Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day today with BC grown food and wine!

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday April 22, 2008

Celebrate, don't beat yourself up


Celebrate what you want to see more of.

- Author Thomas J. Peters

Today is Earth Day - celebrate it with some of the enormous range of good harvest grown in British Columbia.

Don't beat yourself up about how bad things are - instead, enjoy some of our province's fabulous food and wine.

There's always another day to listen to David Suzuki light his hair on fire about the environment and then buy a carbon offset credit for the smoke it produced!

Today, have a British Columbia feast from our good earth to remind you how lucky we are - and how critical it is to protect not just our small corner of the planet but the whole thing.

Nothing will remind you of that like a great meal, with the ingredients coming from our own province.
And it's important, because British Columbia currently produces only 48 per cent of the food we eat, according to a B.C. Agriculture Ministry report.

Even to keep at that level, the province needs to raise production by 30 per cent in the next 17 years just to keep pace with population growth.

The best way to encourage government at all levels to preserve and increase farmland - and remind ourselves too as we rapidly replace farms with housing and industry - is to savour products we grow here.

Start with some excellent B.C. wines from Vancouver's backyard.

Lotusland Vineyards in Abbotsford organically grows grapes in the Fraser Valley without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and their wines are delicious. David and Liz Avery produce great Gewurztraminer, Chardon-nay, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Pinot Noir you can buy at their winery or retail outlets.

Township 7 Vineyards and Domaine de Chaberton in nearby Langley also both produce some tasty wines made from both local and Okanagan Valley grapes.

Then on to dinner. One option - head to one of the many excellent restaurants in Metro Vancouver emphasizing cuisine based on B.C-. produced food.

My favourite - Bishop's in Kitsilano, where local food pioneer John Bishop boasts one of the most highly awarded fine dining establishments in Canada, with almost everything on the menu grown, raised or fished in B.C.

Cooking at home? Granville Island Market, Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and New Westminster Quay all have loads of B.C. products.

And visit your local farmers' markets, which open soon, or the winter farmers' market this Saturday from 10 till 2 at Vancouver's Wise Hall.

What to eat? Everything from B.C. spot prawns, fresh Queen Charlotte Islands halibut, Fanny Bay oysters, Fraser Valley duck and Mayne Island venison to morel mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, Qualicum artisan goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes, and much more.

But whatever you do, celebrate Earth Day with something that comes from right here in British Columbia - cheers!

POSTSCRIPT - Determined to walk my talk, I enjoyed a delicious BC food meal at Vancouver's Pair Bistro on Tuesday night. You can read all about it - and more - at my wine blog - Wine Barbarian.


tinaz said...

Hi Bill,

I would like to be able to share Earth today by enjoying the harvest grown in this province however I am not able to do so since I recently learned that my landlord in the Westend, where I live at 1395 Beach Avenue, has gotten himself involved with Bell Mobility to install seven (7) antennas on the roof of the building, for cell phones and for wireless internet --- A precedent setting in the Westend.

I learned when I went to view the city permit that the electric power service is 200 kilowatts. It appears there is provision for a standby diesel generator for power when BC Hydro fails. Carbon monoxide monitors are a requirement on the permit issued to the building, presumably for tenants to be forewarned of being overcome by diesel fumes, as the standby generator will be tightly nested by surrounding apartments.

I have serious concerns because Canada has no regulations in place to protect the environment which in this case includes humans of all ages including nursing mothers, from the effects of electro magnetic radiation, and this project will be equal or higher capacity that the maximum 150 killowatts broadcast that FCC allows on remote mountain tops. (The permit, I am told by an electrical engineer, is for 200 amps 600 volts three phase which computes to 200 kilowatts). Surrounding apartments are as much as 10 floors higher. The City of Vancouver is complicit in that they did not even require the applicant to give public notice to surrounding tenants. Also federal, provincial and city elections are all less than 12 months away.

I further understand that Health Canada appears to be relying on junk science to determine that there is no convincing scientific evidence that human exposure to RF fields below the limits outlined in Safety Code 6 produce any adverse human health effects. --- Yet Dr. George Carlo, who is a leading authority on the dangers of radio frequency radiation, says that wireless technology is the most serious threat that we will face in this lifetime, in terms of our health.

It appears to me what is being done by the owner of 1395 Beach Avenue and by the Electrical Contractor Mott Electric, who has failed to post his permit at the property as required by law, and by Bell Mobility, is akin to a terrorist act against the tenants of 1395 Beach Avenue and surrounding residents of the Westend. For profit, the owner of the property, has put everyone at risk, knowing that the heavy equipment in the indoor garage of the property is hazardous, as the outside parking lot above, when it rains, leaks into the inside parking lot, where the heavy equipment is being installed.

It begs the question as whether the property owner, and others involved in the project are keeping the project a secret from the tenants and the Westend community because they know the intense radiation from microwave antennas, which is 200 Kilowatts, poses a serious threat to public health and the environment.

The growth harvest that we so enjoy in this province is being threatened by big business and in fact the roof of the building I live in could soon roast pigs on it.

Enjoy your Earth Day!!

Tina Z

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill. Thanks for the reminder of how good we have it in British Columbia. Lower Mainland really is a paradise for delicacy.

I agree with tinaz about how that RF interference does indeed pose health concerns. It would be nice to delve into this further later on.

In the meantime, I have some curiosity about the Federal Conservatives and their in-and-out scheme. I don't understand exactly why is it that the Conservatives are doing their utmost to look so guilty over this matter and making it worse for themselves!

At any rate, leaving all of that aside, happy Earth Day.


Franklin Liao

Anonymous said...

Yummy! What a delicious column!

The very scary recent stories about food shortages around the world are a grim reminder of how important it really is to protect local farmland and to support local farmers.

We're clearly self-sufficient on the herbal front, though that's probably going to be somewhat problematic if we're facing a future that's short on munchies. I suspect BC may also be self-sufficient in wine production, which is some consolation.

Anonymous said...

BC wines have come a long way from the old scrwtop Kelowna Royal Red and similar stuff. One French restaurant onwer we knew used to say it was easy to figure out the BC wines as they stained the table cloth. speaking of buying food locally, here in the litttle town of Victoria there are a number of farm markets. You want what they grow, get there early. Sidney and sook both have them and Central saanich as well. The farmers in our family sell at bot Sidney and Central Saanich besides supplying three or four stores. They pick till a few minutes before market opens. There are a number of other folks doing the same in the area.

Our four grandkids have paid most of their university education from working the family few acres.

Anonymous said...

your column was lovely, thanks Bill.

Hey DL, for us small town girls from the Okanagan, the "Calona" red was fine wine indeed. Only to be rivalled by Baby Duck!

Yes, BC wines have come a long way and its good to support our local farmers while also enjoying a great glass of vino.

pip said...

I would love to enjoy the fruits of BC however I do not wish to support the polluting greenhouses of Abbotsford either which burn hog fuel since they are outside the jurisdiction of the Metro Vancouver regulations.i buy local whenever possible at our local green grocer and farmers markets. And use cloth bags.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm? Would love to join you for a meal a Bishop's one day Bill, and I won't even try to out-manoeuvre you for the cheque.
If only we could all afford it.

Budd Campbell said...

"There's always another day to listen to David Suzuki light his hair on fire about the environment and then buy a carbon offset credit for the smoke it produced!"

I wonder if David Suzuki and Jim Fulton buy offset credits when they drive to Suzuki's cabin at Ealue Lake near Spatsizi Prov Park? Do you suppose they drive up Hwy 37 in Suzuki's Prius, or Fultons Benz?

pip said...

Global Warming Warning 1958 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg