British Columbia and the Pine Beetle Devastation.

The pine beetle has wreaked havoc in the forests of British Columbia with the result that nearly all pine trees of the entire province have been killed, and pose a tremendous challenge for foresters and private land owners.

While the attacked trees are left standing and are structurally sound, they are a potential fire hazard and, if not removed, they will eventually fall and create barriers for wildlife and humans alike. Left to fall and rot would release an unimaginable amount of CO2 into the atmosphere while processing the dead trees into something useful such as lumber or alternative fuel helps to lessen that impact.

Red Rooster: Carbon Neutral.

Our policy has always been to operate in a ecologically responsible manner. We keep our bakery small and serve a local market. At the outset our oven was fueled exclusively with waste wood such as slabs, ends, or rejects, collected on our property or from local mills. With the pine beetle infestation, we now use exclusively dead pine we cut on our property.

Using dead wood for fuel replaces other fuels such as gas or electricity and so offsets the carbon emissions thus making the oven carbon neutral. To further offset the use of electricity for necessary utilities such as light or the dough mixer as well as the gasoline used for our (also necessary) delivery van - which is the sole vehicle for bread deliveries as well as for private use - we voluntarily purchase carbon offset credits.

Organic and Local.

We are using organic ingredients wherever possible for a number of reasons. Obviously healthy eating is one of the main reasons - why would anyone eat food that is tainted with chemicals when the alternative, chemical-free food is available? Equally important - one could argue that even more so - is the health of the soil, air, and water. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that the millions of tons of chemical herbicides and pesticides cannot be good for the environment. Organic farming on the other hand leaves the harvested field full of living organisms and organic matter.

In contrast to huge industrial farms, most of them mono culture, organic farms also tend to be on a smaller scale and grow a multitude of different produce and varieties which makes them less prone to be attacked en masse by one type of insect. Serving local markets, organic farming tends to use less transport by truck, less cooling and other food preservation methods, and less packaging.

While organic farming in general is better than conventional industrial farming, it makes the most sense when it is practised in combination with local distribution. Small scale farming and local marketing to shops, restaurants, and farmers’ markets is not only environmentally friendly, it also builds a sense of community, promotes healthy eating, contributes to food security, and has a considerable economic impact as it keeps the $$ in the community - in this context, who could argue with “Small is Beautiful”?