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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

The fourth annual Powell River 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge starts on Sunday August 9, 2009, and goes for 50 days until Sunday September 27, which is the second day of our two-day Fall Fair.

This year, the organizers of the Eat-Local Challenge decided to kick off with an event of some kind, and the popular choice was an idea that has been floating around for some time: a tour of food-producing gardens. And so the Edible Garden Tour was born. This tour of local gardens is going to be a great way to see how other people in the region are producing some of their own food, which is one good way to provide plenty of fresh local food during the eat-local challenge (and throughout the year).

I know from personal experience, and from talking to plenty of people, that one of the highest barriers to growing more food is the feeling that it is all very complicated and too difficult for most people. So traveling around and seeing the creative ways that people are growing food in backyards, sideyards, and frontyards should be enough to inspire almost anyone to think about doing something similar where they live.

The gardens are split up into two sets:

  • a morning set to the north of Powell River, and in Wildwood, Townsite, and Cranberry; and
  • an afternoon set in Westview and Lang Bay (south of Powell River).

There is no fixed order for the gardens, but you might want to start in Lund (Nancy’s Bakery opens early, so you can start with a (non-local!) coffee there) and work your way down through Wildwood into Townsite and then Cranberry in the morning. The neighbourhood of Cranberry is having Cranberry Days in Lindsay Park on Sunday, so you can stop there for lunch and a midday break. Or head over to the Open Air Market. Then in the afternoon you can see the gardens in Westview and travel down to Lang Bay to finish off. Take a snack and spend some time on the beach south of town! The order in which the gardens are described here is a suggested order only. See the map on the last page for the overall layout of the tour.

If you are looking for a guide and map, you can pick one up in Powell River at Breakwater Books, Kingfisher Used Books, the Powell River Public Library, and at the Community Resource Centre. Or click on this link to see a printable or downloadable PDF version.

Thank you to all the volunteers, to the gardeners who have graciously opened their gardens up for the public, and to you for coming out. If you would like any more information about the Edible Garden Tour, the 50-Mile Eat-Local Challenge, or any other projects of the Powell River Food Security Project, please contact David Parkinson at (604) 485-2004 or david@prfoodsecurity.org.

Thank you for supporting local food!

[This is a truncated version of a post from the Slow Coast blog, a fairly new regional blog.]

This year, we will be celebrating the fourth annual Powell River eat-local challenge, also known as the “50-mile diet”. This event is our very own regional spin on the 100-mile diet, which started out with two Vancouverites named Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, who decided to try to spend an entire year eating only food from within 100 miles of where they lived.

The idea is simple: anyone who wants to participate is welcome to do so at their chosen level of participation. The usual ‘entry level’ is 50%, meaning that you will attempt to get half of the food you eat from sources within 50 miles of where you live. Some participants go for 75%, some for 95%, and the real hardcore cases might go for 100%, although that level of commitment is not for the faint of heart. Like most diets, it works better if you can convince the other people in your household to go along with it — no one wants to be eating local potatoes and kale while surrounded by others eating Chilean grapes, Thai mangosteens, and Turkish taffy. That’s just not fair.

The period of the eat-local challenge has traditionally been six weeks, but this year we have decided to step it up a little bit in the interest of getting the numbers to line up. So we’re proposing a 50-day stretch to go with the 50 miles. Right now it looks as though the challenge will begin on Saturday August 9, 2009 and will end on Sunday September 27, 2009, which is the second day of Powell River’s annual Fall Fair.

The eat-local challenge is all about:

  • educating individuals about where their food comes from;
  • bringing families and households together in a common project;
  • getting the community thinking and talking about its food production, present and future;
  • creating positive connections in the community among food producers and food consumers, and among people sharing ideas, recipes, and (above all) food;
  • demonstrating to ourselves and to our politicians that there is public interest in eating more local food.

This year I will be part of a team of eager organizers. If you would like to get involved with the fourth annual eat-local challenge, please contact me. We are hoping to kick things off this year with a tour of local productive food gardens, in the hopes that that might inspire people to start growing more food. We have all kinds of ideas about involving local restaurants and grocery stores. We would like to have lots of information going around the community about where the eat-local challengers can find food: weekly emails, blog posts, possibly even a podcast! Potlucks and other opportunities to get together and compare notes and progress. T-shirts. Local art from local artists. Maybe some kind of a celebration at the end, with prizes and a final local food banquet.

We’re blogging! We’re on Facebook! We’re on Twitter! The sky’s the limit, so if you would like to help us celebrate local food and the joys of the relocalized palate, we can use your help.

And if you simply would like to participate, you can sign up here. Once you’re on our email list, stay tuned for updates and information as we get closer to the challenge. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell the neighbours! Let’s make this year’s eat-local challenge the biggest and best yet!

David's recent links of interest

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