OH, TORONTO!

On his blog in the New York Times, Mark Bittman has written about a recent trip to Toronto, and some of the things that city is doing to promote sustainable agricultural. The links he provides to the various websites are well worth checking out.

They include The Stop, a “community food centre” that believes “in the power of food”; FarmStart, a nonprofit organization that lends money, equipment, and land to people interested in finding out if they truly want to be farmers; and Spadina House Musuem, with its orchards. (Spadina House is even part of a Rail Garden Route, so that it can be visited in a green way.)

Then there is Not Far from the Tree, an organization dedicated to gleaning unwanted fruit from Toronto homeowners. According to the Not Far from the Tree website, in 2010, their organization picked 19,695 pounds of fruit, which was then split equally between the homeowners, the volunteers who picked the fruit, and various organizations that provide food for low-income folks.

Nearly 20,000 pounds of gleaned fruit from a big city. Very impressive! And what’s even more impressive is Not Far from the Tree’s assertion that “this was only from 1/4 of the trees that were registered with us.” Imagine how much fruit could be picked if more trees were included in the harvest.

Canada has the reputation, according to the late, great Canadian author Robertson Davies, of being England’s “dutiful daughter.” The United States, on the other hand, is the “wayward child,” and it was Davies’s belief that the wayward child is actually the favorite child.

This might be the case—modest, quiet, unassuming Canada is not in the news the way its flashier sibling the United States is. But maybe it’s time for the wayward child to start learning some lessons from the dutiful daughter.

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