About the Ram's Horn

About the Ram's Horn

The Ram's Horn is a monthly newsletter with stories and analysis of what is happening in the food system, locally and globally. It is published more or less monthly; subscriptions cover 10 issues, which is generally one year of publications.

Briefly (it's only 8 pages) and pointedly, animated by original cartoons and drawings, The Ram's Horn dissects the dominant system, reporting on the activities and analyzing the strategies of transnational agribusiness and governments. Increasingly, it deals with the issues and dangers posed by biotechnology in general and genetic engineering in particular, at every level of the food system. But it does not stop there. It also seeks out the signs of hope, and points to experiences and resources for the creation of socially just and ecologically sound alternatives to this system.

History

In the fall of 1980, Brewster was the Secretary of the Sheep Producers Association in Nova Scotia. That meant that he wrote up the minutes, which he made sure included a record of the discussions as well as the motions, so that members who missed the meeting could understand what was going on.

At that time, most of the lambs in the province were being sold at the weekly auction in Truro or directly to private customers; however, there was a co-op in New Brunswick that was shipping lambs to Montreal. It was a pretty good deal, as the price was known before the lambs left the farm. As one of the largest sheep farms in the province, we were the mustering point for the co-op, so farmers would bring their lambs to our farm (and we shipped a lot of our own) for the N.B. truck to pick up on Friday. The auction sale was on Thursday, and one week Brewster decided to take a run over there to see what was on offer. He came back with a truck-load of lambs, and put them on the big truck to Montreal the next morning.

At the next Sheep Producers meeting, Brewster got up and told the story, and added: "I made more money on those lambs overnight than the person who raised them got for a year's work! We have to do something about this." This was the beginning of the development of the Northumberland Lamb Marketing Co-op (Northumberlamb) which developed, and still fills, the market for lamb within Nova Scotia. However, it did not go down well with some of the people in the Sheep Producers Association, who had been playing exactly that game of buying and selling for a long time, and at the next meeting of the Association, there were a whole lot of new members nobody had ever seen before, and Brewster was voted out as Secretary.

The first issue of The Ram's Horn, in November 1980, was Brewster's report to the sheep farmers as to "who did it to you and why". Over the years, the focus of the newsletter has changed and we pay a lot more attention to the machinations of the agro-biotech industry than the price of lamb, but that focus remains.

cover graphic by Ricardo Ramirez for
From Land to Mouth: Understanding the Food System
by Brewster Kneen