Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bailey's Local Food Dilemma

**Urgent Meeting!** Thursday 8:30PM at Wendell's (door in the

carport). Come gather to discuss what to do now that the City may tell
us to stop having a local food buying club here. Bring munchies (if
you have em), bring advice, bring good humour and let's put our heads

Hi Friends,
So on Monday I had a visit from a health inspector who said someone
had called in with a concern that I was selling dairy. I invited her
in and told her how fabulous the Millbank cheese is. (Just kidding but
she should be happy I refrained from selling raw milk.) She took down
all my info and I expected to hear back from her that I could no
longer carry dairy or I'd need to get a fridge or some revision like
that. Instead, I got a message from her today saying she'd passed my
information on to the City of Waterloo by-law and licensing
department. She also advised that I not go ahead with this week's
orders since the City probably has a by-law against it.

I haven't heard from anyone at the City yet. They know us well from
the chicken issue. They were probably saying something like: "Oh, no.
Not 72A William St. again." We've always approached them with respect
and a collaborative spirit. I hope that we can continue that and maybe
this can be a turning point and a learning point. It could be a
chance to raise awareness of the archaic zoning laws that were made to
pave the way for a global food system (separating all commercial
activities from residential areas and needing vending licenses to sell
any food).

Now that we are shifting away from the global food system to one that
is re-localized, we need to change the zoning/by-laws to reflect that.
The by-laws allowing urban hens will be a good step in that direction
(Public Health just made a public statement that urban hens are a good
idea!). Now we need to change our by-laws so that neighbourhood market
stands, buying clubs, and small-scale food processing can happen in
mixed zoning areas. (Picture a noodle-making cottage business in
renovated garage next to a family house that sets up a fresh produce
market stand every Tuesday afternoon. The next house over has a big
greenhouse in their backyard where they grow salad mix all year and
sell from their front porch.)
It is just so IRONIC that this is happening the week of filling orders
for Thanksgiving. The climax of the local food-growing season and
we're supposed to tell the farmers "Sorry, no orders this week, we'll
all have to go to Zehrs instead." It feels TRAGIC to not get our
Thanksgiving turkeys from Kevin and our spinach from Widemans.
Thanksgiving dinner would be pale without some of Martha's squash!
I'd like to go ahead with business as usual. I'm assuming that if the
City does pay us a visit, they'll give a warning first. If they tell
us to stop tomorrow (after I've ordered the food from farmers) we
could have an alternative location where we do the pick up. Does
someone have a church or business or house in the nearby neighbourhood
where we could gather Fri 3:30-6? It's supposed to be a beautiful day.
I even fantasized about using the picnic pavilion at Waterloo Park : )

I'm calling an emergency meeting for tomorrow night because I feel
like this Buying Club has a life of its own. It is much bigger than
me. I feel like I'm riding a wave or a movement and just trying to
figure out how to enjoy the ride. You are an essential part of this
and so you can help decide what to do next.

Much love,

PS If you can't come but have an insight to share, email me.

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