What’s Growing On Blog

Check back here regularly for updates on various events that we’ve attended, exciting opportunities we’ve encountered, and news that we think needs to be shared.

Loutet Farm Featured in Plan Canada
~ April 17th, 2014

Loutet Farm and urban agriculture are highlighted in the newest issue of Plan Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners magazine! City of North Vancouver planner, Alex Kurnicki, co-wrote the article and explains the benefits of urban agriculture and the role that Loutet Farm has come to play in our community.

“The farm has transitioned from a curio or novelty in the landscape to a fully entrenched fixture of the community fabric. For example, Loutet Farm plays host to many community events and evening celebrations through the long West Coast growing season…keep reading

plan

Read the full article on page 12 

 

 

 

Cost of Food Increasing
~ April 3rd, 2014

risingfoodprices3Have you noticed the rising costs of eating well?  Hardest hit are individuals and families earning low wages or on government assistance -  access to good food on a limited budget is increasingly difficult.  This article makes five recommendations for change, that outline what individuals, businesses, communities, and government can do to address the root causes.

Read the article here.

 

Langara Permaculture Design Certificate Course
~ March 24th, 2014

Langara is offering a Permaculture Design Certificate course over the summer and through the fall, on weekends.  A good option for those who find the traditional residential intensive PCD Certificate difficult to fit into your life’s schedule!

For more information and to register, visit the Langara Permaculture Course Site.

Delvin-Solkinson.2-300x383Facilitator Delvin Solkinson has done a PDC, Diploma and Masters Degree in Permaculture Education with Bill Mollison and done advanced trainings with David Holmgren, Robyn Francis, the Bullock Brothers, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, Michael Becker, Robin Clayfield, Geoff Lawton, Larry Santoyo, Scott Pittman and Rosemary Morrow. After taking a PDC with Toby Hemenway and completed a second Diploma through Permaculture Institute USA, he is currently doing a PHD. Delvin is an accredited teacher through PRI and PI USA. His passion is making free, open source learning and teaching tools for permaculture which are used in design games and activities in the course.  delvin@cosm.org

5f12ee54716d2e39eebf90810cc0e7c2_1tjcFacilitator Kym Chi is a passionate, creative and dedicated educator, inspired by nature, art and self empowerment. Kym has completed a PDC through Verge in Alberta and Gaiacraft in New York and is currently doing a Diploma in Education through the Permaculture Institute USA. Kym offers Permaculture design and consultation and education including intro and design courses. Kym’s mission is to spread Permaculture through creative education, ecological design, regenerative creation and holistic healing. She also makes free, open source learning and teaching tools for permaculture that will enhance the course experience and transform lectures into games.  kym@gigglingchitree.com

 

 

Slim chances for apples
~ March 24th, 2014

This story comes to us courtesy of our EGP friend Erika Rathje and is worth a share!

 

apples_tree_3I had little interest in growing food until a couple years ago. My mother, an avid gardener whose extended family included farmers, grew a solid crop of tomatoes, peppers and basil every summer. Our yard boasted a Granny Smith apple tree, a plum tree, rhubarb and currants, most of which is still growing furiously with fewer mouths around to enjoy them. Yet somehow my food-growing yearnings ended after that failed attempt at growing peas in elementary school. (These facts may be unrelated.)

 

So I don’t know why, when I was a nine-year-old back in the mid 90s, I decided to grow apple trees. Stranger still, I wasn’t that crazy about apples except our dwindling Grannies. (This changed when I discovered gala, ambrosia and mutsu, but that’s another story.) Regardless of my long-forgotten motives, I planted at least a dozen apple seeds that March. Thankfully nobody told me that’s not how we propagate apple trees and I remained blissfully ignorant of this for a long time.

 

After the second winter, only one of thirteen original seedlings had survived. It was ultimately my mother who took care of it as it matured. Eventually it was planted in a new, round patch of garden in a troublesome part of the lawn, and the green moss grew all around. It suffered aphids and gradually assumed a poor posture.

 

I think my mother told me it would bear fruit when it was five, and I waited. And waited. Finally, in an attempt to push the leaning tree over — or shake it, I’m not sure which — my mother gave the fruitless tree a good shove. It must have been compelled at this point by a sense of impending doom and, at 11 years old, flowered for the first time. I counted six apples. The squirrels ungratefully took half. The rest were small but tasty. And with that, we said goodbye to the tree.

 

It wasn’t until a visit to UBC Farm four years later that I learned the chances of yielding edible fruit from an apple tree grown from seed is one in ten thousand. I guess you could say I have a green thumb. The apple grower I talked to encouraged me to try sprouting the seeds I saved, but by this time they were too old.

 

As I write this I have a few apple seeds on my counter waiting their turn. But they’ll have to compete for space with the multitude of vegetables and fruits I’m growing, in my second year starting seeds for my balcony. (It turns out I want to grow *everything*.) It takes patience to grow a tree from seed, so it’s best not to put it off. After all, if you won the gardening lottery, you’d want to find out sooner rather than later, right?
erika-photo
Erika Rathje is a designer, blogger and avid food-grower.
 

Civic Governance Dinner and Keynote with Paula Daniels
~ March 24th, 2014

The Centre for Civic Governance’s “Food for Thought” forum invites you to attend an evening dinner and keynote presentation on April 4th:

PaulaDaniels_SmallFOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Growing Local Economies, Feeding Local Communities

Friday evening Dinner and Keynote with Paula Daniels

April 4th, 2014 at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver 

PAULA DANIELS is Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles, on Food Policy and Special Projects in Water. She is the founder and fulltime Chair of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

For more information on the forum, visit http://www.civicgovernance.ca/vancouver2014/

To register for the keynote event, visit https://www.eply.com/2014CivicGovernanceKeynote

 

Looking for feedback: Queen Mary Garden Expansion
~ January 30th, 2014

unnamed

On Jan. 29th, the North Shore Community Garden society had a community meeting to discuss the 2 Options for expanding the Queen Mary garden.  In case you were not able to attend the meeting, we are providing a copy of the power point used at the meeting.  Please take a few minutes to review the presentation and send your thoughts/comments to the society.  In particular, they’d like to know if you prefer Option 1 or 2 (and why if possible).  If you have any other comments about the details of the Option you prefer we’d like to hear about that too, although for now the main issue is choosing between one or the other.  Also, let us know in general where you live (the part of the city or main cross-roads as opposed to your exact address).

Send these comments to maja.regehr@gmail.com.by Feb. 7, 2014.  We’ll collate all the comments from the meeting and your emails to help make the final decision about the exact size of the garden so that we can begin fundraising and building!

Download the powerpoint presentation here: CNVcommunitymeeting2014_v4.

 

 

North Shore Food Security Resources Inventory
~ January 21st, 2014

As a member of the Table Matters Network, the EGP has been helping to develop food policy on the North Shore.  As part of this initiative, Vancouver Coastal Health is updating a 2010 inventory of food security resources on the North Shore.

tablematterslogo_v1

A food security resource/program can be any of the following:

  • Community kitchen or cooking club
  • Community garden
  • Food buying club
  • Meal program (breakfast, lunch or dinner service)
  • Charitable food program (food bank)
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Composting
  • Beekeeping
  • Etc.

We want this inventory to be a valuable resource for the North Shore and we need your help!  If you know of any food security resources/programs, please contact Pam Kheong:
ph: 604 904-6456
fax: 604 904-6470
email: pamela.kheong@vch.ca

 

Call for Gardens – Art in the Gardens Tour
~ January 21st, 2014

E_AIG2012_1850The 15th Annual 2014 Art in the Garden Tour will take place the weekend of May 31st – June 1st, 2014.
The Art in the Garden Tour is a 2-day self-guided tour of North Shore gardens and includes the artwork of local visual artists working in a great variety of media and the music of local musicians performing in a myriad of genres – all to demonstrate and celebrate the wonderful talent in our midst.

The North Vancouver Community Arts Council is looking for beautiful and unique gardens on the North Shore to feature in this year’s tour.  Visit the website, view the application here, and contact Megan Kock, Events Coordinator with the North Vancouver Community Arts Council at 604.988.6844 with any questions.

Applications are being accepted until February 22, 2014.

 

Loutet Farm Volunteer Internship 2014
~ January 9th, 2014

2013-08-23 15.35.45After the huge success of our inaugural volunteer internship program in 2013, we are looking for two outstanding candidates for our new and improved 2014 program. Please help spread the word to any who may be interested!

Applications are due by February 1st, 2014

Download the PDF description here:

Loutet Intern Description_2014

 

Urban Farm Volunteer Internship Opportunity

Position: Urban Farm Volunteer Intern

Term: 2 days (~12 hours) per week, March – October*

*hours and length of internship are flexible based on the right candidate(s). We want to offer a full season for the maximum learning potential, but for the right people, we’re flexible!

Organization: North Shore Neighbourhood House – Edible Garden Project, Loutet Farm

Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia

Application Deadline: February 1st, 2014

Interviews: February 10th – 21rd, 2014

Submit Application to: gavin@ediblegardenproject.com

Urban Farm Volunteer Interns will assist the Loutet Farm team in running a busy, dynamic urban market garden operation. Loutet Farm is run as a social enterprise, meaning it strives to be a successful urban farm enterprise in all aspects, while also serving as a model of local sustainable food production and providing hands on learning opportunities to the community. Volunteer Interns will have the opportunity to learn all aspects of the enterprise, including farm management, volunteer coordination, community outreach, and education.

2014 will be the fourth growing season for Loutet Farm and our second year running a volunteer internship program. We are always learning and improving our programing, so this season will be better than ever!

Your participation in the Volunteer Internship will provide you with the opportunity to learn and assist in the following:

Planning/Prep (March-May):

  • Composting
  • Bed preparation
  • Crop planning
  • Building new beds/cropping area
  • Building new mushroom propagation area
  • Setting up cloches and low tunnels for early season starts.

Seeding/Propagation (March-Aug):

  • Seeding to plug trays in our new seedling greenhouse (propagating starts to sell to the community and other enterprises is an important part of our business)
  • Ongoing watering, maintenance, potting up, organization, record keeping in seedling greenhouse.
  • Direct crop seeding in the field (in-line seeder and hand broadcast)

Crop and field maintenance (April-October):

  • Weeding, thinning, pruning, transplanting, watering, adding amendments
  • Composting
  • Harvest prep: cleaning, trimming, weighing, bunching, bagging, storing
  • Harvesting

Marketing (May-October)

  • Assisting at our very busy 2X per week on-site farm gate market table (this is our main marketing channel)
  • Preparing orders for restaurants/retail. Making deliveries. Maintaining relationships with chefs/clients
  • Helping to develop ideas for a small Community Shared Agriculture/Harvest Box program

Community Outreach (ongoing)

  • Chatting/answering questions at market, at community events, and “over the fence”. Learning to be an ambassador for urban farming and local, sustainable food.
  • Helping to coordinating volunteers at community workbees and other volunteer events.
  • Being a tour leader and educator for school children through our Fed Up program.

Apiculture (optional)

  • Experience a full season of honeybee management by helping in our two new honeybee hives.
  • Participation in the hives will require membership with the BC Honey Producers Association (for insurance purposes).

This is an un-paid volunteer position. Volunteer Interns will receive a weekly box of the beautiful veggies and fruits grown onsite, along with a structured and dedicated education program.

We are not looking simply for labourers, but for volunteer interns who are keen to learn as much as they can about running a successful urban farming operation. We will have regular meetings and schedule weekly tasks so that volunteer interns get the most out of their experience. Our hope is that our Loutet Farm volunteer interns will leave the program feeling confident that they have a solid base of understanding in how to run a small urban farm operation.

Ideally you will possess these attributes:

  • Experience and willingness to do hard manual labour in all weather conditions
  • Able to lift at least 50 pounds
  • Self motivated and passionate about growing food in the city
  • Ability to stay on task while handling multiple distractions
  • Capable of taking direction
  • Capable of taking initiative and solving problems
  • Comfortable working with a diverse group of people
  • Outgoing and friendly with the public
  • Attention to detail (organized farm site, tool maintenance etc.)
  • Organizational skills (record-keeping, planning, managing schedules, e-mail, etc)
  • Excitement about learning urban farming skills in a fast-paced, hands-on environment
  • An excellent sense of humour

Assets:

  • Basic construction skills
  • Experience directing volunteers
  • Basic horticultural skills
  • Experience with outdoor/experiential education
  • Foodsafe Certification

Please apply with resume and one-page cover letter, explaining what makes you passionate about urban farming and about this volunteer internship. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. All local shortlisted candidates will be required to fulfill a volunteer shift in February. We want to meet and work with you on the farm to determine a mutual fit for the volunteer internship program.

Completion of a Criminal Record Check is required. We are recruiting two (2) interns for the 2014 season.

Learn more about Loutet Farm and the EGP at: www.ediblegardenproject.com

We look forward to your application! Emily, Christine, Kristi, Jason and Gavin – the EGP team.

 

 

Support the Edible Garden Project!
~ November 22nd, 2013

EGP-FB-SustainBanner
 Your generous donation helps support the Edible Garden Project’s innovative programs, which increase access to healthy food, build food growing skills across generations, and increase food growing space in our community. With your support, we can continue to engage over 3,000 people who grow, learn, and eat with us each year.

 one-time-donation-buttonMonthly-Donation-Button

 

 

You are making a donation to the North Shore Neighbourhood House (NSNH) because the Edible Garden Project is a program of the NSNH. Please indicate you would like your donation to go to the Edible Garden Project in the comment box provided. 

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Help us Grow!

We want Loutet Farm to flourish, our EGP Sharing Gardens to feed those in need and foster food growing skills in our community, our municipal policy work to take root, every kid on the north shore to exclaim that kale chips are their favourite snack, and for unlikely spaces to become alive with fresh vegetables and connections. In 2013 we:

  • Grew over 5,500 lbs of fresh vegetables for our social service partners**
  • Cultivated just under 1 acre of urban land
  • Engaged over 700 volunteers
  • Taught 600 elementary school students each month
  • Fed fresh snacks to 130 children in NSNH childcare centres and taught them to grow their own
  • Brought over 2000 people into our farms and gardens for educational experiences

** We work with amazing partners that get our fresh produce to those that need it most in our community. We work with the Harvest Project, Sage Women’s Safe House, the Food Bank at North Shore Neighbourhood House, and the Lookout.

Consider making a one-time or monthly donation to help the Edible Garden Project realize these dreams. Your contribution will go straight to the core of our work to build more gardens, provide the tools and resources that we need to teach more people food growing skills, and engage new people in the local food movement.

All our Monthly Donors will receive invitations to special events, a sneak peek and advance registration for GardenSmart workshops and EGP training sessions, and a quarterly update on how your contribution has made a difference in our community.

All donors will receive a charitable tax receipt from the North Shore Neighbourhood House.  

Please pass this along to your friends and family - share on Twitter Like Start a Food Revolution - All Aboard! on Facebook Google Plus One Button - we need everyone on board!

 

 

Getting Down with Brown: The Secret to Great Compost
~ October 1st, 2013

This blog post comes to us courtesy of the North Shore Recycling Program. Check out their website for great tips and to connect with a compost expert!  

Poor brown, always playing second fiddle to its popular eco-partner, green. When you’re talking sustainability, everyone aspires to greenness. Few are down with being brown.

Thankfully, we have compost, where brown can claim its rightful spot on top of the heap.

compostIn compost parlance, green refers to anything colourful, wet and fresh that is ready to be added to the compost pile. Things like fruits and vegetables and fresh grass clippings fall into this category. These items provide the nitrogen source to the compost equation and on their own rot into a soupy, smelly mess.
compost_carbon_2Browns, on the other hand, are anything rich in carbon, like dead leaves, shredded newspaper, and straw. They are the backbone of the compost pile, giving it structure, allowing oxygen to get through and providing food and energy that the bacteria need to thrive.

A layer of browns also soaks up moisture and keeps fruit flies and odours to a minimum.

In its most basic terms, the recipe for composting is this: add equal parts of greens and browns, sprinkle with oxygen, water and bacteria and you’ve got rich fertilizer for your garden, for free.

Browns are essential to composting and fortunately are plentiful this time of year.

By collecting and storing about four garbage bags of leaves, a family of four can have enough browns to last them until next autumn. A larger family will need more.

_DSC1032Extra garbage cans with lids are a tidy way to store leaves, keeping them dry and ready to use.  The leaves don’t have to be dry to work but it makes them easier to deal with. Even if leaves are stored in a pile open to the elements, they will work just as well providing the all-important carbon to the compost.

To help keep composting even less messy, some gardeners store a pair of barbecue tongs near their browns to use to place the layer of leaves on top of the greens without getting their hands dirty.

Composting is an easy, sustainable way to both get rid of food scraps and provide nutrient-rich fuel for your garden.

The North Shore Recycling Program has GardenSmart compost experts who can help North Shore residents learn more about composting. Along with selling subsidized backyard composters and aerators, GardenSmart compost experts provide free yard visits to solve common composting problems, help set up Green Cans and show how to use them, and teach techniques to compost safely in bear-country.

Whether one-on-one, with a group of neighbours or at a club meeting, GardenSmart compost experts love to talk about compost.

To book a visit or purchase a composter, go online to www.northshorerecycling.com or call 604-984-9730.

Photo Credits:North Shore Recycling Program; http://blog.joshuafeyen.com/2011/11/winterizing-urban-garden.html

 

 

Starting a Food Garden: A resource guide for strata corporations
~ September 13th, 2013

Last year, the EGP received funding from the Real Estate Foundation to install two new sharing gardens, one in a private front yard, and one on the roof of a parking garage at a strata building.  We learned a lot through the process, and produced this guide to help other strata corporations interested in establishing gardens on strata property.

You can also download a printable copy of the guide (4MB file):  Starting a Food Garden

 

The EGP is Hiring!
~ July 21st, 2013

20130516_001With Heather’s departure, and Emily’s move from Community Coordinator into the Manager role, things are changing at the EGP!

We’re hiring for 2 positions:

-Community Coordinator (30 hrs/week)

-Office Coordinator (15 hrs/week)

Applications for both positions are due by Sunday, July 21st and should be emailed to: heather@ediblegardenproject.com – please include resume and cover letter in a single file with your name in the title.

No phone calls please – successful candidates will be contacted for an interview by the end of July.

 

Party at Loutet Farm with Vancity!
~ July 20th, 2013

July 20th_ Vancity - Br

When: Saturday, July 20th 10:30am-2:30pm

Where: 14th and Rufus Avenue in North Vancouver

Vancity is celebrating it’s members and community partners (us!) on July 20th at Loutet Farm. Join us for this fun, FREE, family friendly event!

 

Free Activities include; garden tours, face paining, balloon artist, bouncy castle… PLUS, learn about gardening, composting, recycling and honeybees.

Bring your family and a picnic and celebrate the bounty of summer!

 

Heather is Moving!
~ July 10th, 2013

heatherjI regularly feel like one of the luckiest people around – I have the perfect job. Not only do I come to work every day to do something that I am passionate about, but I am also surrounded by people who truly believe that we can make positive change in the world by taking action and making simple changes.

It seems a little surreal to leave the perfect job – but adventure (and my partner’s  return to school) calls, and our little family is bound for Kingston, Ontario come September. Looking back, I am amazed at how far this little project has come and how much energy, time and creativity people are willing to invest in what we’re doing – it has been an amazing gift for me to be involved, and leaving is certainly bittersweet.

One of the things I am most proud of is the staff team that we have assembled – the EGP staff are some of the most enthusiastic, competent, efficient (and FUN) people that I can imagine – it is remarkable how much they can accomplish in a single day. I am thrilled that Emily Jubenvill has agreed to step into my role and manage the project. Together with Gavin and Jason, the growing team, and all of your ongoing efforts, I know that the tremendous momentum we have built will continue to grow. I could not imagine leaving the EGP in more competent hands.

Thank you for all of your support!

Heather.

 

Yoga at Loutet Farm
~ June 12th, 2013

loutet-yoga-small

We’re excited to announce that we’re hosting yoga classes every Tuesday night at Loutet Farm this summer. The classes are suitable for every skill level, so don’t be intimidated to join us. Space is limited, so please register online: www.loutetyoga.eventbrite.ca

When: Tuesdays, 7-8pm

Where: Loutet Farm, 14th St East & Rufus Ave, North Vancouver

Cost:  $10-15 donation per class

Bring: yoga mat, water bottle, sweater for when it cools down

**RAIN OR SHINE – We have a rain plan!**

 

Applying Permaculture to Your Business, Social Enterprise, or Workplace
~ June 5th, 2013

8642004120_0b9fec3780I just got wind of a great permaculture workshop happening in North Vancouver on June 15th and 16th.  When you register please let Jesse at Pacific Permaculture know how you found out about the course.  Happy salad season.

Applying Permaculture to Your Business, Social Enterprise, or Workplace
What: Two day intensive workshop
  When: Saturday and Sunday June 15th and 16th 2013
  Where: The Oak Room, Delbrook Community Centre
600 West Queens Road, North Vancouver
  Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Both Days

 

 

 

With over 30,000 likes on Facebook and 6 full time professional permaculturists in their employ, Milkwood permaculture is arguably one of the most successful permaculture enterprises in the world.

Single Registration $200 + HST

Two for the price of one and a half $300 + HST

Click Here For More Details

 

Imagine if you had a job that you could really feel passionate about, one that represented your true self. A job that was authentically sustainable, one that had you working towards regenerating the earth and your community. Not only that, it would be a job that did more than just pay the bills, a job that afforded you a comfortable and enriching lifestyle.

That is exactly what this workshop is all about. It is about permaculture and how it can be applied to running a business, social enterprise, community organization, or workplace that is clean, green, sustainable and revenue positive.

This guy, Nick Ritar co-founder of Milkwood Permaculture in Australia is coming all the across the pond to show you how its done.

 

Recipes from Loutet Farm
~ May 21st, 2013

Hakurei Salad Turnips are one of my all time favourite vegetables. I remember the first one I tried was on Saltspring Island, and was sitting cut up in a little bowl like a piece of candy. I grabbed one to munch on not actually knowing what it was, and was amazed by how sweet, juicy, and crunchy it was. It took quite a bit of convincing to make me believe it was actually a turnip!
Farmer Gavin has an excellent crop of these beauties in the ground right now, and if you pick some up at the farm gate sales you can try this recipe out or munch of these turnips raw. A big thank you for Trixi for supplying us with all these lovely recipes to share with you.

saladHakurei Turnips Salad

Ingredients:
4 cups mixed greens, including the turnip greens.
4 small Hakurei Salald turnips, diced
2 apples, diced
4 Table spoons pecans, plain, roasted or candied.
8 Table spoons dressing
Dressing:
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
dash salt
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, or Lemon
1 Tbsp good Olive Oil
dash ground pepper

Directions

Dressing:
1. Mash garlic cloves in bowl with fork.
2. Add salt, mustard & vinegar. Whisk well.
3. Whisk in oil & dash of pepper.
This salad recipe makes 4 servings. In each salad bowl, place 1 cup greens & toss with dressing. Add on top of each salad one diced turnip, 1/2 of a diced apple, and 2 Tbsp of chopped pecans.
Number of Servings: 4
 

Green Can Outreach Team Hiring
~ April 24th, 2013

Photo: North Shore Recycling Program

Photo: North Shore Recycling Program

The City of North Vancouver needs YOU for our Green Can Outreach Team!!

The City of North Vancouver is looking for candidates to increase awareness of and participation in the City’s Green Can Collection Program.  Door to door outreach to approximately 6000 homes will be conducted from May 4 to 29, 2013.

Residents can now put ALL food scraps – including meat, fish, bones, dairy, pasta, bread and food-soiled paper – in the Green Can along with yard trimmings for weekly curbside collection. Considering that up to 40% of household garbage consists of food scraps, this program provides a significant way for residents in houses and duplexes to reduce waste sent to landfill.  This change is being made to prepare for the regional landfill ban on food scraps and yard trimmings, which comes into effect by 2015.

We need your help to motivate and educate residents on how to participate in the Green Can Program.  We’re seeking community-minded people who want to make a difference and help City of North Vancouver residents understand the importance of participating in the food scraps collection program.  Strong intercultural communications are required and the ability to speak a second or third language is a bonus!  Familiarity with North Vancouver neighbourhoods is also an asset.

The Work. Candidates will be trained in advance and will work in pairs for each shift (dates outlined below), which will last a maximum of four hours.  Teams will engage residents in neighbourhood-based door-to-door outreach.  A 13 session minimum commitment is required of candidates as well as mandatory training on May 4th (3:30 to 5:30pm in North Vancouver); an estimated 15 shifts will be available between May 4 to 29, 2013.  Sessions will occur weekday evenings from 4:30-8:30 pm and midday Saturday’s on these dates: May 6-8, 11, 13-16, 21-23, 25, and 27-29.

The Rewards.

·     Get paid $15 per hour for each hour worked

· The fun and satisfaction of helping North Vancouver increase their participation in food scrap  diversion and inspiring others    to live sustainably.

·    Meet like minded individuals and North Shore residents in an on-the-ground outreach effort to raise awareness and build community.

·     Gain meaningful, sustainability-related work experience.

To Apply. In the text of an email, please provide information in this numbered list format:

1.   Your name

2.   Your email

3.   Your phone

4.   Your home address

5.  Indicate your availability based on dates outlined above (e.g. that you can meet the required work commitment). Again, noting that the May 4th, paid training session is MANDATORY and that you must be able to commit to a minimum of 13 sessions over the course of the project.

6.   Languages spoken

7.   Explain why you would like to be a Green Can Outreach participant and how your previous outreach and/or sustainability experience prepares you to engage a diverse range of North Vancouver residents (4 lines maximum).

8.   Note how you learned about this opportunity

Please submit your application responses to Outreach Coordinator, Liz Blakeway at liz.blakeway@gmail.com by Saturday, April 27, 7 pm.  Spaces are limited, apply now!  

For More Info. Contact Liz Blakeway at  liz.blakeway@gmail.com

 

Get Your EGP Gear!
~ April 10th, 2013

You or your garden can look awesome this spring with a new EGP t-shirt and/or veggies seeds and seedlings! The best part is that you’ll also be supporting our work  with your purchase – all proceeds go to straight into our awesome programs and projects in your community.

T-shirts

 

We have mens and womens sizes (S-XL) in grey and green in these soft comfy cotton t-shirts. They cost $20 (taxes are included).  

Get Yours Now!

 

 

 

 Seeds

We’re selling West Coast Seeds this year, and have all our favourite varieties to share with you. You can come by our office to browse our selection, or email Emily with your order – emily @ ediblegardenproject . com

We’ve got: 

  • Arugula – astro
  • Asian greens – mustard green blend, toy choy
  • Beans – kentucky blue pole, purple peacock pole, tri-colour bush
  • Beets – blend, chioggia, winterkeeper
  • Broccoli – purple sprouting blend, greenbelt
  • Brussel Sprouts – Igor
  • Cabbage – january king
  • Carrots – rainbow blend, ya ya
  • Cucumber – marketmore
  • Flowers – marigold mix, wildflowers, nasturtium salad blend
  • Herbs – kitchen basil blend, cilantro
  • Kale – winterbor, lacinato, red russian
  • Lettuce – salad bowl, red deer tongue, cimmaron, jester, gourmet mix
  • Peas – sugar snap,
  • Radishes – easter egg blend, french breakfast
  • Spinach – samich
  • Squash – buttercup, uchiki red kuri, delicata, sunburst scallopini
  • Swiss Chard – bright lights, fordhook giant
  • Tomatoes – sungold cherry, sweet million cherry
  • Turnips – hukeri (like candy!)
  • Zucchini – black beauty, romanesco
  •  

Seedlings 

We’re selling seedling at the Loutet Farm gate sales starting April 27th, 2013 – 10-12pm. Check our event calendar for details.

Currently have: sungold tomatoes, kale, broccoli, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach.

 

SPEC – Urban Farmer Field Schol
~ April 4th, 2013

The  Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) would like to introduce you to the 2013 season of the Urban Farmer Field School! This spring, get ready for courses in sustainable agriculture and DIY food systems – everything from starting your seeds to starting an urban farm business.

We’ve expanded this year, offering 25 courses in total. This spring get ready for:

•       Growing Food In Small Spaces
•       Fruit Tree Canopy Management
•       Grassroots Bioremediation
•       Organic Soil Management
•       Succession Planting
•       Seed Starting
•       Seed Saving
•       MarketSafe Certification
•       Urban Farming On A Budget, and
•       Medicinal Herbs

… And Much More!

To look at the full course list and to register for classes, check out: http://www.spec.bc.ca/farmer-field-school

Get Growing!

- The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation

 

First Day of Farm School!
~ March 21st, 2013

Christine Hardie writes about her experiences at the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture on her Urban Zucchini blog. She’s an EGP volunteer at Loutet Farm, and has kindly allowed us to share her blog posts and stories with you here!

 March 10, 2013

I could not believe my luck last fall when I discovered the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture at the UBC Farm. A practical program that would give me the opportunity to work a growing season at the farm and have the chance to learn about sustainable food systems? Seemed too good to be true, it was exactly what I was looking for. To my good fortune I was accepted and had been eagerly awaiting my first day at UBC since Decemeber. I could hardly sleep Friday night because I was so excited to get going.

Were we ever lucky with the weather for our first day, sunny and 10 degrees without a cloud in the sky. There are eleven practicum students in total and it was fantastic to meet others who are also so keen on learning to grow food.

We spent the morning on a tour of the farm and were reminded of all the amazing educational programs and volunteer opportunities that take place on this 24 hectare south campus space. It was great to really get a sense of what we will be working on for the duration of the program as well as all the learning opportunities that await us. As part of the practicum we are each assigned a 1 meter x 20 meter plot that we will be responsible for planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting. We will also have a shared plot that we will work on together as a group.

In the afternoon we had a short lecture about the fundamentals of soil. Soil is so complex! This combination of water, air, minerals and organic matter is truly the foundation of everything we understand to be alive. The difference between soil and dirt is that dirt is simply soil that no longer has the characteristics that support life. I get it now.

A soil texture workshop gave us the opportunity to feel different soil compositions and attempt to identify them using a soil texture decision chart. It proved rather difficult to really tell the difference between some of the classifications ( “is it a loamy sand or a sandy loam?”) but we were reassured that it can take years to develop the sensitivity and expertise to decipher the difference.

To end the day we had a seedling mix workshop where we cleaned and sterilized trays, followed a recipe for seedling mix and then filled the trays with the mix and planted some kale seeds. This will give the kale a head start on the season. All in all it was a super day and I am really looking forward to next week, so much to learn…….

 

2013 Urban Advancing Agriculture Grants
~ March 20th, 2013

Vancouver Coastal Health

Community Food Security Initiative
North Shore Project Funding for Building Community Capacity in Food Security  

April 2013 – March 2014

The purpose of this initiative is to increase food security for all members of the North Shore community while specifically working to improve access to healthy foods for people with low income. Vancouver Coastal Health is offering small grants that build community capacity to improve and sustain food security on the North Shore.

What is food security?

Community Food Security is when all residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes self-reliance.

A food system includes all the processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items

What is community capacity?

Building community capacity refers to forming partnerships, interest or working groups to acquire sustainable food skills, resources and commitment to activities that improve and sustain food security

Activities to build and improve food security include:

  • growing food and related activities (community and backyard food gardens, edible landscaping, food producing rooftops and balconies, farmer’s markets, food composting and the background work and policies that allow these activities);
  • food preparation and related activities (community kitchens, food skills initiatives, canning and preserving kitchens);
  • food recovery and related activities (initiatives that recycle food waste, surplus food into useable food for feeding programs, other initiatives requiring food)

 

Click here to download the PDF and learn how to apply!

 
 

Heart of the Community Awards – Nominate someone!
~ March 13th, 2013

Heart of the Community Awards

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD HEART OF THE COMMUNITY NOMINATION FORM

Do you know someone on the North Shore who deserves recognition for their contribution to our community?  Do you know an organization that has been pivotal in community development?

In celebration of our community we will shine the spotlight on good people doing good things!

AWARDS:

  • HEART OF GOLD:  This individual has contributed to their community through thoughtfulness and consideration of their neighbours.  They have demonstrated compassion and care for others or have performed an act of kindness in their community.
  • YOUTH RISE ABOVE: This award is given to a person between the ages of 10-24 who has overcome challenges and has empowered themselves under difficult circumstances.  This resilient individual is on the way to achieving his or her potential.
  • WELCOMING NEIGHBOUR: This award recognizes an individual who has created opportunities in big or small ways for a newcomer, or has demonstrated a commitment to creating a welcoming community for all.
  • COMMUNITY COLLABORATOR: This award recognizes a local agency, business or organization that has innovatively collaborated to meet the needs of North Shore residents.  Their partnerships create opportunities that benefit our neighbours of all ages by sharing resources, supporting and building on each other’s strengths and provide a model for how strong communities are built.

CRITERIA & ELIGIBILITY:

  1.  All nominees must be North Shore residents.
  2. Nominations may be submitted by an individual or a community group
  3. Nominations will not be accepted from a family member or someone living in the same property.
  4. Employees or contractors of the House are not eligible for nomination.

 NOMINATION DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2013

AWARDS EVENT: APRIL 24, 2013

5:00 P.M. NORTH SHORE NEIGHBOUHOOD HOUSE

Awards presented at Annual General Meeting

     

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD HEART OF THE COMMUNITY AWARDS NOMINATION FORM

 

 

Welcome Spring!
~ March 13th, 2013

By Lianne Shyry

As an urban beekeeper in the City of North Vancouver, I am often asked by gardeners what they can plant to attract beneficial insects, mainly pollinators. The more pollinators frequenting your yard will increase the yields on fruit trees and veggie gardens that you may already be growing. Unfortunately, in the last few years our native and domesticated bee populations have been declining. They are threatened by habitat loss, disease, and pesticide use. Luckily, choice plantings can help immensely.

Butterflies, bumble bees, honey bees, and ladybugs are just a few beneficial insects that may be attracted to the plantings in your yard. British Columbia has over 400 types of native bees, including the well-known mason bee. Now before you get squeamish and say I don’t know if I want those ‘bugs” in my yard, won’t I get stung? The answer is, not likely. The beneficial insects that are attracted to your yard are focused on working. Going from flower to flower, gathering nectar, and pollinating as they go along. You may start noticing that different bees work different plants. Bumblebees will love your tomatoes, very small native mason bees will be on the mint and honey bees are all over the lavender. This is due to their tongue size and how the different plants flowers are shaped. Keep in mind, the insects that bother you at your picnic table are the wasps and hornets. They are the carnivores and are after your hamburger!

Our valuable flying friends would also love to visit a water source that you provide. Since they prefer to fly versus swim you can keep them safe by adding a few rocks, sticks, or bits of moss they can use to dry themselves.

We’re lucky enough to live in a place with a long, and even annual, growing season. Here are some of my favorites that do well in our climate. Many of the plants I recommend are not just attractive but useful. Herbs are a wonderful addition, not just attractive but edible too.

Edibles: Go ahead, hum the tune Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme! Then add in mint, lavender, basil, marjoram, lemon balm, and fennel. If you allow some of your kale and lettuce to go to seed not only will you feed the bees but the flowers are an edible and zingy delight in your salad.

Berries: Blueberries and Raspberries

Fruit trees: Apple, cherry, and plums

Pretty: Borage, heather, lavender, sunflowers, bee balm (bergamot), poppies, wooly lambs ear, catnip, and crocus

Some of the earliest forage for the bees are your dandelions. You can tell your neighbours you’re leaving them to save the bees!

 

——

Lianne is an urban beekeeper passionate about food sustainability and all things to do with urban agriculture. Her business, Two Bees Apiary, sells beekeeping equipment, supplies and glassware. For more information please visit www.twobeesapiary.com or email her at twobeesapipary@shaw.ca

 
 

Table Matters Followup Event
~ February 4th, 2013

February 4th, 2013 6:30-8:30pm

In November, we met to hear what matters to you about food in our community. We have gathered all of that input and are crafting it into a ‘Food Charter‘.  We now would like to meet with you again to make sure we’re on the right track. You can find the DRAFT Food Charter here. Please submit feedback by February 8th, 2013 to: info[AT]ediblegardenproject.com

What: Table Matters Followup Session

Where: District of North Vancouver Municipal Hall, 335 West Queens Street

When: Monday February 4th, 630PM-830PM

Please Register for this event

Light refreshments will be provided (Thanks to Whole Foods Market and the Salvation Army).

 

A little background info:

Food touches every aspect of our lives, from daily meals with our families to trips to the grocery store or community garden in our neighbourhoods and beyond. All of these experiences with food are influenced by policies at all levels (though how is not always visible). We all have values around food that we hold dear.

Your input will be used to refine a food charter that will be brought before North Shore municipalities. Municipalities refer to ‘food charters’ as guiding documents to help guide policy and decisions by keeping food issues important to the community a part of any decision making process.

 

Internships at Loutet Farm
~ January 8th, 2013

We’re recruiting volunteer Farm Interns for the 2013 season. Apply by February 1st.

Urban Farm Interns will join the Loutet team in running a busy, dynamic urban market garden operation. Loutet Farm is run as a social enterprise, meaning it strives to be an economically self-sustaining project, while also modeling sustainable food production and providing hands-on learning opportunities for the community. Interns will be involved in all aspects of the enterprise, including farm operations, volunteer engagement, community outreach and education.

For a full description of what we’re looking for as well as what you can expect to learn, check out the posting here.

Submit applications to: info [AT] ediblegardenproject.com

 

Table Matters 2012 – An Evening of Dinner and Dialogue
~ December 20th, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

On a dark and chilly November evening, North Vancouver’s City Hall came alive with the energy of close to 200 community members who had all come together for one purpose: to dine and discuss the future of food on the North Shore. This years’ fourth annual Table Matters (an event put on by the North Shore Table Matters Network) invited community members to come out and actively engage with food policy issues and help draft a community food charter, a document which will help establish a shared vision and values around food on the North Shore.  This charter be brought before  municipal councils for adoption and will help set the direction for policy development around food and food production. The evening enabled community members to voice their concerns and share their ideas over a meal and to participate in setting the direction for their community’s food future.

The evening began with participants connecting over a delicious meal provided by Whole Foods Market and The Salvation Army New Hope Cuisine program. During dinner, community leaders Mayor Darrell Mussato, Mayor Richard Walton, Councillor Trish Panz, Councillor Nora Gambioli, and local business owner Sam shared their personal stories and memories of what food meant to them.  After the inspiring presentations, Barbra Adler and Gavin Youngash (from Proud Animal) provided tailor made music and laughter, and throughout the evening, events were recorded in a unique interactive art display by visual facilitator Taraneh Erfan King.

The group discussions which followed dinner proved lively, interactive, and high energy, with each of the twelve groups coming together to agree on what they felt were the three most important issues relating to food at the municipal, provincial, and federal level.  Each group submitted their notes, and currently The North Shore Table Matters Network is working to compile the individual documents into one comprehensive charter which will be introduced and discussed on Monday February 4th at a follow up meeting at the District of North Vancouver Municipal Hall. Register Here for the followup event.

The evening was a wonderful success. Diverse members of the community enjoyed meeting one another and discussing the one thing that connects us all – food. It was exciting to see such a high level of interest and participation, and more exciting still that as a community we were able to work together to produce a food charter representative of the North Shore! The synergistic effect of everyone at Table Matters reminded me of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead’s famous quote:“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Community members showed that they are serious about making change to our food system, and our collective future looks promising!

Discussion over Dinner

Smiling and Connecting over Food

New Hope Cuisine

City Hall Full of Energy
Enjoying Dinner
 

Seasonal Sustenance – December Edition
~ December 12th, 2012

It’s December, the last month of the year, and the last month where the days continue to grow shorter! As promised, it is time for a look at which local foods are in season this month!

Referencing from the Southwestern BC Seasonal Food Chart, available at www.getlocalbc.org, we can see that there is still a pretty wide variety of fresh local food in season. The chart details that beets, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, red onions, yellow onions, parsnips, red, russet, yellow and white potatoes, rutabagas, winter squash, white turnips, swiss chard, mushrooms, nuts (in storage), apples, kiwis (this still surprises me, where does one find locally grown kiwis?) pears, bay leaves, chervil, cilantro, rosemary, sage and thyme are all available this month.

You can pick up these delicious local foods at farmer’s markets, as well as select grocers.  Sprout market here in North Vancouver is a great option, as well as Whole Foods in West Vancouver. I have found that the local bigger box retailers carry some local produce; you just have to hunt around a bit more, and check the labels (which can be a little confusing, especially when you see a label which reads ‘Canada/USA/Mexico’).

It also appears that on December 15th, the Vancouver Farmer’s Market is having a special ‘Holiday Market’ edition at the Croatian Cultural Centre!  Over 85 local vendors will be there selling local produce and foods (such as cheese, honey, baked goods and locally roasted coffee), as well as other handmade crafts. It could be a great place to buy some locally made Christmas gifts for loved ones. Check out this link for further information http://www.eatlocal.org/holidaymarket.html.

December offers a lot of possibility, and it is pretty exciting that here in the Pacific Northwest we have so many options, even in winter.  If you are looking for a new or interesting way to enjoy produce in December, a friend of mine recently shared a wonderful recipe with me; one which he believes celebrates the tastes of December’s seasonal produce. So if you are looking for some inspiration, or a new way to enjoy local produce, perhaps give it a try!

Zach’s Seasonal Squash Bake

Ingredients:

- 1 small onion, chopped

- 2 cloves of garlic, minced

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 3 cups of assorted greens (kale or swiss chard), chopped

- 1 winter squash, cubed – approximately 4 cups

- ½ tsp salt

- ½ tsp pepper

- ½  tsp ground thyme

- ½ ground sage

-1 cup vegetable stock

Crust:

- 2 slices of bread

- 1 cup of nuts (pecan or other)

- 2 tsp of olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 F or 220 C. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in oil until the onions are translucent. Add the greens, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the squash, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and stock into an 8×8 baking dish. Stir in the greens mixture and toss together well. Cover with a lid or tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. While the dish is in the oven, blend the bread, nuts, and oil in a food processor (or blender) until it is an even meal-y texture. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the squash dish. Uncover and let bake for 15 more minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

A Tale of Two Apples – Part Two: The Salish Apple
~ November 28th, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

The second part of this story brings you the tale of another apple – the Salish.

 Akin with the Arctic Apple, the Salish came into conception in Summerland BC, however starkly contrasting with the Arctic Apple, the Salish has been praised as ‘an all natural beauty’. Thirty one years in the making, this variety made its public debut this October at the UBC Apple Festival, and was quickly lauded as “completely Canadian, non-genetically modified and absolutely delicious because of its crispy, juicy and tangy qualities”.  The Honorable Ron Cannan from Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada declares, “This is a delicious example of government and industry working together to deliver new market opportunities to our farmers. When you taste the Salish apple here today, you are sampling the sweet rewards of many years of research and investments in innovation that will pay off for the farmers that grow this tasty achievement” (read entire release here).

The idea for the Salish apple was born out of the desire to develop the ideal apple for growers and consumers. Amanda Brodhagen at farms.com explains, “The apply variety has several desirable traits including, a late harvest date – which is preferred by apple growers and [it is] conditioned to produce high yields and [is] deemed to have food growth habits which are excellent for high-density orchards.  For consumers, the Salish is supposed to have a good shelf life and great taste and texture”.

But how does such an apple come into existence?

The process began in 1981, spearheaded by The Pacific Agrifood Research Centre in Summerland, BC. Researchers knew they wanted to develop a long lasting, easy to grow, and great tasting apple. To develop this ‘perfect’ apple, scientists collected pollen from the male apparatus in the blossoms of the Splendour tree (selected for its heartiness), and applied it to emasculated blossoms from a Gala tree (selected for its taste and texture).

The result of this initial pollination was 800 unique cross breed varieties which possessed the genes from both of their parent apples.  Of these initial 800 child seeds, only one would eventually become the Salish.

Cheryl Hampson, speaking to the Vancouver Sun, clarifies that every seed born out of this controlled pollination was different, unique, and unpredictable. She explains that after the initial pollination, the child seeds were planted, and thus began a nine year selection process to identify the strongest varieties, and to ‘retire’ the weak varieties. Sought after qualities during this process included resistance to disease, vigour, flavour, texture, appearance, and perhaps most importantly for this BC specific apple, ripening schedule.

The ideal variety needed to ripen before the autumn frost, but not too soon so that it would overlap with the harvesting period of other apple varieties. Another major determining factor in the Salish’s rise to the top was its ability to store well. This trait was specifically targeted as this was identified as a gap in the existing apple market. Hampson states that any apple to make it to the second round of selection had to be able to survive six weeks of storage, while maintaining taste and integrity.

The apples that made it through this initial selection were next put to test at the tasting panel. The Salish, along with about 20 other varieties, made it through to the tasting period, a result which Hampson calls ‘unusually good’.

The tasting phase, in all, takes about seven to nine years. This process includes propagation of the successful varieties, tasting, and of course further observation for undesirable traits such as unattractive appearances or inconsistent fruit bearing.

Sixteen years into this process, farmers were invited to begin growing the few remaining varieties in on farm testing plots.  This is considered to be the ‘real world’ test, and only those seeds which succeed here were taken to the final step – commercialization and branding. In all, three varieties excelled through all the levels of testing, the Salish, the Nicola, and the Aurora Golden Gala, however, it is only the Salish that has been declared the ultimate ‘winner’ from this process, and today, thirty one years later, fifteen orchardists are now cultivating the Salish. It should be noted as well, that the name Salish was chosen in honour of the first nations background here in British Columbia.

So where can you taste the sweet fruit of this process? I myself have tried one (it was delicious!), and I bought it from Nesters Market in Whistler. A quick search on the web reveals that IGA markets should be carrying the apple, as well as Urban Fare, Whole Foods, and Four Seasons Farms and the #1 Orchard at the Granville Island market.

Next fall the apple should be carried even more widely.

 

 

A Tale of Two Apples: Part One – The Arctic Apple
~ November 21st, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

Over the last few weeks, ‘Fed Up’ has been taste testing apple varieties with both Brooksbank elementary students and Queen Mary elementary students. During the taste testing everyone gets to discuss which qualities they like the best about each apple, which qualities they dislike, and then at the end we vote on our favourite apple (Honey Crisp remains the most popular variety!).

During the taste testing, Farmer Emily asks the children, ‘how many different kinds of apples do you think exist in the whole world?’  We usually get answers from the kids ranging from 4 to 200. However, in actuality, the answer is more than 7,500 varieties worldwide!

The diversity of apple varieties is indeed impressive, and it got me thinking about two brand new ‘made in BC’ varieties which have been in the news over this past year: the Arctic Apple and the Salish Apple.

I was wondering what it takes to produce a new apple variety, and what I found was, not all apples are created equally.

This is the first in a two part series, where I will compare the experiences of two diametrically opposed apple varieties. You might be thinking, could any two apples really be that different? Well the answer is yes. Ultimately, the only thing these two apples had in common was they were both developed here in BC and introduced to the public this year.

The first apple – the Arctic Apple – is genetically modified and was engineered by Okanagan Specialty Fruits a Canadian biotechnology company based out of Summerland, BC and headed up apple orchardist/biotechnologist Neal Carter.

What exactly is the Arctic Apple’s claim to fame though (aside from being, probably, the world’s first GMO apple)?  Well scientists responsible for creating the Arctic Apple claim that it will not brown after it has been cut into pieces, due to the fact that they have ‘silenced certain genes in the apple responsible for the browning reaction’.

Some of you may be wondering why such a technology would be necessary, I was too.  Well, a promotional headline, taken from the Arctic Apple website, explains “we all love apples! Until they turn brown, that is. Arctic® apples are everything you love about apples, without the “yuck” factor that you don’t. (Now if we could just get rid of the seeds!)”

Yes, that is right; nearly a decade and a half’s worth of science, money, and innovation (the arctic apple has been under development since 1997) has been invested in engineering an apple which simply doesn’t brown. I guess Neal Carter is not familiar with the technique of squeezing a bit of lemon juice onto apple slices to avoid oxidation. I’ve also learned that cutting apples with a ceramic knife avoids oxidation as well!

Below you can view the less than miraculous difference between a natural apple (on the left) and an Arctic Apple (on the right).

Carter clarifies that the idea came to him one evening, long ago. He was attending a party where the host had served cut up apples, and of course, they had oxidized. He claims the Arctic Apple will revolutionize the way people consume apples.

However, despite Carter’s revolutionary expectations for the Arctic Apple, as The Globe and Mail journalist Sunny Dhillon puts it, the public’s reception of the apple has been ‘chilly’.  Indeed, the apple quickly garnered criticism in May of 2012, when it came up for approval with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The BC Fruit Growers’ Association has voiced concern that the introduction of the Arctic Apple could negatively impact both the existing organic and conventional apple growers in the Okanagan, due to the negative connotation associated with GMO production. Kirpal Boparai, president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, presses that this new apple could confuse potential consumers and ultimately persuade them to avoid purchasing any BC grown apples.

Allan Patton, a fruit grower in the Regional District of the Okanagan and Similkameen draws attention to the potential for cross pollination between the Arctic Apple and organic varieties. This, Patton explains, has the potential to undermine the entire organic apple production in the Okanagan and destroy countless livelihoods. Patton presses, “Whether you like GMOs or not, whether you believe in the science or not, this is the reality that’s facing us now. There are countries that will restrict us from sending our crops to them if we have GMO contaminated fruit, or even thought we had GMO contaminated fruit” (see entire article at: http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/158172985.html?mobile=true).

Beyond the grower’s very valid and troubling concerns, scholars and consumers have also raised issues regarding the genetically modified apple. Emily G. Adams, an extension educator for agriculture and natural resources at The Ohio State University, suggests that genetically altering food purely for aesthetic reasons may ‘cross the line’ (see entire article at: http://www.coshoctontribune.com/article/20121027/NEWS01/310270004).

Here at home in BC, momentum continues to build for the implementation of entirely GMO or GE (genetically engineered) free zones, with Richmond most recently joining the list (the list currently includes: Salt Spring Island, Denman Island Powell River, Rossland, Nelson, New Denver, and Kaslo). Advocates highlight that GE free zones will ensure seed sovereignty and seed control for local producers, and help build towards a more sustainable food future for BC.

Tony Beck from the Society for a GE Free BC states “There’s no room in our communities for crops like the proposed GM apple. We need to invest in organic farming rather than risk its future from GM contamination”.  Lucy Sharratt, of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network adds, “The markets for iconic and economically important BC products could soon be destroyed if genetically modified organisms like GM apples and GM salmon are introduced.”

Indeed, across the board, the reception of the Arctic Apple has been negative and demonstrates a widespread dislike and perhaps distrust for GM produce. Faced with this reality, one might expect Carter to reconsider his expectations for the apple. Unfortunately, Carter remains committed to his project, and disappointed by the criticism. Carter exclaims,  “The fact that they want to take technology and ban it for a province, a technology that saves lives, globally it’s going to feed the planet and ban it from our province, I think that’s incredibly naive, and ignorant and I just can’t fathom where these people are coming from.” 

***

In the second part of this series, I will tell an entirely different story of an apple’s birth: that of the Salish.

 

Winter Composting and Compost Coaching!
~ November 14th, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

This weekend we saw the first frost in some parts of North Vancouver, and this got me thinking about how the colder temperatures may affect my backyard compost. Well, it turns out that composting in the winter is completely feasible; the process just slows down a little and requires a bit of planning! Stephanie Davies, author of Composting Inside and Out: The comprehensive guide to reusing trash, saving money and enjoying the benefits of organic gardening explains that continually adding to your compost over the winter season is important. This will ensure that your compost stays active and your microorganisms don’t die, meaning that your compost will be in great shape come spring.

Of course your supply of kitchen scraps will remain constant, but as the winter season goes on, your supply of yard clipping, leaves, or grass may dwindle. Davies recommends stockpiling a few extra bags of leaves in the fall to make up for the coming shortage. She also adds that in temperate rainy climates (like Vancouver!) adding dry leaves will help absorb the excess moisture.  Another helpful tip she includes is to cut your kitchen scraps into smaller pieces. This increases their surface area, which means they will break down faster.

If you begin to find that your supply of kitchen waste is outpacing your compost, there are options! Here on the North Shore we are now welcome to include our food scraps in with our yard trimmings in the ‘Green Can’ which gets collected on garbage day. Contact the North Shore Recycling Program for bin labels, I did, and they were sent to me a week later in the mail! Click here to access the bin label request page.

The North Shore Recycling Program webpage (http://www.northshorerecycling.ca/yard-trimmings-collection) also presses that it is important for everyone to participate in the Green Can program as soon food scraps will be banned from the landfill by Metro Vancouver.

Beyond the Green Can program, you also have the option of bringing your scraps to ‘Food Scrap Drop Spots’. This initiative, born out of the Vancouver Farmer’s Market, enables people to drop their scraps off at The Winter Market at Nat Bailey Stadium every Saturday. This is great because now you can drop off your food scraps and pick up local produce all in one stop! Check out their website for further information and alternative drop locations (http://foodscrapsdropspot.tumblr.com/).

Finally, if all of this seems a little overwhelming, or somewhat confusing, call a compost coach! Here on the North Shore we have the wonderful opportunity to receive free private compost coaching! Appointments last between 20-50 minutes, and can be made easily online at this address: http://www.northshorerecycling.ca/programs/compost-coaching/book-a-compost-coaching-session.

Compost coaches will come to you, and are available to help you set up or install your compost, answer questions, give advice, and trouble shoot problems. Groups are welcome, and this service is available to all residents of the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, and the District of West Vancouver.

North Shore Recycling program states that the average single family home on the north shore produces up to 500 kg of compostable waste each year.  By continually composting all year long you will be able to capture more of this waste and transform it into valuable organic compost! You will also be helping the environment by keeping more waste out of landfills. The North Shore Recycling Program estimates that 9,000 tonnes of organic waste has already been diverted from landfills thanks to the efforts of North Shore composters! However, 25% of the weekly garbage pickup remains compostable, so there is room for improvement. Hopefully the information included in this post will help us move towards 0% compostable waste in our weekly garbage pick up!

Happy Composting!

 

 

BC Hydro Community Champions Contest
~ November 7th, 2012

We’re Finalists!

This is our contest entry video!

VOTE HERE! One click is all it takes to vote for the Edible Garden Project! 

You can vote once a day, every day, until December 7th. We are happy to send you a daily reminder if you’d like a little help in maximizing your voting potential!


“The BC Hydro Community Champions Program engages non-profit organizations within British Columbia that demonstrate environmental leadership in their community. It provides these non-profit organizations a platform to highlight their initiatives that support conservation and the environment for the chance to win a $10,000 Community Champions conservation award”

 

Seasonal Sustenance
~ November 5th, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

With the last breath of summer long gone, and the dark short days of winter stretching out ahead of us, our abundant source of local produce begins to narrow. Farmer markets become fewer, and maybe your own garden has given you the last of its harvest.

That being said, we are blessed in this region of the world with access to some fabulous winter produce. Eating seasonally is the hallmark of a local, sustainable food system. It can take a little extra thought and consideration, but celebrating foods when they are in season can be special and fulfilling in itself! Eating seasonally can also lead you to appreciate the natural abundance and diversity of our pacific North West bioregion.

The wonderful people at Farm FolkCity Folk (http://www.farmfolkcityfolk.ca/) have put together a comprehensive list of local foods and when they are in season (this list even includes seafood, herbs, and meats). This is a great place to start when thinking about which food to shop for, and includes a break down by item and month. To check out the list in its entirety, click here.

However, in the interest of saving you time, I compiled a list of all the foods which are in season this month! November’s seasonal all stars include:

broccoli, beets, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, swiss chard, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, red or yellow onions, parsnips, red, yellow, white, and russet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, rutabaga, salad greens, winter mescluns, winter squash, turnips, green onions, apples, kiwis (surprising!) and pears.

Choosing to purchase and consume these foods this month is a simple and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, and support your local economy.

This is a great poster, created by the folks at ‘Suburban Stone Age’, and it really resonates with me. Making the choice to eat one less item which isn’t local or sustainable can make a huge difference.

The first item I have decided to ‘opt out’ of consuming is bananas. Conventional banana production requires high chemical inputs. The film documentary Bananas!* notes that 1/3 of the banana production cost results from the pesticides which are applied to the fruit. There have also been many cases in which banana workers have been exposed to these chemicals, with terrible outcomes (check out this article for more information). Bananas also have to travel a long way to get to us.  For me, it seemed like an easy item to ‘opt out’ of. A lot of people have started to ask me though, “but where will you get your potassium?” and this is actually a really interesting question, because of course, many people eat bananas for the health benefits.

As it turns out, there are many better local produce items which actually contain higher amounts of potassium than bananas. Have a look at this chart, courtesy of whfoods.com

As you may notice, bananas do not even make the list! What you may notice, however, is that swiss chard is right at the top! Swiss chard also happens to be in season now! Same with potatoes and spinach!  Finding local sources of potassium couldn’t be easier.

So where can you go to find all of this healthy and locally sourced winter produce? Well on Thursday I just discovered that the North Shore has a wonderful market called Sprout Market (http://www.sproutmarket.ca/), a completely local and organic food retailer. Also, this Saturday marked the first of the Vancouver Farmer’s Market winter season, which takes place every Saturday at Nat Bailey Stadium from 10am – 2pm (http://www.eatlocal.org/). It’s also possible that the local grocery stores are carrying seasonal produce, just check out where the produce comes from!

So, even though the days are darker, and winter seems imminent, you can still enjoy fresh, healthy produce.  Check back here in one month’s time to see which foods are in season for December!

 

 

 

Food Irradiation? Know Your Garlic!
~ October 27th, 2012

By Shannon Lambie

Last week at Loutet Farm, ‘Friends with Fed Up’ spent the day teaching the primary school children from Brooksbank Elementary about the exciting world of garlic.  We learned how it grows, yummy ways to eat it, and how to plant it! Everyone had a chance to get their hands dirty by planting a clove (pointy end up!)  and now in ten months time we will see the results.

Great fun was had by all, and everyone left with a little more knowledge than they had before, and I learned something that piqued my interest in particular.

When I asked Farmer Gavin and Farmer Emily if I could just use any old clove from a regular garlic bulb for planting, they responded, “no probably not. Most of the ordinary non organic grocery store bulbs have been irradiated, and won’t sprout”.

Hmm… I knew I had heard of irradiation, the odd rumour floating around about irradiated potatoes or bananas, but in all honesty, I didn’t really know what irradiation was, how it works, or what it does.

It turns out I’m not alone.

A survey conducted in April 2012 by The Angus Reid Public Opinion for the Consumers Association of Canada found that in its sample of 1,006 Canadians, 57% had never even heard of the food irradiation process.  So what exactly is food irradiation?

Health Canada explains food irradiation as, “the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy called ‘ionizing radiation’. There are three different types of radiation allowed: Gamma rays, X-rays and electron beam radiation”. This process acts by damaging the food product’s DNA beyond its ability to repair.  Therefore, organisms can no longer successfully continue the process of cell division, and the organism ceases all processes related to maturation or reproduction.

Three main rationales are given by Health Canada for food irradiation:

To prevent food poisoning: by reducing the level of harmful bacteria such as E.coli or Salmonella;

To prevent spoilage: by reducing the microbial load on foods, meaning it destroys bacteria, molds and yeast which cause food to spoil, and controls insect and parasite infestation; and

To increase shelf life: by slowing the ripening or sprouting in fresh fruits and vegetables, thereby allowing for longer shelf life.

A brief perusal of the internet suggests that many are uncomfortable with the concept of irradiating food due to its association with the nuclear industry, and the potential for the chemical changes to be different than simply heating up the food to kill organisms.

But what are the real risks associated with irradiating food? Health Canada insists that the risks are nil, but a closer inspection of the process begs the question if the lengthy/costly process is worth the negligible benefits.

– Irradiating food is capital and technologically intensive. It requires extensive infrastructure and further industrializes the food processing system.

– Irradiating food reduces nutrient content. The UIC School of Public Health reports that irradiating food reduces the content of several key nutrients such as Vitamin E (~15-30 %); Thiamin (~10-25%); Vitamin C (5-15%); Riboflavin (~7-10%); Pyridoxine (~10-20%); and Vitamin B12 (~15-20%).  Although Health Canada argues that these reductions are consistent with the canning preservation technique,  many produce items which are irradiated would not traditionally have been preserved or canned, and would have been eaten fresh, such as garlic.

– The same UIC School of Public Health Report suggests that food irradiation creates radiolytic products with unknown short term or long term safety effects.

– The final questionable attribute of food irradiation is the fact that even after food has been irradiated, there is still a risk that bacterium or pathogens exist. Given that a complete irradiation of the food would kill the food product completely (i.e. destroy taste and texture) the food product is only irradiated to about 90-95%. Therefore, there still exists a chance for food borne illness, the exact problem which food irradiation is supposed to ‘solve’. Health Canada recommends that irradiated foods should still be treated with the same precautions that non irradiated foods are.

The need to irradiate food has risen as a result of our transnational food system. Food needs to be irradiated so that it can last long enough to make the time and energy intensive journey from farm to market, and in the case of most super market garlic, that journey requires a trip across the pacific from China to Vancouver.

Supporting locally grown or organic agriculture would eliminate the need to irradiate produce.

Food products which are currently irradiated in Canada include: onions, potatoes, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, and whole or ground spices and dehydrated seasonings. Four other food items are up for consideration: mangoes, poultry, shrimp and prawns, and ground beef.

But what about food irradiated in other countries and shipped to Canada? Health Canada explains that food irradiation has been legalized in at least 39 other countries, with a combined total of more than 40 different food products ranging from produce, to meat, to spices, to cereals, and even eggs.

Foods irradiated in Canada and the United States should carry this irradiation symbol.

Foods from further abroad may not bear this symbol though.

The only way to really ensure that you are not eating irradiated food is to purchase organic (both USDA certified organic and organics in Canada do not allow the use of irradiation) or local farmer market produce.

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

Backyard Hens Get the Go Ahead in the City of North Vancouver!
~ October 18th, 2012

Exciting news for all those North Vancouverites who have long wanted the taste of fresh North Vancouver eggs!

On September 17th, 2012 the city of North Vancouver amended city bylaws to allow for up to 8 hens in one unit residential zones. No registration or permitting is required, but our plucky rooster friends are still prohibited.

Keeping backyard hens is a fantastic pursuit, and this is quite a step forward for urban agriculture in North Vancouver. An increasing number of people have become interested in backyard hens for a whole host of motivations!

So why should you consider keeping hens in your backyard?

- Hens are a wonderful addition to your backyard production cycle, as hens will eat organic food scraps and produce organic manure for your vegetable beds! This means you can cut down on the externalities you have to bring into your garden.

- Backyard hens lay healthier eggs for you and your family. Ann Pacey, director of Village Vancouver, explains that due to the increased exercise backyard hens get, the hens actually lay eggs higher in omega 3 fatty acids.

- Keeping hens in your back yard increases North Vancouver’s food resiliency, and decreases our level of dependence on external factors and the industrialized food system.

- Feeding and caring for your backyard hens means you have greater knowledge, participation and control over your food consumption.

- Keeping hens raises awareness of urban agriculture, and gets people talking. Any act which can bring consumers closer to their food is positive!

- Improved animal welfare: keeping backyard hens reduces reliance on factory farmed eggs.

- Caring for your backyard hens can serve as a family and community bonding activity, and many of the tasks required to care for chickens can easily be done by children.

- But most importantly, keeping backyard hens means fresh organic eggs right on your doorstep! Hens can lay up to one egg a day!

But before you decide to roost up, there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, does your home qualify? Check out the map below to see if your residence is included in the one unit residential zone (the yellow lots on the map).

Next, it is important to educate yourself about backyard hens, and how to take care of them. Luckily there is a wealth of information on the internet, however, check out the collection of links below which should cover the most important issues.

General Chicken Information: basic care, coops, pens

Chicken Disease Prevention and Detection

Humane Considerations for your Chickens

Backyard Chicken Resource Sheet

 

 

 

Handstands & Pancakes
~ September 11th, 2012

 

You are officially invited to the hottest Charitable Giving Event the North Shore has ever seen!

Picture this…

Park Royal Village covered with 200 yoga mats, Nico Luce teaching our yogis to perfect a handstand and finishing your class eating warm apple cinnamon pancakes.

Join us Sunday September 16th from 9:30-10:30am. Pancakes are $5 and all proceeds go to the Edible Garden Project. We’ll be meeting in the common area of Park Royal Village between Whole Foods Market and Cactus Club Cafe. Can’t wait to see you all there!

 

Click here for event details and to share it with your friends!

 

Community Gardens on CBC TV
~ July 12th, 2012

Gardeners for Queen Mary Community Garden, and Heather Johnstone of the Edible Garden Project were interviewed by CBC TV last week.

 

Watch the clip here!

 

Tips from the Patio Veggies Workshop: Growing Food in Small Places
~ June 4th, 2012

May 23, 2012

Heather Johnstone from the Edible Garden Project gave a jam packed presentation to a large group of mainly balcony gardeners at the John Braithwaite Community Centre in Lower Lonsdale Wednesday night. This was one of many GardenSmart workshops we co-sponsor along with the North Shore Recycling Program and the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre. It is always fun and inspiring to hear from other gardeners. Heather gave advice and shared techniques about choosing recycled and repurposed containers, and recommended the best types of planter pot soils and organic fertilizers. She showcased the vegetable, herb, and edible flower varieties that thrive best in containers, and presented many visual examples of stunning vertical gardens that utilize small spaces creatively.

The group discussed some of the container gardening challenges that can be tricky for balcony dwellers. Things that stumped some of these gardeners were the potential for lingering smells from soils and manures, the delicate balance of watering dry containers without drenching downstairs neighbours, and dealing with condo buildings that discourage or even prohibit large scale veggie growing. Heather had fairly easy solutions to all of these and also pointed out the many advantages unique to container gardening such as built in balcony wind protection and the ability to create hot spots against concrete or stone walls.

The best piece of take-away advice from Heather was elegantly simple but often overlooked when planning a small scale veggie garden. “Grow what you like to eat and will use daily in your kitchen.” It is not too late to direct seed many varieties or buy veggie seedlings from our own Loutet Farm. Container gardening, it seems, is truly only limited by one’s imagination!

 

Deborah Sim – guest blogger for the Edible Garden Project

 

Intergenerational Garden – Installation Day!
~ May 30th, 2012

We’re building five new gardens in North Shore Neighbourhood childcare centres, and on Wednesday May 30th we need your help to get soil into the beds, build bean trellis tents, and put the finishing touches on these gardens that we hope will inspire kids to love growing and eating their own vegetables, and building realtionships to share knowledge between generations.

We will be at a number of locations throughout the day, so please email Emily at emily {at} ediblegardenproject{dot}com or 778-986-3659 for details. We’ll supply tools, gloves, and light refreshments!

 

 

 

Garden Joins Generations
~ May 9th, 2012

Originally published in the North Shore News – May 9, 2012

By Todd Major

IF you combine the wisdom and patience of a 70-year-old senior with the enthusiasm and curiosity of a seven-yearold child and place them together in the garden, something akin to magic can happen.

And that is what the Edible Garden Project (EGP) is hoping to grow when their five new Intergenerational Gardens are built this month at North Shore Neighbourhood House childcare centres.

Funded by the United Way and Neptune Bulk Terminals, the program plans to match seniors with children under the age of 12 and place them in the garden to engage the children in learning about growing veggies and gardening while providing seniors with personal contact and a feeling of belonging to the community.

I spoke to Emily Jubenvill, the community co-ordinator for the Edible Garden Project, to ask her about the program and its benefits.

Read more: http://www.nsnews.com/life/Garden+joins+generations/6590230/story.html#ixzz1uPM55bxn

 

Favourite Moments of the Week
~ April 26th, 2012

Last week was jam packed, and I wanted to share a few of my favourite moments with you.

An Alleyway Children’s Garden

I got an email last week from a woman that I found really inspiring. Her idea is simple, but I think it would make a big impact in her neighbourhood. This is what she had to say,

“I’ve been contemplating turning my rarely-used driveway into a shared garden space for the kids on our block…It is a densely populated area with many young families and not much yard space for kids to get their hands in dirt.” 

I couldn’t help, but be reminded of the work that City Repair does in Portland Oregon. Wouldn’t it be amazing to turn an alley driveway into a children’s garden complete with mural paintings on the concrete, a community composting station, and sustainable water harvesting?! That is exactly what we talked about – dream big, right! As we walked around the space in her driveway and the alleyway, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the alley just a few blocks south that I spent years of my childhood playing in – it would have been amazing for us to have a shared garden space like this. Hopefully this project will move forward, and I would love to see more people in the community taking this sort of initiative – we’re here to support you.

Harvest Project

The Harvest Project is one of our partner organizations, and it was great to check in with them this Spring before the harvest season begins. The food that we grow in our Sharing Gardens and through our Sharing the Bounty Network is donated to the Harvest Project, so clients are eating fresh, local, organic produce grown in their own neighbourhoods. I’m excited because it also looks like we are going to try to work together to share more recipes and information about the food that we’re donating with clients and volunteers. Check out this short video on why the Harvest Project is so important to our community:

Harvest Project – Food Recovery from Lemongrass on Vimeo.

Our New Sharing Garden @ Norvan Boys & Girls Club

Amazing. Dedicated. Those are just two words that I would use to describe the five volunteers that showed up last Thursday night in the POURING rain to turn a fairly abandon garden plot at the Norvan Boys & Girls Club into one ready for planting. This is one of our new Sharing Gardens, and kids at the Club will be picking food for their snacks throughout the summer months, and hopefully the garden will find a place in their programming over time.

Before

After

Queen Mary Elementary Students Get a “Movable Garden”

Queen Mary School is currently undergoing massive seiesmic upgrades and renovations, so classes are being held at the Cloverly school site. Although we’re using the School Garden plots at Queen Mary for an Urban Grains Demonstration Garden this year, we also wanted to continue gardening and eating healthy snacks with the students. On Friday I was honoured to present a certificate from the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds School Ground Greening Grants program, and to bring in the materials to build their “movable garden”. We used four 6foot by 2foot galvanized aluminium water troughs, students filled them with soil, and in the coming weeks start planting. When they move back to Queen Mary Elementary School, the garden can come with them.

 

Blitz for the Bees

The Building Urban Garden or B.U.G. Blitz held on Saturday was bee-utiful! We got together to create a fantastic native bee habitat garden under the direction of BeeFriendly.ca‘s Ric Erickson. Delicious snacks, lots of learning, and some sore arms from all the wheelbarrowing. Check out the photographs here.

 

Honourable mentions – fantastic Loutet Workbee planting rows and rows of green onions, Collingwood High School Students working on Loutet Farm to celebrate Earth Day, Group Gardening at Queen Mary Community Garden on Saturday morning, and a tonne of meeting with new and enthusiastic volunteers!

 

GardenSmart Workshop – Maximize Your Harvest
~ April 21st, 2012

UPDATED with Presentation – Maximize Your Harvest

If you’ve been growing veggies, and are looking for tips and tricks in boosting production, join Vancouver Urban Farmer Emi Do (Yummy Yards) to explore the secrets of maximizing your harvest. Admission is $5 and space is limited! To register and pay call 604-990-3755.

We promised those who came a link to Emi’s presentation from the workshop – here you are! Enjoy!

Where: John Braithwaite Community Centre, Anchor Room

When: Saturday, April 21st 10am-12:0

 

Inter-generational Gardens – Recruiting Volunteers Now
~ April 3rd, 2012

Inter-generational Gardens Information Meeting


Last month we were excited to announce we will be building five new gardens in North Shore Neighbourhood House child care and day care centres across the North Shore. Part of the vision for these gardens is to connect older folks with younger folks – to create inter-generational gardens – with opportunities to share and learn from each other.We are looking for people interested in participating in these gardens, and will be holding an information session on Wednesday, April 4th at 3pm at the North Shore Neighbourhood House. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about what will be going on and share your thoughts on how you would like to participate. Email Emily at emily@ediblegardenproject.com to RSVP. 

Thanks to Neptune Bulk Terminals and United Way of the Lower Mainland for making this project possible!

Information Session
When: Wednesday, April 4th at 3:00pm
Where: North Shore Neighbourhood House – 225 East 2nd Street

 

Permaculture Resources from Toby Hemenway’s Workshop
~ March 28th, 2012

 After a fantastic workshop with Toby Hemenway, the workshop participants shared resources with each other. This is that list! Add to it via comments, and share with anyone you think would be interested.

 

 

Check out photos from the workshop and talk here! 

 

Thank you everyone! 

 

An Evening Talk with Toby Hemenway: Redesigning Civilization
~ March 26th, 2012

Redesigning Civilization: How Permaculture Can Help Us Envision a Truly Just & Sustainable World

 Monday March 26, 7:00pm-9:30pm

Presentation House Theatre, North Vancouver

Register Now!

How does Permaculture offer solutions to the fundamental problems of our culture? What is Permaculture? Join us for an evening talk with Toby Hemenway to explore how Permaculture can help save humanity and the earth, but not civilization.

This event will inspire and engage urban planners, designers, parents, gardeners, educators, farmers and permaculturists alike! Plus everyone in-between.

 

It’s no secret that our society has become unsustainable. Modern agriculture, industry and finance all extract more than they give back, and the Earth is starting to show the strain. How did we get in this mess? And, more importantly, what can we do to help our culture get back on track? The ecological design approach known as permaculture offers powerful tools for the design of regenerative, fair ways to provide food, energy, livelihood, and other needs while letting humans share the planet with the rest of nature. This presentation will give you insight into why our culture has become fundamentally unsustainable, and offers ecologically based solutions that can help create a just and sustainable society.

 

Toby Hemenway is the author of “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture,” which for the last 8 years has been the world’s best-selling book on the ecological-design approach known as permaculture. The expanded 2nd edition of the book was named one the top 10 gardening books of 2010 by the Washington Post, and it won the 2011 Nautilus Gold Medal Award. Toby has been on the faculty of Portland State University and was a scholar-in-residence at Pacific University, and teaches permaculture all over the world. He has presented at conferences and universities across the continent, and lives in Sebastopol, California, where he is tending a two-acre food forest amid 7 acres of redwoods and bay laurels.

Join us for a full day workshop on urban permaculture with Toby Hemenway on Sunday March 25th too – click here for more information.

Register Now! 

Seating is limited, and this will sell out 

Tickets only $10!

Brought to you by the Edible Garden Project

and the North Shore Recycling Program

 

2012 Advancing Urban Agriculture Grants
~ March 9th, 2012

Vancouver Coastal Health North Shore is pleased to announce Advancing Urban Agriculture Grants for 2012. Deadline for Application, March 9th 2012.

Download Application Form

These grants (up to $2,000) aim to increase food security for all members of the North Shore community while specifically working to improve access to healthy foods for people with low income. The goal of this program is to advance urban agriculture on the North Shore.

Projects may request funding for various aspects of urban agriculture. This year, initiatives that are related to the priorities that arose from Table Matters: A Community Discussion about Food Security meeting will be priorities. The priority areas are: residential food production, agricultural education for adults (mentoring) and children, urban farms, marketing local/regional food, and food recovery.

Eligible Activities:

Developmental activities including building your group’s capacity to do food gardening or creating a food garden on a communally owned piece of land (private or public).

Food security strategies including developing connections between grassroots organizations and city councils, pursue a “Farm to School” initiative, develop a venue for food exchange or mini-farmer’s market, increase number of community ambassadors who are lay educators, or start a 4H Club.

Food security policy development supporting new policy or policy change, and/or alignment of policies in an organization, related to food security and food gardening. For example, your interest group may work with your organization, municipal environment committee or others to advocate for allocation of land for a community garden.

Eligibility:

Community non-profit organizations and formal and informal community groups (e.g., Strata building residents, neighbourhood residents, Blockwatch groups, churches, schools, preschools etc.) All applications will be considered.

To Apply:

Application Form Microsoft Word / PDF

Additional Application Questions for Schools

For more information please contact Margaret Broughton, Community Nutritionist, Vancouver Coastal Health. 604-904-6482

 

The Birth of Loutet Farm
~ February 24th, 2012

We’ve been lucky enough to have Charlie Miller put together a series of short films on the Edible Garden Project in 2012, funded through the Vancouver Coastal Health’s Advancing Urban Agriculture Grants.

This one follows the journey of Loutet Farm from ground breaking in February 2011 through our first growing season. Enjoy!

 

Community Consultation – Honey Bees at Loutet Farm
~ February 20th, 2012

We are considering installing two specially designed bear proof honey bee hives at Loutet Farm. We want the community’s opinion on this plan and are providing an opportunity to for people to share their concerns or support for the project as well as having questions answered.

The Community Consultation will be held on March 8th, 7pm at Brooksbank School (980 East 13th Street, North Vancouver). You can find all of the event information by clicking here

Do our quick survey now to let us know if you support our plan to install two honey bee hives at Loutet Farm – click here!

In this post, you can find more information on what we are proposing, why we want honey bees at Loutet Farm, how we could manage pest/bear issues, and safety concerns.

Why have bees at Loutet Farm?

Honeybees around the world have been facing increasing pressures and have been dying off at an alarming rate. As a species that we rely on for the pollination food crops, we are looking to support the species locally. Many believe that they are thriving in urban spaces even while they struggle elsewhere. Plus, they’ll be great pollinators for Loutet Farm, and will provide us the opportunity to sell honey to those in the neighbourhood!

The Proposal:

We are proposing to have two honey bee hives located at Loutet Farm. This small apiary will be fenced and will be “bear proofed” (see below for details). The specially designed hives will be extra secure to deter vandalism as well. The hives will be oriented to the south so the honeybee flight path does not cross the public walking path, and is directed away from the Loutet playing fields – through careful design and placement, we will be able to minimize human/bee interactions.

 

Map of the location of the apiary

"Bear-proof" cages to ensure safety of the hives.


Risk Management:

Queen Mary Community Garden Hives

The hives will be managed by Ric Ericson, a north shore beekeeper, who also manages the hives located in the Queen Mary Community Garden (these successful hives are situated in a public area, also adjacent to an elementary school and there have been no stings or problems!). Ric will be able to respond quickly to any reported problems with the hives, and will ensure that they are healthy and productive. Ric is currently coordinating a ‘Bee Guardian’ program at the neighbouring Brooksbank Elementary School. These hives would further support that educational program. Visit www.beefriendly.ca for more information on his current projects.

Stings and Safety

The vast majority of insect stings thought to be by honeybees are actually wasps mistaken for honeybees because of their similar yellow and black stripes. Honeybees will not sting unless they feel physically threatened (their barbed stingers mean honeybees can only sting once, once they sting, they die soon afterward – this means they don’t tend to sting for fun!) – disturbing the hive, blowing on a honeybee (they associate the CO2 of your breath with that of other predators) or squishing them can make them feel threatened. They will not defend a flower or field – only their hive. In contrast, wasps are more agressive and may sting while scavenging for food (i.e. your picnic lunch!). Wasps can sting repeatedly and do not die after stinging, so are more likely to sting more frequently. If you are stung by an insect, here is some useful infomation on stings.

Bears (and vandals)

We plan to do two things to reduce the risk of attracting bears due to the hives:

  1. Build steel cage frames to “bear-proof” the hives (this will make them difficult to vandalize also).
  2. Remove the bee colonies from the farm during the months of highest bear activity in the area (September – November).

As Loutet Farm is located in an urban location in North Vancouver, most black bear sightings (that we are aware of) occur in September, October, and November.  To avoid the bear’s interest in the Loutet Farm honey bee hives, we propose to remove the bee colonies in August after harvesting the honey, and move them to a different location. The colonies could be returned in the Spring each year, and still provide plenty of opportunities for  community engagement activities, and learning opportunities for the Bee Guardian Students at Brooksbank Elementary, as well as be of benefit the farm with the increased pollination and annual honey sales.

By removing the bees when bears are most active in the area, we reduce the risk of those bears coming back repeatedly as we have removed one of the attractants in the area.

In addition to removing the bees during the bear-season, we will also build steel frame structures around the hives to ensure that they are “bear-proof”. This will both act as a deterrent to the bears because they will not be able to access the hives and honey, and it will ensure that the hives are not damaged.

Swarming

Honeybee Swarm (on fencepost) - nothing to fear!

Occasionally, when quarters are cramped, and a colony is looking to reproduce, honeybees will swarm – though this can be alarming (because of the sheer number of bees) this is actually when honeybees are at their most docile. With a simple call to the beekeeper, the swarm can be captured and re-established. A swarm at the Queen Mary Community Garden led to a fabulous opportunity to observe honeybees close up – here you can see Kahya and Bita gently handling bees from a swarm.

Questions?

If you’ve got questions, concerns or would like more information, please contact: info@ediblegardenproject.com,  604-987-8138 ext. 231


 

Chickens in North Vancouver
~ February 17th, 2012

I pulled on my gum boots this morning and walked out my back door across the yard to the corner of our lot where my chickens clucked impatiently for their morning treats. A few years ago this would have been considered illegal, but lucky for me Vancouver’s City Council passed an amendment to a bylaw that now allows city dwellers to raise a few hens in their back yard for eggs. Now there is a group of North Vancouver residents seeking similar changes to by-laws on the North Shore.

My chickens

“We believe backyard hens to be a positive change for the community, adding variety and value to our urban landscape, while reflecting the City and District of North Vancouver’s sustainable living and environmental mandates.” – Chickens in North Vancouver 

I love my chickens, and my neighbours love their eggs! I’m excited to see a group on the North Shore working on this idea.

If you’re interested in learning more about why chickens in the city is a good idea, or how to get involved, you can visit their website: http://www.chickensinnorthvancouver.wordpress.com

Have an egg-celent day!

 

The real cost of fast food
~ January 10th, 2012

It is considered common knowledge that junk food is cheaper than fresh food. This ‘fact’ is the reason that poor communities tend towards McDonalds rather than grocery stores and get their calories from fries, not fruits. It has legitimized the over-consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient food in poor communities across North America. So why has Mark Bittman of the New York Times, among others, challenged this truism?

Bittman has calculated that for a family of four to eat at McDonalds, the all-in cost is $28 (feasibly reduced to $23 if judicial ordering is exercised). Comparatively, the same family can eat a chicken dinner with vegetables, a simple salad, and milk for a mere $14.

He doesn’t pretend that a family dependent on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (which grants approximately $5 per person, per day), will be able to afford free-range chickens from their local butcher. His argument is based on nutrition, rather than ideal food choices, and the fact that nearly every American can afford real food. The limiting factor to good eating is not cost, but rather convenience.

At this point, Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, points out a flaw in the argument. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for an American is $16.27. Assuming the process of putting food on the table and cleaning up afterwards takes 2 hours, that labor cost is about $32. Suddenly, the aforementioned chicken dinner costs $46 – a far cry from Micky D’s burgers.

Cooking as a lifestyle choice

Beyond the “ubiquity, convenience, and habit-forming appeal of hyper-processed food” is the notion that cooking is work. That the time spent shopping for, preparing, and cleaning up a meal is time better spent at leisure activities. Regardless of annual income, the average American spends no less than 1.5 hours per day watching TV. So it has to be inferred that the time to eat properly is there, but not being harnessed.

And thus, the reason for Bittman’s article: the only way to change how people eat is to alter the perceived cost of a meal. Encourage them to see cooking as a joy rather than a burden, or at least part of a normal life. Conversely, understand that what’s sold under those golden arches isn’t real food; its prices reflect that.

What it will take to change eating habits

The shift will have to include both cultural and political motivators. Changing how someone feels about their food, celebrating what’s real, and raising children in homes that reject fast-produced, low-nutrition junk – those are the cultural moves. Political action would be much more difficult. It requires applying limits to the marketing of junk, forcing companies to pay the true costs of production (not reduced wages for mindless operation of a cooking machine), and making sure real food is available and affordable (even in rural communities and to people without cars).

Slow Food USA has imposed a $5 challenge. For the same cost as fast-food, SF proposes that anyone can cook and healthy and easy meal. A community has been created where those who have tips and tricks can share them, and those new to the concept can learn. It is a movement to create “more enlightened eaters and more engaged citizens.” While it may be a small step, it’s one in the right direction. Get involved at Slow Food USA.

 

Start a Food Revolution – All Aboard!
~ January 6th, 2012

The Edible Garden Project’s biggest year of growth ever is coming to a close. Nestled snug for winter, visions of garden beds dance in our heads. We’re going to keep saying it because it is so true, but we couldn’t have done this year without you.

You know how exciting our collective work is, how much we’ve accomplished, and how much there is still to move ahead.

We want Loutet Farm to flourish, our EGP Sharing Gardens to feed those in need and foster food growing skills in our community, our municipal policy work to take root, every kid on the north shore to exclaim that kale chips are their favourite snack, and for unlikely spaces to become alive with fresh vegetables and connections.

Growing Gardens, Growing Community

We’re going to ask you to go above and beyond what you already contribute to the Edible Garden Project, and consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Your contribution will go straight to the core of our work to build more gardens, provide the tools and resources that we need to teach more people important food growing skills, and engage new people in the local food movement.

Our goal is to sign up 100 people for monthly donations of $5 (just $60 for the year). That would mean a whopping $500 coming into the EGP each month that we can use to:

  • build garden infrastructure – think worm composters, native bee boxes, and educational signage
  • plant and design two incredible food forests – featuring perennial edible plants, berries, and fruit trees
  • teach kids how to grow food and eat healthy snacks!
  • get seed, seedlings, and gardening workshops to the people in our community that need them most
  • grow the network, spread the word, and get all you amazing people together to celebrate

All our Monthly Donors will recieve invitations to special events, a sneak peek and advance registration for GardenSmart workshops and EGP training sessions, and a quarterly update on how your contribution has made a difference in our community. 

All donors will receive a charitable tax receipt from the North Shore Neighbourhood House – please make sure that you indicate “Edible Garden Project” in the Fund Designation box.  Cheques should be made payable to the North Shore Neighbourhood House

Pass this along to friends and family – we need everyone on board!

share on Twitter Like Start a Food Revolution - All Aboard! on Facebook Google Plus One Button 

With your support we can sprout a food revolution,
Heather & Emily

 

Fed Up – Kids, Gardens, & Kale Chips
~ December 21st, 2011

Fed Up?

Many parents, educators, and even students would say they’re fed up with the lack of nutritious food and food education in our public school system. Along with many other organizations in the Lower Mainland the Edible Garden Project (EGP) is working to turn that around. We’re bringing students from kindergarten to grade 7 out of the classroom and into the garden to learn the cycles of food production from seed to soil. Our students grow food, harvest it, prepare it, and enjoy it – they’re “Fed Up” and into previously out of reach world of nutritious fresh food.

Our Students Love Kale

It may seem crazy, but it is true: our students love kale. Our students are engaged and getting their hands dirty in every step of the process. They choose the vegetables we grow, they sow the seeds, maintain the plots (with the help of amazing volunteers) and pick the fruits of their labour. Their curiosity is sparked through this process and they are excited and willing to try foods they may have once turned their noses up at. Kale is a perfect example; it has a reputation almost as bad as brussel sprouts, but bake it into a “chip” and you’ve got a gourmet healthy snack that disappears in an instant!  We’re changing the relationship that students have with their food, and it makes a difference.

Many of the students that we work with don’t have the opportunity to cook with their families’ at home, rely on take out and fast food, and are totally disconnected to where their food comes from. They’re eager and excited to learn and soak in the experiences we offer in Fed Up, and they’re taking that enthusiasm and recipes home.

Expanding Fed Up to Childcare Centres

Last week we received the exciting news that our Fed Up program was awarded funding for 2012 from the United Way Building Stronger Community Food Security Grant. The grant will help us expand the Fed Up program in 2012 to four of the North Shore Neighbourhood House childcare centres. Over 50% of the children attending these childcare centres are from low income families, and they range from ages 0-12 years old. Fed Up will help these children achieve better health outcomes and build strong healthy habits over the long term.

Friends of Fed Up – How You Can Get Involved

One of the cornerstones to all the work that the EGP does is community involvement, and Fed Up is no exception. We would not be able to offer this high quality of programming if we did not have the community contributing their expertise and passions. There are many different ways you can contribute to Fed Up, and we’re happy to chat with you about what works best for you. You could: share your favourite healthy recipe, help students grow food, share your food preparation/cooking skills with students, assist us in building the new childcare garden plots, donate money for supplies or staff time, and more.

Fed Up kicks off in February for the 2012 season, and we would love to have you involved! Here is some more information on volunteering with the EGP, and a description how you can get involved in Fed Up:

Inspire school children to explore in the garden, learn how to grow fresh food, and make nutritious snacks to share with their family. The Edible Garden Project’s “Fed Up” program delivers interactive educational opportunities for children in elementary school and childcare centres. Our elementary and childcare programs run on different schedules. Friends of Fed Up volunteers will receive training, enjoy a fun and supportive environment, and work on small teams with students and educators. We’re seeking volunteers available on the first Friday of every month from February to June 2012 for Fed Up in elementary schools. The schedule for childcare centres will begin in the Spring as we build new garden plots.  Contact Emily if you are interested in joining the team - emily@ediblegardenproject.com

 

 

 

 

Ban Cosmetic Chemical Pesticides in BC
~ November 17th, 2011

The Edible Garden Project grows food without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides in all of our Sharing Gardens and at Loutet Farm. As we encourage North Shore residents to build gardens in their yards we are also decreasing the amount of “lawn space”, and hopefully spreading awareness about the harmful impacts of the chemical pesticide use has on our waterways, bees and pollinators, and people.

Now there is a growing number of people and organizations in British Columbia calling on the government to bring in a “strong law that protects our families, pets and environment from the unnecessary use of chemical pesticides…read more.

What is a cosmetic pesticide?

According to The Lung Association, “cosmetic pesticides are chemical or biological substances used to destroy living things such as: insects (insecticides), plants (herbicides), and fungi (fungicides) for the purpose of enhancing the appearance of a lawn or garden. They are sold commonly as sprays, liquids, powders or combined with chemical fertilizers.” Read more on the health impacts of cosmetic pesticides on the Lung Association’s website.

Are there alternatives to cosmetic pesticides?

Yes! There are lots of ways to reduce pests and weeds. I really like this easy to read table of alternatives. Please share your own alternatives by leaving a comment below!

What would the ban on cosmetic pesticides do?

It would ban both the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.

What can I do to support the ban on cosmetic pesticides?

You can help spread the message and share your support for a ban by answering this survey, sending an email, or submitting a video. Organizing for Change is leading the charge, and has all the information you need to make an informed impact on this important ban on cosmetic chemical pesticides.  Or use this template letter from the David Suzuki Foundation to demand a ban on cosmetic pesticide use.

 

*Photo credit: greenwalksblog on Flikr

 

My Burger Was Born in a Petri Dish
~ November 15th, 2011

It may sound outlandish to try and conceive of animals being grown in parts strictly for the purpose of consumption. It may sound obscene to think the leftovers from a slaughterhouse have the necessary stem cells to be reproduced into edible muscle tissue. Maybe it’s ridiculous, but maybe it’s the future of your dinner.

Last week, Mark Post, a biomedical engineering scientist from the Netherlands, announced that he had successfully grown muscle tissue from discarded animal products. A combination of sugars, amino acids, lipids, and other nutrients “feed” proteins and encourage them to grow. The result, so far, is a thin, inch-long strip (3,000 of which would be required to make a hamburger patty).

Not quite edible “meat”

Right now the meat product is a little unappetizing. It lacks both fat and blood, so it doesn’t taste like much and looks like a lump of scallop meat. People aren’t likely to be racing to the grocery store for it just yet. However, Post is optimistic that the ability to control all variables in the lab will not only allow him to create something tasty, but also healthier than traditional meat sources (without saturated fat and with extra nutrients).

Unlike imitation meats currently on the market (made from vegetable proteins or soy), in-vitro meat is a real animal flesh product – it’s just never been part of a complete, living animal.

How much is in-vitro meat going to cost?

The first hamburger is expected to carry the lofty price tag of $345,000.  Don’t think that’s reasonable for a quick week-night dinner? Don’t worry. Post says “the first one will be a proof of concept, just to show it’s possible… [it] will be grown in an academic lab by highly trained staff. It’s handmade and it’s time- and labour-intensive. That’s why it’s so expensive.”

Whatever the initial costs, the concept of growing meat in labs might be worth its weight in gold. According to the World Health Organization, global meat consumption is expected to increase from 218 million tons in 1997-99 to 376 million tons in 2030. Not sustainable.

Of course some people will be against the whole concept. It’s weird and hard for anyone to wrap their head around. Hard also, though, to argue with the fact that growing in-vitro meats would use 35-60 percent less energy, emit 85-90 percent less greenhouse gas and use about 98 percent less land than traditional agriculture (source: Hanna Tuomisto, Environmental Science and Technology journal). In addition, lab-grown meat will have none of the diseases, impurities, or contaminants found in livestock, such as Mad Cow Disease.

If protein choices come down to lentils or man-made meat, I have a sneaking suspicion that the baconoholics will be the first to cave, but many others will be close behind.

 

All Candidates Survey – Urban Agriculture & Food Security
~ November 14th, 2011

Last week we sent out a survey to all the candidates on urban agriculture and food security, and we’re sharing their responses below. Candidates from the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Bowen Island were contacted – please scroll down to find your municipality.

Although the survey responses offer a quick look at where candidates stand, we also suggest you read their written responses. We have also provided PDF files of all of the responses that you can also download for easy viewing on your desktop.

 

City of North Vancouver

District of North Vancouver

West Vancouver

Bowen Island 

 

Aquaponics: feeding fish (and us)!
~ November 3rd, 2011

Sometime this month the world will hit 7 billion people. It’s impossible to know when exactly, as so many societies don’t maintain birth records. All of those people have to eat something, but there are a lot of factors working against filling 7 billion plates.

The two biggest challenges are those of space and water – there just isn’t enough of either. As it stands right now, farm and ranch lands cover nearly 40 percent of Earth. The concern isn’t just in square meters though, it’s also in agricultural inputs and outputs.

Inputs:

  • H2O: Agriculture consumes nearly ¾ of Earth’s available fresh water.
  • Petroleum: In the form of fertilizer, mechanized farm processes, and transportation.

Outputs:

  • Greenhouse gases: Overuse of fertilizers, clearing land, growing rice, and raising cattle are responsible for 35% of the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases.
  • Animal feed: Approximately 40% of all crops are produced with the intent of being used as animal feed.

Now imagine a way to feed billions of people without the harsh demands on water and petroleum, using land that has previously been considered unsuitable for agriculture. I’m sure you’re imagining something spectacular and space-age, but I’m talking about aquaponics. I’m the first to admit that I gained most of my childhood knowledge from Disney and Pixar, but the sharks in Finding Nemo? They were definitely wrong. Fish are friends, and food.

How does aquaponics works?

It’s a closed system of fish and plant life that sustain each other with little human intervention. The plants act as a cleansing system to remove toxic ammonia and nitrite from the water by breaking fish excrement down into usable fertilizer. When the water is returned to the fish tank it is clean and toxin-free.

So it sounds like using giant tanks of water isn’t an effective way to cut down on water use in agriculture? Wrong! Compared to traditional methods of crop production, aquaponics uses about 10 times less water. Yes, there is the initial filling of the tanks, but after that the water is recycled within the system, thus making aquaponics the perfect solution for places with little water to spare.

Unlike the Scandinavians, here in North America we may not be ready for a diet based solely on tilapia (the most common fish used in aquaponics) and salad. There is still a lot of merit in the system, though. If every family were to establish their own aquaponic system (at a footprint of about 30 square feet) they could become completely self-sufficient in plant food. Eating your own fish is a definite option (so your basic nutrition is covered), but other forms of protein and specialty items would have to be sourced elsewhere.

I’m not advocating for the complete overhaul of the world’s agricultural systems. I am, however, in favour of re-examining farming methods where there is unsustainable stress on the land and advocating for ways that more people can be more in control of their food source. Aquaponics surely isn’t the only answer, but it is one to start thinking about.

 

Vote Because Food Matters!
~ November 1st, 2011

North Shore Municipal Elections Just Around the Corner - Saturday November 19th

Voter turn-out for municipal elections in North and West Vancouver historically are low (only 17.45% in City of North Vancouver in 2008), but if you’re part of the growing movement of people interested in urban agriculture and local food security then you may want to pay a little bit more attention during this election. Many of the projects and work that the Edible Garden Project does is closely linked to municipal policies and directions, so we know that it is important for our elected officials to understand food security issues and support initiatives to address these issues. As a non-partisan organization the Edible Garden Project won’t be telling you who to vote for, but we will strive to give you information on what candidates think about food issues.

From now until Election Day on November 19th, we will try to provide you with resources to help you make and informed decision. We can’t give you all the information about every candidate, but we can highlight candidates responses to our Municipal Urban Agriculture & Food Security survey, invite you to All Candidates Debates on food issues, and provide some tools for your own investigations!

Join the Debate! 

We are partnering with EcoUrbia and the North Shore Table Matters Reference Group to host two All Candidates Meetings to discuss future directions of urban agriculture and food security:

 

City of North Vancouver

When: Saturday, November 5th, 4:00-5:30pm

Where: North Shore Neighbourhood House, Gymnasium - 225 East 2nd Street, North Vancouver

 

District of North Vancouver

When: Saturday, November 12th, 2:00pm-3:30pm

Where: Lynn Valley Main Library, Community Meeting Room – 1277 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver

 

Connect With Your Candidates on Issues

Sustain Ontario developed an Election Toolkit that has some great ideas for how you can connect with your candidates, and what sort of questions you can ask about local food issues. Download it now!

The BC Food Systems Network put together this great resource for people interested in food security in municipalities – Food Security: A Primer for Municipal and Regional Candidates.  

Looking for more local information? Food Security for All: North Shore Food System Assessment and Community Food Action Plan developed by SPARC BC is a great resource! 

For the bigger picture of food policy in Canada (including urban concerns), Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada provides a lot of great information. 

 

Election Headquarters – Who, What, When, Where, and How 

City of North Vancouver

District of North Vancouver

District of West Vancouver

Lion’s Bay

Bowen Island

 

Table Matters 2011
~ October 28th, 2011

A North Shore Discussion about Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems

Presenting a networking and information sharing event intended to continue building our North Shore food system network. Opportunities to participate in food system and urban agriculture projects on the North Shore will be presented. Come make a connection!
Friday, October 28, 2011 1:00—5:30pm.
Registration opens at 12:30pm. To register, click here.
Chief Joe Mathias Centre (100 Capilano Road, North Vancouver)

Light refreshments will be served
There is lots of room for displays in the main conference area.
Please bring a display along and have it set up by 1:00pm.

  • Hear local and regional project leaders give snapshot presentations on programs and projects. For a list of priority areas that were developed at last years event, click here.
  • Listen to community leaders outline their challenges, strategies, and opportunities for volunteer and community collaboration – these presentations will be brief, informative and inspiring.
  • Engage in round table discussions with these project leaders to examine their successes, issues and requests for participation – this is your chance to connect with others while sharing your expertise and learning valuable information about what’s going on in the region.
  • Hear local Mayors and Aboriginal leaders engage in a panel discussion – municipal mayors from all 5 north shore municipalities will be attending. They will have a chance to share their work, and respond to your questions.

To hear what the North Shore News had to say about last year’s event, click here.

To Register, please visit: http://tablematters2011.eventbrite.com/ Space is limited.

Who should attend? Community members looking for ways to get involved, business leaders interested in opportunities for collaboration, teachers and students looking to deepen their learning, municipal staff and politicians who want to hear what is happening in the community. Anyone looking to learn, and willing to share their experiences.

 

 

Smack-dab in the middle of Non-GMO Month!
~ October 17th, 2011

You’ve missed it! It’s already half over! Which is really just an incentive to get yourself in gear. What is it you’ve missed? Non-GMO Month.

The reason  you may have missed the memo is that this is the first year Non-GMO Month has graced Canada with its presence. And it’s not for lack of desire, but rather because the seal had to be bilingual before it could cross the border, and learning a second language takes time!

Non-GMO Month: the Offspring of the Non-GMO Project

The Project began in 2005 with the simple goal of establishing a standardized meaning of the term Non-GMO in the North American food industry. By doing so, the founders hoped to pass that information on to the consumer so that they could, in turn, make informed decisions about the products they bought. The project also serves to create a 3rd party verification system to asses product compliance with the standard. Although it was an endeavor started by two small organic food stores, the project has grown to include stakeholders with diverse interests: consumers, manufacturers, retailers, and farmers.

Why is going Non-GMO such a big deal?

There are mixed opinions on just how “evil” GMOs are; however, there is consensus on what they are. Interesting, then, that there’s no consensus on what they aren’t…

A GMO or “genetically modified organism” is a plant or animal that has been created using gene splicing technology. Unlike traditional crossbreeding, gene splicing uses DNA from a variety of species and the result is unstable. The claimed benefits of GMOs such as resistance to drought, higher yield, and enhanced nutrition can’t be substantiated. On the other hand, growing evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

How you can get involved

This month is about awareness. Across North America, people are making the choice to buy non-GMO foods, but many people still don’t know where they can find such products. So, during the month of October, thousands of people will be creating and participating in events such as film screenings or pledging to choosing Non-GMO Project Verified foods – you can even create your own event and submit it to the website!

A couple of movies worth watching (and sharing with others):

  • The Future of Food
  • The World According to Monsanto
  • Food, Inc.

We all have the right to know where our food comes from and exactly what we’re putting in our mouths. And since we all know that a communal voice is stronger than an individual’s, we all share equal responsibility in applying enough pressure to gain that knowledge.

As I said, it’s already half over! But we still have a chance to start a discussion and start thinking about the pros and cons of having fish DNA in our tomatoes.

For more info: www.nongmoproject.org

 

Inefficient Water Use
~ October 3rd, 2011

A water shortage wake-up call

As we barrel head-first into Vancouver’s rainy (sorry, rainiest) season, it’s hard to consider water shortage a problem. But according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the demand for water is severely out-weighing its supply.

Currently one third of the world’s population lives in an area where there isn’t enough water, or its quality has been compromised. By 2025 that number is expected to rise to two thirds. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Vancouver won’t be on that list.

Where did all the water go?

The answer: everywhere but your drinking glass. The average person drinks 2.5 litres of water per day, but requires 3000 litres to satisfy their daily needs.

Typically water scarcity has been limited to arid, developing countries, either due to a physical lack of water or institutional/
financial barriers to its access. But times they are a-changing. Currently, 70% of the world’s water consumption is in farming – and an increasing population and demand for a western (read: meat based) diet is putting stress on resources world-wide.

To put that logic in numerical terms: to produce 1 kilo of grain you need 1,500 L of water. Now let’s say you decide to eat meat instead of grain. Well, to get that same 1 kilo (this time of meat) you need 15,000 L of water. That’s 10x as much!! Water may be a renewable resource, but it’s also finite.

Let’s take a look at how much water is used to produce some grocery store items.

1 package of potato chips: 185 litres of water

1 apple: 70 litres of water

1 cup of tea: 35 litres of water

Lists always make statistics look more impressive, wouldn’t you say? I also find posters effective. The FAO recently came out with this campaign to highlight the role water plays in growing our food:

“Huge volumes of rain water are lost or never used” – Alain Vidal, Challenge Program on Water and Food

Some areas, like California or the Sahara, seriously do have a water shortage that makes agriculture difficult. Based on a collection of studies in the journal Water International, however, they’re the exception. Out of the world’s 10 most important river basins, lost of them have enough water for everyone.

So really, it’s not that we don’t have enough water. The trouble is in capturing and distributing that liquid sunshine; the network of
institutes call the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research is on it. Hopefully they work quickly.

 

Working in Schools – Fed Up
~ September 1st, 2011

Two years ago the Queen Mary Community Garden was built in North Vancouver.  Included in the garden were four large plots dedicated to the students at Queen Mary Elementary School – right next door.  The Edible Garden Project had been working with the students at Queen Mary Elementary for a number of years as part of our “Fed Up” program that focuses on growing food and healthy eating.


We partner with the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company to deliver activities and hands on healthy snack making in the classroom. Students get the opportunity to try out new and simple recipes made with ingredients straight from the garden.

Outside, students take part in planning, planting, and maintaining the garden plots for their classroom. We work with students from grade 3, 5, and 7. They each have a compost bucket in their classrooms that they empty in the garden composters. It’s a great way to learn about closing the loops between food waste and helping their garden grow.

Our Fed Up program is unfunded, which has made it difficult to dedicate the resources and time to the program to really make it grow! We would love to be able to offer Fed Up to more schools when we secure adequate funding. In particular, we are enthusiastic to offer our program at Brooksbank Elementary School because they’re located right beside our new Loutet Farm. Children at this elementary school will have the chance to explore, play and taste at the farm. Our ‘all season long’ programming will give them a taste of where food comes from, how it’s produced, why healthy food is so important. Plus, they’ll get to help real, live urban farmers at work!

We’re entered in the Nature’s Path Gardens for Good contest, offering three prizes totalling $65,000. You can vote every day from now until September 30th if you would like to support expanding our Fed Up program and Loutet Farm! VOTE NOW!

 

Women’s Carpentry Workshop Roundup
~ August 23rd, 2011

Learning how to make sure our door is square

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a weekend workshop – an introduction to carpentry for women. Kimi Hendess of Sweet Digz Urban Farm & Construction was our inspirational instructor.

The Project:

To build a tool shed for the new Charros Community Garden from foundation to roof in 2 days with 8 people that had rarely touched a serious power tool in their life. We had high hopes!

Unfortunately we faced a big delay on day one because there was a mix up with our wood order, so we didn’t actually end up as “finished” as we had hoped. However, this delay ended up being great because it gave us a chance to get really comfortable using a lot of different tools. Tools I had once categorized as ‘scary’ were ‘no big deal’ by the end of the day. I couldn’t have asked for a better learning environment with a focus on safety and an instructor who would answer any questions we had.

Learning how to use the formidable chop saw.

End of Day 2 - Foundation, frame, door, and siding is up!

Check out more photos of the workshop on our Flickr page.

The Results:

The walls go up!

Other then an amazing weekend outdoors spent with new and interesting people, I think we all walked away with a lot of confidence using tools and a good sense of how a construction project starts at an idea, is transfered into a plan, and then built up in stages.

“I’ve found myself wandering about my highly disorganized garage over the last week imagining the future. Instead of piles of stuff on the floor it’s neatly stacked on shelves. But the big difference from past fantasies of this sort is that I see myself building the shelves. Suddenly I realize I’ve got the skills and basic tools I need to do the job.  There’s lots of ways of learning stuff but learning hands-on carpentry skills from a woman, in the company of other eager women makes future projects seem entirely doable.  Thanks for the brilliant learning opportunity EGP!” – Keira, workshop participant

Plans & Information For Your Shed Project:

If you’re planning on building a shed of your own, then you may be interested in the plan that we used for ours.

You can download our shed plan by clicking here - Basic Shed Design. It was developed by one of the amazing community members that make up the EGP Network – Ric Ericson. Ric has been instrumental in many of our construction projects!

This is the finished shed at Lillooet Park Community Garden. Ric built this one with volunteers, and it is the same design that we used for the Charros Garden tool shed during the workshop.

Kimi provided some great handouts for the workshop participants that added extra background information to the tasks we were executing on the ground. If you’re interested in this information, please email us and we would be happy to share it with you – emily [at] ediblegardenproject [dot] com.

If you missed this workshop, but would like to participate in a similar future workshop please let me know. I can email or call you when we know the details for a future workshop. My email address is emily [at] ediblegardenproject [dot] com

If you would like to contact Kimi directly about a project you may have for SweetDigz, attending one of her workshops, or just to learn more about what she does, email: sweetdigz [at] gmail [dot] com

 

Tool Sheds, Terminals, Greenhouses, and Winter Crops
~ August 16th, 2011

Tuesday is “Monday” here at the Edible Garden Project, and for months now I’ve been meaning to write at least weekly on what projects we’re working on. It’s the beginning of a new week, so I’m turning over a new leaf and sticking out my elbows to make enough time in my day to write an update.

Lillooet Park Community Garden Tool Shed

Before: Tool shed with primer... not everyone was a fan of the colour. Cedar siding will fit into the landscape very well.

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity! We spent the morning at Lillooet Park Community Garden putting the siding on the shed that was built by volunteers this Spring. We had been waiting for a few months with hopes that we would be able to salvage enough materials for the siding, but it just wasn’t coming together. With Fall creeping closer we decided to splurge and buy it – cedar bevel siding. It was easy to install (thank you instructional YouTube videos and courageous volunteers) and it looks fantastic now.  Just a few finishing touches to go up on the corners, and the Lillooet Park Community Garden will be officially done! Just in time for the Grand Opening celebration on September 17th (mark your calendars).

Siding going up on the Lillooet Park Community Garden Shed.

Almost finished! Just the corners and painting the door left to do.

Neptune Terminal’s Open House

Miles, one of our new and enthusiastic volunteers, attended the Neptune Terminals Open House for the afternoon. Neptune was offering tours of their facilities, information on what goes on, and how they’re involved in the community. As a funder of the EGP, Neptune generously invited us to join in the festivities. We had a great time giving out winter vegetable seeds, seed bombs, and information on our programs and how to get involved. Thank you Neptune!

We finally have a Greenhouse!

Sean to the rescue with his truck for transporting the Greenhouse.

After years of having a greenhouse on our Wish List we can finally check it off! When we received the aluminum frame greenhouse most of the glass panels were missing of broken, but that was okay because we decided that having plastic panels would probably be safer as it would be staying in a public community garden.

After a somewhat harrowing drive over in the back of Sean’s pick up truck (he always manages to show up for the tasks that involve moving large loads of materials!), it arrived at the Lillooet Park Community Garden. On an incredibly raining day in July, Heather, Linda, and I put the frame back together. A lunch break including grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate was the only reason Heather could convince me to get back out there to finish the job, but we got it done.  We spent a couple pf weeks measuring and cutting the new plastic panels in the alley behind the North Shore Neighbourhood House, and got a few curious looks from neighbours. Finally, this weekend we installed the last of the panels! We have to figure out how to put the door back on, but I’m confident that our investigative skills and cunning will figure it out.

Emily with a circular saw.... that's a bit scary.

I’m really excited to get in there and build a worm compost in the floor of the greenhouse. This will simultaneously give us an excellent and fast way of composting scraps, but also help to heat the greenhouse from all the activity creating the compost. I’ll dig out a pathway down the middle of the greenhouse to a depth of 2-3 feet, and build a boardwalk platform along the top of it. The platform can be removed to add material to and harvest the compost. I’ll post more as this project develops! City Farmer has a lot of great information on worm composting (aka vermiculture) if you’re interested to learn more.

The finished product!

Group Gardening at Lillooet and Booth

Our Saturday staple, Group Gardening, went very well this weekend too! Thank you to the volunteers that came out to help us get our garden plot and compost bins at Lillooet Park Community Garden and the Booth Garden in order. It was great to see a new face at the Booth garden too – welcome to the EGP Brendan!

We planted seeds for our winter crops in flats, and took them back the greenhouse to get growing. We planted: spinach, yellow chard, kale, beets, lettuce, arugula (also known as rocket), and brussel sprouts. I think we will fit one last planting of radish, snap peas, and carrots directly into the ground as well. If we have a good September then we should be able to get a good harvest out of these before the first frost.

Kale seeds

What did you do in the garden this weekend?

 

Community Conversation – Food, Health, & Community
~ June 16th, 2011

You are invited to attend…

NORTH VANCOUVER
Community Conversation

Thursday, June 16, 2011 from 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Registration at 5:30

Event location:
John Braitwaite Community Centre
145 1st St W
North Vancouver, British Columbia V7M 1B1

ATTEND EVENT

Join us for a Community Conversation on how a strong sense of belonging and social connections can strengthen neighbourhood ties and help build a more vibrant North Vancouver.

This is your chance to connect with other North Vancouver residents and organizations and contribute to a conversation on issues like  health & wellness, food/community gardens and sense of belonging in your community.

  • What access do North Vancouver residents have to local healthy food?
  • What are the opportunities for interaction and sharing amongst
  • neighbours in North Vancouver?
  • How can community gardens serve as a place for sharing and connection?
  • What opportunities are available in North Vancouver to participate in
  • sports and recreation activities?
  • What are opportunities for volunteerism in your community?

Through small table discussions, you will have the opportunity to share what matters to you in your community; tell the stories of what you or others are doing to enrich your community; and share your thoughts on successes and opportunites for improvement. A summary of themes and recommendations from each Community Conversation will be provided to the
Mayor, Municipal Council and stakeholders of each participating community.

Agenda

5:30 – Doors Open and Registration
6:00 – Short Presentations
6:30 – Small Table Discussions
8: 00 – Light refreshments and an opportunity to connect with other
participants

Help shape the future of your community by joining in the conversation.

Attendance is free.

Background

In October 2010, Vancouver Foundation released the Vital Signs report which looks at
livability in metro Vancouver. One of the key findings to come out of the report is that a strong sense of belonging and trust between neighbours helps to create stronger, healthier communities.

Through a series of community conversations, Vancouver Foundation will explore this important finding. Each community will focus on key topics and issues that are relevant to that community. A summary of themes and
recommendations will be provided to the Mayor and Municipal Council and stakeholders in each participating community.

Community Conversations will take place in June 2011 in Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver, and White Rock.

For more information on this project, please visit:
www.vancouverfoundationvitalsigns.ca/community-conversations/

Please reserve your free ticket as space for walk-ins will be limited.

Complimentary refreshments will be served. Please note, it is not necessary to print your Eventbrite ticket – upon registration, you will be entered into our internal records.

The North Vancouver Community Conversation is presented by Vancouver
Foundation in partnership with North Shore Neighbourhood House, Vancity, and Vancouver Foundation.

 

Neighbourhood to Nation: Portland Food Policy Conference Part 1
~ June 7th, 2011

St Johns Woods – Growing Community Capacity for Leadership & Health

Community Food Security Coalition – Food Policy from Neighbourhood to Nation

Portland, Oregon

Photo Credit: Village Gardens

On the first day of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) conference I participated in a field trip series called “Building Skills, Building Community: Urban Agriculture and Economic Development.” We visited three different community gardens, a youth run farm, and a new community run healthy food market. Over the week or so I will write about each of these stops, and my thoughts on how these models relate to the work that we’re doing on the North Shore.

First stop: St Johns Wood

St Johns Wood is a low-income housing development run by the Portland Housing Authority (PHA), and home to 124 families of diverse backgrounds. Historically community gardens have not been allowed on PHA land, but about seven years ago a community organization called Village Gardens began to change that.

Our guide, Kara, a first generation city-dweller from a family of subsistence farmers from Idaho was brought onto the St Johns Wood garden project in its infancy. As our bus passed through large swaths of industrial area,  she explained how she worked with the community to develop a vision for the garden and build bridges with the PHA to make the garden a reality. She started by asking residents, “If you could have anything [in the garden], what would it be?”

The Community’s Vision

A garden that was thought ‘doomed to fail’ by the PHA, has flourished over the years. In a neighbourhood plagued by vandalism and tagging, the garden has never been touched. Obviously this project came from the community and is highly respected and loved.  Three years into the project the PHA agreed to pay for water access -  a big step and sign that the organization was beginning to see the value in the garden. Four years in, the PHA made a small office space available, and five years in PHA worked with Village Gardens to support replicating the garden model in other developments.

The 7,000 square foot St. Johns Woods Garden Project enables 30 families living 200% below federal poverty guidelines to grow their own food by providing seeds, tools, fertile land, water, and technical support. Housing Authority of Portland property managers at St. Johns Woods credit the project with reducing vandalism and increasing collaborative problem solving among residents...read more.

Photo Credit: Village Gardens

Garden Leadership

The garden coordinators provided the leadership needed to make the St Johns Wood garden successful, and to share the model throughout the Portland area. The garden coordinator graciously welcomed us to St Johns Wood and shared her thoughts and thankfulness for the garden; with a degree in agriculture from her home country of Ethiopia, her food growing knowledge was an incredible asset to the community.

The garden has also leveraged other community members leadership to bring programs into the neighbourhood. Watson, with a university degree is sustainable development and agriculture, has been leading the Community Health Worker program. Community residents are trained by the Multnomah county Health Department to work in their community to promote nutrition, health, and connecting people to health services.  Village Gardens also developed a kids club program that runs out of the St Johns Wood garden. A young man in a bright blue Village Gardens t-shirt and a warm smile told us about his with work with the neighbourhood children growing a 1000sq feet of garden, learning about where food comes from, how to eat healthy, and living actively.

The gardens have proven to be a powerful tool in bringing together people, culture, and nutrition at St Johns Wood.

 

Sprouting Ideas – Grandview Woodland Food Connection
~ June 3rd, 2011

My investigation into grassroots organizations working on food security continued with an interview with Ian Marcuse of Grandview Woodland Food Connection (GWFC) in East Vancouver.

Initiated in 2004, Grandview Woodland Food Connection is a neighbourhood organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood by promoting an accessible, just and sustainable food system for our community…. read more.

I first met Ian when I was volunteering for the Vancouver Public Space Network as the Community Gardens Coordinator, and I’ve always admired the work that he is doing in his community to engage vulnerable and marginalized people in food issues, and increasing their access to fresh food and growing space. I sat down to chat with him about this, and to learn how we can increase the accessibility and the impact of the EGP programs in our community.

Buen Provecho is one of the GWFC programs that really caught my eye. Latin American elders and youth are coming together to share traditional foods and stories; they’ve created a cook book and wealth of stories on their blog. I love the idea of bringing elders and youth together to share skills and information over food in a causal mentorship setting. Ian reflected that having a connection to the Britannia Community Centre was very helpful in establishing the Buen Provecho program (and many others). The link to the community centre broke down barriers and created opportunities to integrate into existing programing. In the case of Buen Provecho, it started with the Britannia Youth Group and then brought in local elders through the seniors centre. You can check out photos and recipes from the Buen Provecho program on their blog.

A major theme underlying Ian’s work in the community has been relationship building. Although it takes time to reach out to all the other organizations and people working in the neighbourhood, the result has been well worth it because they are what “make things happen”. I found it particularly interesting to see how Ian’s investment in building relationships in the community has supported the GWFC work despite language barriers. Even if posters are written in many different languages, people are hesitant to attend events because they know that the event itself will still be held in English. Connecting and collaborating directly with groups representing or consisting of people that speak another language has been a far better way to reach non-English speaking community members.

Overall, I think that we will work to incorporate what Ian has shared from his experiences with the GWFC by collaborating with a diversity of organizations on the North Shore, and to focus on building relationships to the networks that already exist in our neighbourhoods.

 

Bowen Island – Election 2011
~ May 14th, 2011

Bowen Island

Election 2011 Candidates Responses to urban agriculture and food security issues.

Bowen Island Survey Responses - Download Here

Mayor & Council

Written Responses:

 

West Vancouver – Election 2011
~ May 14th, 2011

West Vancouver 

Election 2011 Candidates Responses to urban agriculture and food security issues.

West Vancouver Survey Responses - Download Here

Mayor & Council


Written Responses:


School Trustees:

Written Responses:

 

District of North Vancouver Election 2011
~ May 14th, 2011

District of North Vancouver

Election 2011 Candidates Responses to urban agriculture and food security issues.

District of North Vancouver Survey Responses – Download Here

Mayor & Council

Written Responses:

School Trustees:

Written Responses:

 

City of North Vancouver Election 2011
~ May 14th, 2011

City of North Vancouver

Election 2011 Candidates Responses to urban agriculture and food security issues.

City North Van Survey Responses - Download Here

North Shore News Article – Nov 2010 City Food Plan Sparks Debate

 

Mayor & Council

Written Responses:

School Trustees

Written Responses:

 

Adventures in Agriculture
~ March 17th, 2011

Loutet Farm - before

Going from a muddy field to a functioning market garden in a few short weeks is proving to be quite an experience! As I write this, the sun is streaming in the window, but yesterday someone pointed out that of all the days we have been out there working hard, we’ve had about 4 hours total without rain! I thought I would take this sunny moment to answer a few questions that I’ve been hearing a lot.

First, as soon as the word ‘farm’ is out of my mouth, folks tend to envision pigs and chickens and goats etc. Just to straighten that out, there are no plans to have animals at Loutet Farm. As it is situated on public parkland there will not be anyone living on site, so animal care is difficult (not to mention that the bylaws in the City of North Vancouver still don’t allow for things like chickens). Instead of picturing a barnyard, think about a flourishing market garden instead!

One of the many groups of volunteers that are making this project a reality. Photo Jade Pover, Concert Properties

Second, people ask how it will be divided up. One of the reasons that this is an exciting project is that it is not a community garden – it is a whole new kind of experiment. In a community garden, individual gardeners are given or rent a small space where they can grow anything they want, and do what they want with what they produce. At the Loutet Farm, we have two farmers (Jo and Gail) who are paid to grow food on the property. This produce will be available for sale to you – our friends and neighbours!

Once people realize that produce will be sold, ‘where does the money go?’ is always the next question. The farm is managed by the North Shore Neighbourhood House (home to the EGP) which is a charitable organization. ‘Social enterprise’ – one of the new buzzwords in the non-profit world – is where organizations like ours enter into a business venture that will both make money (fingers crossed!) and also have social and environmental benefits for the community. Our goal is that the farm will be able to sustain itself financially within five years. All of the money generated through the sale of produce will go back into the operation of the farm.

Nobody generally asks this, but I think it’s important – our goal is to pay our farmers a living wage. Typically, small-scale organic farmers make very little (I would estimate somewhere in the range of $3/hr?). The average age of farmers in BC is around 57 – and few of those soon-to-be retiring farmers have anyone to continue the farm. Low income, hard work, high risk and impossible land prices make agriculture a rather unattractive career choice for new young farmers. We are trying to create, in our own small way, attractive ‘green collar’ jobs in agriculture so that we can continue to do what we do best – EAT!

The view of the Farm two weeks in. Photo Jade Pover, Concert Properties

If you’ve got more questions about Loutet Farm – let me know! If you would like to volunteer on this (or any of our other projects) contact Emily.

To see photos of some of the fun we’ve had so far along the way click here.

This initiative has been supported by: Concert Properties, Vancouver Coastal Health, Neptune Terminals, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Wesgroup Properties, The Great Canadian Landscaping Company and T. Moscone & Bros Landscaping.

Plus, of course, our partners: UBC SALA, Greenskins Lab and the City of North Vancouver.

– Heather.

 

Sprouting Ideas – SFU Local Food Project
~ March 16th, 2011

SFU Local Food Project Harvest Box volunteers hard at work!

In January I took some time to interview a handful of community leaders working in the realm of food security and urban agriculture in Vancouver, Seattle, and Tuscon. My hope was to learn as much as I could about engaging more people and developing mentorship programs – two things that I’m hoping to focus on at the Edible Garden Project (EGP) over the next couple of years.

The conversations were fruitful, and I’m happy to start sharing what I learned in a series of blog posts, called Sprouting Ideas, over the next month or so! Most interviews were less then an hour, and started with a broad question. Most of them gave me more questions to pursue then answers, but all of them have contributed to developing a clearer sense of how a garden mentorship program could work at the EGP, and new ideas on how to reach a wider diversity of people in our community.

kjkg

I’ll start off with Charlene Ponto of Simon Fraser University’s Local Food Project.

My Question: What have you discovered most successful in engaging with post-secondary students on food issues?

Charlene attributes the success of the SFU Local Food Project’s ability to engage with the campus community to a number of factors: a strong Advisory Committee, streamlined volunteer recruitment, a well subscribed mailing list, a focus on building relationships, and offering specific skill development opportunities.

The Advisory Committee is made up of campus stakeholders including staff, faculty, community representatives, and students. Although they provide a strong network for the organization to gain insight from, bringing them together also developed community buy in – critical for the project’s success.

Developing relationships with Professors willing to send out information on events and volunteer opportunities to their students extended the reach of the organization to those that may not normally stop at an information booth or reach out to get involved.

SFU Pocket Market volunteers

Students are very busy people, so I was interested to learn how they made volunteering an appealing activity for students already bogged down by study and work. I learned that the student orientations and club days held at the beginning of each semester are great ways to show your organization off to hundreds of students. Offering very specific volunteer job descriptions including time slots, responsibilities, skills gained, and an offer of a reference letter were also useful. She explained that many students just know they want to help, but may not know exactly what they want to do, so the more specific you are in volunteer job descriptions the better. Making it clear what a student gets out of the time they spend is also important, and makes it easier for students to understand the connection between your volunteer opportunities and valuable work experience they could gain. Charlene also added that relationship building is critical to maintaining volunteers; volunteering is about feeling connected and making friends as much as it is about giving back to the community.

The SFU Local Food Project runs three core programs open to staff, faculty, students at SFU: the Harvest Box, the Pocket Farmers Market, and a skills training program. I was curious to know which programs appealed most to students. Not surprisingly, the skills training program was incredibly popular! The workshops were offered by donation to ensure they were as accessible as possible to people on a tight budget. Students loved being able to learn how to start a vegetable garden and compost with worms – concrete steps they could take home to “green” their lives.

I was also curious to know what sort of students usually got involved with the SFU Local Food Project. I discovered that initially participation had been largely middle class environment students. However, that has changed considerably over the past few years. The coordinators started to make a greater effort to appeal to a larger crowd by adding a social justice lens and commentary to their projects and communications. Attending international student orientations and events was also helpful. Over time new people got involved and would bring their friends, and this has simply grown.

My main take-aways: bring a diverse group of stakeholders together to develop community buy-in, focus on relationship building to engage volunteers and strengthen networks, be explicit about what you have to offer and the skills you can develop, use a broad lens to analyze food issues that includes social justice, the economy, and the environment to appeal to a diverse range of people.

Since my chat with Charlene, I’ve revamped the EGP Volunteer Job Descriptions and started reaching out to the Capilano University community. So far we’ve got more students involved in the EGP then ever before! Most have them have been drawn to the programs where they can get hands on learning experiences like at Group Gardening sessions or by joining a Garden Working Group. It’s been great to have their energy and enthusiasm, and I’m looking forward to watching inter-generational relationships develop over the growing season – maybe I won’t have to do much to get more mentorship programming happening!

- Emily Jubenvill, Volunteer Coordinator

 

North Vancouver District OCP Takes on More Urban Agriculture
~ March 16th, 2011

We made an impact! The latest draft of the District of North Vancouver’s (DNV) Official Community Plan (OCP) was released on March 4th, and now includes four statements in reference to food security and/or urban agriculture! This is really exciting, and shows that your support for urban agriculture and local food is starting to catch the attention of our local government. Thank you to everyone that wrote a letter or spoke to a Councilor about this issue!

Under the statements from 6.3 Community Services, Programs and Facilities the OCP now says:

12. Encourage sustainable, local food systems through initiatives such as promotion of healthy, local foods and food production DELETE:(on private property), and the facilitation of community gardens, farmers markets, urban agriculture pilot projects in appropriate locations and food production DELETE:(on private property), and the facilitation of community gardens, farmers markets, urban agriculture pilot projects in appropriate locations.

NEW 13. Integrate opportunities for urban agriculture in planning town and village centres.

14. Collaborate with Vancouver Coastal Health and other community partners in their efforts to provide increased access by all members of the community to safe, nutritious food.

NEW 15. Develop a food policy that defines the District’s vision and commitment to facilitating a food system that supports long term community and environmental health.

A factor that contributed to this inclusion of food security in the OCP may have been a letter that Table Matters Community Reference Group* wrote a letter to the DNV last month. The letter urged the DNV to support food security and sustainable food systems more explicitly in the Official Community Plan (OCP) in both the vision and policy areas. It was signed by over 25 community members and organizations!

If you want to read the specifics  of the letter and the policy recommendations you can download it here.

To read a little bit more on why we think including food issues and urban agriculture in the OCP is important, you can check out this blog post and this North Shore Outlook article.

* The citizens and stakeholders who have signed this letter are part of a group that has formed as a result of an event held November 5, 2010 called Table Matters: A Community Discussion about Food Security and Urban Agriculture. Since then we have begun to work together on strategic planning and building a working group of individuals and organizations on the North Shore interested in food security, urban agriculture and sustainable food systems.

 

Seed Saving on the North Shore
~ January 30th, 2011

Dan Jason, Salt Spring Island Seeds

Last week Dan Jason of Salt Spring Island Seeds visited Terra Nova Farm in Richmond to talk about seed saving as a community. The room was packed with people from all over the Lower Mainland interested in what Dan had to say about starting Community Seed Collectives.

Recently urban agriculture, food security, and food sovereignty have become increasingly “hot topics” around the world as communities start to address the issues of our current industrial food system. Even in our own community there’s more activity then ever before. The Mayor of North Vancouver is pushing for front lawns to transform into gardens, north shore high school students are taking agriculture classes, and the Table Matters event was packed with more then 100 people and organizations working in our community on food issues.

Dan’s talk was heart felt and inspiring, but also linked the importance of these community based initiatives to addressing the big picture issues.

“A key point that I would like to make however, one which is perhaps not as obvious as the importance of food, is this: You need good seed to grow good food and to keep growing good food. Seed becomes food becomes seed becomes food. Just as it doesn’t make sense to rely on food being brought in from thousands of miles away, neither is it wise to depend on seeds from somewhere else. You need reliable seeds that are adapting to where you are and which can provide a sustainable diet.” – Dan Jason

As  the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is being negotiated behind closed doors there have been reports that a clause under the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants ( UPOV), UPOV 19, would essentially extinguish farmers rights to save seeds of any kind. It looks like this clause (UPOV 19) has been dropped from the agreement as of October, however there are other clauses in the draft agreement that jeopardize local food system development.

“CETA would disallow governments, schools, hospitals, universities, and public utilities from favouring local suppliers or businesses for contracts over relatively small thresholds. This would seriously jeopardize local food systems and any other initiative that would maintain local businesses.” -National Farmers Union

What do we do? Can Community Seed Saving Make a Difference?

The idea of a seed collective is to have many community members each saving one type of seed, and contributing them to a pool of seeds the community can use. People new to seed saving would be connected to a mentor, and each person would specialize in a type of seed (i.e. beans, tomatoes, grain, etc). The mentor for a seed type (i.e. the Bean Leader) could teach you how to save and troubleshoot throughout the season. Over the years the network and seed bank would grow to reach a scale that could contribute significantly, and relationships with other communities saving seeds would strengthen the resilience of the system.

If you want to read more about this idea, please check out the Seed Sanctuary‘ s article on Community Seeds Saving.

Borlotti Bean Seeds

How Do We Start Saving Seeds?

On March 5th, we’ll be hosting a Seedy Saturday in North Vancouver. The focus will be on learning how to save seeds (workshops and demonstrations!), meeting other interested people, and finding the right seeds and resources to get you started. This will be a great starting place, so join us! Click here for information on this event.

There are also many great online resources, like these “how to” seed saving videos and notes from Dan Jason.

 

Not Much Urban Agriculture in District of North Vancouver OCP
~ January 28th, 2011

Photo Credit: Organic Nation

Today is the last day to submit feedback on the District of North Vancouver’s Official Community Plan (OCP)! We’ve taken a look at the OCP and have noticed that there is not very much content supporting urban agriculture or food security.

The OCP is an important document, and it sets the course for the DNV for the next 20 years. Interest in local food, urban agriculture, and food security has been steadily growing, and as Will Allen said at an event in Vancouver last night, “It’s gone from a movement to a revolution.. It’s everywhere, and we’re [only] at the beginning…”

There is an incredible opportunity for the DNV to embed incentives for urban agriculture and increase access to affordable local food in this OCP. In particular, it would be great to see incentives (or requirements) for developers to include growing space (roof top gardens, community gardens, green walls, etc) in their plans. This could present a low-cost (for the DNV) option to support long term development of food growing space in our community.

We’ve got lots more ideas too! A couple of weeks ago a group of about 30 people that attended last fall’s  Table Matter event met to discuss potential projects for 2011. At the end of the night we decided to put together these ideas and share them with the community in the hope that we could generate enough interest to include more wording specific to food security and urban agriculture in the OCP.

Click here to take  a look at the other recommendations we put together. We also put together a template letter that you can send to the District to support include more wording specific to food security and urban agriculture in the OCP. Or send your own feedback directly to identity@dnv.org.

Thank-you for your support!

 

Short Food Security Documentaries
~ January 20th, 2011

At last year’s Table Matters event I met Scott Rowe, the Executive Chef of the New Hope Chef Training Program run by the Salvation Army on the North Shore. The program focuses on providing marginalized youth with training and skills to get their “foot in the door”. We had a few short but interesting conversations about the New Hope Chef program, so I was pleased to hear his voice this week when he called to ask me if I knew of any good short documentaries on food security or sustainable agriculture. Scott wanted to show a short documentary to the participants of the New Hope Chef Training Program to share some of the issues around food security we’re facing and the alternatives to ‘industrial’ farming. This got me thinking, and I also asked for help from some friends.

This is what we came up with:


Do you have any favourites you’d like to share with us?

 

District of North Vancouver – Supporting Community Gardens & Local Food Systems?
~ December 13th, 2010

Lillooet Park Community Garden, photo: Heather Johnstone

We went to the District of North Vancouver (DNV) Council Meeting last Monday to present on the merits of supporting more community garden development, and to report on the success of the newly built Lillooet Park Community Garden. The agenda was stacked with food related presentations – the Edible Garden Project, Delbrook Staff Garden Initiative, the Youth Safe House Secret Garden, comments on Metro Vancouver’s Draft Regional Food System Strategy, and the results of a survey on Neighbourhood Perceptions of Local Food and Gardening.

We are so thank-full that over a dozen people came out to support and speak about community gardens. Having so many warm bodies and different perspectives on why community gardens are important for DNV residents made a real impact! The animated and heartfelt descriptions of the joys of lugging rocks during the hottest days of the year during the construction of the Lillooet Park Community Garden, meeting new neighbours and friends, and getting a chance to learn new skills showed Mayor and Council the diversity of reasons why the community supports more gardens. At the end of the evening Councillor Lisa Muri said, “I am no longer a skeptic on the value of community gardens and what they mean to residents of the North Vancouver District.” That’s a big step forward, and we were happy to also hear support for community garden initiatives from Mayor Walton, Councillor Hicks, Councillor McKay-Dunn, and Councillor Nixon.

As Mayor and Council discussed a number of items on the agenda Heather and I found ourselves scribbling notes and biting our tongues. Sometimes it’s hard not to interject and add your own thoughts to the discussion! Instead of getting kicked out of Council Chambers for disrupting decorum, we decided to save our thoughts to share in writing today.

What is the distinction between neighbourhood gardening and large scale “food security”?

One of the interesting points that was brought up a few times by Counc. Little is the notion that neighbourhood gardening does not impact food security. We beg to differ, and I think there are a few other members of Council that would agree there is a very real and tangible connection.

  1. If we’re talking about food security on an individual basis then we cannot assume that everyone can afford to have access to fresh healthy produce all the time. In fact there are many people on the North Shore who would benefit to access to a community garden plot to grow nutritious and culturally appropriate food for themselves and their families. Gardens provide people with access to grow safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate food even if they don’t provide all of the food they will need.
  2. Counc. Hicks mentioned the role that Victory Gardens played in providing families with food in England post WWII. Community gardens will need to play a similar role again in the future as food supply decreases and costs increase due to climate change. We are several generations removed from our agricultural roots and need to re-build the capacity and knowledge on food growing within our communities if we hope to have the same success of past Victory Gardens. Community gardens provide the perfect learning environment and hosts for workshops and training sessions available to everyone in the community to revive those lost skills. Community gardens are not the end all and be all of food security for the North Shore, but they are a more than simply recreational and therapeutic. They are one vital component of a diverse strategy that helps move us towards a resilient and sustainable food secure community.

Whose responsibility is food security?

During the discussion of the Metro Vancouver Regional Food Strategy draft, Counc. Muri and Bassam were both supportive of the strategy’s proposal to preserve Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land. This is great, but there is no ALR land in the DNV. Although I’m happy to see them jump on board the preserving ALR lands, their support for something that has little to do with food security or production in the DNV is not a replacement for “home grown” initiatives on the North Shore. A regional strategy for food security is incredibly important, but I think that a perspective that focused more on “what can we do to support this…” rather than “Metro Van should…” would do wonders.

Passing the cost of community garden building over to community members would defeat the purpose of accessibility, and it is unrealistic to rely solely on businesses to sponsor community initiatives like this. However there is room for the DNV Council to address what their role is in supporting community garden development without being responsible for paying for them all. The upcoming Official Community Plan (OCP) is a great opportunity to encourage or require all new developments to include community garden space. If the District is not going to support garden development financially, why not include them as a community amenity to be provided by developers. As the ‘Network of Centres’ proposed in the Draft OCP is developed increasing density is only going to mean increased demand for garden space: building them in as these centres develop is going to be much easier than trying to add them later!

Community Gardens are not Cost Effective?

When it comes down to cost, I just don’t see how an elliptical machine offers more value to the community then a community garden – that’s an argument we’re hearing from some Council members! Although a gymnasium may see over 200 people in a month, there are construction, staffing, maintenance, electricity, etc. costs to consider over the lifetime of that infrastructure.. Gardens on the other hand are a onetime construction cost (the garden society takes care of ongoing maintenance), and provide a public space and learning environment for the entire community. In fact, the District is saving money every year by no longer having to maintain the garden site. I think that if you compare the cost of each over 20 years the garden might not seem so expensive! Both have value from a recreation perspective, but both appeal to different folks as well – I’m personally not a community member who gets any use out of an elliptical machine!

Overall the response at the Council Meeting was positive, but I think that there is work to be done to articulate the connections between neighbourhood gardening and food security, and the economics of community gardens to Mayor and Council. Moving forward… we know there are lots of people in Lynn Valley who want a community garden. Our question to you is, “If you were a community garden in Lynn Valley, where would you be?”

Here’s the video we created to thank Mayor and Council for their support of the Lillooet Park Community Garden.

 

Farmers Markets for District of North Vancouver
~ December 13th, 2010

Photo: Natalie Maynor

Tonight the District of North Vancouver’s Mayor and Council will debate the merits of a proposal for two farmers markets. The two proposed locations are at Lynn Valley Village Plaza and Parkgate Plaza, and would run for a trail period of one year. The proposal on the table tonight would authorize staff to modify special events permits to allow for events like a farmers market on public lands.

There’s nothing like buying your fresh produce from a local farmer – the person that put in the sweat equity to make that carrot so sweet and crunchy! Farmers Markets provide the opportunity to buy fresh healthy local produce, support our local economy, and of course create the connection between food purchasers and producers.

To support the proposal for Farmers Markets in the District of North Vancouver you can:

  1. Write to Mayor and Council – we’ve even created an email that you can cut and paste if you’re short on time. Email them at: dnvcouncil@dnv.org

Dear Mayor and Council,

I am writing in support of the proposal for the Farmers Market trials in North Vancouver. Farmers Markets provide access to fresh local food, an opportunity to get outside and meet new people, and support our local economy in BC. I would like to see Farmers Markets in North Vancouver, and I hope that you will support this proposal.

Sincerely…

  1. Attend the Council Meeting – tonight (Dec 13th) at 7:00pm, 355 West Queens Road, North Vancouver
 

Whole Foods Market Christmas Trees
~ December 8th, 2010

10% of all Christmas Trees sold at Whole Foods Market in West Vancouver will be donated to the Edible Garden Project!

This funding will help us continue to offer all of the programs that we do in the community. Donations like this are essential to keeping the EGP going. If you’d like to make a donation directly to the Edible Garden Project, look to the right and click the red tomato saying ‘Donate to the EGP’. This will take you to a secure site – you’ll be able to select the EGP from a list of North Shore Neighbourhood House Programs! ‘Tis the season (and ’tis tax deductible!)!

 

Find us on Facebook!
~ October 5th, 2010

The EGP has a Facebook Page

If you’re looking for up-to-date information, lots of photos and invites to upcoming events, check out our Facebook Page!

 

Whole Foods Community Chest
~ September 26th, 2010

July 5th to September 26th, bring a bag and donate the savings to the EGP!

When shopping at Whole Foods Market at Park Royal between July 5th and September 26th, the Edible Garden Project will be one of the three options that you can chose from when donating your 10 cent bag discount. You would be amazed how quickly those 10 cents add up!

So, don’t forget to bring your bag from home and choose the EGP when shopping at Whole Foods Market.

 

EGP Volunteer Orientation
~ September 13th, 2010

Learn all about how the EGP works – and how to get involved! Monday, September 13th, 6pm.

Are you new to the EGP or just haven’t had time to get out and volunteer with us lately? Our new monthly volunteer orientation night will give you a chance to learn about all the great projects the EGP is running, and how you can get involved. If you think all we do is offer gardening sessions… prepare to be amazed!

Monday September 13th, 6pm at the North Shore Neighbourhood House, Activity Room (225 East 2nd Avenue, North Vancouver). Registration is required; please email Emily. Orientation sessions will continue on the 2nd Monday of every month.

Photo: Cathy McKie

 

Produce Donation
~ August 31st, 2010

Share your Surplus Produce

If your garden is bountiful and you’ve got too much for yourself, please consider donating the surplus to your community. This produce goes directly to people in need on the North Shore.

The Harvest Project:

201 Bewicke Avenue,
North Vancouver, BC

Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-2pm

The North Shore Neighbourhood House:

225 East 2nd Street,
North Vancouver, BC

Monday-Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 10-noon

Mollie Nye House:

940 Lynn Valley Road,
North Vancouver, BC

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm

 

Green City Living – FRESH
~ July 27th, 2010

The City of North Vancouver ‘Green City Living‘ film and speaker series continues on July 27th (7-9pm, CNV Hall – council chambers, 141 E 14th Street) with a showing of FRESH. Join councellor Craig Keating and local sustainable agriculture experts for a discussion after the movie.

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Admission is by donation. This year, donations will be accepted for the Lower Lonsdale and Queen Mary Community Gardens.

 

North Shore Fruit Tree Project
~ July 13th, 2010

The Fruit Tree Project has arrived on the North Shore

The North Shore Fruit Tree Project Society is here to connect those with fruit growing trees to those in need.  Organized picks in your community will provide fruit to local food banks and organizations in need.

How it works:

If you would like to donate your fruit please contact them at 604-983-6444 (ext.640) or by email. They will put you on their picking schedule and coordinate volunteer pickers to come pick your tree. You will be able to keep up to 1/4 of the fruit that volunteers pick. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that your harvest goes to local residents in need.

Visit www.northshorefruittreeproject.ca for more details, if you’ve got fruit to share or if you would like to become a picker.

 

The Day of the Honey Bee
~ May 29th, 2010

This year, for the first time, Beekeepers, B.C. Honey Producers Association, and others in the industry are joining with governments at every level to draw attention to the plight of honeybees and the threat that it represents. The North Shore joins cities across North America to educate about these essential pollinators who contribute an estimated value to Canada’s agricultural industry of almost a billion dollars.

For the fourth year in a row, beekeepers in British Columbia and across North America have experienced devastating losses.  This year in our province the hardest hit were on Vancouver Island where reports had up to 90 percent of beehives wiped out. And in spite of a world-wide scientific effort a solution to save this most vital link in our food chain remains elusive.

To mark this day in our community join local beekeepers on May 29th, 2010 at the Lonsdale Quay’s Farmers market, 10 am until 3 pm, as they share their knowledge about the Honey Bee. Get an up close look at bees through an observation hive, see beekeeping equipment, and learn some amazing bee facts (did you know a single hive is home to between 30 and 50 THOUSAND bees?!).

 

The EGP is HIRING!
~ May 20th, 2010

A Part time Volunteer and Events Coordinator

If you’re looking for part time summer employment where you get to meet lots of great gardeners click here. The EGP is hiring a part time Volunteer Events Coordinator from the end of May until mid October. This is a highly varied, highly flexible, and very fun job! If you like people, like gardening, and like getting people engaged then download the job description.

Application Deadline: 5:00pm, Thursday May 20th.

 

Edible Garden Project Fundraiser!
~ March 30th, 2010

Support the EGP for three tuesdays in march by eating ethical pizza.

pizzaThe Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (1255 Lynn Valley Road) has offered to donate 10% of food sales on:

  • Tuesday March 9th
  • Tuesday March 16th
  • Tuesday March 30th

Dine at Rocky Mountain Flatbread between 6-9pm and not only do you get a delicious meal but you also are supporting the Edible Garden Project (and we need your support!) Call 778-340-3282 for reservations.

See you there…

 

Sharing Backyards
~ March 25th, 2010

Connecting Gardeners with Garden Space

Spring is springing, and gardeners are itching to get their hands in the soil – the problem is that many north shore gardeners don’t have any soil to work in!

If you’ve got garden space to share, or are looking for space, check out City Farmer’s ‘Sharing Backyards‘ website. Here folks can connect with others who are offering, or looking for space.

If you would like help posting your information, please contact us.

 

Advancing Urban Agriculture Grants
~ January 20th, 2010

Grant opportunity for North Shore Initiatives

spuds_1_1Vancouver Coastal Health is once again offering their ‘Advancing Urban Agriculture Grants’ to the community. The goal of this grant is to increase food security for all members of the North Shore community while specifically working to improve access to healthy foods for people with low income. Vancouver Coastal Health is offering small grants to advance urban agriculture on the North Shore.

Grants of up to $5,000 will be considered, and must be submitted by March 12th, 2010. For application details click here.

 

Table Matters
~ January 20th, 2010

Summary of Main Ideas

sunflower_1_1On October 23rd 2009, Vancouver Coastal Health with the Edible Garden Project and the BC Healthy Living Alliance hosted “Table Matters: A Community Discussion about Food Security on the North Shore’.

With over 75 participants, the discussion was lively and inspiring. A summary of the main ideas can be found here.

 

Winter Hiatus
~ December 24th, 2009

Just like the plants in our gardens slow down over the winter, so do the activities of the EGP… We will be on a brief winter hiatus through the month of January, returning to action in the beginning of February 2010. Check back frequently for upcoming events come spring!winterfrost_1_1

 

Feeding the Future: Stories and Images from the New Frontier of Food and Agriculture
~ October 21st, 2009

michaell_presentation_poster_thumbMichael Ableman, celebrated author of “Fields of Plenty”, is coming to Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 7:30pm

Food  may become the dominant issue of our time. The industrial system that brings it to us is unraveling, and the cost of that system,ecologically, socially, and personally is enormous. While Ableman will  touch on this crisis, he will leave us with a deeper sense of how we can participate in the solutions; on our farms and in our gardens,  in  our kitchens and at the dining room table, and in the broader communities where we live.

city_farmerMichael will inspire us with his stories and powerful photographic images of individuals who are using community land, backyard gardens as well as
urban farms for creating socially and ecologically responsible ways of growing food.

Tickets: $10, available from the Centennial Theatre Box Office at 604-984-4484 or www.centennialtheatre.com. For Ride Share information: https://online.ride-share.com/en/my/event.php?id=162

For more information on Michael Ableman:

Presented by Vancouver Coastal Health (North Shore), North Shore Neighbourhood House and the Edible Garden Project.

 




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