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Ottawa: The Food Supply Chain and the Year 2000 Problem


Wed, 10 Mar 1999
Terry Cottam

"The Food Supply Chain and the Year 2000 Problem"

What: a weekend forum When: April 9-11 Where: Ottawa, Canada, TBA Price: Sliding-scale TBA

Object: create an Ottawa Valley task force to complete a transition to sustainable food and seed supplies by 2001. Gain popular support for boosting food production, and aim for sufficiently little hunger and other suffering that social cohesion is preserved, in order to organize future plantings, harvests, processing, bulk storage and delivery of food under rapidly changing and challenging living conditions.

We are looking for speakers on food supply and production, and participants from all over the Ottawa Valley and beyond. Join us in making this Forum a success. See our Bio-Regional Preparedness webpage, for a Supporting Statement, updates on this Forum, and other citizens groups engaged in sustainable food production. Or contact us for more information.

Best wishes,

Terry Cottam, President Y2K Regional Preparedness Group Y2K Centretown Preparedness Contact
(613) 236-6433

Tue, 23 Mar 1999
Cynthia Beal

Subject: Re: Food Supply Chain and Year 2000; two other events!

Hi Tom/Bagelhole...

The message you've quoted below was from Terry Cottam in Ottawa; I don't believe he's on this list. We posted Vasconcellos' information a couple of weeks ago. He's in your area. Are you having success working with him?

In Portland, Mayor Vera Katz has recently endorsed the Portland Citizen's Y2k group's efforts to institute the Global Action Plan's contingency planning project for neighborhoods. I believe you can read about it at, but I'm not sure. It is the work of David Gershon, Larry Shook, Lynn Peabody, Michael Dowd, and others.

It was mentioned here sometime back, as well. The workbooks are being printed this week, and we're hoping that the city of Portland moves forward on the project. If so, I imagine that we in Eugene will be able to participate. In any event, neighborhoods are meeting here, and several are waiting for the materials and plan to use them, whether we get formal city endorsement or not.

Thanks for your efforts and good luck.




On Mon, 22 Mar 1999 wrote:

In a message dated 3/22/99 4:53:44 PM, writes:

>>What can we do? --------------- We need to strengthen the food supply chain in the Ottawa Valley, bring the food producer and consumer closer together, localize food production and distribution, and ensure successful future plantings, harvests, processing, bulk storage and delivery of food under rapidly changing and challenging living conditions.

How can we do this?<<

Subj: Collaboration Date: Wednesday, March 17, 1999 12:18:54 AM
From: Bagelhole1

I am pasting a recent e-mail to Sen Vasconcellos so that you can see what I am hoping to accomplish. I am sending this to you to see if you can offer a way to support these ideas and help to manifest them. Looking forward to your response. Co-reliantly, Tom Osher San Francisco 415-824-4214

Subj: Citizen Collaboration for Community Contingency Preparation Date: Monday, March 15, 1999 11:25:35 PM From: To:

17 - Direct your Director of OES to convene immediately a blue ribbon advisory

team to develop for your consideration and adoption an emergency plan for the

State of California to deal with providing back-up provisions (especially of

food and water) to residents of California's economically marginalized

communities (who are unlikely to have resources necessary to purchase their

own stockpiles of such critical life-support commodities); such advisory team

should include members of various diverse community groups, and develop

recommendations for involving citizens and various associations in the design

and implementation, so it empowers target communities rather than increasing

long-term dependence on the state.

Dear Sir, Hi, my name is Tom Osher. I live in San Francisco, for the last 8 months or so, I've been averaging about 10 hours a day in front of the computer (I just bought) around the issue of Y2K. Consequently, I have a good idea with what is going on with y2k. I have been in contact with pretty much all the major y2k websites and "leaders". My focus since the beginning is to develop an ever- improving list of low-tech, homemade style ideas for sustainability.

Early on, it became clear to me that the best response to y2k, considering that the problem wouldn't be completely resolved by 2000, was community contingency prep. To prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Stockpiling to a degree seemed obvious, and simply required a few lists to help individual choose what to stockpile. Unfortunately, this seemed to be about all anyone could come up with as far as actually dealing with the issue of contingency.

Self-sustainable neighborhoods was the obvious answer to me. But how could that be brought about in such a short time remaining? That's when the idea of having a list of low-tech, homemade style sustainable ideas hit home. But this, in actuality, is a tricky proposition. Many of these ideas don't exist in books, but are in the heads of ingenious, handy/technical types who are out there in the field.

The self-sustainable movement has been around since the sixties, and there are no quick fixes, sustainability takes a long time, renewable energy is expensive, etc. What about indigenous people? They have a lot of low-tech methods in their traditions. So, I have found sites on the internet for them. And many other sites, which I have culled and now I have hundreds of sites, with volunteers culling them. I hope to have the beginning of this list up by April 4th on my unfinished website and the cassandra project and others.

Then its going to go to websites all over the world, and I hope to have an exponential increase in solicited ideas to make the list more comprehensive and better. The list will constantly be honed, to keep it from being too cumbersome. The ideas will be arranged by function, alphabetically, and by geography (desert, urban, rural, etc.) to make it as easy as possible for individuals to implement these ideas to make their neighborhoods self- sustainable and resilient. The existence of this list will help stem any waves of panic.

This is one way to help create substantive contingency. Now, there is an additional way, which is, to create 10,000 sq.ft. passive solar greenhouses synergistically operating in a self-sustainable manner, modeled from the greenhouses of New Alchemy out of Cape Cod, with Anna Edey. These ingenious greenhouses produce an incredible amount of organic food at the lowest possible costs, at the same time utilizing all of the best techniques that have been developed so far: aeroponics - a way of growing plants without soil, in a vertical manner, fed by nutrients thru a looped tubing. This method too has been proven, and is incredibly efficient and can be implemented relatively cheaply.

What I'm suggesting, is for these greenhouses to be constructed (in less than a month), utilizing the national guard or any group that is already being paid for their time an thus eliminating a further expense. The main cost being materials, glass, wood, tubing, cement, straw bales, seeds. The land would be land that is fallow, brown, or wasted.

I would like to bring you together with the experts to iron out the details. The costs would be minimal, considering the above. I would hope California could be the model for the rest of the world as to how to create a substantive contingency plan for its citizens, that would stave off any future disaster, and be for the good even if no disaster occurs.

These are the main ideas for real community contingency that I am happy to share with you. There are more ideas where these came from. But these are some of the big ones, that need to be acted on as quickly as possible, if they are going to be implemented in time for this coming winter.

From my experience on the web, I don't think you will find too many other substantive ideas out there, I hope I'm wrong. Thanks for your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.


Tom Osher