Category Archives: Food Security

Is Our Fruit Still Fruit?

Welcome back new blogger William Kwan. William is a teenager currently attending David Thompson Secondary.  He likes to write in his spare time and is passionate about helping the environment.

It was over five thousand years ago when mankind first dabbled into the art of cultivating fruit.  Slowly but surely, fruit farmers around the world have tinkered away at what was once simply a mechanism of seed dispersal.  Through artificial selection, the biggest, brightest and sweetest crops have risen into prominence. Seeing the disparity between modern breeds and their wild relatives makes me wonder what I’m actually eating.  More importantly, is it healthy for us to be tampering with our natural sources of sustenance. Continue reading

do you have a fruit tree in your yard?

no, this is not a locally grown apple. a little too perfect for that. but there are lots of apples grown right in vancouver, in our own backyards. do you have an apple tree? or another fruit bearing tree? does the amount of apples growing on your tree overwhelm you when its time to harvest? does some of the fruit end up falling on your yard, rotting & attracting unwanted pests?

solution! Vancouver Fruit Tree Project brings groups of volunteers together to pick fruit from your tree, and then the fruit gets redistributed in the community to those who need it, like daycares, community centres, etc.if you are the owner of a fruit tree in your backyard (or front yard), contact us and let’s work together!(joey is a new blogger with the vancouver fruit tree project society. like a good vancouver resident, she really loves food & coffee. she works at a local restaurant, & she also photographs & writes her own random little food blog. recently, she’s become increasingly interested in the topic of food security. she wanted to know more, & she wanted to know how she could be involved in her community. in her research, she stumbled upon the vancouver fruit tree project last month & really liked how they care about food, people, the environment, and about waste (or not wasting), among other things.)

The Invasion of Packaged Food

Welcome new blogger, William Kwan. William is a teenager currently attending David Thompson Secondary.  He likes to write in his spare time and is passionate about helping the environment.

It’s kind of scary how the once sacrosanct ritual of the home-cooked family meal is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  As our consumer-driven society indulges increasingly on microwave dinners and fast food orders, our innate connection to the environment diminishes because we no longer have the need for fresh, locally grown produce.  What’s special about the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society is that it not only fills empty stomachs with much-needed nutrition, but also carries on the age-old tradition of organic eating.  I fear for the day when being able to prepare delicious meals from natural and healthy ingredients is a rare privilege.    Continue reading

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

Welcome to the 2011 Season

The 10th Fruit Tree Project Season

This is the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project’s first e-newsletter!  We send information about Fruit Tree Project volunteer opportunities, projects, and events.To sign up, use the form on the right hand sidebar.

Here are some ways to join us:

Volunteering for picking fruit: If you’re new this year, to be contacted for fruit picking email picking@vancouverfruittree.com with “pick list” in the subject line.

AGM! We’re holding our annual Annual General Meeting on Thursday, June 16th. Details to follow. Call for nominations- if you’d like to join the Board as a member at large and help the project grow strong, call Erin to see how you can get involved on this level: 604-8872-5591.

Outreach event: Would you like to table at the Stone Soup Festival at Britannia Community Centre Sat. May 7th for 2 hours between 12-5pm? Email outreach@vancouverfruittree.com to sign up.

Bike trailer workshop –Thanks to the generous Vancouver Cargo Bike Collective, we’re able to make pedal powered deliveries this year. Learn to ride with the trailer: email picking@vancouverfruittree.com.

Slow Fruit Cycle Event: Imagine a slow, group bike ride to show off the Fruit Tree Project’s harvest and build support! Volunteers wanted to assist in planning/organization of a slow fruit cycle in late July or early August, email outreach@vancouverfruittree.com.

Volunteer Opportunities: more volunteer opportunities on our website, including Board member positions, bloggers, social media, drivers….

New faces and ideas are always welcome. Drop us an email, or come to the next meeting. Email info@vancouverfruittree.com for dates and times.

we’ll be hiring…

We’ll be hiring a part-time Coordinator this season. If you enjoy volunteer coordination, have good communication skills, are organized, and have a 3-year driving record (so you can book Car Coop vehicles), watch the website at www.vancouverfruittree.com and Facebook for updates..

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