Introduction

Rural Issues

Tools

Introduction

Oct 9, 1999 | 17:09 1 Hi, Being a new 'moderator' on this list, I thought I had better introduce myself. I am Noel McNaughton. I live in Vancouver now, having moved here from Alberta a couple of years ago. My wife, Elizabeth Atherton-Reid, and I do not know how long we will live here, but probably for at least another 2-3 years. I have been involved in agriculture and rural issues most of my life. We have a farm near Winfield, 80 mi. SW of Edmonton, and I spent quite a few years as a journalist (CBC TV News, Alberta Agriculture - TV Farm Commentator) in the 1970s and 80s. I became increasingly alarmed at the 'demise' of rural areas over the years - degrading soil, dying towns, increased stress on farms - and in 1987 quit CBC and went back to university to try to find out if there is a way to farm that is not so hard on the land and the people. During a process of doing a master of agriculture degree, it became apparent to me that our conventional approach to management does not even take into account, in the formal decision-making process, the social needs of the people, or the 'sustainability needs' of the land. I discovered, by happenstance, a decision-making model that does take these things into account. It is called 'Holistic Management' ('Holistic' meaning the whole is greater than the sum of the parts), and taught, with the help of an excellent team of trainers, a ten-day course in Holistic Management to farm families all over Alberta for about five years during the 90s. Life is always bringing changes though, and a couple of years ago it seemd that the best decision was to leave the farm and come here to Vancouver. I have been keeping track of developments in biotechnology since the early 80s, and the tremendous amount of new technology coming tells me there are going to be some very large upheavals in rural Canada. Some rural economist predict the next 20 years will see at least 50% of the families currently on the land forced out of business, and I believe that could happen. I do not believe it has to though, if people can get a vision for what they want, and then determine which of the new technologies, if any, will help get them there. I look forward to discussions on this forum! Noel Reply With Quote
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