Compassion Farm Update – March 2012

In January, we received the call we had been hoping to receive for a year and a half: the District of Lantzville finally requested to meet with us.

On January 23rd, we met with our new mayor, Jack de Jong and Lantzville’s CAO, Twyla Graff. Based on what the Mayor said, it seems that our angry neighbour had convinced them that the only thing of concern was the use horse manure in Lantzville. (There is manure all over Lantzville, including from horses and cows on our own street). The mayor asked if we would be willing to cease bringing uncomposted manure onto our property and we replied, “Absolutely.” The following day they also requested that we sign a written agreement to that effect, and we indeed signed the document.

Our hope was that this would alleviate the Brash’s bad behaviour towards us, however, they have continued their crusade: regularly inspecting our property while pacing the property line and attempting to shake our fenceposts that we recently installed. Recently, Mr. and Mrs. Brash followed Dirk a number of times throughout Lantzville in separate vehicles, taking photographs, when he brought a Lantzville resident some manure from a local stable in order to improve their garden soil.

So, in effect, the Brash’s received a written ‘guarantee’ that stops us from bringing manure onto our property; whereas, we haven’t received anything in return.

At a recent Lantzville council meeting, Brash stood up and stated if they did not “shut down the illegal operation at 7560 Fernmar Road, it will cost the taxpayers of Lantzville a lot of money.”

We are asked many times per week: Is everything okay now? Where are things at?

From where we stand, every day we wonder when the next unannounced visit will happen? …And from what authority? So far it has been the Regional District of Nanaimo Bylaw Enforcement, a process server for District of Lantzville’s lawyer, two hand-delivered letters from DoL, three visits from the Vancouver Island Health Authority as well as the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. We even had a call from the Health Department telling us they had received a ‘complaint’ that our truck was not ‘foodsafe’ for the farmers’ market.

We do not know what the future holds for us. What we do know is that we have a challenge ahead of us which requires that we shift our cultural values and attitudes towards food, farmland, farming and farmers. It also includes an imminent need for in- depth discussion and immediate action around local food security and food sustainability!

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