Letters to the Editors

In defence of the Other Campaign

Dear Editors:
Re: Letter “Response to the Others” (Journal, March 2, 2007).

Congratulations to Yoni Levitan for saying what has already been said (several times) in other letters
to the Journal. The Other Campaign should have run for office, they should have run referendum questions, and they should have worked with the AMS.

It’s easy to complain; it’s hard to “step up” and run for office. The first meeting of the Other Campaign occurred after the referendum period, at the beginning of the election period, but according to Levitan, the people who were to become Other Campaign members should have known to run an AMS campaign on behalf of a group that didn’t exist yet. What were we thinking?

In a way, Levitan is right: we probably should have known that contentious, progressive issues like anti-racism and tuition would not be addressed by students forced to water down their platforms
to appeal to as many students as possible. But maybe that also suggests that an AMS platform isn’t the best place to discuss these issues. If only there was some Other place, outside the AMS … For someone completely uninvolved with the Other Campaign, Levitan has a lot of criticisms of it.

But wait, I thought you were supposed to get involved instead of “writing letters… and complaining”? Perhaps Levitan should get involved with the Other Campaign? Of course not, because he probably doesn’t agree with its principles or its goals. Of course, the same logic doesn’t apply to the AMS. The only way to effect change is to get involved with the AMS.

Other ways of doing things are (from the criticisms levelled in Journal letters): ineffective, negative, lazy, uncommitted, disorganized and insulting. Too bad for people like me; I lack the “intestinal fortitude” to take a month off to run for AMS executive and I lacked the “dedication” to come back for a fifth year. So I couldn’t run and I shouldn’t have sat on the sidelines and criticized the campaigns …
but I guess I could have smiled and handed out pamphlets or played Nintendo Wii.

Nick Montgomery
ArtSci ’07 and Other Campaign member

Challenges to eating locally are due to motivation not accessibility

Dear Editors:
Re: Eating Locally (Journal, March 2, 2007).

I was really happy to see that the local food issue gained attention last week in the Postscript section
of the Journal. This year has been momentous in bringing attention to food issues. With the inauguration of the Farmer’s Market at Queen’s, students have had greater opportunities to confront and to make a change in our unsustainable food system. The Journal is right in saying that in Kingston, the change is easy to make. However, the difficulty is not in accessibility—it is giving students the information and motivation to change their habits.

For instance, the City of Kingston Farmer’s Market operates year round, while the Farmer’s Market at Queen’s runs through the winter. As well, Ontario products are available throughout the year at most grocery stores in Kingston.

The issue of our food system is huge and complicated, but that is not to say that it is inaccessible.

As noted in last week’s Postscript, “Eating well on a tight budget” by Grace McConachie, so much can
be done on a personal level that contributes to changing the way we think about our food. We are guilty of the same thing, having become so removed from where our food comes from and how it is made.

The first step in working to change this is to encourage people to take the time to read the labels on their next meal—try to find out what’s in it and where it comes from. Campuses are hot spots for
changing our unsustainable food system.

Last fall, the University of Toronto teamed up with Local Flavours Plus to incorporate more local food into the U of T cafeterias. There is no reason why Queen’s cannot follow suit. Without the leadership and initiation from the institutions, the network for local food supply cannot be made. We cannot wait
for the food to come to us. While Queen’s Food Services has worked to incorporate some fair trade and local foods into Queen’s, the students need to let them know that this is what they want.

The Sodexho contract expires in 2010 and students should let Queen’s know that they are interested in ensuring that more just and sustainable food is incorporated into our food system.

Jessica Chu
ArtSci ’07 and project director for Queen’s Oxfam’s Food Security project

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