Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Come visit our new web site at

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Come out to the first in FUAL's

"How to..."workshop series for 2013...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

What's in the cards for 2013...

FUAL wants to build on our contributions over the last year:
          public information series
          manure maven workshop
          establishment of the Lantzville Farmers’ Market (LFM)
          advocacy on District Council bylaw 60.23
            (adoption pending)
          statement on District Council soils bylaw 90
            (adoption pending)

We are planning more workshops and infomation sessions and will continue our advocacy work regardless of District Council’s disrespectful lack of response.

The soil is a nation's real capital, and water, not oil, is the truly valuable resource.
Klaus Toepfer, recent Director-General of the United Nations Environment Program and former German minister of the environment



Soils contain more carbon than our atmosphere and forests together.
Soils hold over twice as much water as our rivers and atmosphere combined.
Capturing rain where it falls is the key to preventing most floods.
More carbon is stored in soil worldwide than is found in the atmosphere and the planet’s biomass together.

"Destruction of the earth's thin living cover is proceeding at a rate and on a scale unparalleled in history, and when that thin cover -- the soil -- is gone, the fertile regions where it formerly lay will be uninhabitable deserts."
The Rape of the Earth: A World Survey of Soil Erosion, by Jacks and Whyte, published in 1939.

Around 2bn ha of soil, 15% of the Earth's surface, is now classed as degraded by human activities
BBC News, 2002

The debate has been cast in the wrong terms.  The problem cannot be solved if we keep asking: ‘What energy sources will be available to replace fossil fuels?’ We should ask: what populations can be supported at a decent standard by the energy sources available after the transition from fossil fuels?
Lindsey Grant, The Collapsing Bubble

...  because of misuse, every year we lose a hundred million acres of farmland and 24 billion tons of topsoil, and create 15 million acres of desert around the world.....  mankind is using about 160 billion tons more water each year than is being replenished by rain and fed back into water storage....  sustainability is not enough.  We need to be concerned with survivability
.... In the last half century, the Earth has lost a fourth of its topsoil and third of its forest cover.  We are losing fresh water at the rate of 6% per year.  A third of the world’s natural resources were consumed in the last three decades. Most were consumed by the billion people in the rich countries

Friday, 25 January 2013

Councillors Disagreement on bylaw enforcement resolved

January 24, 2013 MEDIA RELEASE
Lantzville Councillors Jennifer Millbank and Brian Dempsey met with Mayor Jack de Jong yesterday to discuss the Notice of Motion introduced by Councillor Millbank at Council’s Regular Meeting held Monday, January 14, 2013 relating to bylaw enforcement for small farm operations.
The Councillors reinforced the need for a more structured policy on bylaw enforcement.
Under the existing zoning bylaw sales of agriculture material is not permitted on residentially zoned land.
A narrow interpretation of the zoning bylaw would indicate that everyone in the community that has or is growing vegetables, fruit trees, etc., and markets these products may be contravening the bylaw. However, Lantzville has a long and rich agricultural heritage and has rarely, if ever needed to enforce this particular portion of the zoning bylaw. In fact, small time farming has been encouraged as demonstrated by the recently opened Lantzville Farmers Market.
Within the framework of this history and through discussion, Councillors Millbank and Dempsey have agreed to approach Council with the objective of amending the existing home based business portion of the bylaw to accommodate small farm operations while encouraging them to be considerate and maintain good practices and neighbour relations.
The Notice of Motion for an investigation has been withdrawn.

You can view the release on the District of Lantzvilles website:

Friday, 14 December 2012

FOOD MATTERS: Topsoil a finite resource to protect

On Tuesday Al and I planned to stop en route to the retired teachers Christmas lunch to pick up some non-perishable food for the annual donations to the food bank.
The high winds of the previous night had scattered bits of evergreen along Lantzville Road. The traffic lights were out at Oliver and Turner roads and parking lots were empty. The few people standing at the doors of closed supermarkets was eerily reminiscent of futuristic disaster movies. Food security is not to be found behind the doors of supermarkets, though, because the overwhelmingly over-processed products that pass for food there only move through these buildings.
What we urgently need are local, provincial, national and global plans to look after our soils. More than 400 participants representing 65 countries met in Berlin to consider urgent action to reverse all forms of soil and land degradation during the first Global Soils Week, Nov. 18-22.
Maybe it was because of the mind-numbing language of abstractions and acronyms in papers and statements that this event did not create much of a stir. But it should have.
Each year, we lose more than 20 billion tons of soil on croplands because of erosion.
This is more than three tons per Earth inhabitant per year. Soils mitigate climate change, storing 4,000 billion tons of carbon, several times more than the world’s forests. Soils are essential for food security and are severely threatened, suffering a continuous decline in quality and loss due to urban sprawl.
Our pro-urban agriculture group in Lantzville recently wrote a submission to our district council in response to a proposed soils bylaw.
The first thing we noticed about this bylaw was that in the more than 20 pages of new regulations we could find no hint of responsibility for mindful stewardship of this precious resource.
The implication was that soil is a dead and inert nuisance. This is typical of such bylaws.
Marianne Sarrantonio, professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine, has said, “This amazingly thin, fragile layer of material coating less than half the Earth is the key to human existence. Doesn’t it make sense to take care of it?”
And Michael Welbank, past president of Britain’s Royal Town Planning Institute, asserts, “How can we possibly take any new land for development and claim we have discharged our responsibilities to future generations? It is a finite resource and however little each generation uses, in time it will all be used … We need a greater effort to ensure the reuse of previously developed land as a continuous process until we reach the stage where new land is never taken.”
And we need to stop behaving like finicky aristocrats who want never to be “soiled” or “dirty.” Dirt is good for us in an earthy way that is priceless.

Marjorie Stewart is chairwoman of the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at marjorieandal