YREA autumn 2021 news & views
FRESH ACRES Organic Farm seizes opportunity
Vanessa & Leevi Hotari have raised a range of organic crops & livestock on their King Township farm for some time. When the new Canada food guide was released which emphasized a more plant based diet, they saw an opportunity to fill an emerging market & further diversified their crop rotation by growing a variety of legumes. Shop for their fabulous pesticide-free beans here.

Unlike conventional farming which relies on pesticide saturated soil & crops, when you support organic farmers you are indirectly supporting a healthier planet. Organic farming releases 40% fewer carbon emissions & uses 45% less energy. Rodale Institute found organic food sales skyrocketed in 2020. Consumers have the power to implement change for the better.

Want to learn more? Register for YREA’s PESTICIDES & GMOS, A REVIEW OF THE SCIENCE, a free workshop on Tues. Sept. 28, 2pm with the Aurora Public Library.
Reaping the benefits of NO MOW MAY
No Mow May, a growing worldwide movement was a joy to behold in YREA’s neighbourhood. People seem to really be getting it. An increase in bees & butterflies were observed later on, so this practice benefits pollinators, biodiversity & reduces GHGE. However, municipalities such as Waterloo - a Bee City no less, are still issuing infractions when residents support initiatives such as Bee City & Mayors Monarch Pledge. Bylaws need to be updated, including delisting thistles as a weed - which support many birds, butterflies, bees & farm animals. Let's go for meadows instead of lawns!

Photo: Monarch on thistle by Jack Nevitt

YREA had productive discussions with a number of municipalities regarding the expansion of naturalization this past summer. We suggested reviewing the vast amounts of barren lawn in public parks to see which areas are not being actively used & leave them unmown. Vaughan subsequently has developed a few no mow zones in parks with educational signage in support of their Mayor's Monarch Pledge. Schools are also perfect rewilding places for education & to benefit pollinators. Let’s have an even better No Mow May next year by embracing the wild, updating bylaws, establishing more Bee Cities & Monarch pledges! Don't forget to leave the leaves this fall to further assist nature.
A big THANK YOU to YREA's youngest donor
Noah, who turned 7 on May 30th wanted a nature party to celebrate all things green & alive. His birthday rules were:
1 No using plastic
2 Nothing with gas
3 No eating red meat
He (along with sister Valerie) picked up garbage & challenged others to clean up parks & trails. Noah's fundraiser netted $200 which he donated to a fortunate 'nature charity' - YREA! Thank you Noah! We see this fine young person as a shining hope for the future.

YREA happily reports that York Region adopted an Integrated Management Plan for Plastics resolution in June which they forwarded to federal & provincial counterparts. We are however, concerned about the switch from plastic bags to paper which means cutting down more trees. Check out YREA's short presentation on greener paper choices. You can also bring reusable grocery bags & empty bread bags for produce when shopping because biodegradable could just be greenwashing. Unlike compostable, biodegradable can mean that bags will break down into smaller & smaller pieces, contributing to microplastic pollution.
YREA's submissions to government
Durham, Federal - Pickering Farmland.
Federal - support Bill C-285 ban glyphosate pesticide
York Region - support gas-fired energy phase out
Auditor General - YREA request for Hwy 413 audit
Federal - Review of pesticide regulations
Richmond Hill - wetland complex protection
STOP THE SPRAY of pesticides on public land!!
We are supposed to be planting 2 BILLION TREES in support of climate change mitigation. So why is this calamitous practice by the forestry industry still being allowed? Other than in Quebec & Saskatchewan thousands of hectares of public forest are sprayed annually across Canada with toxic pesticide glyphosate to eliminate hardwood species such as aspen & birch in favour of more profitable conifers. Hardwoods burn less quickly than the glyphosate-resistant coniferous trees, and experts say removing them is stoking the fires that now plague our forests annually in most of Canada. YREA cannot overstress the importance of stopping this abominable practice - to reduce forest fires, to protect the flora, fauna & biodiversity that is also affected, to reduce atmospheric pollution & toxic particulate matter that contributes to extreme weather events. See YREA's 2019 report for more on glyphosate concerns.
Things to do outdoors - FINALLY
After a dreadful summer of suffocating heat we can finally get outdoors & breath some cooler fresh air. Check out several fall activities in Ontario that might be worth exploring. If you would like to go further afield to La Belle Province, look into these possibilities.
Wherever you are, go out & give thanks to nature. We need her more than ever.