Sweet Speakers: From Maple Syrup to Cannabis

Susan Moore

Workers in a maple syrup camp, around the turn of the twentieth century. (Photo source: Library of Congress)
[This article appears in the February/March issue of The SCOOP.]

The Hastings Stewardship Council have kick-started their immensely popular Winter Speaker Series 2020. On January 16 in Ivanhoe, Queen’s professor Warren Mabee spoke on “Climate Change: Are There New Ways of Living?” There was a lively discussion of the attempt to balance new technologies such as lithium batteries and online order services (think Amazon) with the footprint of resulting contamination or emissions.

Coming up are five presentations on sweet AND practical topics.

On February 13, Gareth Metcalfe, a maple syrup producer in Hastings, will address “Maple Syrup: Sustainable Harvesting Then and Now.” Gareth will lead us into syrup production through the ages - including the first inhabitants and the early settlers - and how techniques and equipment have evolved and will finish with an instructional overview to allow you to participate in this wonderful springtime tradition yourself.

On February 27, see “How Ruminants Fit in the Ecosystem: Grazing Animals and Soil Health.” Sebastian Belliard is a soil management specialist with OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs). Katherine Fox is a senior policy advisor with the Beef Farmers of Ontario. New research shows the importance of grazing animals and the symbiotic relationship between cattle and grassland. Belliard will explain what makes up a healthy grassland soil and the role of livestock in improving soil health and carbon sequestration. Katherine Fox will discuss the real cost of cutting out beef and dairy products.

On March 12 is “New Roles for Cannabis and Hemp.” Josh Powles, PhD., is a professor and coordinator at Cannabis Applied Science, Loyalist College. John Baker is president of CBD Baker Inc. Josh Powles will describe the role of cannabis in society: recreational, medical, and potential future applications. He will also explain how agriculture and applied industries could benefit from the cannabis sector. Expert plant breeder John Baker will describe how the current hemp industry relates to cannabis. He will explain the many varied uses of hemp and the role of hemp in soil improvement.

On March 26, Colin Jones will present “Dragonflies and Damselflies: Guardians of our Wetlands and Creeks.” Colin Jones is the provincial arthropod zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre, dealing primarily with rare species. He is co-author of “A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and Surrounding Area.” The beautiful dragonfly or damselfly, silently skimming the surface of the water, is enchanting. Both play vital roles in terrestrial and aquatic habitats as predators feeding on a variety of mosquitoes and biting flies, and as prey for birds.

On April 9, enjoy “Practical Solutions: Building an Earth Sheltered Home” with Steven Moore, Professor of Sustainability/Environmental Policy/Ecological Economics at Queen's University. Steven Moore will show how to build a low-maintenance house that features energy efficient and recovered materials, passive solar heating, a green roof, and more. Come and ‘pinch’ some ideas about how to adapt your own house without building a new one. Steven says, “We’ve built an earth-sheltered house, hoping to be more sustainable, on the wooded banks of the Salmon River where we live a low-maintenance life, listening to the roar of the rapids.”

Sweet. Come early to get a good seat.

The Winter Speaker events are on Thursdays from 7 to 9 pm 
at the Huntington Veterans Community Hall 
11379 Hwy 62, in Ivanhoe (between Belleville and Madoc)
An entrance fee of $5 or a donation, helps cover the costs. 
Children and students are free.
For information, contact Ray Wellman, 613-848-7697