Author Archives: urbangardenprojectnwm

worm bin project

I recently had the opportunity to watch a hilarious video on reducing waste. A local couple decided to compete against each other to see who could buy less and put less into the waste bins. It has been a few years, but the issue of waste is probably even more relevant now.

The Clean Bin Project – Trailer from Grant Baldwin Videography on Vimeo.

This inspired me to challenge some of my friends to a little competition: to just do one thing to reduce the waste in our bins.

I decided to start a worm composting bin, which turns out to be a little harder than I thought. Knowing a little about worm composting — for example that not any old worms can tolerate the heat of a composting bin — my first task was to find suppliers of the proper worms. I thought that living on the “left coast” as I do now, it should be super-easy to find suppliers of said worms. Not so.

A quick google search led me to city farmer’s list and I started phoning. I was a little surprised that nine calls later, I finally found a local guy who has some and I can pick them up tomorrow.

I have a certain bias towards local entrepreneurs and prefer the face-to-face transaction. For people interested in ordering from online suppliers, all sorts of companies are on the web and will ship (weather permitting, of course). Prices range from $35/lb to $45 /lb plus shipping and handling.

Anyway, I will keep you posted on my worm bin project and challenge you to find one thing you can do to reduce, reuse or recycle what would otherwise go into your waste bin too!

For more information on worm composting, go to city farmer.


Disappointing UN Declaration on chronic disease prevention

Disappointing UN Declaration on chronic disease prevention.

Zucchini Ribbons Sautéed with Thyme and Garlic

This past Saturday, I was very excited to discover the Earthwise Society demonstration farm and garden in Delta, near the shores of Boundary Bay. A Meetup group of environmental volunteers to which I belong had offered our services to the Society to harvest squash, among other things.

I came home with freshly picked corn, some heirloom tomatoes, some zucchini and some garlic.

This is one of the dishes I decided to enjoy with the produce. I found the recipe in the most recent issue of BC Liquor Stores’ Taste magazine, and only slightly modified it to reduce the fat and salt.

Zucchini Ribbon Sautéed with Thyme and Garlic

Serves 2-4

1 medium or 2 small yellow zucchini, cut into match sticks

1 medium or 2 small green zucchini, cut into match sticks

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place cut zucchini on clean towel to absorb excess moisture. Heat a large frying pan with oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add to pan thyme, garlic, zucchini and sautée, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes until zucchini softens. Season with salt and pepper just before serving.


Book review: “The Zero-Mile Diet”

The Zero-Mile Diet: a year-round guide to growing organic food

As soon as I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. I have finally been able to get my hands on it through my local library and read it right through in one evening.

This year-round guide to growing organic food, by Carolyn Herriot, is a sensible and inspiring guide to ways anyone can grow and preserve their own food. Herriot is passionate about food security, self-sufficiency and growing high-quality and safe food.

This book is full of interesting information, as well a great how-to manual. Although geared to the growing climates of the lower mainland area of British Columbia, many of the hints and techniques could be easily adapted to the many other growing regions of Canada.

I highly recommend this book: “The Zero-Mile Diet: a year-round guide to growing organic food,” Carolyn Herriot. ISNB 987-1-55017-481-6

All about heart-healthy eating

In its first-ever single-topic special issue, the Harvard Heart Letter focuses on nutrition. This issue offers advice aimed at unscrambling the mixed messages about what constitutes healthy eating.

via All about heart-healthy eating.

Canada’s food labels leave too much to the imagination

Canada’s food labels leave too much to the imagination.

Canada battling proposal to reduce fats, sugar, salt: Journal

Canada battling proposal to reduce fats, sugar, salt: Journal.

on Canada’s food policy

Why do so many people in Canada go hungry? Why is the family farm disappearing? Why are farmers and fishers going out of business? Why are so many Canadians obese, and at a younger and younger age?

Do these questions matter?

What is wrong with Canada’s food systems?

Check out the work of the People’s Food Policy Project and find out how you can join the conversation and make a difference.

If you eat and if you love food, you need to sign this pledge  to  add your voice to calls for a National Food Policy that connects food, health, agriculture, the environment and social justice. We want 5000 people to sign this pledge by World Food Day on Oct. 16!

Food movement as a rhizome

An interesting article in the Briarpatch magazine blog about the food movement caught my eye today.

‘The rhizome can serve as a metaphor for the Canadian food movement – a decentralized network of diverse, self-organizing, interconnected initiatives with no identifiable beginning or end…

Over the past decade, food-related initiatives have proliferated in response to growing concerns about the corporate, industrial food system….

In the fall of 2010, researchers at the University of Toronto, in collaboration with provincial-level networks, conducted a survey of over 200 organizations working on food-related issues in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia. The study, which aimed to gather information about the relationships between network actors, confirmed a number of assumptions about the food movement….”continue reading here.

World Rivers Day

On Sunday (Sept. 25, 2011), World Rivers Day events were held all over the world and I was happy to take part in some of the events held at the birthplace of WRD at BCIT in Burnaby.

I participate in many of the Meetup group events organized by the Lower Mainland Green Team and we had volunteered to help remove some invasive species of plants which threaten to life of Guichon Creek: Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) and English Ivy (Hedera helix), to name a few.

We successfully removed Policeman’s Helmet from a spot beside a bridge, then went for the Japanese Knotweed. Efforts to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed have been less successful and yesterday, we basically only tried to hack it down to the ground. The plan is then to try to bury it under thick cardboard and a heavy mulch. Unfortunately, it had grown back in an area where reparative planting had already taken place. It will be interesting to see how things progress.

Then we moved on to some Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor) and the English Ivy.

We always try to have some fun as well. Even though the day started off grey and drizzly, then progressing to a veritable downpour, we were undaunted.

Some even took advantage of the horse-drawn wagon rides to travel upstream to an area readied for restorative planting of natives.

(I’m sorry to say “riparian restoration” keeps reminding me of an episode from the British tv show, “Keeping Up Appearances,” in which the hapless Violet plans some “riparian entertainments”. But I digress.)

The highlights of the day  for me were the release of cutthroat trout into the stream, the farmer’s market where I bought some wonderful fresh, organic produce including some wild chanterelle mushrooms, and sampling some bannock with jam and salmon cooked over an open fire.

Guichon Creek and the BCIT campus is on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish nations of Tsleil-WaututhMusqueamSquamishSto:lo, and Tsawwassen. Guichon Creek is doubtless nothing like the beautiful, wild stream it was once, but it is on its way to being restored. Many volunteers have worked hard to give this waterway a second chance. Perhaps someday soon, the salmon will return here to spawn as well.