Saturday, June 27, 2015

Op Ed

Rescue Us

Trains are 'touring refrigerated farmer's markets'

By Myrtle Macdonald, M.Sc., Chilliwack


am poor and cannot donate anything except to speak out and write to politicians to try to wake them up. I cannot afford to buy organic vegetables. 


Our farmer's market should not charge more for organic produce than the grocery stores charge for factory farm vegetables and fruit from California & Mexico.


It is as if organic farmers consider themselves not only producers but also as middle men, wholesalers and processors. Please do something to change their attitudes to bring down prices. Your association must wake up and make yourselves affordable. More than 75% of the population are too poor to buy organically grown. It is your job to make it affordable all year round.


Please do something to support and enable refrigerating, freezing and marketing of locally grown across provincial borders. That means a network of light railways (trams) instead of long distance refrigerator trucks. These massive trucks also rip up our paved highways. The cost to maintain and widen our highways and bridges is enormous. They make highway travel and unpleasant and therefore there are fewer tourists.


These trucks pollute our air, making most of us have sore eyes, colds, head aches, hearing loss, respiratory and heart problems, arthritis and cancer. The cost to our health to eat food brought from far away, is enormous.


Container railway cars can be made into refrigerated farmer markets, stopping in six different towns on a weekly schedule. Any local fruit and vegetables not sold can be refrigerated and sold in the other towns on the route. If they are overstocked they could be frozen on board and sold all year round.


And don't wait for our mayors to wake up and be willing to support reopening of the Interurban railway. Meanwhile you can use a container car on a truck as a touring refrigerated farmer's market. Later that container market can be transferred to the rail line. Our Surrey mayors have long planned for three light railway (tram) lines, one of them on the old Interurban route.


Interprovincial trade needs you attention. Fruit from the Okanagan used to be inexpensive in other parts of BC and in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Enable free trade within our borders first.


In Chilliwack we had Fraser Vale Frozen foods. I even bought that brand when I lived in Montreal. Pillsbury bought out the factory on Yale road. They in turn sold it to build expensive condominiums that young people, young families and elders cannot afford. Farmers cannot make a living growing strawberries, raspberries or vegetables so they grow hedging and corn. That is misuse of ALR. I won't buy corn because it is expensive and probably genetically modified, thanks to Monsanto. That is another evil that has ruined our farms.


Please wake up and rescue all of us.



About Myrtle Macdonald

M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.


She is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack and now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 93 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.


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