Thursday, July 28, 2016

No Bananas For You!


Terry Brake was in a car accident that left him with brain damage. He had to relearn how to walk and speak.

Can you imagine?

I probably would have said fuck it. Do a bunch of drugs, fuck a bunch of whores, then put a gun to my head when the fun was over.

But Terry obviously had more ambition than I.

As part of his recovery therapy, Brake’s doctor gave him a banana plant to grow.

This sparked an idea that eventually saw Brake and his caregiver start a 40-hectare tropical fruit farm.

In Ontario.

Tropical fruit.

In Ontario.

Surprisingly enough, or perhaps not so surprisingly, the hard part isn’t growing tropical fruit in Ontario’s climate.

The hard part is getting through the government bureaucracy.


Now how much bureaucracy could there be?

It’s not like anyone has ever tried to commercially grow bananas and papayas before. And how regulated could small farmers markets be?

Located in Blyth, a three-hour drive west of Toronto, on Ontario’s “west coast,” the farm is six years old.

“Our dream is to see (these fruits) growing everywhere and not have to depend on other countries and employ local people,” says Brake.

Noble cause, I won’t comment on the “shop local” fallacy for the sake of argument.

For my beef isn’t with some Ontario farmer growing grapefruit and coconuts in a greenhouse. It’s with the busy-body, nanny-state, anti-progressive, anti-liberal Liberal Government of Kathleen Wynne (although let’s be honest, the same shit would occur under the PCs)

The farm is facing multiple charges from the Township of Huron and Huron County for “failing to obtain permits for its hoop houses,” as well as a charge from the Maitland Conservation Authority for “altering the wetland and clear-cutting.”

First, we’ll begin with the latter since conservation authorities should not have this kind of power.

If any changes I make to the wetland on my property affects the wetland on your property, then there’s a case to be made and we have centuries of tort law in our common law tradition to deal with such a “threat.”

If one cuts down trees on one’s own property, that is one’s own business. It certainly isn’t the role of busybody bureaucrats to lay charges.

Especially since “We do select cutting,” says Brake. “We have loggers cut trees from an area and we don’t cut from it again for 20 years. We noticed in the last six years, our maple trees have gotten bigger because they have more room to grow now.”

Imagine that. Private property owners actually having a long-term interest in their property...

And, of course, the heat from the wood keeps the tropical plants alive during winter, thereby reducing Ontario’s “carbon footprint” when it comes to importing tropical fruits.

But don’t tell Ontario bureaucrats that. They’re fucking stupid.

Second, there is the issue of the “hoop houses”

Apparently, the township's former building bureaucrat determined the hoop house wasn’t a permanent structure and wasn’t subject to commercial taxes.

The new bureaucrat-in-charge has overruled the old one and now Blake, far from being a genuine entrepreneur, is a criminal facing a court date in October.

Welcome to Canada, particularly Ontario, where wealth creation, environmental sustainability, and entrepreneurial innovation are met with charges from unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, some of whom are anti-environmental environmentalists.

How about that.

In the meantime, there is an online petition supporting the farm, but anyone with any sense knows the state is going to do what the state wants to do.

And if that means undermining a farm bringing local, tropical, food to people on a sustainable basis — so be it.

The cause of “progressivism” is too great to be derailed by pesky entrepreneurs and the consumers who have voluntarily purchased their product.

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