Since last summer, clearcutting has taken place in our community. It has been hard to sleep at night hearing the large logging machines cutting and chipping the wood. The sounds are scary to me, and I’m sure to many other types of animals.
We have been worried about how the clearcut will affect our farm business as well. We rely so heavily on clean water to grow our produce. Wildlife looking for food to eat can cause us huge losses as well. No farm or forest is an island and the consequences of what goes on there doesn’t end at the property lines.
With our current degree of consumption and demand for cheap items, a system where unsustainable clearcuts, farming or aquaculture is the norm doesn’t come as a surprise .
As a young person who dreams of having children one day, I hope this will change.
We farm because we want to work at something that is increasing the health of our community of people, other animals and plants.
It is very easy for us to see how difficult it would be to manage a large business (in any industry), needing to make enough money so that every employee can make a living wage, pay off debts and be able to innovate and invest in the business, all while considering the short- and long-term impacts on the community and environment. I have no idea how this can be done well. And that is why we are only able to run a small business. We can only wrap our heads around sustainability on a smaller-scale. We have modest dreams: continue to make our living solely from our farm, contribute to the health of our community with our skills and knowledge, and create a farm that its future stewards will feel blessed to inherit. We have “bought” this piece of land but we know it’s not “ours.” We are just doing the best we know how.
In our first year starting Broadfork Farm, we were farming on leased land. We leased that land from Windhorse Farm in New Germany, NS. The sustainably-managed forest there inspired us so much. We saw that a forest can provide income (both short-term and long-term) while continuing to be a forest. The wealth of that forest is not only monetary.
When we see the results of this clearcut and are saddened, it’s not because we think the foresters are to blame. They are doing their job. We have created a system where this is their job and that is how they make their way in the world. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease (or so I am told). This is not the reality I hope will be inherited by my children. I recently read that under Canadian law, silence is considered to be consent. We change the world by speaking up and living according to our values. I believe we can do so much more than what we see today.