Alternatives Journal Update – July 2008


Bill Rees says it best, “If
you want sustainable cities, folks, they depend on sustainable
countryside.” Yet the agricultural and natural lands that surround our
urban centres are being systematically paved over and dug up to make
way for housing, highways and industrial development.

In this
issue of Alternatives, we explore how our near urban lands can become
thriving, liveable places that grow our food, provide habitat for
wildlife, give us space to hike and bike, and contribute to the overall
health of our environment.

Subscribe today


Nicola Ross
Countryside Is an Option

Saving the Land that Feeds Us
Stew Hilts, Ione Smith & Melissa Watkins
How to revitalize our near-urban farmland and curb sprawl.

Bringing the Farm to the Inner City
Vivian Belik
How one CSA is improving food security in Winnipeg.

Growing Organic
Bob Burtt
Mennonite farmers are well suited for organic farming.

Citizen Monitors
Debbe Crandall & Robert Gibson
If it wasn’t for Sharon and Jim Bradley, Lake Wilcox may have been totally overrun by sprawl.

Cinching Sprawl
Maureen Carter-Whitney
Worldwide experience with greenbelts can help Calgary protect its near-urban lands.
Global Greenbelts

Calgary in the Year 2050
Brad Stelfox
A map of growth scenarios.

Saying No to Growth
Aline Cornford
Okotoks, Alberta uses carrying capacity to shape its future.

Places to Grow
Nicola Ross
The McGuinty government dictates where people will live.

Vote for De-suburbanization
Deborah Curran
New policies are key to reining in sprawl.
The Urbanization of Southwest Richmond, BC (Video short)
Backyard and On-Street Infill Housing Charles Dobson

Letters to the Editor

News & Notes
Bayer Blames God: llegal GMO releases
Whole New BALLE Game: Business alliance for local ­living
Burgerville: A new approach to fast food

Street Food 
Mairon Giovani Bastos Lima
Brazilian street vending nourishes the local economy and supports farmers.

Some Like It Cold: The Politics of Climate Change in Canada by Robert Paehlke
Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia by Tony Penikett
The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin

Notice of My Death
Martha Kostuch

Brain Mulch
Gareth Lind
Weltschmerz cartoon strip

Alternatives Video Short –
The Urbanization of Southwest Richmond, BC

Check out Peter Stock’s new podcast of interviews with authors from Saving the Land that Feeds Us

  • Maureen
    Carter-Whitney shares greenbelt wisdom from across the continent and
    over the pond to help Calgary protect its near-urban lands.
  • Mairon Bastos Lima tells Peter about street food in Brazil and how
    Canadian street food vendors could nourish our local economy and
    support farmers.
  • Tegan Renner offers hands-on lessons for packaging and labelling organic consumer foods.
  • Alternatives’ editor Nicola Ross gives Peter the inside scoop on
    Canada’s longest living and fastest growing environmental magazine.

Also found on the Rabble Podcast Network, see

Saving the Land that Feeds Us:
How to revitalize our near-urban farmland and curb sprawl.
Stew Hilts, Ione Smith & Melissa Watkins.

DAVE THOMPSON pocketed a cool $1.75 million a couple of days after the
Ontario government released details about its greenbelt and Thompson
learned that his land sat just outside its borders. Four years from
now, he’ll receive the balance – another $1.75 million earned from the
sale of his 40-hectare dairy farm in Caledon, a rural area northwest of
Toronto. Thompson’s grandfather, father and his brother once tilled
this fertile soil, but it’s hard to fault Thompson for accepting the
$86,000 per hectare ($35,000 per acre) paid by the developer. Who
wouldn’t? …

Read the full article.

Citizen Monitors:
If it wasn’t for Sharon and Jim Bradley, Lake Wilcox may have been totally overrun by sprawl.
By Debbe Crandall and Robert Gibson.

LAKE WILCOX should be safe. It is on the Oak Ridges Moraine, an area
specially protected under Ontario planning law. But if Lake Wilcox
isn’t ruined by spreading suburbia, it will owe more to Sharon and Jim
Bradley than to planning policies. The Bradleys know a great deal about
Lake Wilcox, a kettle lake already seriously impaired by urban

Read the full article.

Book Review

Some Like It Cold: Robert Paehlke, Toronto: Between the Lines, 2008, 240 pages.
Book reviewed by Michal C. Moore
CLIMATE CHANGE, climate forcing, global warming – all these terms frame
a collective public debate about the future of the world as we know it.
Since that “world” is dynamic and geographically diverse, it is not
surprising that political responses range widely from hand-wringing to
commitment and resignation, to disbelief and reticence, or even
outright denial…

Read the full book review.

Call for submissions: BIOFUELS

Due: August 4th, 2008
Soaring oil and food prices have been labelled by some as
“the first real economic crisis of globalization.” At the junction of
these two problems and the accompanying concern about climate change
lies another timely and complex issue: BIOFUELS…

Read the full call for proposals.