Chesapeake and Wear

The River Wear in the north of England was once known as “The Black Sewer”. The area’s many collieries leached their waste into the river and it was canalised. Unsurprisingly, nothing much lived in it. But, with the death of the coal industry, and much stricter pollution laws stopping further harm, and then an active restoration plan, the river is now thriving, filled with salmon, and graced by kingfishers and otters.

Fish and wildlife, just like us, don’t thrive in a frenzied, one-dimensional canal that’s always in a hurry. They need variety, alternating speed and intensity and slow meanders. So part of the plan has involved de-canalising the river, and restoring meanders. I can think of a few local rivers that could do with the same treatment.

Another area being rehabilitated is Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Once home to great swathes of oysters, crabs and shellfish, most of them disappeared as the bay turned into one of the world’s first marine dead zones, its ecosystem collapsing as it became overloaded with runoff from residential, farm and industrial waste. While the bay’s water looks clean, nothing like the “Black Sewer”, Chesapeake is proving harder to rehabilitate as algal blooms caused in particular by excess phosphorus and nitrogen used on farms take all the oxygen from the water, killing the shellfish.

However, groups of “oyster gardeners“, focusing on the benchmark species, plan baby oyster in the late summer and autumn, before moving them out into the bay when they’re large enough.

Oysters are important because they filter pollution – they absorb high levels of pesticides and contaminants, keeping the water cleaner for other species. They’re also part of the history of the bay, as early settlers wrote of having to navigate huge oyster reefs.

Chesapeake Bay speaks of the difficulties when only tackling one side of the issue. Damage needs to stop and rehabilitation to begin. While industrial farms still continue their archaic and harmful practices, progress will be slow.

Old and New
Real Bread is back with their popular range of breads after taking a break for Eid last week, and after two week’s without we have been assured there will be avos this week. Unfortunately we’re unlikely to have bananas for the next month or so, as the winter frosts have taken their toll and the remaining stock is snapped up by the supermarkets.

As we head into spring some of the winter lines will be coming to an end, and new ones will start arriving. Kleinjongenskraal’s popular orange sweet potatoes will only be available for one more week. Their pumpkins have been growing steadily over the winter, and are now a hefty 2.5kg.

We’re also stocked up again with Gayleen’s chocolates, including the Brazil Nut Creme, which has been selling quickly.

New Collection Points
We have some new collection points this week. Our old collection point in Rosebank is open again, and we’ve also opened new points in Stellenbosch (Die Boord Pharmacy) and Tokai (Reddam Pharmacy).

New Distributor
We are looking for someone with their own vehicle to assist us with deliveries one day a week. If you know of someone who you think would be a great addition to our organisation, please pass on our details to them.