Prepare yourselves for a long rant.
So I think that I've officially been banned from having the right to pick out museums forever... Since we got here, I was really looking forward to going to the Canadian Agricultural Museum, as both a farmer and food fan. Because it was a gorgeous day, we decided to break out Andrew's brand new bike and ride there. Before we got there though, we made a quick stop at the Lansdowne Farmers Market where I saw this very entertaining carrot alien plant life:
(little did I know, this was preparing me for the rest of my day...)
Speaking of carrots, I made these carrot muffins in the dehydrator last night. I was trying to follow a new recipe for carrot cake I found, but found it very tasteless once I'd finished the mix. Instead of wasting it, I waved my own magic wand over it and turned it into something tasty. In the end, I used carrots, an apple, coconut flakes, ground spelt berries, cinnamon, salt, maple syrup, and chocolate chips. I iced them with a lemon cashew frosting made up of cashews, water, agave nectar, lemon, and a dash of salt. Finally, I topped them with candied walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds (all of those mixed with cinnamon, salt, and maple syrup, then dehydrated). Haven't tried them yet, but they sure are pretty!
But back to my freakish day... After a beautiful ride around the Ottawa canal, we got to the core of the Canadian government's agricultural space. I should have known better than to come here considering that most of their grounds are called "the Experimental Farm." Does experimental sound like a safe word to you? Considering that Canada is one of the world's top 3 GMO producing countries. I think "experimental farm" is a good euphemism for "place where scary gene manipulation happens that we don't ask our citizens about first". I hope I didn't get any GM-cross pollination in my lungs...
Despite that, I maintained my positive gung-ho attitude. I was initially very psyched about this whole trip. I thought this would be a place I could really relate to (if the pic is too small, it says "Friends of the Farm" on it):
But then we got to the actual museum... First stop, the animal barn. At that point, we were starting to figure we had crossed the gates into some animal welfare hell. Most of this I actually ended up not even having the heart to photograph. It started with completely depressed, overgrown, overfed, and sick looking cows (not that they were actually physically ill, but they were visibly not doing well). We then saw pigs that were literally bigger than me (I just can't imagine these ever existing before the advent of hormones). And finally, I saw this fun relatively normal looking goat:
which was great, until I turned a corner and saw this sign:
We knew then that I had definitely taken us to a Disneyland of mutant animals. However, none of the exhibit information panels even acknowledged that anything was wrong at all. Instead, it talked about how wonderful and profitable the Canadian pork industry is, how we get all sorts of products from cows, that transgenic mutation has all sorts of benefits (and insisted that the GM-goat is a totally "normal goat"... you know, the only difference being scientific manipulation and the fact that it now contains recombinant spider silk proteins in its milk... yes, spider genes). They also had tons of information on how this is just the way farming and science works now and it's all just peach keen. No questions. No second thoughts. No "maybe we should do this another way"...
I decided to keep on truckin' though. We'd made it this far and I was bound to find something positive about this trip. We next went to the bee exhibit that I had been looking forward to. Of course, that just ended up being a part of the museum funded by a big honey company that probably feeds its bees HCFS over the winter instead of letting them eat their own honey (yes, this does happen). I also learned that this is what we make beehives out of now in large honey factory farms:
Yes, that IS non-recyclable styrofoam. I never knew there was something wrong with a good old beehive. By the way, THIS is one of the millions of reasons we need to support local organic bee keepers. They keep bees happy and healthy and protected from this kind of insanity. They help bees do what they were born to do: pollinate plants, not live in styrofoam, not be trucked into a big box to pollinate pesticide-laden fields and be left to die of colony collapse disorder because we've ruined everything we touch that's even vaguely related to Nature.
And yes, I'm ranting, but today was yet another eye-opening experience for me on how flawed our system has become. No one stops to question it. Other people were just walking by, nodding their heads, like this all made sense and they were learning lots. Instead of asking questions, we are making museums out of this BS and teaching it as fact.
As icing on our cake, someone stole Andrew's bike by clipping our bike lock and making off with it. Luckily, they left mine... but we had to walk home, and it was a real bummer considering he got it under 48 hours ago.
Maybe I should send this carnivorous chickpea sprout we found in Andrew's dinner recently. It was feeding on quinoa sprouts:
What a day... It has at least made me really appreciate that I'm an organic and local-supporting raw vegan right now... You have no idea. Well, at least, I really hope you don't.
And I have muffins.