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there is no planet BFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Health Study Reveals Alarming Links Between Oil Sands Contaminants and Incidence of Illness July 7, 2014, Edmonton, AB – Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Manitoba, released a report Environmental and Human Health Implications of Athabasca Oil Sands, and is the first report of its kind to draw an associations between oil sands produced environmental contaminants and declines in community health and well-being in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. This report has been peer reviewed by Health Canada and other health and environmental agencies. Integrating scientific research methods and local knowledge, the report is the result of three years of community-based participatory research that incorporates both the traditional knowledge of community members and scientific monitoring techniques. MCFN Chief Steve Courtoreille says, “This report confirms what we have always suspected. about the association between environmental contaminants from oil sands production upstream and cancer and other serious illness in our community. The Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Programme has released data about the increases in these contaminants, but fails to address and monitor impacts to First Nations traditional foods. We are greatly alarmed and demand further research and studies are done to expand on the findings of this report.” Findings include generally high concentrations of carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and heavy metals arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and selenium in kidney and liver samples from moose, ducks, muskrats, and beavers harvested by community members. Bitumen extraction and upgrading is a major emitter of all of these contaminants. Contaminants in wildlife, as well as limited access due to declining water levels, have nearly eliminated the consumption of some traditional foods; fish caught in Lake Athabasca and the Athabasca River are no longer trusted, while muskrat populations have declined precipitously. ACFN Chief Allan Adam notes that “It’s frustrating to be constantly filling the gaps in research and studies that should have already been done. This demonstrates the lack of respect by industry and government to effecting address the First Nations concerns about impacts our Treaty rights and the increases in rare illnesses in our community. We need further independent studies done by internationally credible institutions like the World Health Organization.”

Community health and wellbeing have been in sharp decline. The study reveals a link between the Oil Sands and illness in Fort Chipewyan unlike the 2014 cancer report by Alberta Health Service which simply aggregated limited data.. Indeed, cancer occurrence in Fort Chipewyan is positively associated with the consumption of traditional wild foods, including locally caught fish. “Communities are facing a double-bind”, says Stephane McLachlan, head researcher for the study. “On one hand, industry, notably the Oil Sands, causes a substantial decline in the health of the environment and ultimately of community members. On the other hand, the existing healthcare services are unable to address these declines in human health. These Indigenous communities are caught in the middle, and the impacts are clear and worrisome.” Researchers and the community leaders urge further investigation of contaminant concentrations, in addition to the mitigation of existing occurrences. The report also emphasizes continued community-based monitoring and calls for improved risk communication from government and industry. A full copy of the report will be available online at

Stay tuned for more updates, NATURE’S PERFECT PLANT FOOD is grateful to operate on Treaty 1 land.  Thanks to Susanne McCrea for this informative post.


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sad dayWell, truth be told, we’re not too happy with the state of the Canadian environment right now and our Federal government is not doing anything to help.  We don’t want to piss anyone off, but if you’re visiting our page you are most likely interested in vermiculture, organic gardening and a sustainable environment for future generations.  All the things that make this future a possibility are being actively destroyed by the  folks in control in Ottawa.  The Harper government has blinders on when it comes to sustainable energy like solar and wind power, they have something stuck in their eyes…. we think it’s oil.  The recent tentative approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline is just the next step in a series of decisions that has anyone with even a remote interest in a sustainable future hanging their heads in despair.

Now that this regime, yep that’s what we’re calling it since it seems they’re not listening to any public input, has effectively silenced all descent from the academic world, you know….scientists, they are taking their marching orders from huge corporate interests.  Some of which aren’t even Canadian.   Why are we letting big oil money dictate the future of our country you may ask?  That’s a good fricken question but try to get an answer from Ottawa’s talking heads, you’ll be disappointed.  They drag out the same old rehearsed tag lines claiming that this is in fact what the public needs for it’s own good.  Well, not this public!

Try not to be discouraged, keep composting and re-cycling, keep looking for alternative energy in your home and life.  When you need to grow your own food ’cause the stuff at the grocery store is (GMO) out of your reach…. we got your back.


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VermicompostingAfter our ridiculously late spring season the last month has been freakishly busy.  Forgive our absents from the web page…. in review our expanding operations are growing nicely.  The new manure management program has successfully introduced worms into four more Manitoba farm steads.  We now have vermicomposting partners using sheep, cattle and horse manure.  Everyone is reporting worm colony growth and casting retrieval.  

Thank you to all the visitors who joined us at Northern Sun Co-op for the very special 30 year anniversary party at the Spring Solstice.  Celebrating off the grid life and sustainable farming with fine food and friends has been a joy.  

We are growing at full strength and ready and willing to get some castings or worms into your house and garden.


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Earth Machine composter.Many people are curious about using Red Composting worms in their outdoor composting bins.  There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to do this.  Red Wigglers or  Eisenia foetida are not indigenous to Northern climates, they are more tropical in nature and will die if left to freeze over the winter.  There is of course nothing stopping you from simply moving some inside in the Fall to over-winter in the basement.  They’ll need some maintenance in an indoor bin but most folks find this a good compromise.  You can also just buy new worms each spring though we don’t recommend this and over-wintering a bin is really easy.    

If you have a large enough compost heap, not bin, you may be able to keep your worms alive in the depths of cold.  We’ve been successful in that way over the years in Winnipeg and as you know, have kept our operation South of Stienbach outside the entire time.  Those worms thrive because they’re grown in one ton piles of cow manure, which as you can imagine generate quite a bit of heat all on their own.

Another point of interest is the habits of the worms themselves.  As “leaf litter” worms Red Wigglers occupy a certain layer of material.  Under the “leaf litter” yet above the top soil.  Picture a pile of old fallen leaves, when you flip it over you will always find a thin layer of decomposing material; this is the zone.  So, if you choose to have worms in your outside bin, you will need to have some form of mulch on top to mimic leaf litter and protect your colony.  You will also need to keep an eye on moisture levels, dry worms are dead worms.

The benefits of using worms in your composter are many; you create a superior product in the form of castings when compared to traditional compost and you will speed up the composting process.  The worms will live in the top 12 inches or so of the compost so you will need to occasionally mix or turn the material to keep the food supply readily available.



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Mother's Day 2014Mothers around the world are getting angry, and as any child can tell you, pissing off your Mom is not cool.  There’s only one thing worse than an angry Mom and that’s a worried or frightened one, when Mothers are worried they don’t back down, they source out the cause of their distress and wipe it out.  In nature angry scared Moms are the most dangerous thing out there.  This past week we’ve seen Mothers rise up to defend their children in Nigeria and the Ukraine fighting against impossible odds to create a safe and healthy future for their kids.  There is immense power in the love of a Mom and that’s the kind of energy it’s going to take to save our Mother Earth.  Women are the keepers of the water and land, once they start working together nothing can stop them.  This Mother’s Day thank a Mom in your life for all the great work they do in protecting the people and land.


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International Permaculture Day, a wonderful way to celebrate sustainable living, follow the link to find an event near you.   grow-local-live_final_png


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gone foreverThe seasons have turned a full circle and its Earth Day again. What can we say has changed for our home and provider? This year has seen more oil spills and the increase of the horribly destructive practice of Fracking. People all over Canada and the U.S. are feeling the pain in a close up and personal way. They can’t use the water from their wells now that fracking has polluted the water table in their area. They can’t grow food on lands made useless by pipeline spills and ruptures. They can’t eat fish caught from whole river systems so dirty the fish themselves are covered with ulcers and tumors. First Nation communities can’t safely teach their children the sustainable lifestyle they grew up to understand because that life off the land will now poison them.
The Tar Sands grow larger every day and the people who live in the region are dying from unusual cancers. Doctors have no explanation save the polluted land and water from the aggressive Tar Sand extraction. The Canadian Federal Government has purposely cash starved and muzzled the scientists that can explain and help heal our citizens. Yet the rape of our land continues.
The only motive behind this brutality is profit. The Canadian government has put all its eggs in the caldron of petroleum. No one benefits from this short sighted strategy except the echelon of big oil. The people who live on the land are dying; the workers at the plants of the Tar Sands make a bit of money then relocate to a safer environment. When all is said and done, all that’s left is uninhabitable wasteland; this is the legacy of the Harper Conservatives.
The wisdom of the First Nations Ancestors rings as true today as it did when first recorded in the late 1700’s…..
When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money
It’s not too late to listen!


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Spring budsNow that what seemed like our never ending winter season has turned into the beginnings of spring, it’s time for us to gear up and branch out.  NATURE’S PERFECT PLANT FOOD has some exciting plans for next few months.  We’ve had great response to our Manure Management Program  and will be “seeding” farmstead manure piles in the next few months.  Red worms will be invading a cattle, sheep and pig farms all over Manitoba, look for signs of happy farmers and very happy veggie gardens growing big with vermicast fertilizer. 

On the domestic front, worms have never been more popular or in demand and we don’t mean for parties and speaking engagements.  People are really embracing home vermicomposting.  It’s an easy and cost effective way to reduce your carbon footprint by keeping organic waste out of landfills.  We’ve been so overwhelmed by orders lately that we’ve had to implement a waiting list!  For those anxious to get started; rest assured your worm orders will be filled as soon as we can and now the Boss, Mother Nature is co-operating, we’ll be in touch. 


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602335_10153812880595066_92472188_nOne of the nicest things that can happen once you start a business venture be it large or small is “networking”.   It is our absolute pleasure to be able to assist various not for profit and charitable organizations in creating good things in our world.  Just such an opportunity has arisen tomorrow, we are proud to be the official composter for the event you see on this page. 

Global Climate Change has and will beget some very serious food shortages on our planet, considering we can’t feed all the people who live here now it’s more and more important to support local food production.  The message is clear and time is short, please follow the links and listen in.