Sunday, July 14, 2024
Chris Judd

Let’s not “frig it up”

I’ve mentioned before that “sometimes we should look back, to see what our ancestors had done right or wrong, before making a long-lasting decision moving ahead.” Most of our ancestors, except our First Nation peoples, have lived in Pontiac County for only 200 years or less. The air was clean and you could drink fresh water from rivers, streams, lakes and springs without fear. The game or fish were safe to eat no matter where you got them.
Because one of the early surveyors had been in the British army and witnessed in person the years of fighting that had gone on in Ireland because of religious differences, he encouraged Protestant and Catholic pioneers to settle in different areas of the county. After years of helping each other, working together, playing together, falling in love and marrying each other, religious, cultural, and language differences were not only forgotten but celebrated, and communities grew together.
Pioneers learned to work with and depend on each other because one had a better axe than the other, one was better at butchering than the other or one neighbour’s wife was a much better midwife to help deliver a new baby than he ever could be. Sometimes a new mother had no milk and another new mother in the community had more milk than her baby needed so she was engaged as a wet nurse to provide milk for that critical first part of the baby’s life until a suitable milk cow could be found. Even when I was born in the 40s, one particular cow in the herd was chosen to supply milk for my first year.
Two hundred years ago it was unheard of that anyone was allergic to any food. Was it because of what was added or not added to the food? There was no landfill in the county. There was no packaging of most items and definitely nothing that you couldn’t use to light the fire. There were a few dingbats in the world and it took millions of dollars, thousands of our ancestor’s lives, and several wars to regain our freedom of religion, speech, and choice of how we would be governed. Why does anyone think that they should impose their religion, or lack thereof, language, or culture on everyone else?
Too many things that were invented to make our lives better were actually invented to make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else. Dad used to say, “if you don’t set something down in the wrong place, you don’t have to move it later.” The same is true about over-packaging. If you don’t bring it home, you don’t have to pay to get it taken away. Only the consumers can change that. If we choose to purchase items with less packaging, the manufacturers will soon get the message.
Too much of our garbage and the cost to get rid of it is because of items that were not needed at all. Many of those items don’t decompose and, when incinerated release dangerous chemicals into our land, air, or water. Our farmers are beginning to look very closely at those chemicals and refuse to take any compost from cities unless it is previously tested by neutral testing labs like universities and are guaranteed not to contain any of those chemicals. Remember, consumers eat food that could contain enough residues from food produced on that land to eventually kill them. Farmers are consumers too and are very observant. Some residues from the new forever chemicals have already caused some farms to be declared “never to be farmed again” and the farmer and his family have been told by medical professionals that their chance of dying from cancer has been increased by 60 per cent. Five years ago, that forever chemical had never been tested.
Many of our ancestors have lived in, fought and some died in wars, helping to make this the most desirable place in the world to live. Let’s not frig it up, let’s choose our leaders very carefully.

Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.


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