To The Editor:
I'd like to respond to a letter printed on Page 8 of the recent issue of the Nelson Star entitled “Please stop Killing Bears” written by Noreen Clayton.
I have been an organic farmer for over 35 years in the Slocan Valley. Now that I live in Nelson, I continue to grow much of my own vegetables.
I agree that killing so many bears this year has been tragic. We humans have indeed attracted bears to our town because when bears don't have food up high in the mountains, they still need to find it somewhere.
So, we do live in bear, skunk, and now, rat and raccoon country, but don't blame local gardeners who have composters in their yards. When I was lobbied city hall to permit chickens in town, this was put off for years, despite big cities like New York and Vancouver permit raising 4 chickens.
There have always been naysayers in Nelson against backyard chickens, and now, composters.
Nelson still bans backyard chickens for attracting predators, but doesn't realize hen owners want to keep them safe hens safe, too.
I raised meat birds, layers and also dual-purpose chickens for years. I lived in bear, deer, and cayote country, but my biggest predators were owls and eagles. In fact, my cow once chased a bear up a tree when it came into her territory.
Available are bear-proof garbage bins and folks who want them should have access to them. Of course, keeping the garbage in the house until garbage day is a lot cheaper. And there are clever folks in town town who have built sturdy composters to keep the rats out.
We know that household scraps in a compost pile need to be covered with soil.
This is not rocket science, folks. It's been done elsewhere and if we really wanted to raise chickens and have our own eggs and chicken poop for our gardens to grow our own food in Nelson, it would be a done deal.
Banning compost piles or removing all our fruit trees is asinine. So, keep your garbage inside until garbage day and freeze the smelly stuff.
How about we think about solutions instead of dumping on local folks who just want to grow food and have 4 chickens to help in the process.
Bonnie Baker, Nelson, BC