Every year, April 22 marks a day when people across North America come together in their communities to make a positive environmental impact. Whether it’s a group clean-up event (winter leaves behind so much litter), a series of workshops, or even face painting for the kids, the goal of Earth Day is there: to make effective change, to learn, to act, and to teach in unison.
Traversed by numerous rivers and tributaries, my home country Bangladesh is the largest delta in the world; a fertile land that ranks among the most densely populated regions on Earth! As a delta, Bangladesh has traditionally been vulnerable to flooding and cyclones, but the present challenge is completely different in extent and nature. It is being apprehended that in the next 20 years, 25% of the country’s land will go under water. The consequences will be disastrous from an ecological perspective because the largest delta, besides supporting livelihood of 160 million people, also hosts the largest mangrove forest on earth.
With the fluctuating temperatures of our Ontario spring, feeling under the weather is almost inevitable. Stock up on these local plants, sold and served throughout the Greenbelt, to soothe your cold and flu blues.
Oregano: Culinary herb and, when distilled into an oil, can soothe stuffy noses. Image: Wikipedia, 2014.
MARCH 2014 NEWSLETTER
Owls, cake, and Durham, it's all in there.
This month's newsletter features:
- Durham Region's 2015 Greenbelt Review
- From Field to Farm-Gate: Value-Addded
- In the Greenbelt, you can have your cake and eat it, too!
- Owl Prowl-ing: Where the Wild Things Are
- Love Your Ravines
- And more... !
Value-added activities, such as preserving and canning raw produce, enhance farm viability.
On February 27, 2014, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation in collaboration with the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance hosted a workshop on Value-Added Agricultural Policies. Value-added activities such as secondary processing, agri-tourism, and related farm sales are increasingly recognized as a diversification strategy that can enhance farm viability.
Together with our partners in Love the Ravines we've been promoting Toronto's Humber and Don River Valleys.
Green. Water. Valley. Walking. Those are the first things that come to mind when I think of "ravines."
We are fortunate to have a plethora of ravines in the GTA—a whole system and network of them.
I remember my sheer surprise when I first walked Oakville's ravines a couple of years back. I had no clue how wide-ranging, beautiful, and easily accessible they were. And almost every neighbourhood in the city is tied to the ravines system, ensuring that every resident is within a stone’s throw of nature.
On a cold winter night, four Greenbelt staff head up to the Humber College campus at Finch Avenue & Highway 27 to trek in the urban woods of the Humber Arboretum. The Humber Arboretum is a beautiful spot; a pocket of green in the concrete jungle, offering formal gardens, meadows and forests to the public, as well educational activities run out of its Urban Ecology Centre.
My family moved from Toronto to Durham when my sister and I were only six months old. We bought a house in Pickering down near Frenchman's Bay. The house had a huge backyard to play in and overlooked a fallow farmer's field. A crew of ten other kids our age lived within shouting distance of our house. We played in Petticoat Creek Conservation Area in the summer, fall, winter, and spring—always racing home when the streetlights started to come on.
We're a lucky organization.
We've got a talented research team and an effective communications crew.
But as our name tells we also give away money (the "extra lucky" part). The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has granted on average about $2.1 million a year since its inception. The Greenbelt Fund has granted over $6.3 million since it started in 2010.
Last autumn I was given a chance to work as a canvasser in Burlington for the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. Despite the common belief that canvassing is no fun, this gig turned out to be a really positive experience. More than 90% of the people I spoke with told me they support the Greenbelt! As I went door to door, I listened to people referencing all the good things that come from the Greenbelt; from clean air to fresh water, and from natural heritage to a robust local economy. I had a wonderful time making friends in the blustery fall weather, and getting to know Burlington, a truly vibrant community.