Welcome to the SGI Greens July 2021 newsletter. We hope that you are all well and enjoying some increased contact with family and friends.
In here you will find a message from Elizabeth, an update on election preparations including how you can help, some great gardening info and more…… Read on!
Notes from Elizabeth
Dear SGI Greens,
With all the recent turmoil and gossipy media coverage of the national Greens, you may be surprised to know that I think this next election will be fun! At least it will be fun on Vancouver Island.
Of course, we do not know when an election will take place. Paul Manly and I recently wrote our new Governor General setting out the necessary conditions for granting the Prime Minister a snap election. In our view, the conditions are not in place. The Liberal minority government clearly has the confidence of the House. We just passed two major confidence bills – the Fall Economic Statement and the April 2021 budget. If an election is called in the next few weeks, it will be for the same short-term cynical motivation that moved John Horgan.
So why would it be fun? For one thing, I can spend the whole writ period having fun with the best people in the world – YOU!!
I will not have the unending pressure and stress of being in motion, by rail and air and EV from coast to coast to coast. I can stay home in SGI!! Of course, I will get to a few other areas – like supporting the amazing Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
I want to get to every neighbourhood and meet as many old friends (and new friends) as possible.
Today, I got a stern warning from my physiotherapist (post knee-replacement). If the election is soon, my canvassing will be severely limited. I will need lots of help to knock on doors so that in the 15-20 minutes an hour I am allowed to be on my feet. I look forward to talking to voters who are home. Please sign up to help if you possibly can, so that we can have really fun, fast, and effective canvassing. Also, I would love to know if you are willing to be a driver for me now and again. It would be great to have a chance to reconnect with old friends (who are double vaccinated) for touring our gorgeous riding.
We have some public events already planned- on August 6th, I will be at the Ganges Peace Garden on Salt Spring Island at 5 pm for the commemoration of Hiroshima. The next day I will visit and shop at the Ganges farmer’s market. On August 9th, I will speak at the Victoria rally to save Fairy Creek. Somewhere in early August I will have volunteer organizing events on Pender, Saturna and on the Peninsula! You can follow my public engagements here.
The writ might drop on Sunday August 15th. We want to be ready! We will share a schedule for sign waving to be triggered if Trudeau does call an election. We need to make sure SGI voters see us out and about and they know that I am running for re-election.
Thanks so much!! I am looking forward to the campaign – locally!!!
Greetings from the SGI Executive & Campaign Teams
Good day everyone! We sincerely hope that you are finally enjoying some important time with family and friends, and getting out in public in ways that we have not been able to do for the past year and a bit. We all have our fingers crossed that Covid numbers do not continue to increase and impact our gradual return from social isolation!
As you no doubt have heard in the media, we are likely headed toward an unnecessary and expensive federal election starting in the coming weeks. As a result, we have a big ask! We will need lots of help in the following areas (to name a few): lawn sign delivery, road sign installation, door-to-door canvassing, computer data entry and assorted tasks, phone calling, hosting meet-and-greets with Elizabeth outdoors (details below), sign waves (lots of fun), mainstreeting and other event support with Elizabeth (more fun), and social media. Please note that we are working on Covid protocols to protect everyone, and that many of our tasks will be done remotely or with physical distancing measures in place, according to the Covid situation in BC and on the Island at the time.
Please consider reaching out to discuss what you can help with - every little bit helps so much! Time commitments vary widely, and really will depend upon your availability. If you have not volunteered before, give it a try and see how it goes. We are a welcoming bunch of motivated and fun-loving people who enjoy a good laugh while working to re-elect Elizabeth!
On the morning after the writ is dropped, we will need a lot of people to come out to a sign wave supporting Elizabeth! You can sign up (email below) to join our sign wave team. Sign waves are lots of fun, outside in mostly good weather, and a great way to help the campaign.
Would you like a lawn sign to support Elizabeth? If you have not yet been contacted, please send us your first and last name and address, and we will happily plant a lawn sign on your front lawn after the writ is issued (and we will pick it up again right after the election). Thank you in advance for considering this way of supporting the campaign!
To sign up for one of our volunteer roles, request a lawn sign, or to get further information - please reach out to Robyn and Linda at [email protected].
Live in Saanich-Gulf Islands? Have you moved, changed your email address or cancelled your land line? Please help us update our records.
Our phone callers have been reaching out to supporters who took lawn signs in 2019, but are finding many people have dropped their land line phones in favour of cell phones only. We often don't have all of these details and have not been able to reach many people. Please let us know if this sounds like you, by emailing us at [email protected] with your first & last names, address, and the best number to reach you. If you have discontinued land line or cell numbers in the past 2-3 years, moved, or changed your email address please let us know BOTH old & new details so that we can match your previous record with your new one.
Meet and Greets with Elizabeth:
Would you like to be a valuable part of our campaign by hosting a morning coffee or afternoon tea event with Elizabeth May? The idea is for the host to invite friends, family, and acquaintances who are not usually Green Party voters. They will have an opportunity to socialize and ask Elizabeth questions.
The host will be responsible for providing tea/coffee/water and a few cookies or squares. We can always help with this if needed. These are always a lot of fun for hosts and guests alike!
In order to make the best use of Elizabeth’s limited time we suggest a minimum of 12 guests. If interested please contact Shelagh at [email protected].
Gary has been reading and watching videos on the organoponico movement in Cuba. This was an agricultural revolution made necessary by the politics of the day – the demise of the Soviet Union and the embargo imposed by the US. And this is even more relevant today when Cuba is facing food shortages and high food prices largely due to Covid.
When Cuba was dominated by foreign landowners who owned 68% of Cuba’s land and produced a single crop – sugarcane – solely for export, the island country had to import virtually all of its own food. Even after the revolution, Cuba sold sugar and bought imported food. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba could no longer get enough fuel, fertilizers and pesticides to grow sugar and thus could not import food with the earnings, a major change was needed.
Essentially what needed to happen was to dial the clock back by hundreds of years when Cubans grew 100% of their own food. They started this primarily in urban areas. With government assistance in providing unused land and start-up costs, dozens, then hundreds of growers began growing food organically. The movement has resulted in 350,000 new, well-paying and productive jobs. There is even an organization, the Urban Agriculture National Movement, to oversee the systematic introduction of organoponicos and intensive gardens into urban agriculture.
Using compost for fertilizer, farmers produce an ever increasing amount of food and sell it at local food outlets. People went from having little or no food to having an abundance of highly nutritious, locally-produced, organic food priced lower than they were paying for commercially-produced food by the agribusiness industry. Today Cuba grows 84% of all the food they eat, much of it from organoponicos.
We can’t remember the exact figures, but Vancouver Island once produced the vast majority of food needed by its population. Today, we believe that we only produce about 5% of what we eat and much of that is shipped to the mainland for processing and cold storage before coming back to the island.
Could we replicate what Cuba is doing with urban agriculture? Why not? We have some very different issues, primarily the ridiculous price of land that presents an almost insurmountable obstacle for new growers. However, we believe that all three levels of government working together could provide solutions. For example, leasing municipal, provincial and federal lands at low cost to growers. Providing incentives for private landowners with un-farmed land or land simply growing grass for horses to lease that land to growers in exchange for tax benefits.
Local and provincial governments could provide start-up grants for new growers for the purchase of growing tunnels and small-scale equipment such as rollers, flail mowers, broadforks, rotary power harrows, paperpot planters and greens harvesters, etc. The ministry of agriculture could be revamped to provide research and support for small-scale growers (and even home gardeners) rather than industrial-scale businesses.
Local governments could assist small-scale growers by promoting and setting up a central website/phone number to encourage people to buy CSAs. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are a system where individuals purchase a share of the farm’s harvest in advance and are provided a share of the produce on a weekly basis over the growing season based on what is in season each week. This benefits the farmer in that they receive money to operate their farm in advance (when most of the costs are incurred) and have a known market for a large portion of their production. Individuals who purchase the CSA are treated with fresh produce and a working relationship with their growers who get to better know and meet the needs and desires of their customers.
Bringing unused farmland into production on the Saanich Peninsula shouldn’t be that difficult. Growing food for all of us on the Peninsula shouldn’t be that difficult either. In Cuba it took a food crisis to make it happen. Are we going to wait for a food crisis? Surely the benefits of locally-produced, organic food self-sufficiency is a goal worth achieving sooner rather than later. The Peninsula municipalities are redoing their Official Community Plans as we write this. Should those plans be based around feeding our population from local agriculture?
In the meantime, why not grow what you can on your own property, balcony, community garden or anywhere you can get permission to garden. Because we all know that gardens feed us twice – as food and as a tonic for the soul.
Nancy & Gary Searing
SGI Website Template
The Saanich-Gulf Islands EDA is proud to have created a website template that can be used by any GPC EDA. Our technical team of Brian Smallshaw, Tom Niemann and Bob MacKie have built and made available this website that creates the framework for your website that can then be filled with local information, photographs and videos. The full price is $25 with another $25 for an in-kind donation. That's it!
The EDA of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford is using this template now; you can see this at: cml.edagreens.ca
If your EDA would like to create and use a website, this is an excellent opportunity for that. And please pass the word about this to other EDAs you might know.