October 2013 Update

I recently heard a great quote about the value of voting in elections: "voting is a great place to start, but a terrible place to stop".  Casting a ballot once every 3-4 years may not be the ultimate way to create the sustainable community you want to see, but it's a vital part of our democratic society.  Better yet, vote in next week's Provincial election and get involved with sustainability initiatives in your own community!

As a non-partisan program, the Community Sustainability Network does not have any political affiliations, but that doesn't mean that we can't encourage our members to ask smart questions of their candidates.  Questions like: "What is your party's platform on sustainability?"  "What are your party's top commitments to creating a more sustainable Nova Scotia economy?" "What is your local candidate's track record on sustainability issues?"

Finding answers to these questions may not be simple or straightforward, and you will have to interpret what sustainability means to you, but the more we ask our political representatives to consider the importance of sustainability, the more all parties will come to include it in their mandate.

See you at the polling station on October 8!


A hearty welcome to our newest members who joined in the past month:
You can find out more about these groups and individuals, including what sustainability products, services, interests and ideas they have, by viewing their profiles on the Network website.

Remember, Network membership is 100% FREE and open to families & individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and community groups, and institutions & government departments.  As a general rule of thumb, members are welcome to join from Bridgewater AND area – that means anywhere in Lunenburg County.

Upcoming Events
Know of any relevant events to add to this FREE calendar? This is your chance to inform people about all the great things going on around here!  Posting an event is easy: go to the Events section of the website, click on "submit an event", and fill in the form. One of our moderators will review the information and post the event if it meets our general criteria.  If you have any questions about what kinds of events you can post, please contact us.

Citizenship in a Changing Climate

The Community Sustainability Network is proud to host our next educational event + members meeting.  The event is open to the public.  CSN members are encouraged to register your attendance, but it is not mandatory.

Local Food Awareness Week - Delicious Stories!

In partnership with South Shore Public Libraries, the CSN Events and Engagement Team would like to tell the story of three events that took place during Local Food Awareness Week in Queens and Lunenburg Counties.

Feeding Ourselves: A Recent Screening of Feast or Famine and Q&A with Farmer Jake Wentzel (submitted by Charlene Morton & Erik Lokensgaard)

The first event was held Tuesday night, September 17th, at the Bridgewater Library where we viewed the documentary Feast or Famine: Food Security, Sustainability, and the Family Farm (2010). Locally produced by Tim Tracey, the documentary features farmers and other kinds of food suppliers in conversation about growing Nova Scotia’s own food production and, accordingly, the number of Nova Scotia farmers.

Jake Wentzel, who farms west of the LaHave River, acknowledged how he gained his farming knowledge, saying that he was thankful for “a dozen different old people who were not only willing to teach me things, but also thrilled and excited to do so.” He echoed comments in the film made by Gael Watson (LaHave Bakery): “We’re so lucky to live here. We’ve got all the opportunity in the world to take what’s surrounding us and treat it in a way that’s going to come back and feed us, and nurture us, in more ways than one.” Tracey’s question explored through the film is “Why are we so dependent on imported food? Why are we not feeding ourselves?”

Jake, along with CSN member Heather Squires from Sweetwood Farm, spoke to the challenges many new as well as experienced farmers share, in particular those who run small operations.  The discussion underlined similar concerns expressed during the panel forum at the NSCC Sustainability Expo in April: we need better support for farmers, especially through regulatory reform to encourage and even celebrate small farms.

Jake and farm visitor Erik Lokensgaard suggested that we continue the discussion for regulatory reform through an e-network tentatively called “Celebrate Small Farms”. Stay tuned!

Author's Note: this issue is (indirectly) addressed in the Interim Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy (May 2013). A hard copy of this report is available at the Bridgewater Library

Eat Your Words: The Edible Read-A-Thon (submitted by Charlene Morton)

The second event, the Edible Read-A-Thon, was held at the Bridgewater Mall Wednesday, September 18th, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lisa Fleming, in the administration office of the Bridgewater Mall, was instrumental in helping to set up the event. Both the Bridgewater Library and Coles Bookstore sponsored tables, displaying numerous books that “locavores” (people who promote and/or enjoy locally produced food) could buy or borrow. Some of the readings selected by read-a-thon participants were taken from:
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (2007)
  • The Pleasure of Eating” by Wendell Berry (1989)
  • Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop GardensundefinedHow Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat by Sarah Elton (2010)
  • Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life by Brian Brett (2009) and winner of Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize; and
  • “On Eating and Drinking” in The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (1923).
The most enjoyed reading was brought by Cate de Vreede who, with the help of Papa Leon de Vreede, read to their young son, Dylan: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969).

Many thanks to those who came to read and listen at our first Edible Read-A-Thon, sharing insights and beautiful observations expressed in the composed thoughts of others.

Great Meals for a Change

You may remember that a few months ago, the CSN started promoting an exciting educational program called Great Meals for a Change.  The concept is simple: invite your friends to a specially-prepared dinner featuring local foods, and take them through a series of activities and games on the topic of sustainable food! 

As part of Local Food Awareness Week, Helen and Keith Lanthier hosted a Great Meals for a Change event at their home in Garden Lots. The Lanthiers had been guests of CSN members, Marion Moore and Charlene Morton, who hosted a Great Meal in January 2013. In turn Marion and Charlene had been guests of Cate and Leon de Vreede who hosted the first South Shore Great Meal in October 2012. Cathy Wagner was also a guest at the de Vreede meal and, in turn, hosted her own Great Meal in November 2012. If you would like to be invited to a Great Meal for a Change, please contact us.  Below is an exciting offering from the Lanthier's table, just for you!

Roasted Pear and Cranberry Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Salad Dressing:
  • 9 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. mild vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Salt, pepper
Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until thickened.  Store in covered container for several hours before the meal.

Salad Ingredients:
  • Assortment of salad greens (lettuce, kale, chard, beet greens etc.)
  • Red onion
  • Diced cucumber
  • Dried cranberries
  • Roasted pears, sliced and drizzled with olive oil and a little salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until pears are softened and caramelised but still retain their shape..

For more information about Local Food Awareness Week and other CSN members who organized events, go to their website.  If you have feedback for any of the weeks’ events, please forward them to localfoodteam@gmail.com.

NSCC Community Connections

The Community Sustainability Network was invited to host a table at the Nova Scotia Community Connections Event on the Lunenburg Campus here in Bridgewater during the students’ lunch hour(s), Wednesday, September 25th.

Along with other local organizations, the CSN set up a display booth to introduce students to the work of CSN and to encourage interested students to become members. The display booth highlighted the priority areas of the ICSP for Bridgewater and provided membership information. It also featured an educational game about the economic good sense of strengthing our local economy. We extend our thanks to the South Shore Council of Canadians for lending the buzz-board game as well as Leif Helmer for putting the CSN on the invitational list.

Boost Our Local Economy with a 10% Shift

Please take time to visit the 10% Shift website (sponsored by CUPE Nova Scotia) if you are curious about or interested in a resilient, sustainable, local economy. There you can find facts about the benefits of each dollar spent on local goods and services. You can also sign the online Pledge to support the 10% Shift Movement here in Nova Scotia.  More information: go to their website at www.novashift.ca

Best wishes!
Leon de Vreede, CSN administrator

Community Sustainability Network - Bridgewater & Area

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