Natural Passions

But however ill-conceived the Melancthon quarry may be, the big question remains: how do we satisfy our voracious appetite for aggregate?

September 9, 2011 | | Autumn 2011 | Back Issues | Editor’s Desk | In Every Issue

There has been no let-up over the summer in the battle against the Melancthon mega quarry. And after a summer of events, the anti-quarry campaign is anticipating a huge turnout on Sunday, October 16, to Foodstock, a food festival on farms near the quarry site, organized in association with the Canadian Chefs’ Congress and featuring Michael Stadtländer and some 70 other chefs.

But however ill-conceived the Melancthon quarry may be, the big question remains: how do we satisfy our voracious appetite for aggregate?

In this issue, Tim Shuff reviews what might be the beginning of an answer to that question: green gravel certification. As Tim points out, certification will not be a panacea for all our gravel woes, but it seems to offer the only ray of hope for a compromise in the province’s bitter and staggeringly costly aggregate wars.

One thing the quarry battle does make clear is just how passionate this community is about protecting the region’s natural landscape – the water, farmland and forests that drew people to live here. In this issue, Don Scallen introduces you to some of the individual characters who distinguish that landscape: twelve remarkable trees. He even supplies a tour guide so you can make their acquaintance in person.

As always in our autumn issue, we also preview the bustling fall arts scene, and this year that includes two profiles of local artists for whom the local countryside has provided a sustaining source of inspiration. L.P. Patton recalls the intimate creative bond she and her father, William Scobie Houstoun, forged with each other and the environment on their excursions to paint trees. And Tom Smart visits wood engraver Rosemary Kilbourn, for whom the hills and woods around her Dingle Schoolhouse have been a lifelong muse.

However, because the landscape is such a dominant and compelling feature of our region, it tends to absorb our passions, pushing some of the social issues that affect our communities into the background. Food-bank usage is one measure of overall community well-being, and Jeff Rollings reports that there has been a significant spike in the number of citizens who are using local food banks and soup kitchens since the onset of the recession. His report is a call to action, and a reminder that in this relatively wealthy community, with its rich foodland resources, too many are going without.

Signe Ball

About the Author More by Signe Ball

Signe Ball is publisher/editor of In The Hills.

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