Changed by Pictures: My Experience with Photosensitive’s Picture Change

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If you could picture change, what would you see?

The progression of age in a human life, of day to night, the rise and fall of industry?

Would you see fascism fall become replaced by flags of democracy? Would Indigenous people gain the right to vote, or come to exist sovereignly within their homelands?

When I picture change, I will forever be reminded of an exhibit I became aware of through the Idle No More facebook feed online.

Hear it with me now: Click, click, click. Click… click… click.

Google claims that it answers more than a billion questions worldwide, every single day.  Of the queries that the search engine receives, 15% are unique. That percentage may represent the amount of ingenuous curiosity that anyone could expect from humanity online.

Nevertheless, the human mind is curious, uniquely or not. But to what end?

My position on facebook is generally slouched and wanting. I have come to expect very little return for whatever inquisitiveness that I bring to the social media website. So, when I found myself astonished and transformed by something that I ‘just happened’ to click one day in August, I was surprised.

I am still surprised.

One day, Idle No More’s official facebook page linked to a photography exhibit being held in Toronto. A quick browse of the Idle No More page will reveal that social consciousness and environmental activism are promoted passionately within that movement. I was interested in societal change already, but I had become somewhat indifferent in response to the many images that I viewed in a day.

Until Tammy.

Photo by Brynn Campbell. Story and biography found here. 

Tammy was my sister’s neighbour living in the projects that no one talks about, in Peterborough, Ontario.

The story that I carry about what living beside a person who is addicted to crack is a long one, and I will not share it here, except for this: I never saw Tammy as a person during the time when I came to know her, until I found these photos online.

Tammy was a head of unruly black hair, perched on top of a body that was constantly moving to music that no one else could hear.

She waved around a room. Her eyes behind her raven locks were darting and invisible; but no one could help but hear her voice. Tammy would tell us story after story, sometimes lie after lie, but her intentions were generally good. She was actually a kind of delight to be around. But I never saw her face.

I had to study Brynn Campbell’s photos of Tammy at length to believe what I was actually seeing. My sister’s neighbour. A person. She was alive, and well, and telling stories, still. Who I was seeing.

I was elated. I was moved. I was changed.

After studying Brynn’s photos of Tammy, I worked my way through the rest of the exhibit:

The female child in Myanmar posing sultrily under posters of Western women who are half-nude: Photograph by Albert Normandin

The three calendar girls of the Claremont Retirement Residence smiling proudly in precious, amicable embrace: Photograph by Irene Borins Ash

Homeless Joe, who reminds me of so many men I came to know during years of volunteer work in a Moncton, New Brunswick shelter: Photograph by Pawel Dwulit

Each of these (and so many more of the photos on the Photosensitive site) are thought provoking. In my interview with Brynn, she stated proudly that the best of photography is highlighted in this exhibit. I agree in so much as I see real, whole human lives in each photo.

I do not believe I am alone in capacity for finding intensity and power in photographs. Perhaps it is possible that one of the 100 photos at the Picture Change exhibit is waiting to change you.

The exhibit runs at 123 Front Street West in Toronto, Ontario until November 18, 2013.

I encourage everyone to get eye to eye with it, and to follow Photosensitive online here and here  as they bring us more of their amazing work.

Map to the Picture Change Exhibit

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Keep calm, love yourself

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By Emmanuel Ponce

It’s Friday. You’re sitting at your regular spot having a brew with your buddy after a long day at work. The hurried waiter dashes by your table, and turning your head to watch him go into the kitchen, your eye catches the cute brunette sitting at the bar having a drink with her friend. Unexpectedly, she looks over your direction and makes eye contact, even adding a playful smirk. Her body shifts slightly on the stool, she crosses her legs, and—what’s this?—while twirling her hair, she sends another quick, reassuring glance from afar. Green light, champ. Go introduce yourself. Hell, your friend’s just scrolling through his Instagram, anyway. But those all too familiar voices manifest in your mind:

She’s with her friend. She probably doesn’t want to be bothered.

I don’t even know what to say after I introduce myself. It’ll be too awkward.

She probably has a boyfriend.

You look over one more time, hoping for just one more obvious invitation. She’s not there. She and her friend vanished. In their place is a guy in a business suit leaning over the bar struggling to get the bartender’s attention.

This scenario is familiar to a lot of men. Why is it that so many of them don’t take the risk and approach a woman, whatever social setting they may be in? Fear of rejection.

Adrian Desmond is no stranger to this fear. As early as elementary school, Adrian first experienced rejection with his first-time crush, Tori Tizzard. Adrian spent years holding onto this crush on Tori without uttering a word to her, feeling he had nothing going for him, both physically and intellectually, and thinking he had to be somebody he wasn’t. Fear of rejection, then, originated not only at an early age, but also created mounting pressures on him that hindered the growing confidence he was developing from his precocious music abilities.

interviewpic3I remember being so overwhelmed by the fear of rejection that I spent years having a crush on this girl without telling her how I ever really felt

With no strong father figure in his life, Adrian relied on the tough love he received from his mother, his older brother acting as a role model, and even learning from confident male characters on after-school television shows to finally start breaking through his insecurities by the end of high school. Approaching women was still daunting as ever, though. However, at the time of its early stages, online dating offered an alternative and a way to perhaps mitigate that fear.

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We need start looking inwards instead of out there into the web of infinite lies and truths

Detailed in his interview, Adrian discusses how online dating was a crutch, an initial escape from real-world rejection with women. He says that the first step to overcoming that fear is to truly believe in yourself, to believe down to your core that you have something to offer to the world, and as long as you have that, you can take the leap and make the approach.

 

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I wasn’t willing to put myself out there just because of the feeling of getting burned

Within the first few minutes of meeting Johnson Khamo, you may get the impression that he’s not the type of guy who has issues approaching women.  Despite his outgoing personality, Johnson hasn’t always been like that, especially around women. Like Adrian, Johnson’s first experience with the fear of rejection traces back to an early age—a girl he wanted to ask out to a dance in high school, but rejected him because she only saw him as a friend. Even after high school, Johnson still felt timid, and was not willing to take those risks of asking a girl out, even if she showed interest in him.

298780_10150406122446007_1906317555_nThere is no one perfect person for anyone, but you will be perfect for someone

This state of shyness, however, soon dissipated as Johnson opened himself up more to his closest role models: his older brother and father. Most teenagers keep to themselves when it comes to personal topics, but for Johnson, his family transcends such notions; he loves talking and being together with them. When it came to the fear of rejection with women, Johnson’s older brother told him, “It happens. Nobody’s perfect for anyone. You just have to keep going.” And from that advice, that brotherly wisdom, Johnson began to find a new confidence—one that would radiate in his everyday conversations with people and ease that fear of taking that unavoidable first step to approaching women.

In Johnson’s interview, a more complete account of how his experiences influenced his fear of rejection is discussed, and, at the end, offers his steps to approaching a woman, whether it’s at the bar, coffee shop, or bookstore. Watch out, ladies!

It’s not all in your head

By Mark Van Dompseler

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In the dead of a summer’s night last July, nineteen-year-old Allison recalls waking up to a flurry of incoming texts that would change her forever.

“Have you heard about Emma?”

“Are you okay?”

It was hard for Allison to picture her best friend of many years accidentally falling from the roof of Peterborough’s city bus terminal, plunging to her death.  Emma’s untimely passing signaled the beginning of Allison’s ordeal with severe anxiety and depression, a battle that she continues to fight today.

“Since then, I couldn’t get rid of any kind of sadness,” she says quietly.  “Nothing could drag me from the depths of that sadness.”

In the days and months that followed, Allison withdrew from her friends and family, isolating herself inside her bedroom.  “None of my other friends could understand.”

She began to cut herself.  First came the scissors.  Then, she moved on to sharper and more dangerous tools, ranging from chef’s knives to X-acto blades.  The thoughts of suicide were overwhelming at some points.  As her mental health continued to decline, Allison’s family encouraged her to seek treatment.

She spoke with a counselor, a social worker and a doctor, who diagnosed her as being clinically depressed.  She entered group therapy.  She began taking Cipralex, upping the dosage after having little to no success with the initial prescription.  Allison and the professionals who tried to help her focus primarily on the psychological part of her traumatic experiences, but pay less attention to the physiological aspects of the problem.  The idea that the mind and body are mutually exclusive and must be treated separately prevails.

Bioenergetic analysis, for example, is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the interrelations between the human mind, body and emotion.  Proponents of bioenergetics believe that conditions like depression and anxiety are almost always rooted in the body, and can be traced back to the inability for emotional expression, either from not having certain needs fulfilled or through chronic muscular tension, which inhibits day-to-day motion and activity.

My Infographic

Alexander Lowen, the founder of bioenergetics analysis, says that “you are your body; your head doesn’t control it”:

When asked about bioenergetics analysis, Allison admits that she has never heard of it.  After a brief explanation of its core tenets, her face lights up.  She tells of her experiences with dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), which focuses heavily on the idea of mindfulness and bodily awareness.

Bioenergetics analysis goes a bit further in regards to the significance of the body. Valerie Anderson, a psycho-educational consultant for the Peel District School Board, believes that bioenergetics can work wonders for individuals who are suffering from mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

“With mindfulness, what you do is go into something, you just learn to accept it.  With bioenergetics, you kinda go into something and you … work at releasing it,” says Anderson.

She explains that this form of “body psychotherapy” emphasizes the importance of ‘grounding,’ or the physical connection one has to the Earth.  Oftentimes, mental disorders are so psychologically draining that it feels as though a person’s head is floating away like a helium balloon.  Bioenergetics analysis uses specific physical exercises that focus on affective expression, which are designed to ease physical tension within the body.  These “release” exercises are thought to help facilitate a more useful and therapeutic working through of one’s issues.  Asked what he does when he is depressed, Florida-based strength and conditioning coach Elliot Hulse goes through this ‘bioenergizing’ drill:

Many of the expressive practices and exercises are different than most ideas people have about ‘therapy,’ and can seem a bit intimidating because of how unconventional they are.  This reluctance is something Anderson is aware of.

“I’ve seen [bioenergetics] work for lots of people.”  I can’t say I haven’t seen it work … I think some people are afraid of it,” she says.

Allison might not perform exercises like these directly, but she finds the time to physically and emotionally express herself, usually through contemporary dance or yoga.  One can almost consider any activity that brings joy to be bioenergetic, in a sense.  People’s minds are constantly occupied with text message conversation and social networks, to the point that bodies are nearly forgotten.  Bioenergetics analysis is concerned with the relation one has to their body and to other people, meaning that the increasingly digital nature of human relationships presents many challenges for this form of psychotherapy.

Allison is feeling much better these days.  She confides that her new boyfriend is helping her to cope with past trauma, and is helping her lead a more enjoyable life.

Quoting her doctor, Allison says: “Love is a better treatment than any pill I can give you.”

What does organic mean to you?

By Laura Broadley

The path that our food takes from the farm to our plates is often lost in the bright lights and elevator music of grocery stores. Bread doesn’t grow in the ground, oranges don’t juice themselves, and beef certainly doesn’t appear in neatly sliced filets lining the butcher counter. The variety and quantity of food markets allows people to have products that they wouldn’t normally have access to. An amalgamation of food lowers the price, but at what cost?

When the lives of living things are altered for the worse because of convenience it is time to questions the practices that make life easier. Farm animals are at the losing end of an industrialized farming system. Organic farming connects people to their food. The connection is essential to the well being of people and animals.

“Organic foods are grown and harvested without the use of synthetic (man-made) pesticides and fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), antibiotics and growth hormones. Organic foods are also less ‘processed’. This means they have fewer preservatives like sulphates and nitrates. Instead, organic foods are grown with natural or non-synthetic pesticides.

The failure of organic meat to fully integrate into mainstream stores is both a salute and curse to organic farmers. It maintains the integrity of the farming for customers to travel to the farms to purchase their meat from the place that it was born, lived, and ultimately died to give them food. This practice takes time and drives up the price of meat. According to an informal survey the reason that people wouldn’t want to eat organic meat is not because of price but because of taste and because they believe that it is healthier than the alternatives.

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The question remains as to why the organic meat is not catching on in the mainstream psyche and plates of the public. The former Deputy Acting Undersecretary for the USDA, Dr. Scott Hurd DVM, believes that the answer lies in research that says that organic meat is no better for you.

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Dr. Hurd’s research concludes that organic meat is not better than conventional because it does not have significantly less antibiotic resistant bacteria or food borne pathogens than conventional. When asked about the ethics of conventional over organic, he wrote:

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The blog discusses the issue of Antibiotic Free farming and the ethics of not treating animals who are sick. While the point is justified, there is no mention of farming practices that do use antibiotics when there is a requirement or the ethics of just letting animals live without interference.

On the other side of the spectrum, organizations like PETA believe that any sort of farming, even organic, is unethical. In a blog post by PETA UK the author writes that organic labelling means nothing because there is very little regulation with farmers using it as a way to drive sales. One commenter wrote:

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Obviously there are labels thrown onto every product in an attempt to increase market value and those products are unethical. Simply by being overused, the genuine meaning of organic is rendered ineffective. What about the farms who truly do treat the animals well? Organic certification aside, a farmer who treats his or her animals with respect deserves the comfort of knowing his or her customers will keep coming back.

There are over 600 Certified Organic farms in Ontario alone. This number is steadily declining according to data released by the Organic Council of Ontario. A map of some of the available organic farms in Southern Ontario can be found here. This map does not represent all of the options available to people looking for organic food.

Whole Circle Farm in Acton, Ontario is an example of what a farm could and should be like. Johann and Maggie Kleinsasser have been the stewards of the farm since 2002.

Whole Circle Farm - Acton, ON

Whole Circle Farm – Acton, ON

The farm offers Community Supported Agriculture, Organic beef and pork, as well as Organic grains and produce. The farm is based on sustainability, health and ethics to provide people with nutritious food. This Whole Circle Farm CSA member believes in the power of organic farming for animal welfare.

Johann Kleinsasser, steward of Whole Circle Farm

Johann Kleinsasser, steward of Whole Circle Farm

The example I want to use its like an orchestra. So there’s the musicians making music and they’ve got the conductor… who leads the orchestra and guides them. This is what I see my role as in the farm. Each part of the farm is like a musician making music… my task or… my sacred responsibility is to guide that music.

Cows and chickens can be seen running around late into the evening at Whole Circle Farm and it is hard for one to believe that there is a better way to raise animals that humans intend to eat. It is farms like this that must be protected if humans are to maintain a connection with animals and the food they eat.

Cows at Whole Circle Farm

Cows at Whole Circle Farm

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The Unnamed Sensation

By Katie Baird

The video camera is pointed at an empty wall while a woman stands behind it making gentle scissor snipping sounds. Occasionally she comes in to view, moving as if to brush hair out of the camera’s lens. She’s pretending to give you, the viewer, a haircut. She works away for an uneventful 30 minutes before she tells you look great, and the film ends. It’s unbelievably boring. And some people can’t get enough of it.

This is what has come to be known as an ASMR video. It’s created in an attempt to trigger the recently named ASMR phenomenon, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Fans describe it as a distinct, highly pleasurable sensation. It’s generally felt as a tingling or fizzing sensation in the head and neck. Fans say that aside from feeling great, it induces relaxation, reduces anxiety and can promote sleep.

 
 

It occurs in an unknown portion of the population in response to particular stimuli. Triggers are diverse but often include exposure to gentle noises, personal attention, or skilled handiwork. Videos are created to stimulate as many triggers as possible in an attempt to induce the response in the audience. Most feature roleplaying (simulated makeovers, doctor’s visits, or portrait sessions), or soft noises (whispering, playing with toys, or opening packages).

Virtually overnight, large online communities devoted to this sensation have cropped up. Presumably, these tingly pleasures are not new to humanity. And yet they remained unidentified for thousands of years, providing secret thrills to a lucky few.

“I’ve had ASMR since I was a kid, but didn’t know that anyone else had it,” says Alexander, a Toronto ASMR fan who asked that his full name be withheld. “You can’t ask everyone you meet if they ever get a funny feeling in their head when they see people draw. You’d sound like a creep. Even with the internet it’s hard to describe what you mean, but I guess enough of us have found each other that now we’re starting to gain momentum.”

And gain momentum they have. Five years ago, the ASMR community did not exist. ASMR didn’t even have a name. Slowly at first, through discussions in online forums and blogs, a community started forming. Now, it has thousands of fans working gratis at creating videos, reaching new audiences, and conducting research into their favourite unexplained sensation. Followers on social media sites now number in the hundreds of thousands, with many millions of video views on YouTube.

The science behind ASMR largely remains a mystery. The causes and prevalence are unknown, though parts of the community are involved in research advocacy. Andrew MacMuiris, Outreach Agent for the ASMR Research and Support site, says that the group was involved in recruiting participants for a study at Dartmouth College earlier in the year, though the results have not yet been made public.

“I think it’s safe to assume that ASMR is definitely more common than we originally thought. It’s believed by some that everyone may experience ASMR to some degree. Some are just more aware of it, or more sensitive to stimuli which triggers it,” says MacMuiris.

One thing is for sure; ASMR is not going away any time soon. With hundreds of thousands of users exploring ASMR through social media, and millions of views on YouTube, the word is getting out about ASMR. Not bad for something that didn’t have a name for thousands of years.

World Baton Twirling Championship is the closest thing to the Olympics for Twirlers

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Nationals Baton Corp Practice

Nationals Baton Corp Practice

By: Kylie Conner

Three times a week, 2 hours a practice and weekend competitions. That’s the life of a competitive baton twirler. They practice their tricks and routines until they are blue in the face all so that they might have a chance at making it to International Cup or the World Championships. With all of these practices on their plates already baton becoming an Olympic sport could really up the anti of their hopes and dreams.

“You don’t just jump in and become an Olympic sport, but baton has two very large world organizations and I think that they are both very successful.” Said Jennifer Olsen, Group Representative for Ontario Baton Twirling Association (OBTA).

The World Baton Twirling Championships and International Cup are held on alternating years in different host cities around the world. These competitions give athletes a goal to work toward throughout the year. Some athletes even work on perfecting their routines for the two years leading up to Worlds (the higher level competition).

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Two young girls from Nationals Baton Corp in Whitby, Ontario said that their goals right now are to work on their tricks and routines so that they can one day make it to International Cup. If baton were to become an Olympic sport they said “We would definitely be interested and work harder on our tricks.”

Nationals Baton Corps Practice

Nationals Baton Corps Practice

If you take a trip down to the states baton has a lot bigger of a presence than it does in Canada. The costumes are full of rhinestones, the classic “baton moms” are cheering up in the bleachers and there are a lot more opportunities for competing.

Pauline McKnight a mom of two twirlers in Nationals Baton Corp said that she hopes “They [her kids] could maybe get a scholarship in the U.S [for school] because Canada doesn’t really offer them.”

Since baton is an ever-changing sport it is possible that one day it could become a certified Olympic sport. Until then all the hopeful athletes can do is wait to see what the future holds.

In the meantime Olsen said “There’s lots of opportunities for kids in different organizations all around the world and I think that baton isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I think if anything baton will just continue to get stronger.”

Click here to see what social media says.

Farms – They are a changin’

By Chelsea Holdsworth

If you travel 25km outside of any one of Canada’s major cities, chances are you will find yourself surrounded by large fields. If you drive a little farther, you will soon see both functioning and dilapidated farms along the same road. It won’t take you long to realize that agriculture and farming is a large part of Canadian culture, and in fact it has been for centuries. The truth is Canada boasts a vast, fertile landscape, capable of providing its entire population with every necessary food product for the average Canadian diet. Despite this, Canada imported $2.5 billion worth of vegetables and $4.3 billion worth of fruit and nut products last year. Each year as Canada continues to import cheap, international produce, small Canadian farmers lose a substantial amount of market-share. In order to take back market-share, farmers need to be incredibly creative when designing solutions. In response, Community Supported Agriculture systems (CSA’s) have been popping up across Canada over the past few years.

Alvaro Venturelli is co-owner of Plan B Organic Farm located in the Hamilton area. “Farmers don’t really have access to markets,” he says. “So, they need to build their own markets.” This is precisely what CSA’s have allowed farmers to do.

“Farmers don’t really have access to markets…so, they need to build their own.”

Created by Chelsea Holdsworth

Created by Chelsea Holdsworth

Every farm that participates in a CSA program can set its own boundaries and operations. Plan B Organic is is run by Alvaro, his wife Melanie, and his brother Rodrigo. The farm services 1000 shareholders, which is no small endeavor. “The web has been helpful,” says Venturelli, “and most of our clients are city people.”

Simpler Thyme Organic Farm, located in Hamilton, also participates in a CSA program but only services 40 members. “We used to service 100 shares,” explained Bill Orosz, a partner in Simpler Thyme, “but we are slowly scaling back because we want to move into retirement.”

Gord Williams, co-owner of Williams Brothers, speaks with a customer at the Hamilton Farmers Market. Photo by Chelsea Holdsworth

Some small-scale farmers still attempt to increase market-share by selling produce wholesale to grocers and by participating in local farmers markets. The difficulty of these traditional markets is that wholesale often leaves farmers at the mercy of extremely low market prices and farmers markets impose stall fees and do not guarantee consistent purchasing schedules.

Both Simpler Thyme and Plan B Organic also sell their product in local farmers markets around the Hamilton area, but more than 85% of their produce is pre-designated to their shareholders.

The greatest benefit of participating in a CSA is that farmers know exactly how much produce they need to harvest in any given week. This reduces waste and over-harvesting, and it allows for consistent, guaranteed income at the beginning of the growing season that assists in the everyday operation of the farm. The CSA model also disperses the risk on investment from being concentrated on the individual farmer and their family to being covered by the shareholders in the event of a potential threat to the product.

Buttrums Farms sells home-grown vegetables as well as imported products at the Hamilton Farmers Market. During the winter months it is increasingly difficult to harvest enough food to fill their stand at the market.

Buttrums Farm sells home-grown vegetables as well as imported products at the Hamilton Farmers Market. During the winter months it is increasingly difficult to fill enough of their stand at the market to keep their stall.

While it might appear that small-scale farms are being phased out of the Canadian economy because of the readily available produce at large grocery stores, the demand for local produce is actually on the rise. As more and more people recognize the benefits of eating local and organic, small farms are seeing an increase in the demand for their crops. The demand is so high that farmers are having difficulty keeping up. “You know that campaign that says ‘Farmers Feed Cities’?” asked Orosz. “The truth is farmers can’t feed cities – they can’t keep up. It used to be that there were 100’s of farms servicing people all over the place. Now there are only 2 or 3.”

According to a Statistics Canada report, Canada has lost over 16,000 family farms from 2005-2009. Ontario alone has seen a decrease of over 10%, losing over 2,830 family farms in that same period of time.

Local farms have no choice but to recognize that they are  unable to fulfill the demand, and it will continue to become even more difficult if more farms continue to close year after year. Farms such as Everdale, located in Hamilton, have begun to offer workshops to help people learn basic farming skills. Their list of workshops includes topics such as small-scale gardening, weed control, and introduction to beekeeping. Everdale even has a training program for individuals interested in starting their own small farming business.

“To fulfill the demand, people need to be growing their own produce,” says Orosz, even though this means directing away so called ‘business’ from already existing farms. Small-scale farmers know that they will never be able to fulfill all the demand, and therefore they support anyone who wants to get into the field of farming.

While local farmers are fighting to take back their market share, other threats are also becoming pressing concerns. Changing weather patterns, pesticide use, and the use of toxic waste on farmlands are all current concerns that threaten the success of small farms. Depending on where a farm is located or which produce it harvests, each farm could be affected by either one or all of these threats.

There is one such threat that is no respecter of farms, no matter the circumstances –  the continual decrease in bee populations. “They are finding millions of bees dead, not knowing why,” said Orosz. “Humans can only live so long without bees, and they don’t realize it.”

Creative solutions like CSA’s have made a huge difference in the business of small-scale farming, and the benefits are evident in the success of the program. While CSA’s only solve the problem of market-share, one can hope that other comparably creative solutions to other threats will be equally successful.

Kitchener-Waterloo photographer donates profits to the Humane Society

by Heather Nentwig

I run a business called Heather Nentwig Photography, and I donate any profits earned from animal photography directly to the Humane Society to help keep the shelter and pets taken care of.

This is a slideshow of some recent animal photography in which donations were taken to the Humane Society.

Having dealt with depression in high school and overcoming that, I wholeheartedly believe it was my pets that helped me get through. Studies prove that animals help people stay healthy, and I think there are a lot of people out there who could benefit from owning and helping animals from the Humane Society. (visit BBC News article).

Growing up, I was always taken to the Humane Society to play with the animals there. Any time we had a family pet, and there were many of them, they were from the Humane Society. It has always been a part of my life and I decided it was time to give back now that my business is starting to thrive. It’s never the wrong time to start helping a cause you care about.

Animals don’t have the ability to speak in order to stand up for themselves in abusive situations like people do. I want my donations to help keep the Humane Society Education program running in order to help prevent mistreatment of animals. I feel like knowledge about proper treatment of animals is key for children. I was in an abusive relationship and I stuck up for myself, but these animals don’t have that power. In my own way, I feel that I am choosing to be the voice for them.

I created an ad on Vine that I can share with clients, and ultimately spread the word about this plan I am offering.                                                                                            

Having three cats and a dog of my own, I decided to stick to another method of helping the Humane Society than adopting animals, otherwise I’d have a house full of cats and dogs. This led to donating profits. People have taken the idea very well so far. People with pets are the perfect candidates to help out because they want to see the animals in the shelter taken care of like their own pets, and who doesn’t love cute animal pictures?

Natalie Lenio, a client whose wedding I photographed, spoke to me about her experience with this donation idea and how she felt about it.

I have a following on twitter where I keep people up to date on shoots, interact with the Humane Society, send and receive comments from customers, and post pictures that I take. This has been helpful to gain for clients and keep people informed on my interaction with the Humane Society.

So far, many of my clients are returning customers, though I hope that this idea catches on in the area and more people sign up, either through advertising or from other clients spreading this information. The Humane Society runs mainly on donations, and I’m hoping to be able to bring in as many as I can.

“Without your donations, we really couldn’t do what we do,” says Krista, a vet tech student who is working part time at the Humane Society.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society is one of the largest in Ontario, offering an exquisite educational program as well as space to hold more pets than most Humane Societies. It allows for 62 dogs and 165 cats to be held however it can hold 400 animals in an emergency situation.

We strongly believe that it is through a vibrant education program that we will be able to reduce the reasons why animals are mistreated, neglected and relinquished

(Visit KW Humane Society)

For more information on donating to the Humane Society through Heather Nentwig Photography, go to www.heathernentwig.com or follow posts on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s donate together!

Every horse matters

By: Amy Cleveland

Her business is the platform that allows her to save horses that would otherwise go for slaughter. Anthea Larke is a horse saviour.

Most animal lovers steer clear of the meat auctions. Seeing the animals they love being herded towards their impending death would be too much for most people. However, Anthea Larke has willingly taken this upon herself for decades. Rescuing horses from the clutches of meat buyers is a way she feels she can give back to the horses that have given her so much.

Horses have been a significant part of most of Anthea Larke’s life. She has owned and operated her own riding stables for over 30 years, and Meadowlarke Stables is currently the only riding school remaining in Mississauga. Amidst the box stores and industrial warehouses that have popped up around Highway 401 and Winston Churchill Boulevard, Anthea’s stable remains a popular destination for suburban kids looking for a taste of the country.

Anthea Larke with some of her most successful rescue horses. From left to right: Timmy, Don Juan, Taz, and Huey. (Source: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition).

Anthea Larke with some of her most successful rescue horses. From left to right: Timmy, Don Juan, Ace, and Huey with Anthea. All of these horses have competed at the highest level in Ontario. (Source: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition).

She learned about the prevalence of horses at the Ontario meat auctions through her pursuit of horses for her school. Anthea was forced to confront the difficult reality of the meat industry, “I realized the horses were sold by the pound. So, just the flesh off their bodies was the only thing that was important.” Horses of all ages and experiences end up at the auctions through no fault of their own. This defies the common notion that the only animals you find there are “junk.”

Kiki was rescued from the auctions. She was extremely timid and very afraid of people. Anthea was kicked in the process of training Kiki, which earned the pony her name. Anthea persevered and Kiki began to trust people.

Kiki was rescued from the auctions. She was extremely timid and very afraid of people. Anthea was kicked in the process of training Kiki, which earned the pony her name. Anthea persevered and Kiki began to trust people.

Anthea’s roster of school horses are living proof that many horses sent to slaughter have the potential to do great things. Watching the horses that she has rescued over the years be rehabilitated and compete at high levels or become wonderful school horses is her greatest personal accomplishment. Anthea reinforces that saving horses lives is “number one for me.”

It does not come without its many challenges though, and she is quick to identify the inherent difficulties involved in what she does. She is often forced to sit back while she witnesses countless animal rights infractions. People like her are perceived as troublemakers, and are often confronted with threats and intimidation by the meat buyers.

However, the biggest obstacle she faces is much more personal. Regardless of how many horses she saves, she is haunted by the ones that she could not. She estimates that on a weekly basis about 50-75 horses go through the meat auction she frequents. Anthea wants to save them all, but that is just not a reality. There are far too many horses being sent to the auctions, and not nearly enough people willing to do something about it.

Kiki was unable to be used in the school due to an unknown condition. She now enjoys her days in a field in Brampton owned by Anthea.

Kiki was unable to be used in the school due to an unknown condition. She now enjoys her days in a field in Brampton owned by Anthea.

She is one of the few that persevere. Although she does not feel like she is doing nearly enough, almost 85% of her horses have been rescued from slaughter since Meadowlarke Stables opened in 1979. She currently has about 14 horses that are “not exactly paying their way,” and end up spending the rest of their days munching on hay or grass in a field.

It is not a rare occurrence for people selling horses to drug them to appear healthy. That does not deter Anthea. The horses she saves who can be ridden pay for the horses that cannot, and once those horses come to retirement age the next group of rescues pays for them. This enables her to continue doing the work she loves. Her passion for horses and animal welfare will continue to drive her forward as she tries to give as many horses as she can a second chance at life. 

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“Why would you attack a sport where nobody’s hurting you, nobody has weapons…it’s a very positive thing.”-Doug Flis

By: Paris Adams

I’ve always had a passion for the sport of running. Running has been a large part of my life and I’ve always wanted to complete my first marathon. The completion of the Boston Marathon is one my long-term goals.

My love for the sport began years ago, and part of enjoyment came from an early instructor…Doug Flis.

After the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013, a lot has changed in the marathon and running world. There has been the implementation of new safety regulations, new security expectations and different emotions from Boston Marathon qualifiers and participants. In my project I interviewed Doug Flis to get a veteran marathon runner and Boston Marathon qualifier’s opinion about the Boston Marathon in 2014. I also followed the positive Twitter feedback to get the public’s reaction.

Photograph is provided by The Villager

The city of Grimsby has a large running community. One of the most well known runners in this small town is Doug FlisHe is the co-founder of Grimsby Runners, which is a store located in Grimsby, Ontario that sells running gear and organizes a variety of running groups and events. He has also completed 75 marathons and a 24-hour race (115 miles). Doug has participated in 25 Around the Bay races and many independent runs for charity (Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Children’s Hospital, and the Run for the Bus which raised money for children in the Caribbean who cannot afford transportation). Another outstanding achievement of Doug’s is that he has qualified for the Boston Marathon 13 times and completed the Boston Marathon 6 times.

Doug was not there to witness the bombing at the Boston Marathon last year, but he knew people either racing or being a spectator on the sidelines. He mentions his reactions to his close friends being there in the interview listed below. He has also helped over 20 people qualify for the Boston Marathon in the past two years. When interviewing Doug, it became evident that he has high hopes for the Boston Marathon in 2014. Doug had explained that you cannot be scared to go out and live your life. Runners are faced with dangers everyday and we need to continue to achieve our goals without living with fear.

Photograph is provided by the St.Catharine’s Standard

Doug also stated that not only will things change for runners in upcoming marathons, but spectators as well. Spectators and runners will no longer hang around the finish line and they will also feel a little less safe than they did before.

The Boston Marathon in 2014 has been receiving a lot of positive feedback on Twitter. The Boston Marathon organization committee is also creating a lot of positive feedback by allowing everyone who did not finish the marathon last year to race in the marathon this year.

Overall, after hearing Doug Flis’s thoughts and following the Boston Marathon of 2014 on Twitter it becomes evident that there are more positive reactions than negative reactions towards the upcoming marathon. Runners are motivated to run in the Boston Marathon more than ever!

Articles Related to Doug Flis:

These are some articles found in the media related to Doug Flis and his amazing accomplishments through his running career. These articles contribute to Doug Flis and the Boston Marathon because all of the content relates to Doug’s philosophy about achieving your goals without living with fear.

“See Doug Run”

“100 Miles of Hope” –Interview about 100 Miles of Hope 

Other Forms of Social Media:

I’ve created a Storify page that lists tweets from Twitter and pictures from Instagram, which display the positive feedback towards the Boston Marathon in 2014. I’ve created a slide show on WeVideo of photographs from Doug’s incredible running career (photos were provided by Doug Flis and other various social media outlets listed in the slide show). I’ve also created a video on WeVideo that displays my interview with Doug Flis about his feelings towards the Boston Marathon in 2014. Lastly, there is a poll to see what you think of the upcoming Boston Marathon!

Storify (Tweets related to the Boston Marathon)

WeVideo (Photographs from Doug Flis’s running career)

WeVideo (Interview with Doug Flis about his feelings towards the Boston Marathon in 2014)