Thursday, June 11, 2009

'Yes I Can' - People Preserving Food

In the advent of the 100 mile diet, more and more people are taking to their hot water baths for some steamy home preserves. Interested in promoting SAFE canning techniques, a few hungry individuals came together last August and formed the People Preserving Food. At the end of May, we finished our first 'train the teacher' canning workshop. The experienced and inspiring experts, Diane Collis and Ellen Wickberg, walked the students (and soon to be teachers) through both a theory and practice session. The goal of the project is to have canning instructors in local organizations around Vancouver all working together to promote safe canning techniques.

People Preserving Food (PPF) includes the following people and organizations:

Ellen Wickberg - Kiwassa Neighbourhood House Canning Community Kitchen
Diane Collis - Fresh Choice Kitchens, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society (
Jill Dalton - Eastside Family Place
Diana Day - Vancouver Coastal Health (
Debra Elliot - Circle of Eagles Lodge
Roberta LaQuagua - Your Local Farmers Market Society (
Melody Kurt - Hastings Community Centre
Ian Marcuse - Grandview Woodlands Food Connection
Tara Moreau - Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (
Rihanna Nagel - Environmental Youth Alliance (
Liz Perkins - Fruit Tree Project (

The makings for fun and delicious rhubarb stew include:

Great teachers - Ellen and Diane.


Safe, clean and organized work stations.








I wanted to say a special thanks to Lynn Leong who was instrumental in getting this project up and running. Thanks so much Lynn - we will miss you:)

Monday, June 8, 2009

A taste of Wendell Berry for you.....

The Man Born to Farming

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water descending in the dark?

Do you ever feel like this when working in the garden? Blissful...

our good friend kamran on a field trip to the garden - he really enjoyed his gardening experience!
remeber the picture of the cute zucchini and celery a couple of posts ago? look at this - do you see any celery? us neither... (mental note - zucchini takes up LOTS of space!)
but I must say, the flowers are beautiful indeed...and delicious too!

we have already begun the process of saving seeds for next year. this is teomi and zlatko tying mesh bags to catch the seeds on the flowering greens.

we finally have some labels on the vegetables! we've planted 7 different kinds of tomatoes in total, so it will be important to know which is which!

but not all is peaches and cream in the garden....
just as we suspected, rats had been crawling under our composter (an unfortunate reality of urban gardening).
so many thanks to beng's hard work installing this 1/2 " wire mesh beneath (thanks again our neighbourhood Canadian Tire for donating this!) and we moved the compost bin and set up another bin for leaf storage (thanks to our friends in Engineering).

also, the composted horse manure that seems so promising in the beginning, has seemed to stall the efforts of these little plants to fulfill their destiny. i'm afraid lois might be right - we may need to just cover this and begin again...the good news is, not only have we learned something new, our winter seeds have arrived and now we have somewhere to plant them!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

After much activity lately, there is not much to update on, we continue to enjoy harvesting radishes, spinach, mesclun, lettuce, and basil from our garden, and are (already!) thinking about what to plant for the winter garden, blessed as we are here in Vancouver....
this is the new bed we created, which was inspired by a backyard garden I saw over the weekend. The wooden posts were scavenged from a back alley and cut down. In it, we planted some green zebra and orange tomatoes (seeds collected from last year's plants), and will plant marigolds next week to keep them company.

Our square foot garden, now beginning succession. We have harvested all the radishes from one of the squares, and have planted bush beans in its place.

We will be in the garden again next Sunday, as always, all gardeners are welcome, regardless of age or experience.