Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Elke's Garden (located in historical Central Public School).

Central Public School
Elke Goindi and I are standing on the grounds of Central Public School (once the largest graded school in Upper Canada, becoming the only public school in Hamilton, at the time of its opening in 1853).

We are marvelling at the wonders of the extensive woodland garden spread across the property, and it’s still the middle of winter!  "Elke's Garden," as the school children call it.

Elke tells me that years ago, the school Board planned to sell the property and so they let it go wild. Homeless people regularly camped out in the pines (and sometimes still do--but she makes sure they don't trample the ferns).

Happily, Elke and other community members worked together to have this stately school designated as a historical building. Today, it continues to receive new Canadians from across the world.

She herself has a long history with the school; her own son attended Central in the 70s and she frequently volunteered as a reading buddy in the classroom.

Back then Elke was new to Canada, hailing from Germany, her husband from India. She was homesick. "But I had to raise a Canadian! It was only once I started working in the garden at my house that I became a true Canadian."

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Time to reform Canada’s pesticides management rules

Published in thespec.com

Bees and other pollinators are central to how our food is produced. Over one third of our diet comes directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants.
Hamilton Spectator
By Maggie MacDonald

For too long, the federal government has allowed unsafe pesticides to stay on the market — a reality confirmed by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in her recently released report.

Her research shows just how badly the federal government has neglected to protect human health and the environment from pesticides. Now it's time for the new government to take action and reform Canada's pesticides management.

At the core of the issue is Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and its failure to fulfil its statutory objective of preventing "unacceptable risks" from the unsafe use of pesticides.

The federal agency's signature failing is the practice of "conditional registration," which allows companies to register pesticides for agricultural use without submitting data on safety and environmental impacts — on the condition that the data would be provided at a later date. We know that for some pesticides, companies never did provide the required evidence. Instead, they were allowed to simply renew conditional registrations again and again.

Equally problematic are unconscionable delays in the cancellation of registrations for pesticides that have been shown to have unacceptable risks — in some cases delays that took up to 11 years.

The federal government's failure to act is especially disconcerting given that pesticide use is increasing. According to Statistics Canada, the area of farmland treated with herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides increased by 3 per cent, 42 per cent, and 114 per cent, respectively, between 2001 and 2011. Larger and larger parts of Canada's agricultural areas are treated with more and more pesticides, creating risks for wildlife, soil, water and ultimately human health, including cancer in humans.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Seedy Saturday Feb 6th was a blast

We didn't stop talking about our project from the moment we got there, until the moment we left!

Our seed balls were whipped up in no time and we ran out of our materials and had to make a trip back to the office.

All in all, it was a fun day meeting all kinds of real 'native plant gardens' enthusiasts.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pollination Health Action Plan Survey: Have your say.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) invites you to share your thoughts and recommendations on their draft Pollinator Health Action Plan and help them improve pollinator health in the province. 

To ensure the health of our pollinators, strengthen their populations and protect our agricultural sector, they have drafted a Pollinator Health Action Plan and want your input on:
  • what priorities they should focus on to improve pollinator health
  • what steps you would take to improve pollinator health.

You can read the draft action plan here.

Your feedback will be considered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs when they report back to the public with a final Action Plan in spring/summer of 2016.

Click here to go to the survey.

Close date for comments is March 7, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Check Out Pollinating Change Series!

How to Start Your Seeds Indoors With Master Gardener Bev Wagar. 

Sat April 2nd @10am
Learn how to start seeds for  the season with handy, cost-saving tips. Perkins Centre (1429 Main St East, at Kenilworth. To register / questions, email: Beatrice at bekoko@environmenthamilton.org Free. To register / questions, email: Beatrice at  bekoko@environmenthamilton.org

Design your own pollinator patch. 

Sat April 9th @10am Want to plan your own Pollinator Patch at home?  We can help! Candy Venning of Venni Designs, a landscape designer will be giving hands on advice and one on one guidance on creating your own Pollinator Patch. CoMo- tion on King (115 King Street East, 3rd Floor). To register / questions, email: Beatrice at bekoko@environmenthamilton.org