Dairy Cooler Extraction

On February 3, 2012, the family farm's dairy cooler was removed from the barn. Not sure how long it had been in there, but it's been out of working operation for about least 20 years. Dad commented that most farms in the area (Durham) would be too large for a cooler of this size so I'm not too sure of its fate. Seems like a shame to get rid of such a great piece of machinery.

I know it's summer, but TheStar's video on Microdairies reminded me of the milk cooler and I don't think I've posted anything about it, so here's some featured photos from the day.

Before the farm was demolished, I was always somehow comforted by the fact that in the milk parlour room, where the cooler sat, there was a calendar on the wall marking the time milking stopped, as if, "Good, we know how long it's been at least". A marker of time and a sort of informal memorial as well.


A push towards the farm...

From "How food contribute to global warming",

Q: What is a climate-friendly food system? If you could wave a magic wand, what would look different?

A: We would see re-evaluating of the ways farmers work with nature and crops and animals to produce the fertility they need. This is not magical thinking. It's happening on farms around the world. But is it the kind of farming our government taxes support? Does it get the credit it deserves?

Q: Are we talking about a lot of small farms?

A: Not a food system with families on half-acre farms. But we do need to rethink scale. We need to rebuild regional food infrastructures that used to exist. It's not rational to have food grown on the coast of Chile to feed fish farmed off Washington state, which are then processed and frozen in China and shipped to New York.

We need a rational food system that makes decisions not based on quarterly returns of whatever food company, but based on what's best for communities, the planet and those of us who eat the food.

Q: Small and medium farms: isn't the horse already out of the barn, so to speak? They've been gobbled up by developers and mega agribusiness. Kids aren't signing up to be farmers. How's this shift supposed to happen?

A: I just got an email about a Cleveland mall that has turned empty retail space into a greenhouse growing food and set up a farmers' market. Look at New York City and the huge movement to grow on rooftops. Think of the acres of rooftops in New York City alone.

There are now 368 colleges where student activists are farming on campus and bringing real food into the dining halls. We don't know what the future holds.

If we looked at the true cost of our present system and our addiction to fossil fuels, we would see that the new food system we're talking about is not so pie-in-the-sky.

So many articles are coming out every day that talk about our food system and farming, especially small farms being part of the solution to our current food production/consumption problem. This article in today mentions small farms in a way that makes me wish a part of me was continuing the family business.

I mean, I've heard and seen so many things lately that have made me think, "Maybe it's not impossible."  A part of it might be just guilt, and desperation to "save the farm"....but then there's excitement in imagining my life as a farmer. and producing something that's contributing to a solution.  I mean, it would be a lot of hard work.  Not to mention that my whole sleep schedule would radically shift back about 5 hours, I'd never get proper vacays, and what about this 6 year journey towards filmmaking/the doc industry?!  But it's fun to dream.  And who knows what'll happen down the road.  Except I'd totally have a dairy farm.  Totally.  Fa Milk!

From Toronto to Durham...this summer?

cow-housesWell!  I've been trying to bike around Toronto more and more, finally making it to the Lakeshore path and to the Toronto-Etobicoke bridge!  What a ride!

My goal is to build up my endurance enough to do an epic ride from Toronto to Durham.  While it seems so far away to properly do this (I was thinking Summer 2010), and opportunity came in my inbox and I don't think I can pass it up!

The 2009 Tour de Greenbelt is a bike ride of EPIC proportions!  Registrants can choose where to ride from and to, but essentially it will encompass the Greenbelt in all its splendor with four major rides.

  • Saturday, September 12 - St. Catharines - Niagara
  • Sunday, September 13 - Burlington - Halton
  • Saturday, September 26 - Newmarket - Simcoe
  • Sunday, September 27 - Toronto - Durham

I'm hoping to do the Toronto-Durham one, but am trying to figure out if I want to do 25km, 50km, or 100km!  I think I might wait until more route details are out...biking on a flat Lakeshore path is much different than biking the back roads of Durham Region...holy hills!  And I know, since I've ridden those Oshawa back roads many times.

This ride is hitting a chord with me, not only because it's a biking event (and I love biking), but also because it will allow participants to tour the Greenbelt, visiting farms and enjoying the local and fresh food along the way.  The Greenbelt is something I'll probably hit on in my thesis film about my family farm, but this ride might also motivate me to explore other local issues that would be great in a doc.

Anyway, I'll report back on this soon, and will also hopefully announce my participation.  Now to find a bike buddy! :D