On May 10,2010, our farm played host to a group of exchange students from Kuujjuac, QUE. While we were outside talking about the farm and our ecosystem approach to raising food, the kids were struck by the number and variety of birds flying around, everywhere we walked. Now, for those of you who don’t know where Kuujjuac is, it’s east of Hudson’s Bay, just west of Torngat Park in Labrador. A long, long way up!
One of the bird songs that seemingly punctuated every sentence I spoke, was a White-crowned sparrow. They arrive at our farm each year, around May 10th, and stay for a week or so. I pointed out to the kids that this bird had migrated up to our farm from it’s wintering ground in Florida, and was heading farther north to it’s breeding grounds, in, amongst other places, Kuujjuac. This was a very timely example of how interconnected our food systems are, and how the actions and attitudes of consumers in Kuujuac can impact on ecosystems and food production sytems in Sebringville, ONT, and vice versa. This is true of course, even if no food changes locations, for it’s the wildlife that inhabits those locations that are moving. If we, as farmers, are in such a rush to polish our public profile by calling ourselves “stewards of the land”, shouldn’t we at least bother to learn what else we share our valuable agricultural ecosytem with? It was a pleasure to host these kids and expose them to what we consider to be an example of how food should be crafted, with respect for quality, health, and the enviromnent. It was also a pleasure to let them taste something they could pick right out of the field and eat, fresh and healthy – spicy mustard greens!