Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I went on a very interesting tour of a Hutterite colony this summer. They were a very open and welcoming group. Many a doe-eyed little girl in a head kerchief peeping from behind mother's skirt. It was great to see farming up close, and to expand my experience of farm life beyond the torment I endured as a 'city slicker' on my cousins' farm as a kid. Precious memories include: Sleeping in a room full of mounted animal heads with glow in the dark eyes (always fun when you're seven!) , getting tricked into touching the electric pig fence (shocking! heh), and watching my cousins catch garter snakes by the tail and snapping their heads off. Good times! Anyhoo, where was I.

The Hutterites in Alberta are not Luddites by any stretch. In fact another uncle told me about what a powerful influence they have on local economies in certain parts of the province due to thier consumption of fertilizer and other agricultural technology. The colony I visited was a modern large scale farm, with chicken battery cages and warehouses full of thousands of turkeys and sheep that would never see the light of day. Needless to say, being right in the middle of an industrial farming operation pretty much confirmed my bleeding-heart-tree-hugging-rabbit-food-eating views on the subject.

All this being said -- I think there's hope out there.. like on Vital Greens Farm! If you'd like to see some video of Albertan organic farmers in action, see below. Just tune out the narrator who has possibly had ten cups of coffee.


Lesley said...

Which colony did you visit? The ones south of Calgary down by High River and Caley, AB (I forget the names off the top of my head, I think one is the Caley Colony?) are part of the Foothills school division, (well sorta) and there's always a chance that I'll get called to guest teach at one. Though it's rare, I've been itching to spend a day out there!

Claire said...

hmm good question. I'll have to ask someone who paid attention to that detail :)