been in an accident.
Vanessa can also tell when a horse needs to see another practitioner, like a chiropractor or veterinarian, when the massage therapy isn’t quite solving the horse’s problem.
She says some of the challenges that come with massaging horses is the size of the animal and not being able to communicate with words.
“The horses talk to me non-verbally the entire time,” Vanessa said. “But its not the same as me telling a person on my table in the office, hold on a second this is going to hurt, take a deep breath, it will be better in a minute. I can’t describe that to a horse in words, I have to have that animal trust me enough to do what is necessary.”
Apart from the non-verbal communication and physicality of massaging a horse, the process is quite like massaging a human.
“We still do a health history; we still find out what is wrong with the horse. We have to do a gait analysis and see that animal move to see what their issue is.”
Unlike massages for people, Vanessa doesn’t do non-therapeutic, spa type massages. The types of massages she gives to horses are always to help with an injury or affliction.
“In registered massage therapy there is a scale for people from spa massage to therapeutic massage,” she said. “When we treat horses its always therapeutic massage. We are always going in for a reason, it’s not just to make the horse feel nice,” she said.
The many benefits of therapeutic massage are sometimes overlooked, it doesn’t only help reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension, it also boosts the bodies immunity and improves sleep.
Anyone interested in having their horse massaged can reach out to Vanessa over the phone at 416-997-6378 or by email at email@example.com
SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
Buying meat locally is one of the best ways to stimulate the local economy and get a cut of meat that is guaranteed to have been raised ethically and naturally, without the use of growth hormones or additives.
“With beef, I source it from people where it has the fewest amount of stops. So it goes farm, abattoir, and then Herrington’s,” said Brent Herrington, owner of Herrington’s Quality Butchers. “Whereas a lot of other places sometimes have many different stops. There can be as many as 30 different stops, and obviously the more processed something is, the more stops it’s going to have.”
Brent has built a strong relationship with the farmers in this area and sources almost all of his meat from local farms. Apart from the seafood section at Herrington’s, everything else comes from Port Perry and surrounding areas.
“I know who raises what and how they raise it. I know what to look for as far as warning signs as to what not to buy and so on,” Brent said. “I purchase products I have great faith in. And [the farmers] know I have high standards so they won’t want to send me something that isn’t up to par.”
A great deal of care and dedication go into making Herrington’s meat, or any locally sourced meat of the highest quality.
“What a lot of people need to understand is that particular piece of steak for example took three years to make. It took a lot of loving care from people to produce the animal, raise it humanely and ethically,” Brent said. “A lot of people need to understand it takes time. A lot of time, a lot of care, and a lot of dedication from a lot of different people to make the meat just that good.”
Brent prides his butchery on their quality products. He says they try to keep their products as raw and natural as possible.
For example, all the chicken at Herrington’s is air-chilled instead of water-chilled. Water-chilled chicken accounts for the vast majority of chicken in Canada and is the cheapest option. It involves cooling the chicken in a tub of ice cold chlorinated water. Whereas air-chilled chicken is cooled down with cold air in a series of refrigerated chambers over an extended period of time.
Air chilled chicken taste better and doesn’t hold any of the water that water-chilled chicken does.
“A [water-chilled] chicken in particular will pick up 30 per cent of its own weight in water,” Brent said. “So if you purchase [a chicken] and you’re getting a great deal but a third of it is water, that’s not such a great deal.”
Apart from priding themselves in quality meat, Herrington’s has quality customer service and is always willing to give advice on how to prepare the meat being purchased.
“We love talking to customers, engaging them, helping them to get educated. Because an educated consumer is a happy consumer,” Brent said.
Herrington’s is located downtown Port Perry on 251 Queen Street. Brent encourages anyone looking for a quality cut of meat to come on in and see what they have. He is always happy to discuss his products and help sort out the best cut of meat to suit his customer’s needs.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturday, the store is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays it’s open until 4 p.m.
SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
Factory farmed meat may be the easiest on the wallet, but it isn’t always the easiest on the taste buds, or on the stomach.
When purchasing locally sourced meat, the consumer is ensured fresh, hormone free, meat, that was raised ethically. Whereas factory farmed meat comes with a lot of mystery around how it was raised, what it was fed, and the quality control.
“For local purchase of anything, you can be assured as to the quality and consistency of the product you are getting,” said Vanessa Beach, owner of a local cattle farm.
All of Ms. Beach’s cattle are grass fed and her herd is the only one in Uxbridge consisting of pure bred Galloway. Galloway is a Scottish breed, with a low-fat content, due to its undercoat having thick beaver-like fur. Because the breed requires less fat to stay warm, they can flourish off a grass diet, as opposed to grains.
Grass fed beef is a much leaner cut of meat than grain-fed beef, but it still retains the same great taste.
“The advantage to the consumer is you still get a very flavourful meat, that is actually marbled, but has a fat content closer to that of chicken or fish,” Ms. Beach said.
The meat is also more nutritious, having a lot more vitamins and minerals than grain fed beef.
“It is much higher in unsaturated fats, omega three’s and omega six’s,” said Ms. Beach. The cattle on her farm are also raised naturally, without any additives or growth hormones. “We don’t use G.M.O., we don’t use hormones. We don’t do anything but allow our cattle to be cattle and live in their family herd as long as possible.”
She tries to provide the highest quality of life for her herd, and keep them as happy as she can.
“Our cattle run around 100 acres and [get to] be cows. They’re a free-range herd. They are only ever brought into the barn if they're sick,” Ms. Beach said.
When it is time for the cattle to go the slaughterhouse, Ms. Beach tries to make it as easy as possible for the animals.
“We employ the buddy system so when we do send them for their bad day, they at least have their best friend with them,” said Ms. Beach. “We also have an agreement with the abattoir we use, that our animals are processed in no more than 45 minutes once arrived, in order to insure the decrease in stress level.”
Decreasing the animals stress and discomfort isn’t just more humane, it actually effects the quality of the meat. When an unstressed animal dies, its muscle glycogen is converted into lactic acid, which helps keep the meat pink, tender, and full of flavour. When an animal dies while stressed, the adrenaline released uses up glycogen, leaving little lactic acid to be produced post-mortem. This effects meat in a variety of ways, but generally causes the beef to be tough, tasteless, and high in PH.
When buying locally sourced meat, consumers can rest assured they are getting what they pay for. A more ethical, natural, and sustainable approach to cattle farming, which tastes twice as good.
SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Kawartha Wholesale Bakery is renowned for its great service and selection of fresh products at an affordable price.
“We have great selection, and quality products,” said the bakery’s owner Jeff Strybosch.
The bakery offers a variety of breads, pastries, donuts, celebration cakes, treats, and deli meat.
“We specialize in buns, bread, and bagels,” Jeff Strybosch said. “We make over 60 different types of buns and bread every day,”
The bakery's deli meat section has a wide variety of meat and is a hit with the customers according to Mr. Strybosch.
“We have a high-quality deli selection. We probably make the meanest sandwich in the Kawartha Lakes,” he said.
Mr. Strybosch has decades of experience in the kitchen, having started working in his parent’s bakery at the age of 12. He has always worked in the food industry, so when an opportunity came along to start his own bakery, he took advantage of it.
Kawartha Wholesale Bakery first opened its doors in 2001 and has been going strong ever since.
“The customers really enjoy the product and they tell me they enjoy the service.” Mr. Strybosch said.
The bakery also offers a catering service and can do meat, cheese, and bun trays. They also offer fruit, vegetable, and dessert trays.
He encourages anyone travelling through Lindsay to drop in, the bakery is conveniently located just behind the Canadian Tire by the Lindsay Square Mall.
Kawartha Wholesale Bakery is open every day of the year, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. The bakery opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 7:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
“I encourage people to come in and enjoy our bakery as much as we do,” Mr. Strybosch said.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Council made moves, at a special meeting on Monday, July 24th, to allow and support the Winding Roads Music Festival being held in September.
At the meeting, council agreed to approve an application, from Margaret Ayres of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham, to temporarily rezone the subject lands at 1401 Scugog Line 6, to allow the country music festival, and to not require a financial security deposit from Ms. Ayres for possible damage to Scugog Line 6.
“However, should repairs be required as a result of the event, staff will be directed to meet with Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham to discuss compensation,” Scugog Deputy Mayor Janna Guido said.
According to a report from planning technician Rob Vertolli, Township staff met with members of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham, in May, and determined the zoning of the lands did not permit a music festival, however it was “not feasible to relocate the event.” So, members of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham submitted an application for a temporary zoning by-law amendment.
The report also states the Township’s Community Services Department were concerned about where the Scugog Line 6 road reconstruction project would be at that time, and possible damage to the road allowance.
“Typically, Staff recommend that applicants deposit significant financial securities with the Township, to be used by the Township to repair any damage to the road allowance,” the report states.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back questioned how much the deposit would be.
“Lori [Fox] and I had a brief discussion on this matter, and she said typically it would be a minimum of $750,000,” planning technician Diane Knutson said.
Councillor Back then asked if there is any way to prevent possible damage to the road.
Carol Coleman, the Township’s director of community services, said it is hard to know what state the road project will be in when the event occurs.
“I don’t see the damages being near $750,000, I don’t see a situation where that would happen. There’s not much the organizers can do. They will have access from Hwy. 12,” she said.
Councillor Back later made a motion to not require a financial security deposit for any possible damage to the Scugog Line 6 road allowance.
According to the report, organizers plan to use the rear of the existing industrial building for the event being held on Saturday, Sept. 23rd, and the main tent is expected to accommodate “seating for 756 persons.”
Alcohol is expected be sold on the site from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. .
KAWARTHA LAKES: In keeping with Council’s commitment to protect our environment, Kawartha Lakes has just been designated as the 7th Bee City in Canada. We are the third in Ontario, joining Toronto and Stratford.
Along with the designation comes the responsibility to encourage residents to support bees and other pollinators on both public and private land, and foster environmental awareness around this issue. Heading up the initiative will be City of Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee (CKLEAC) consisting of community leaders, city staff and local experts to coordinate efforts.
We will celebrate our efforts annually during National Pollinator Week, the third week of June.
A current initiative underway is the Fenelon Landfill Pollinator project. This pilot project, approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has been led by CKLEAC and involves Kawartha Lakes Waste Management and Fleming College. A pollinator-friendly seed mix will be planted on about 1.5 acres of a decommissioned cell in the Fenelon Landfill site. Weather permitting, the work should be completed by the end of summer. Fleming students helped design a protocol to monitor the effectiveness of the planting to attract bees and butterflies and will also participate in the monitoring. If successful this project will pave the way towards rehabilitating the landfill into a new pollinator habitat.
“We are thrilled to be named the next Bee City in Canada. We hope this will help raise awareness and education in our community about how we can each play a role in strengthening the bee population and supporting all pollinators. The next step is to gather together those who are interested in becoming involved,” commented Susan Blayney, a member of CKLEAC.
The conservation of pollinators is critical to the sustainability of Kawartha Lakes’ natural areas, urban gardens and small scale farms. Certain pollinator species have been determined to be in decline due to habitat loss, climate change, pesticide use and disease or parasites. A diverse and resilient pollinator community is a key component of a sustainable city.
Anyone interested in learning more about Bee City initiatives is encouraged to contact CLKEAC through Richard Holy, Manager of Planning, at 705-324-9411 extension 1246.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Thomas the Tank Engine is going to be returning to Uxbridge next month.
This year, Day Out With Thomas will be held at the York-Durham Heritage Railway, from Friday, Aug. 11th until Sunday, Aug. 13th and from Friday, Aug. 18th until Sunday, Aug. 20th. This will be the third year the event has been held at the York-Durham railway.
At the event, people can take a 25 minute ride on a train with Thomas leading the train, as well as meet Sir Topham Hatt, get their face painted, and try to navigate a hay maze. There also will be live entertainment and jumping castles.
Tickets are $25 per person. For more information, such as how to buy tickets, go to http://ydhr.ca/train/day-out-with-thomas/.