Herban sprawl is my solution to several of today’s problems, and it’s what I do here. I have expanded my research into the evolution of plants, something that I have done actively for 20 years, and which has interested me since I was a child. Luther Burbank evolved plant species genetically; I believe that it is now time for us to evolve plant species culturally. This research is not sterile laboratory stuff. I grow what I choose and eat much of it. I propagate and preserve some heritage seed, and introduced a new edible hybrid to Canada which was previously available only in the U.S. Herbalists and naturopaths have asked me to provide them with the plants they require for their healing work, which I have done.
Mostly I have fun and then I photograph and write about it for courses, workshops, magazine articles, radio, television, books, and the like.
His Holiness Inspector Ménard said that I can continue to write and take pictures, but I cannot sell anything I have grown. I am very curious about this particular type of farming—where you grow the stuff, but don’t sell it. Farmers generally enjoy a freedom to sell their own produce under more liberal conditions than any other type of operation, exempt from store hour regulations and business permits. I asked the city for a permit; they replied that no permit was required.
One neighbour has accused me of encouraging the proposed dump, because I maintain that the city should deal with its own garbage. I have never been in favour of dumping as a means of dealing with waste as there are far superior methods. If anyone had bothered to notice, or ask the garbage persons here, they would know that I produce minimal amounts of garbage, maybe one bag a month. There’s a difference between not wanting a dump in your back yard, and doing something about the amount of garbage you produce.
Those opposed to the dump must, by definition, oppose sending our trash elsewhere, and favour dealing with our own garbage by doing things like composting. Carignan does not want to become a dump-site for other communities, but I haven’t heard anyone say that we should stop sending our garbage to Montreal. Everybody tells me they’re not opposed to composting, but they’re not doing anything about reducing our organic waste. Call the tune and pay the piper.
I haven’t heard anyone here say they’re in favour of anything, except for vague concepts, like the mayor’s idea of compost. “Maybe next year”, he said. While I remain apolitical, I did something constructive about the same problems everyone else is arguing about. The result is that my neighbour will not have to look at compost. I hope it doesn’t bother him if someday he receives a note in his mailbox that reads,
“We’re very sorry, but the dump is full. Figure out what to do with your own garbage.”
At the source of all this is a person who built his bungalow squarely between two farms, thinks ground-hogs attack people, and fears dogs, along with most other animals. That’s his business. It is an inspector’s business to determine the validity of a complaint, but, like in too many cities, complaints, not infractions, get action. So, whining busy-bodies control our neighbourhoods.