The BC Blueberry Council's AGM,
Field Day, and Protest!
On Saturday morning, June 01, we held our first protest of 2002, as we picketed the BC Blueberry Council's annual general meeting and field day at the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) building. We were able to gather together a good number of propane cannon victims on short notice and we met in front of the MAFF building ready to protest.
One of our members raised the question, "Did the Blueberry Council pay to rent this impressive facility or was this a freebie paid for by us, the tax payer, the very same people who are being harassed by blueberry cannons? It makes you wonder doesn't it?"
In any event the protest went very well from our perspective. We arrived first and had our picket signs in place before the event organizers knew what hit them.
Roger then introduced himself and told the berry folks that we were just a peaceful, non-hostile group, wanting to simply express our views and protest the blueberry community's use of noise polluting devices such propane cannons, AV Alarms, etc.
Our group has met the MAFF and Blueberry Council members before and they are all nice people. It is a real puzzle to us how these same people can condone and promote the use of propane cannons, a practice that disrupts the lives and enrages thousands of Fraser Valley residents. It is quite beyond belief!
We set up our protest signs in such a manner that the blueberry growers had to drive past us and then walk or run the gauntlet of placard waving protestors to get to their meeting. Our goal was to make it perfectly clear to these people that we are angry and frustrated about propane cannons, and we are not going away any time soon. We will be in their faces until finally, sanity prevails and these noise makers are silenced!
Our one disappointment was that only about fifty of the opposition showed up and at least ten were ministry staff or Blueberry Council big wigs. When you consider that there must be upwards of a thousand blueberry farms in the valley, and this was supposed to be the Blueberry Council's Annual General Meeting and Field Day, their event was a big flop. We made the most of it however! We also feel that most of the growers who didn't bother to show up, will probably ignore the new cannon regulations as well, but we will be pressuring MAFF personnel and Municipal Governments to take action this summer on behalf of normal farmers and non-farm residents alike who are victims of propane cannons.
And to conclude, it was a good morning and I think the group felt that we got our message across.
After the protest your web master drove home along Vye Road, westbound from the Sumas Way highway, and passed mile upon mile of raspberry fields. These plants have just finished leafing out, and the rows were all neatly tilled to keep down the weeds, etc. It was a beautiful sight.
I thought to myself, aren't we lucky that these farmers do not use propane cannons. Birds of all kinds eat raspberries as well as blueberries. And these fields are in the same location as blueberry plantings.
We are very fortunate that the raspberry community is a much more sensible and responsible group when it comes to noise pollution.
I kept the image of the raspberry fields in the back of my mind as I continued westbound and crossed LeFeuvre Road. Here the blueberry fields become more prominent. And what I saw made me shake my head. The rows of blueberries again were neatly laid out, but instead of the ground being tilled, the foliage along these rows was still present, but all browned out. These farmers chose to nuke their weeds with herbicides rather than tilling the soil to rid themselves of weeds. One blueberry grower was actively spraying as I drove past.
I guess blueberries thrive on more than just noise pollution. Herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides are also a big part of blueberry production.
(We will be getting into this in much more detail very soon!)
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