Stories of Oil and Organics

Man with scarf gestures with his hands emphatically. Book cover inset.

Mika Minio-Paluello works his magic at the University of Alberta. Photo credit: Trevor Chow-Fraser

On Terra Informa this week, we will dive into a raw milk story following Richard Griebel and Kathy Charpentier in Castor, Alberta. Next, we will transfer to Bloomfield to listen to Michelle Lutz’s story of her organic farming with a hospital in Michigan! Finally, we will travel with Mika Minio-Paluello to explore a special oil road, along with stories of repressive governments, secret police, Canadian attack helicopters, and more.

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The Oil Road

Today, we have a story about a pipeline. Not a pipeline being planned, or protested, but one that had its own share of controversy when it was built over a decade ago.

Every single day, one million barrels of oil travels from landlocked Central Asia to the Mediterrenean. From there it flows through the trade routes, making British Petroleum—also known as BP—billions of dollars along the way.

James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello travelled this oil road. They visited rural villages and shining new cities, all tied together by the incredible social forces generated by BP’s pipeline.

The Oil Road is also the name of their book, a travellogue and reflection on the state of the global oil industry. Recently, one of the co-authors spent a week in Edmonton. Hear stories of repressive governments, secret police, Canadian attack helicopters, and more.

Further reading: The Oil Road (published by Verso), Platform

Converting to Raw Milk

According to the Canadian Dairy information centre, Canadians drank, on average, 78 liters of milk last year. Think 20 of those big 4 liter jugs, or even a standard size fridge turned on its side and filled to the brim.

And it’s in this dairy-product loving country that a debate has sprung up over where we can get all that milk for our table.

Richard Griebel and Kathy Charpentier, relatives of Terra Informa’s own Nicole Wiart, have been farmers for over 30 years, and did it the standard way until they had one of those classic moments of epiphany.

Morgana Folkmann contacted them at their farm in Castor, Alberta and they chatted over the phone about their passion for raw milk.

Further reading: Weston A. Price Foundation, Slow Food Movement, National Farmers Union, Rawmilk information

Code Green in a Michigan Hospital

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, may have said that during Greece’s Classical period, but it’s meaning has always been very clear.

Our relationship with food may have been lost somewhere between the Industrial Revolution and today, but there are many individuals trying to nurture that understanding and demonstrating its value in unique ways.

Michelle Lutz has more than 16 years of organic farming experience. She is now the resident farmer at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan. The hospital has taken their commitment to living healthy lives and preventing disease by building a 1,500-square-foot organic greenhouse and 1,500-square-foot education center to better the health, not only of their patients, but the whole community.

Natalee Rawat got in touch with Michelle Lutz to talk about this incredible initiative.

Further reading: Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

What’s Happening

Green Drinks Edmonton

Green Drinks Edmonton is a social event that takes place every first wednesday of the month at the Yellowhead Brewery from 7 pm to 10 pm. The next date is Nov 7. This is a great chance to meet some local representatives from NGOs, other academia, and to even have moments of serendipity.

Toronto’s Eco Fair Barns

The 5th annual Eco Fair Barns is taking place in Toronto on November 10th between 12 pm – 4pm. It’s meant for families and it promotes greener choices for both the home and the community.

Northern Lakes College Volunteer Fair

A session for both recruiting and retaining volunteers for non-profit organizations put on by the Northern Lakes College will be taking place on November 7th. The cost is free, and it is available online from anymore.

BC Sustainable Energy Association

The 2013 Annual BC Sustainable Energy Association is holding its meeting in Vancouver on November 2nd at 1:45 pm. They welcome the general public to attend.

Edmonton Composting Workshop

There is a composting workshop put on Michael Kalmanovitch Wednesday, October 30th in Edmonton. Kalmanovitch has been composting for over 40 years, so if you’re looking for any tips on composting, this is the even to go to.

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