CAUSE Canada Carbon Offsets is proud to partner with the Canmore Community Gardening Society in planting trees and shrubs around the Canmore Community Garden! This partnership demonstrates CAUSE Canada’s commitment to sustainable communities both here and abroad.
Community Development Here and Abroad
Community development is a process of unleashing local capacity, knowledge, and commitment to the benefit of the entire community. It calls for outside assistance where and when that assistance lends to self-definition and self-improvement, but more than that it calls for cooperation within community. It’s neighbours working with neighbours to make the most of what each has to offer that makes community development meaningful and sustainable over time.
People taking control over the conditions of their community, using their skills to make the place in which they live more like their ideal community – this is equally important in Canada as it is in Sierra Leone, Guatemala, or Honduras. While CAUSE Canada focuses its work overseas, organizations like the Canmore Community Gardening Society (CCG) do it right here in our hometown. By providing space and opportunity for people to bring their diverse skills and backgrounds together in pursuit of common objectives – in this case producing local food and building community networks – CCG’s efforts in many ways parallel CAUSE Canada’s work in such divergent fields as maternal and child health and primary education, but also in more obviously linked programs like school gardens.
In Sierra Leone’s Koinadugu District, the CAUSE Kids child sponsorship program includes school garden programs. The school gardens’ objective is to supplement the daily meal programs that make school accessible to low-income families while teaching students sustainable and locally appropriate agriculture methods.
In Canmore, CCG does very much the same thing with community members of all ages. The Canmore Community Garden helps people understand their local ecology and supplements their food in a very costly community.
In both cases, sustainable local food production reduces dependence on a global food market prone to the kind of shocks that can make food unaffordable, and hunger very real, overnight.
Climate Change and Agriculture
Our efforts, however, are more than parallel – they are intimately linked through global ecology. Climate change has made that truth very real to people on both sides of the old nationalistic divisions of North-South, Developed-Developing, and Rich-Poor.
Contemporary agriculture is both a cause and a victim of climate change. Deforestation for farmland conversion, methane from livestock waste, mining for and application of synthetic fertilizers, and a global trade network that ships apples from New Zealand to New Hampshire all contribute enormous volumes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere.
On the other side, unreliable weather leads to both drought and flooding, desertification destroys once-fertile lands, greater demand for biofuels decreases food production, and increasing cost of production displaces the small farmers who grow subsistence crops and food for local markets.
The average Albertan emits 350 times as much carbon dioxide as the average Sierra Leonean, yet those emissions directly and negatively impact food security for our friends in West Africa by contributing enormously to climate change. That is a harsh injustice.
Fortunately, every reduction we make to our emissions is a positive for people around the world. When the Canmore Community Garden uses organic and permaculture techniques to produce food instead of importing an equal amount of conventionally farmed produce from abroad, it becomes a little bit easier for farmers in West Africa and Central America to provide food for their families as well.
A Perfect Partnership
Because of all these intersections, CAUSE Canada has partnered with CCG to plant trees and shrubs around the northern end of the Canmore Community Garden. These plants were chosen to deter wildlife, provide a windbreak for the garden’s plants, to beautify the site, and to sequester atmospheric carbon.
Thanks to CAUSE Canada, CCG has planted lilac, shrubby cinquefoil, delphinium, hops, and clematis. This year, CCG will add wolf willow, cotoneaster, and others.
Planting trees and supporting local food culture in Canada fits into our international mission as well as our vision of a great Canmore.
Support local food initiatives to minimize your emissions, and buy CAUSE Canada Carbon Offsets, for the good of your community, our shared environment, and our partners overseas!