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The sixth annual Edible Garden Tour takes place on Sunday August 3, 2014!

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF version of the guidebook for the 2014 Edible Garden Tour, including the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt entry form and a feedback form. Printed versions are also available at Tourism Powell River and Breakwater Books in Powell River.

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One of the many fabulous and imaginative gardens you’ll be visiting on the tour this year.

Please be aware that the gardens are split up into three sets:

  • From 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon: a morning set of five gardens in Edgehill and Cranberry;
  • From 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM, we encourage people to have lunch in the demonstration garden at the Community Resource Centre – Rob and Linda’s awesome mobile pizza oven will be there, and you can also pack a lunch, something to drink, etc.;
  • From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM: an afternoon set of four more gardens in Wildwood.

There is no fixed order for the gardens, but be sure to visit the morning gardens in the morning and the afternoon ones in the afternoon! See the maps for the overall layout of the tour, and plan your day. Don’t feel that you must see every garden, and leave yourself time to relax and smell the roses (and everything else).

Members of the local chapter of the Master Gardeners Association of BC will be available at Sandra Cacis’ & Andy Gurtins’ garden in the morning and at Valerie Lane’s & John Tyler’s garden in the afternoon. They will be happy to answer any of your questions about plants, edible or otherwise. If you’re trying to solve a problem in your own garden, they probably know what’s going on!

Again this year, we have provided little stamps at each garden (look for the blue or red box in each garden). This lets you stamp your guidebook for each garden you visit so you have a record of the places you saw.

And we are featuring a Food Literacy Treasure Hunt to enrich your knowledge of food and gardening. The description of each garden in this guidebook contains a clue to something in that garden. When you have found the answer for each clue, write it into your guidebook in the space provided. Once you have found at least four answers, you can leave your guidebook at the last garden you visit. We’ll be collecting these and drawing for prizes, including a $50 gift certificate from Sunshine Organics/Ecossentials, a $25 gift certificate from Breakwater Books, and a free Good Food Box. (Write your name and contact info somewhere on your guidebook, so we can find you!) If you don’t want to hand in this guidebook, you can find a handy entry form in each garden where you stamp your guidebook.

Please feel free to leave a donation at any one of the gardens you visit. Donation boxes are with the stamps and feedback forms. These donations will support next year’s Edible Garden Tour and other local food projects in the region. Thank you!

Special thanks to Giovanni Spezzacatena (of rabideye.com) for designing the poster and to Brian McLaughlin for helping out with much-needed signage. We acknowledge the support and participation of the gardeners who have generously opened up their gardens to the public, and of all the people who make up our thriving local food scene!

Thank you on behalf of the Edible Garden Tour Planning Committee (Julia Adam; Liz Lane; Rita Luft; David Parkinson; Julie Thorne; & Vanessa Sparrow, Coordinator of the Powell River Food Security Project). We hope you enjoy the tour!

The Fourth Annual Edible Garden Tour is brought to you by Transition Town Powell River and the Powell River Food Security Project, with help and support from the Powell River Literacy Council. We acknowledge the support and participation of the gardeners who have generously opened up their gardens to the public. And thanks to our generous sponsors: Springtime Garden Centre, Mother Nature, Eternal Seed, Wildwood Gardens & Nursery, and Breakwater Books.

Hi there and thank you for your interest in the 2014 Edible Garden Tour. The planning team is working hard to get the gardens all lined up and we plan to have the guidebook (with maps and the clues to the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt) by July 20. Please check back by then.

If you would like to be on the email list for the Powell River Food Security Project and receive a weekly-ish email update with information about upcoming workshops and other food-related activities in the region, please contact us. Thanks!

The fifth annual Edible Garden Tour takes place on Sunday August 4, 2013!

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF version of the guidebook for the 2013 Edible Garden Tour, including the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt entry form and a feedback form. Printed versions are also available at Breakwater Books and Kingfisher Books in Powell River and at the Black Point Store south of town.

One of the wonderful gardens you'll be visiting on the Edible Garden Tour this year.

One of the wonderful gardens you’ll be visiting on the Edible Garden Tour this year.

Please be aware that the gardens are split up into two sets:

  • From 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon: a morning set of five gardens in Powell River (or slightly outside);
  • From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM: an afternoon set of six more gardens on Southview Road north of Powell River.

There is no fixed order for the gardens, but be sure to visit the morning gardens in the morning and the afternoon ones in the afternoon! See the maps for the overall layout of the tour, and plan your day. Don’t feel that you must see every garden, and leave yourself time to relax and smell the roses (and everything else).

Members of the local chapter of the Master Gardeners Association of BC will be available at Rik Revfem’s & Larry Ramus’s garden in the morning and at Glen & Laura Bruce’s garden in the afternoon. They will be happy to answer any of your questions about plants, edible or otherwise. If you’re trying to solve a problem in your own garden, they probably know what’s going on!

There is a two-hour lunch break between noon and 2:00 PM; we’re encouraging everyone to meet up at the Open Air Farmers’ Market for lunch and to compare notes on the morning’s gardens. There will be an answer to one of the clues in the treasure hunt there as well.

Again this year, we have provided little stamps at each garden (look for the blue or red box in each garden). This lets you stamp your guidebook for each garden you visit so you have a record of the places you saw.

Once again this year, we are featuring a Food Literacy Treasure Hunt to enrich your knowledge of food and gardening. The description of each garden in this guidebook contains a clue. When you have found the answer for each clue, write it into your guidebook in the space provided. Once you have found at least four answers, you can leave your guidebook at the last garden you visit. We’ll be collecting these and drawing for prizes, including a $50 gift certificate for Sunshine Organics/Ecossentials, a $25 gift certificate from Breakwater Books, and a free Good Food Box. (Write your name and contact info somewhere on your guidebook, so we can find you!) If you don’t want to hand in this guidebook, you can find a handy entry form in each garden where you stamp your guidebook and donate.

Please feel free to leave a donation at any one of the gardens you visit. All donations will support next year’s Edible Garden Tour and other local food projects in the region. Thank you!

The Fourth Annual Edible Garden Tour is brought to you by Transition Town Powell River and the Powell River Food Security Project, with help and support from the Powell River Literacy Council. We acknowledge the support and participation of the gardeners who have generously opened up their gardens to the public. And thanks to our generous sponsors: Springtime Garden Centre, Mother Nature, Eternal Seed, Wildwood Gardens & Nursery, and Breakwater Books.

Hi there and thank you for your interest in the 2013 Edible Garden Tour. The planning team is working hard to get the gardens all lined up and we plan to have the guidebook (with maps and the clues to the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt) by July 19. Please check back by then.

If you would like to be on the email list for the Powell River Food Security Project and receive a weekly-ish email update with information about upcoming workshops and other food-related activities in the region, please contact us. Thanks!

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF version of the guidebook for the 2012 Edible Garden Tour, including the food literacy treasure hunt entry form and feedback form. Printed versions are also available at Kingfisher Used Books in Powell River and at the Black Point Store south of town.

Just one of the fabulous gardens on display on this year’s Edible Garden Tour. Come on out to see them all!

Please be aware that the gardens are split up into two sets:

  • From 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon: a morning set of five gardens south of Powell River;
  • From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM: an afternoon set of six more gardens in Westview, Cranberry, and Townsite.

There is no fixed order for the gardens, but be sure to visit the morning gardens in the morning and the afternoon ones in the afternoon! See the maps for the overall layout of the tour, and plan your day.

Members of the local chapter of the Master Gardeners Association of BC will be available at Julia Downs’ garden in the morning and at Susan Canning & Roger Thorn’s garden in the afternoon. They will be happy to answer any of your questions about plants, edible or otherwise. If you’re trying to solve a problem in your own garden, they probably know what’s going on!

There is a two-hour lunch break between noon and 2:00 PM; we’re encouraging everyone to meet up at the Open Air Farmers’ Market for lunch and to compare notes on the morning’s gardens.

Again this year, we have provided little stamps at each garden (look for the blue or red box in each garden). This lets you stamp your guidebook for each garden you visit so you have a record of the places you saw.

Once again this year, we are featuring a food literacy treasure hunt to test your knowledge of food and gardening. The description of each garden in this guidebook contains a clue. When you have found the answer for each clue, write it into your guidebook in the space provided. Once you have found at least four answers, you can leave your guidebook at the last garden you visit. We’ll be collecting these and drawing for prizes, including a $50 gift certificate for Sunshine Organics/Ecossentials and a free Good Food Box. (Write your name and contact info somewhere on your guidebook, so we can find you!) If you don’t want to hand in this guidebook, you can find a handy entry form in each garden where you stamp your guidebook and donate.

Please feel free to leave a donation at any one of the gardens you visit. All donations will support next year’s Edible Garden Tour and other local food projects in the region. Thank you!

The Fourth Annual Edible Garden Tour is brought to you by Transition Town Powell River and the Powell River Food Security Project, with help and support from the Powell River Literacy Council. We acknowledge the support and participation of the gardeners who have generously opened up their gardens to the public.

Hang in there… we’re working frantically behind the scenes to prepare the guidebook & map for the Edible Garden Tour. This year, we’re featuring five gardens south of Powell River in the morning, and six gardens in Powell River in the afternoon. The Edible Garden Tour will take place on Sunday August 5, which marks the beginning of the 50 days of the 50-Mile Eat-Local Challenge, ending on the second day of the Fall Fair (Sunday September 23).

The morning gardens will be open for viewing between 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, and the afternoon gardens from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. We’re inviting people to spend their midday break at the Open Air Farmers’ Market.

The organizers are excited about this year’s lineup of gardens, and we know you will be too. So keep watching this space for updates. The guidebook & map will be available by the last weekend in July. If you want to be on the email list of the Powell River Food Security Project and receive regular updates about the Edible Garden Tour and all the other food-related activities going on in the region, please contact the Coordinator David Parkinson at david@prfoodsecurity.org.

Just one of the magnificent gardens you will be visiting on August 7, 2011...

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF version of the guidebook for the 2011 Edible Garden Tour, including the food literacy treasure hunt entry form and feedback form. Printed versions are also available in Powell River at Mother Nature, Springtime Nursery, Breakwater Books, and Kingfisher Used Books.

Hello and welcome to Powell River’s Third Annual Edible Garden Tour, kicking off the sixth annual 50-Mile Eat-Local Challenge. The Edible Garden Tour is a great way to see how other people in the region are producing some of their own food. Please respect the gardens you’re visiting. No grazing without permission! But definitely ask lots of questions.

Please be aware that the gardens are split up into two sets:

  • From 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon: a morning set of five gardens in Lund and Wildwood;
  • From 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM: an afternoon set of five more gardens in Westview, Cranberry, and Townsite.

There is no fixed order for the gardens, but be sure to visit the morning gardens in the morning and the afternoon ones in the afternoon! See the maps for the overall layout of the tour, and plan your day.

Note that the Lund gardens involve some forest walks, uneven ground, and possibly a bit of puddle-jumping. Wear good walking shoes. Those with limited mobility might want to drive as close to the Lund gardens as possible.

There is a one-hour lunch break between noon and 1:00 PM; Owen Gaskell and Daphne Wilson have graciously offered up their garden as a place to have a picnic lunch and meet some of the other people on the tour. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and something to sit on. Then visit their garden and continue on from there into the afternoon gardens.

At most of the gardens you will see a display or demonstration from some local community groups connected to growing and food production.

This year, we have provided little stamps at each garden (look for the blue box). This lets you stamp your guidebook for each garden you visit so you have a record of the places you saw.

Once again this year, we are featuring a food literacy treasure hunt to test your knowledge of food and gardening. The description of each garden in this guidebook contains a clue. When you have found the answer for each clue, write it into your guidebook in the space provided. Once you have found at least four answers, you can leave your guidebook at the last garden you visit. We’ll be collecting these and drawing for prizes, including a $50 gift certificate for Sunshine Organics/Ecossentials and a free Good Food Box. (Write your name and contact info somewhere on your guidebook, so we can find you!) If you don’t want to hand in this guidebook, you can find a handy entry form in each garden where you stamp your guidebook and donate.

Please feel free to leave a donation at one (or more!) of the gardens you visit. All donations will support next year’s Edible Garden Tour and other local food projects in the region. Thank you!

As this guidebook goes to print, we are still working on bus and carpool service. Please check the Transition Town Powell River website for information closer to the date of the Edible Garden Tour.

The Third Annual Edible Garden Tour is brought to you by Transition Town Powell River and the Powell River Food Security Project, with help and support from the Powell River Literacy Council and Skookum Gleaners. We acknowledge the support and participation of the gardeners who have generously opened up their garden to the public.

Happy, illegal hens.

In an earlier post, I laid out my best understanding of Powell River’s somewhat complicated Animal Control Bylaw 1979, 2003. After some months of work behind the scenes, the City’s proposed amendments to this bylaw will be presented for a first reading this Thursday at the meeting of the Committee of the Whole. These amendments come in the wake of the successful ‘Hens in the Hood’ youth employment project back in late 2010, which constructed a number of test sites within city limits and monitored them for problems with odour, pests, noise, and predators. At the same time, the youth in the project conducted a survey among Powell River residents which indicated strong support for increased freedom to raise hens in the city:

  • food sustainability was important to 98.8% of respondents;
  • 98.4% believed that it is important for City Hall to support local food practices; and
  • 96.7% believed that people should be able to raise hens within the municipality.

In the context of the City’s own Sustainability Charter and ever-increasing public awareness of the need to promote local production of and access to healthy food, it’s a bit disappointing to see that the amendments as proposed actually appear to go backwards.

In order to best understand the situation, it might be good to review the earlier post, and especially to pay attention to the zoning map: specifically zone RA1 (which is restricted to parts of Wildwood) and zones R1 and R2 (scattered throughout Cranberry and Westview). It appears that the bylaw amendments will not affect agricultural zones A1 and A2

As I understand them, here are some of the main changes that this bylaw amendment would introduce if passed by Council as is:

  1. The current bylaw excludes animals other than dogs or cats from all zones except RA1, A1, and A2. The amendments would permit up to four hens on parcels of land zoned R1 or R2, provided that the lot area is 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) or more.
    RESULT: City staff, in their report to Council, admit that “By limiting hens to half acre lots, very few R1 or R2 properties in the City would even qualify as candidate sites.” None of the test sites from the Hens in the Hood project would qualify under this new regime.
  2. The current bylaw refers to “poultry” when setting out limits on numbers of animals that may be kept on parcels of land zoned RA1, A1, or A2. The amendments continue to permit “hens  and  other  poultry” for zones A1 and A2, but hens only in zone RA1. In the City’s staff report it is noted that “The keeping of other poultry such as water fowl and turkeys is not recommended as these birds require different shelter, water, and care arrangements as well as additional space.”
    RESULT: Anyone currently raising ducks, turkeys, or other fowl on a parcel of land zoned RA1 will be in violation of the new bylaw.
  3. The current bylaw permits up to 12 poultry, none of which may be a rooster, or 20 rabbits on a parcel of land zoned Ra1, A1, or A2 having an area of 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) or less; and up to 24 poultry, one of which may be a rooster, or 50 rabbits on a parcel of land zoned RA1, A1, or A2 having an area greater than 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres). The amendments allow a maximum of 10 rabbits in an area zoned RA1 provided that the lot area is 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) or more. From the staff report: “Staff do not recommend expanding the keeping of rabbits as these animals multiply at exponential rates
    if released or escaped from pens.”
    RESULT: No change with respect to raising hens in zones RA1, A1, or A2. But the number of legally permissible rabbits is significantly reduced.
  4. The amendments state that “All owners of lands accommodating hens must be registered as regards this activity with the City in the form and manner prescribed by the Animal Control Officer.”

The upshot is that things remain pretty much unchanged for agricultural parcels zoned A1 or A2; it will become much more restricted in zone RA1; and there will be relatively no change in any other area of Powell River.

What has happened is that the City has had input from a number of organizations and individuals who see only the potential downside of making it easier to raise hens and other small animals in the City: the Conservation Officer, Bylaw Enforcement, the Human Society, and the local SPCA office. The City has not had any organized pressure from groups or individuals interested in making it easier to raise small livestock. There are serious challenges involved, especially the threat from predators, and some kind of city-wide plan will be required in order to address these challenges. Advocating for a more liberal bylaw regime, and helping the City deal with the potential negative consequences, is something that an existing organization might take on; for example, the Powell River Farmers’ Institute. Or citizens who are genuinely concerned could form an organization to carry out this advocacy work.

This blog isn’t getting the attention it deserves, and that’s probably because I have another personal blog, Slow Coast, to which I post almost weekly. (I’ve put myself on an every-eight-day deadline.)

This week’s post, “Why don’t we have a local food incubator?”, concerns an idea that has come up time and again since I’ve been coordinating the Powell River Food Security Project. We have all kinds of produce in the summertime and fall, but very little local food available during the cool wet months. many people have preserved or revived the traditional skills of food preservation, but many have lost those skills or never learned the in the first place.

It seems to me that we need to work towards this, and probably from a few different angles. We have the skills, materials, and facilities. We just need to put them together to support individuals and small businesses to help us feed ourselves throughout the year.

Anyway, take a look at the Slow Coast post and the Ecowatch post that it links to. Any thoughts? Leave a comment.

Stay tuned… the planning team is banging together the final details and preparing the guidebook and map. We’re hoping that it will be ready by the weekend of July 31/August 1, at the following locations in Powell River:

  • Breakwater Books
  • Ecossentials
  • Kingfisher Books
  • Springtime Nursery
  • Mother Nature
  • Rainbow Valley Feed
  • Open Air Market

It’s going to be a really interesting tour this year: lots of innovative approaches to gardening and growing food, and a few of the gardeners are overcoming some interesting challenges: one is gardening in a wheelchair; another has had to bring in or build almost all the soil in his garden, since he is gardening on a rocky outcropping; another two or three are older women gardening on their own and on a budget.

There are ten gardens in total, as well as one other stop of interest, where Master Composter Carol Engram will demonstrate her worm-composting operation. Once we have the guidebook ready, we’ll be letting people know.

Look for our lovely poster around the region (created by Giovanni Spezzacatena):

The 2010 Poster

David's recent links of interest

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