Tweed -Aric Aguonie, part owner of Earth Haven Farm, brought with him a delegation to attend the Tweed council meeting of April 24. He had done his homework as he had a slide presentation for councillors. It described how if a telecommunications tower is placed in the area on Vanderwater Road where it has been proposed, Earth Haven organic farm will lose its Demeter Certification.
"We are opposed to the tower for the following reasons, it jeopardizes our Demeter Certification, our organic farming business, our quality and integrity that we are known for by our customers. It jeopardizes Canada's view of this agricultural standard, it affects our farm business as it currently exists and our plan for the future."
Aric continued by saying they were also there for their community.
"We have gone around and talked with some of the neighbours and we are here representing their health concerns and for their children, their livestock and the decreased property values. We are here to present options and solutions and we are here to tell you what we have done and are doing about this issue."
Demeter is an international certification of the highest standards in agriculture.
"Demeter is well aware of studies that area being done when it comes to electric magnetic frequency (EMF) being emitted into the biosphere and there is sufficient data to warrant concern. In the United States Demeter does not certify farms with hydroelectric towers running through them."
Earth Haven Farm was Demeter certified in 2008 and they grow certified organic vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs and beef. They sell to three markets in Toronto and Aric added that the farm is also a teaching centre for Demeter and they hold a number of health related workshops.
"I network with all the organic farms in our area and I buy and sell from them and help them market their products. I am also one of the few First Nations farmers, which is something very special to me, I feel very connected to the land which is why I am here and being so proactive."
Aric said a press release from the international agency on research on cancer considers the waves emitted by wireless communication possibly carcinogenic and the World Health Organization along with Health Canada scientists have changed their position and have warnings on their web site advising children under 18 to limit their cell phone use.
Aric went on to say Health Canada continues to stand behind Safety Code 6 (which is what Xplornet abides by) but also pointed out that these EMF emissions standards are much higher than those in Europe. Aric also gave council a number of options as to where the tower might be better located.
Deputy-reeve Bryan Treanor asked how far the tower would have to be from the farm for them to keep their Demeter certification and Aric said he did not have that answer. His mother Kathryn, however, said that bees travel up to one mile and become disoriented by the EMF so anything further than one mile might be a good distance.
It should be noted that Councillor Don DeGenova visited the farm which he said impressed him but he also said that no proposals or newspaper ads have been placed by Xplorenet regarding the proposed tower.
Reeve Jo-Anne Albert was asked to comment and she said she was impressed by the presentation.
Aric concluded by saying, "If I can no longer farm with integrity I will become an EMF researcher documenting the towers' effects on our farms and community."