The Vancouver Sun’s Green Man

In advance of my Vancouver trip that gets underway today, I decided to dig around online a bit to look for restaurants that I might want to check out.

In doing so, I stumbled across this piece from a few months ago that serves up a nice slice of Vancouver food politics in the run up to the November 19, 2011 mayoral race (in which incumbent Gregor Robertson won a second term). “Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton took aim at Vision Vancouver’s controversial food policy initiatives right out of the campaign gate with attack ads ridiculing the Vision Vancouver council’s legalization of backyard chickens and a grant for urban wheat crops.” Read on, though, and you’ll see that Anton is no anti-locavore cheerleader: “‘I am a gardener myself, I am an organic gardener and always have been, my whole life,” Anton said. ‘I get gardening…. Vancouver citizens are already gardeners…. When you drive around the city you’ll see people growing things, like the Italian yards with tomatoes growing over everything, they don’t need the city leaning over their fences.’” Instead, she differs on some policy questions and pokes fun at some specific proposals.

But the article’s author, Randy Shore, isn’t sure she’s hit the mark: “I’m no more a fan of state intervention in the lives of citizens that Anton is, but I wonder if she isn’t shooting herself in the foot by taking a run at Vision Vancouver’s admittedly symbolic local food initiatives. There is more substantive work being done on the issue, led by the Vancouver Food Policy Council, chaired by Brent Mansfield. ‘When I look back I think the City taking on this [local food] mandate was a bold move, because the goals weren’t entirely clear other than creating a just and sustainable food system,’ said Mansfield. What emerged from that hazy start is a focus on connections, connecting people with each other over community gardens, canning workshops, community kitchens and connecting people with farmers at farmers markets and neighbourhood pocket markets, he said. Connecting people with food in a meaningful way is part of a larger picture of a healthy and sustainable city.”

It’s a nice piece, and not Shore’s only one. He reports and opines as The Vancouver Sun’s “Green Man.” If you check out his page, you’ll see that he writes about all kinds of interesting stuff: soil contamination at urban farm sites, a story about two enterprising, composting restaurant owners, local gardening tips, and even an entry about how many ounces beer drinkers are getting in their so-called “pints” out at restaurants and bars.

These are the sorts of articles that make J and I sigh wistfully about what an awesome city Vancouver is … and then we remind ourselves that Madison is pretty darn awesome too, and waaaaaaay more affordable.

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