Category Archives: Community Links

Fruit Tree Canning Workshop

This past Saturday the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project in partnership with the Grandview Woodland Food Connection hosted a Canning 101 workshop at Britannia Community Centre which I taught. 9 participants joined us to can apricots.

The workshop went pretty well, though as usual I feel like I am still learning. And as usual there were a few jars that just did not behave properly, leaking upon removal from the boil. I still cannot figure out why this is as we were so careful to get the correct headspace and all. Maybe there were too many air bubbles that we missed getting out. Anyways, like gardening, canning is a continuous learning and experimenting experience.

I actually just returned the day before from a trip to the Rockies and back through the Kootenays and then Keremeos and Cawston where I stopped to load up on amazing fruit. There are three wonderful organic fruit stands that I know of – Blush Lane, Parsons Farm and the third I forget, but which also has organic wine to taste and buy.  Basically we stopped at each thinking we had already bought enough, but then laid down another $50 for more fruit. My favorite fruits are the small ping pong ball size (or smaller) apricots from Parsons Farm. I forget the name of the variety, but they are wonderful.

Ian Marcuse,  Coordinator, Grandview Woodland Food Connection

Welcome to Dom! Our Katimavik volunteer for 2011

Do you know what Katimavik is? Katimavik is a volunteering program in Canada. It gives youth the chance to take part in intensive service and learning projects that help change Canadian communities. Through their volunteer work, youth grow and mature into engaged citizens.” (http://www.katimavik.org/)

My name is Dominic and I am a Katimavik volunteer in East Vancouver in an Eco program. Part of my job is working with the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project. During the week I also work at the Pedal depot, a bike co-op and during the weekend my group and I volunteer with diverse events and organizations. I have been here since July 6th and I am staying until December 16th.

I’m from the Province of Quebec and I grew up in a very little town call Taschereau (close of Rouyn-Noranda, 7 hours of driving in north of Montreal). After my high school, I went to Quebec City for a couple of months learning about music and violin making. After, I came back to Rouyn-Noranda at Cegep and I studied in botany and forestry for one and a half years. I am passionate about a lot of things but mainly about music and Biology and I hope that my knowledge will help here in the field of fruit trees.

So now that I’m here, enjoying the beauty of British Columbia and Vancouver, I’m really happy to work with the Vancouver Fruit Tree project. I hope to meet you soon and I will be happy to talk with you and answer your questions.

Also, in the coming months I will write articles in the blog about Forestery, botany, harvesting etc.

Dominic

VFTP News

A few quick updates:

– Want to join the fruit picking brigade? Email info@vancouverfruittree.com and you’ll be added to the specific fruit tree picking information list.

– A big thank you to the City of Vancouver for the Greenest City Neighbourhood Grant. We will be able to replace new picking equipment this year.

– Sign up for our enewsletter on the right to stay in touch about our events and food security projects, including the logo contest (still accepting entries), movie night, farmers’ market, bike cargo trailer volunteering and more.

– And welcome to Erica as the 2011 Coordinator, and to the new volunteers helping already with blogging, equipment repair, and our social enterprise. It’s great to have you with VFTP.

– Next meeting: August 6th, 6:30 at Britannia Community Information Centre. Everyone welcome. Read previous minutes here.

Visiting Spring Ridge Commons: community urban food forest

I volunteer with the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project, and on a recent weekend trip to Victoria I learned about the Springtide Commons. It’s a special place: an edible permaculture garden maintained by and for the community. The oasis is the size of a few house lots, and plants are available for communal harvest.

“Spring Ridge Commons is Victoria’s oldest and largest public permaculture garden or community multi-layer  food forest… It is an example of what is possible when you start with a gravel parking lot in a relatively low-income area near the city centre.”

On a cloudy springtime day, there was a lot of activity in the Commons. Victoria’s growing season is weeks ahead of Vancouver’s right now so there was a lot of plant growth to admire. As well, we met neighbours in the Commons, found kale, picked herbs, learned about more native plants, and destroyed some invasive caterpillars. Later on, a private permaculture class was listening intently to their instructor.

The Spring Ridge project is inspiring as to how to raise community gardening to another level. It makes growing food together part of an education and easily accessible to anyone walking by- and a fine way of sharing knowledge and communal resources for free.

You can read more about the Spring Ridge Commons project here.

– Sam

Stone Soup Festival

Join the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project at the 16th annual Stone Soup Festival, a celebration of food, art, environment and community, including farmers market, food vendors, local artists, community groups, talks and workshops, live music, children’s activities, free soup and more!

More than ever, people are aware of the issues of food security, the benefits of sharing resources and eating ‘local’. Stone Soup will celebrate the diversity of food in our neighbourhood, the environment and it’s importance to the culture of our community.

Features Of This Year’s Festival Include:

Growing Chefs!: Gardening WorkshopFor children 6-10 yrs and parents-Vegetable examinations, seed explorations and taste tests, then plant a seedling to take home.
Location: Al Mattison Lounge (55+ Centre)
Workshops at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm

Laura Bucci Handmade: Drop-In Collage Button Making WorkshopLocation: Family Activity Room
Time: 12-5pm

Henry Charles: VPL Storyteller In Residence-Food Stories from the Musqueam PerspectiveLocation: Britannia Library
Time: 1pm

Buen Provecho!Digital Storytelling Intergenerational Food Project
Location: Britannia Library
Time: Ongoing 12-5pm with Reception: 2:30pm

DixieStars: The Stone Soup StoryStorytelling and Music
Location: West Kid’s area
Times: 2 and 3pm

Saturday, May 7, 2011 Noon-5pm
Britannia Community Centre Site/Napier Greenway
1661 Napier St@Commercial Drive
Vancouver,BCV5L 4X4

For more information: (604)718-5800/www.britanniacentre.org

Book Review: Independence Days

In the Bookshed: Independence Days | Sharon Astyk
Guest Post by Megan Adam

I should warn you upfront that no sooner was I done this book, that I started clearing a corner of my basement for long-term food storage. Not necessarily because Sharon Astyk makes a compelling case for the end of civilization as we know it, but because the notion of security – and in particular food security is so compelling to me. For more than a decade I have put some food by each year, canning mostly, occasionally drying foods, but after reading this book I’m committed to doing a lot more. Three months supply of food for each person in the house? I’m not sure about that yet, but I’ve got that corner cleaned out and I’m going to fill it.

Independence Days is an excellent introduction to the whys and hows of food storage covering everything from how to get your family to eat storage food (not a problem in our house because we already eat lots of beans and lentils and rice) to recipes to the principles behind lactofermentation. What I particularly appreciated were the acknowledgements throughout that moving oneself into a more secure food paradigm is a task often complicated by the hard realities of personal economics, and the people with whom we share space.

Astyk’s style is eminently readable – conversational and breezy throughout as she chides her own past mistakes in food preserving (really – she says – don’t let your fermenting kimchi explode in your kitchen), and imparts real-world wisdom in each step of the various processes – root cellaring, canning, drying, lactofermentation and season-extension in the garden. Additionally, an extensive home medical kit is also covered as part of your home preparations — just in case.

While not an alarmist, Astyk does ask us to consider the possibility that we encounter a disaster so great that we are not able to access grocery stores or municipal water supplies. That might be a quarantine, it might be an earthquake, or it might just be a job loss that leaves one with little means to pay the rent and eat. In any of these situations she suggests that putting food by while we have it available is not only a good strategy, but a responsibility to ourselves and our families.

I can’t say I disagree, and while greater food security for my family is something I’ve always meant to get around to, this book is written in such a way as to give you confidence in getting started without being overwhelmed. If food security at home is something you think about, this is a good first-reference and an enjoyable read.

– Megan Adam blogs at http://amongtheweeds.ca