“Recycle. This is the word that definitely defines me. It’s what I’m interested in and what I do.” He describes himself as a man who uses all of something, re-using and recycling everything for another purpose and decreases the most amount of waste possible. Graduating from Concordia
University with a Bachelors in Environmental Law he continued at Concordia where he was no longer a student, but the VP of the Student council and President/Co-Founder of Sustainable Concordia. This department/organization at Concordia is in charge of different ways in which Concordia can become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Now 26, married and a father of soon to be two children Alexander Thomas has a busy schedule to say the least.
“I want people to take that extra second and think about where their food comes from and where their waste is going.” No one dreams of becoming a garbageman, or to work with waste (recycling, composting & garbage), whereas Alex’s interest lies right in the pile of leftovers. Composting, recycling and overall proper waste management is one major role Alex plays at Concordia. “Getting people to properly dispose of their waste will benefit everyone, but people don’t want to recycle or compost because they see it as extra work…..it’s a necessity.” Nutritiously he thinks as someone would eighty years ago therefore whatever season it may be results in the food you buy and eat. He eats food only where he knows where it’s from, maintaining the 100 diet. This diet is designed to make people aware of what they are eating, getting fresh and local foods which are within a hundred kilometers radius of where they live, hence the 100 diet. Free range meats only, animals feed with the right grains, nothing used with pesticides or genetically modified. Fresh and organically grown fruits and vegetables may vary depending on the season only allowing for a certain and limited variety of food. During the summer in Quebec or any four seasoned country “people don’t take advantage of their green space”. West of the downtown city, off the island of Montreal there is much more green space and farm land for agricultural purposes. There is recreational gardening in the residential areas of beautiful flowers, plants and tress in the summer but hardly anyone grows there own vegetables. “I want to change the way people garden, change the way people get their food and how they dispose of it,” The hard part is Alex can only do so much on his own. He can provide the knowledge but people have to but in time to take care of vegetable gardens, and properly dispose of their waste. Alex has a plan, a plan to use up extra, not used green space in areas of residential neighbourhoods to allow people to grow healthy vegetables and fruits as a community; He wants to build a community garden.
This community garden will enable people to grow fresh, organically grown fruits & vegetables that they will be able to eat and take home. The people gardening there will pay a small monthly or all summer fee to use the facilities while being given full access to all tools they may also need. The entire garden will be separated into different section allowing different individual families or people to grown their own preferable agriculture. Designed similar to the community gardens you may find in the city where green space is also limited, this community garden will also have a large compost facility, plastic & paper recycling and a clothing donation/exchange area. Every aspect of this garden will be self efficient and renewable like the compost for example that will provide soil in which the vegetables will be grown. The location of the garden is using up unused and unwanted space. As the Hydro line runs a 20 meter width path through the residential area of St-Lazare most of it runs directly in the backyards of thousands of homes. The location of the garden would be ideal for the community allowing people easy access to the garden at any given moment. The one fall back to this efficient and re-usable plan is Hydro-Quebec and them not allowing the garden to be built within their legal property. It’s their property for the electrical lines, space for possible repairs and improvements that may be needed on the hydro lines therefore not allowing Alex to build his community garden because it’s their private property. There are “hundreds of steps [that] must be dealt with over the next year or so but the idea is gaining attention fast, and I’m very excited!”. It is still just an idea but now an idea with support from the community and needs investment in time, energy and money. Realistically if all goes well he says the project should be in it’s first phase by the middle of June but nothing can be for certain while having to deal with major corporation like Hydro-Quebec. “One day this community garden will be in full-swing I know that, but when I do not know.” His dream is to own a farm with lots of land, animals and organically grown agriculture. If this idea becomes a success and is done properly no one will need to maintain or supervise it, the community will do the gardening and the community will blossom.
- Alex if there was one word to describe yourself what would that word be, and why?
- Where do you work and what do you do there?
- What hobbies and or interests do you have?
- What is your summer project and or idea that seems to be gaining some attention?
- When and how did this idea come about?
- How do you think this project will benefit the community?
- What is your goal for this summer? Long term, what is your complete goal of the project?
- Realistically what steps will you have to take to successful achieve your goal.
- Why is composting still so unknown? Why does recycling, composting and overall proper waste management interest you?
- What is your dream job?