This week, I’m doing something totally different – I’m traveling through central Ontario, Canada. The area I am visiting is rural, agriculture being the main industry, but it’s done quite differently here. The landscape and layout of the population is completely different than California in a myriad ways.
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I’ve been visiting family in Cannington, Ontario. The farms, many of them still family-owned, are laid out logically according to the landscape.
The layout reflects the natural drainage of the landscape as there are rivers and creeks running through the area. They don’t really need to use irrigation here; there are no canals delivering water to the fields as nature provides more than enough on her own.
I saw mostly corn, barley, alfalfa and soybeans. Other top products from Ontario, Canada include dairy products, potatoes, peas, grapes, apples, peaches, and strawberries.
The countryside is laid out in a grid system of townships, with small towns dotting the landscape every few miles. You don’t get the feeling of viewing the rural poor – these are vibrant communities with businesses and strong community ties, places where people don’t bother to lock their doors, or in other words, the sort of small-town rural life you might tend to dream about. And here, everyone is doing okay – Canada is not experiencing the economic downturn that America is right now.
Canada’s rural population is 19.7% of the total population, as compared to 15.5% for the United States, and just 6% for California.
This area would be a locavore’s paradise; with such a distributed population across the countryside, it is very easy to eat locally grown produce. The produce section of the markets I’ve been in rival those we have in California (although perhaps not as big). The growing season is short, though; tomatoes haven’t come into season yet, and it’s the beginning of August. (It is the height of the season right now; it likely looks completely different during the winter.)
Since someone else is in charge of my work blog while I am up here, I took advantage of the time I am usually spend working in the morning to go out and play with the sunrise, and here are some of the results …
The abundant rainfall nourishes not only crops, but wildflowers too – there are still plenty of wildflowers around. (Unfortunately, the abundant rainfall also nourishes an abundant supply of bugs, too ….)