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Letter: If you meet a farmer, you should give them a hug

Farming is hard work, and the West is guilty of 'unconscionable' amounts of food waste, this letter writer argues
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Judy, one of Maplewood Farm's Herford cows, snatches a lettuce leaf from Bruce Currie, Save-on-Foods manager of energy and sustainability, on March 18, 2022.

Dear Editor:

Re: Maplewood Farm’s animals mow down on Save-On-Foods castoffs (and they love it!)

"Judy goes bonkers for lettuce," Selina Merrick said about one of her cows.

That sentence made me chuckle. How true it is.

In the early 1970s my husband and I were part of the back-to-the-land movement. We didn't come from a farming background so there was a lot to learn. The Whole Earth Catalogue was our bedside reading while we lived on the 100 acre Quebec farm. We were bookended by two farmer brothers with dairy cattle.

During the day we attended Concordia University, so farming was relegated to weekends and summers. Our French neighbours were kind and looked quizzically at the two "anglais" trying to farm. They would give us fresh milk and wish us luck.

One weekend we had to go away and we left a friend to mind the farm. My girlfriend would sit in the garden and sing opera to the cabbages. The Secret Life of Plants by Christopher Bird had just been published, alluding to the idea that plants respond to feelings.

While we were away our neighbour’s dairy cows broke down the weak barbwire fence and devoured the entire garden. That entire summer the cows would quietly congregate near the fence waiting for another nosh. But they had eaten everything. I had never worked harder (not smarter!) in my life, and now it was all gone. I know I cried.

Lesson 1: High strong fences make for good neighbours.

Lesson 2: Farming is hard work. The next time you meet a farmer, give them a hug (I think we can do that now?).

Lesson 3: We in the privileged West waste an enormous amount of food. It's unconscionable.

Thank you for the article which made me laugh when the last four weeks have brought nothing but sadness.

As a Ukrainian Canadian I've been watching the war with a sense of horror. Wars end and life will go on. Ukrainian farmers have been encouraged to plant their crops. The world is holding its breath.

Roxanne Davies
North Vancouver

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