by Malcolm Jolley
The video below, ‘Save Our Water’, was premiered in Toronto on September 21 to a packed house at Patagonia’s King Street store, as part of the outdoor clothing company’s commitment to environmental activism. Featuring the voices of federal MP Michael Chong, retired radio host Andy Barry, local chef Michael Stadtlander and Melanchton rancher Carl Cosack, among other concerned citizens from North Dufferin County, the short film shows precisely what’s at stake in the face of a proposed mega quarry on the site of some of Canada’s most productive farmland and the source of clean, fresh water for millions of Ontarians.
On September first Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson announced the proposed mega quarry would be subject to a full environmental assessment, including public hearings. For filmmaker Jason Van Bruggen and his wife Blaine, whose family has owned property near the proposed blasting sites for decades, the assessment is an important victory against the proposed environmental degradation, but just a first step in ensuring the damage from the proposed quarry never comes to pass. Chong, whose riding of Wellington Halton-Hills is nearby and downstream from the threatened clean water supplies is pressing for a federal assessment and has brought up the spectre of international concern, since many of the threatened rivers provide spawning grounds for Great Lakes fish. The Van Bruggens have been organising around the website nomegaquarry.ca and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and are actively supporting and promoting Foodstock, a pay-what-you-can food and music festival to be held next to the proposed mega quarry site near Shelburne and organised by The Canadian Chefs Congress on October 16. Foodstock promises food from major chefs like Stadtlander, Jamie Kennedy, Anthony Walsh and a growing list of top Ontario toques, along with music from Sarah Harmer and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy among others.
Malcolm Jolley is the executive director of Good Food Media, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to educating the public about artisanal food and the publisher of Good Food Revolution. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley.