Tami Rumsey, owner of Campfire Smokehouse, shows her wares at the Island Roots Farmers’ Market last month. CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin file

Food Matters: We need to elect politicians who share our values

People want to improve our communities by creating alternatives to ‘business as usual’

BY MARJORIE STEWART

The summer farmers’ markets are in full swing and catastrophic global warming looms ever closer. Our prime minister and his minister of environment say that economic growth is essential to help us limit climate change when any eighth grader could point out that it is the economic growth that is affecting the global climate. Some 12th graders might do the math on the costs of tar sand extraction and find out that what some people call growth is also what any taxpayer would call debt.

Social scientists tell us that nearly one-third of U.S. citizens are working for change and the same is likely true for Canada. Certainly, when we look around our region and see how much necessary work is being done by volunteer societies who have to regularly beg for funds, we can see the efforts being expended to improve our communities by people who want to create alternatives to ‘business as usual.’

I hear more and more agents of change saying that relying on senior governments is a waste of effort better expended at the local levels, where we live. On Oct. 20 we will elect our municipal representatives and many people will cast their votes without having done the most basic research on what promises to be a large number of candidates.

Some good work has been done locally on educating potential candidates, but it is just as important for voters to educate themselves. It is possible to elect people who have some skills and knowledge about moving the business while lacking the capacity to do big-picture thinking. Engineers have to master systems thinking, the kind of process which encompasses a vision along with the components necessary to achieve the goals leading to that vision. Philosophers and historians might talk about the importance of recognizing contexts as well as just unconnected issues. If we are to use our votes wisely we must find ways to take up reliable references and short-list the most suitable candidates, the ones with depth as well as technique.

In these post-truth days, when politicians talk of fake news, we have to do our own fact checking and that includes checking our own opinions and assumptions. When someone talks of their right to a belief, however outlandish, they are avoiding their responsibility to base that belief in reality rather than unwarranted assumptions. Check on whether candidates have been active in the community.

We need to be active learners on electronic media because the algorithms are reading what our interests are and if all we are interested in is celebrity trivia or crime, that’s what the electronic media will deliver. One of the best ways to effect change is to share good information, whether face-to-face or virtually.

If our farmers’ markets are to thrive and meet the demand for healthy food, we need effective elected officials who know how to work at the policy level. And if the 5 Acre Farm is to become an urban agriculture community asset, we need politicians with vision and commitment.

Marjorie Stewart is past chairwoman of the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at marjorieandalstewart@gmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabriola Island community bus sees 100,000th rider

Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express celebrated milestone Jan. 25

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor and council aren’t necessary

Instead of candidates, put municipal priorities on the ballot, says letter writer

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Pro wrestler Raven to re-live ECW, WCW, WWE days

Pro wrestler host a talk Jan. 31 at the Queen’s in Nanaimo

VIU volleyball wins all its matches

Mariners sweep past College of the Rockies Avalanche on lengthy road trip

WATCH: Find a perfect venue at Hitched Wedding & Events Affair

Check out vendors, venues and more at the Comox Community Centre today until 4 p.m.

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read