Life of Bryan: Working the magic of sustainable food's sweet spot
Bryan Gilvesy is one of Canada’s most-recognized farm innovators, as well as one of the country’s best-known leaders of the food movement. That combination is unusual in any region or country—one of the ways that Gilvesy exemplifies both the hallmarks of the food movement in Canada, as well as the unique components of agroecology as it emerges in a temperate-cold climate. This portrait of a food and farm leader is based on my own reporter’s notes taken over seven years of attending meetings where Gilvesy has spoken, and on files of news clippings and academic articles related to the farming methods he’s pioneered in Canada. Part 1 of this article provides an overview of Gilvesy’s background and personal evolution prior to his adoption of views and practices for which he’s presently renowned. Parts 2 and 3, which will be posted in subsequent issues, introduce his measures to promote a wrenching shift in food system redesign—specifically the provision to pay farmers for ecosystem services they produce on the working landscape of their farm. Parts 2 and 3 will also spell out specific trends within Canada’s food movement, such as its promotion of concrete, positive and practical reform measures and its service as a Big Tent coalition of various public interest groups—trends that Gilvesy personifies.