• Magazine

    The colour of food

    Farm workers and their unions have always been at the forefront of the battle to reduce the toxic pesticides served on our fruits and vegetables, fighting for environmental food standards before most consumers were aware of the concept of organic food. Yet today, many food activists seem concerned solely about directly supporting their local farmer, with farm workers’ conditions absent from the seasonal garden tour map.

  • Magazine

    ‘Play in the Hay’ and other agricultural ventures

    While there is a long history of some agri-tourist ventures like pick-your-own fruit farms, contemporary agri-tourist ventures are responding to specific contemporary realities: urban ignorance about food production and the economic need to instill a love and appreciation for local food in local customers.

  • Magazine

    Oil and water don’t mix

    On September 8, 2010, more than 500 people marched through Dakelh Territory in downtown Prince George, British Columbia, in a protest led by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project.

  • Magazine

    Fracturing solidarity

    When representatives from environmental organizations took the stage last May together with logging industry groups to promote what they billed as a new deal to protect Canada’s boreal forest, the announcement came as a surprise to Indigenous peoples across the country.

  • Magazine

    We say no

    Last November, hundreds of people gathered in the community of Tlet’inqox to thank the land defenders and praise the federal government’s decision to turn down Taseko Mines’ Prosperity project, a proposed gold and copper mine on Tsilhqot’in territory in northern B.C.

  • Magazine

    Breeding disease

    Many Canadians first learned of flesh-eating disease or necrotizing fasciitis in 1994 when then-Bloc Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard lost his leg, and very nearly his life, to the affliction. Media reports of Bouchard’s brush with death described the disease as “extremely rare.” It was at the time, but has since become more commonplace.

  • Magazine

    Commodification

    Consumer culture is having significant repercussions on our physical and mental well-being. One hormone-injected cheeseburger or the placement of an offensively loud advertisement where a tree once stood will not singularly ruin one’s health. But all of these intrusions into our physical and mental space, experienced routinely and en masse, are devastating to our collective quality of life.

  • Magazine

    Cultivating community

    Nestled in a small park in the bustling central Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale is a community garden project that is improving the health of the environment, the neighbourhood and the gardeners involved by reducing the social isolation and homogenization that often come with gentrification.

  • Magazine

    The Aeolian Recreational Boundary Institute

    Barbed wire fences are ubiquitous on the prairie landscape. They symbolize domination of the land, ownership, entitlement and control. Wire fences are a western settlement paradigm that was brought to North America by settlers and land surveyors who sought to tame the limitless territory with mathematical delineations of latitude and longitude and monetary measures of land value.

  • Magazine

    Taking stock of Canadian mining

    Marcia Ramírez hopes to set a precedent in Canadian courts that will benefit peasant farmers and indigenous peoples across the Global South. A community leader in her mid-20s, Ramírez is one of three Ecuadorian plaintiffs suing the Toronto Stock Exchange for over $1.5 billion.

  • Magazine

    The battle for the atmosphere

    December 2009’s Copenhagen climate summit fell far short of expectations. Explanations for the failure to reach a legally binding, fair and ambitious agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions are legion but, in the end, the summit produced little more than the hastily negotiated Copenhagen Accord, a face-saving effort that does not commit nations to any binding emission reduction targets.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    As this issue goes to press, three thousand rallies are taking place in communities around the world calling for action in Copenhagen on climate change. In February, anti-poverty and indigenous rights activists will take to the streets of Vancouver to protest the Olympics.

  • Magazine

    Water fight in the Thompson Okanagan

    “A lot of people have got their hearts broke, trying to make a living off this land without any water” Wolverine tells me. We are walking down the hill from his house towards a small field planted with flowering squash. His dog, Bingo, trails behind.

  • Magazine

    Food politics and the tyranny of rights

    It’s the end of October in Montreal. About 20 of us have stepped away from what could be the year’s last sunny autumn evening for an opportunity to hear from one of Canada’s most important elder activists and thinkers. Brewster Kneen is in town to talk about his new book, The Tyranny of Rights (Ram’s Horn, 2009).

  • Magazine

    Teamsters and turtles

    Turtles and teamsters, together at last. Ten years after the anti-globalization movement shut down the World Trade Organization negotiations, that slogan, and the vision it embodied of trade unionists and environmentalists joining forces to halt neoliberal globalization in its tracks, continues to inspire activists in both camps.

  • Magazine

    Days of smoke and roses

    Every year from May until August, initial attack crews are deployed from Canadian district fire bases to help contain fires (and occasionally conduct prescribed burns) in Canada’s boreal forest. Like intelligence operatives, fire rangers often work in isolation and obscurity, in a remote and dangerous world hidden from public view. Welcome to the Big Wild.

  • Magazine

    Cutting the global economy down to size

    For over a century, we’ve thought of work as the use of human labour and technology to transform natural resources into tradeable goods. This economic model has brought us unparalleled prosperity – and exhausted the planet’s capacity to support us.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This ship may not yet be going down, but it’s certainly heading straight for the rocks. How do we change course? Or failing that, where are the lifeboats that can preserve us and carry us back to shore? In less nautical terms, these are the sorts of questions with which this issue of Briarpatch is concerned.

  • Magazine

    Six big ways to work for a smaller world

    Thank goodness for freegans, who have excelled at showing us how much food we waste every day. Freegans do for wasted food what the 100 Mile Diet has done for eating locally grown food. People who practice freeganism are also showing us how we can pinch pennies and save money in this recession.

  • Magazine

    Why less is more

    As humanity finds itself in the throes of twin crises – the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and an ecological crisis that could threaten the very viability of our civilization – more and more people are grappling with the realization that the human project has somehow gone dreadfully awry. Many now recognize that endless economic growth on a finite planet is a recipe for disaster, yet until recently there has been very little exploration of the alternatives to this growth-at-all-costs system.