Feeding Toronto


Bengt with solar dehydrator.To the untrained eye this sheet metal black box atop a sloping passive solar panel may seem to be a fey back-to-the-land old hippie notion for preserving the prodigious vegetable production of my wife’s organic garden without using electricity. And that would be correct. However, it is also a profound symbol of a revolutionary spirit that defies the powers-that-be that not only try to addict us to genetically engineered food but also to enslave us to the fiat currency regime now enforced by our military industrial corporate masters. You see, this solar dehydrator was once part of a bank counter in Toronto at the Ukrainian Credit Union on College Street. My Zen Temple bought the Credit Union building along with the Ukrainian Federation building next door to create just that, a Zen Buddhist Temple to teach people how to achieve peace of mind. Peace of mind, mind you, is a revolutionary concept in a culture that tries to trick you into thinking the only way to achieve happiness is to consume. But I’ll leave that for another rant.

Since we didn’t need the counters at the temple, my endlessly frugal Zen Master, Samu Sunim, told us to rip them out and put them in the Temple rummage sale. Just as someone off the street was sizing them up, probably for their own garage workshop, I thought, “Wait a minute! I’m building a garage workshop. I need these!” So being a senior member of the Temple, I pulled rank and told the would-be buyer they were sold and subsequently bought them myself.

Years later, after Mary Lou had started her organic garden at our place in Prince Edward County and spent hours canning jars and jars of various tomatoes, I thought maybe we could dry them as well (or instead). Organic Sun Dried Tomatoes!  Or better yet, Organic Solar Sun Dried Tomatoes!  I looked up Solar Dehydrators on the Internet and of course there were lots of designs ranging from Factory Industrial Corporate designs to Home-made Old Hippy designs. I got the gist of how they worked and looked around our place to see what I could find that was somewhat ready-made so I wouldn’t have to spend too much time or money on making one. Lo and behold, I found some sheets of tempered glass I had bought cheap from a guy in Picton. Even better, they were exactly the same width as one of the sheet metal counters I had bought at the Temple Rummage Sale years before. All I had to do was build a stand for the box and make a primitive passive solar panel and attach it so that the heated air would flow up into the bottom of the box. Then I painted the box black to increase the thermal absorption and voila! With a bigger hole cut in the top and another sheet of glass bungeed to the top I had a veritable Solar Dehydrator! A miraculous transformation from a bank through a Zen Temple to an Organic Garden.

This is a template for a Revolution to healthy independent economic freedom for the entire nation, no less! So, dear reader, appearances can be deceiving, simple transformations can be profound and the spirit of old hippies never dies.
Click on any photo to enlarge

– Bengt Skoggard

See Mary Lou’s organic garden and what her Workgroup does with all those sun dried tomatoes.

This article is part of our issue FEEDING TORONTO.


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