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Thanks to Norah LeClare of Powell River Direct, a thorough review of the free and low-cost food resources in Powell River has been conducted over the past couple of months. The result is a brand new flyer and a fabulous new online map, explaining where hot meals, food pantries, community kitchens and more are available.

This information is also listed under the Food resources tab on this webpage.

The eighth Annual Edible Garden Tour takes place on Sunday August 14, 2016, from 10AM to 5PM!

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF of the guidebook for the tour, and here is a link to the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt entry form (you only need to print this out separately if you don’t want to hand in your guidebook, which also has space for the answers). Printed versions of the guidebook and forms will also be available at Tourism Powell River, Springtime Nursery, Mother Nature and Ecossentials from August 3rd, 2016.


Gosia in her kale patch at Myrtle Point Heritage Farm, just one of the great gardens and farms you can visit on the day.


This year’s tour is on Sunday, August 14, 10am – 5pm. Come and see how others are growing their own food! As always, it’s free and self-guided, and you can win prizes by taking part in the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt. All the details are in the downloadable guidebook, available here on August 1st. Printed copies will also be available at Tourism Powell River, Springtime Nursery and Mother Nature.EGT 2016 poster_edited-3


The CFSA Final Report is now available. The full report can be downloaded here.

CFSA info sheet final

The Food Security Project is currently conducting an 8-month project to assess the current state of Powell River’s food system. In January 2016, the project Working Group will release a community profile of food security in the region and make recommendations for action. Click on the image below for a summary of this project. For more detailed information, please see the full background proposal here.

The seventh annual Edible Garden Tour takes place on Sunday August 9, 2015!

Here is the link to the downloadable PDF of the guidebook for the 2015 Edible Garden Tour, and here is a link to the Food Literacy Treasure Hunt form and a feedback form. Printed versions of the guidebook and forms will also be available at Tourism Powell River and Breakwater Books in Powell River as of Thursday, July 23 2015.


One of the many inspiring gardens you’ll visit 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 Townsite and Westview;
  • From 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM, we encourage people to have lunch at the Open Air Market on McLeod Rd (open 12:30 – 2:30 pm and conveniently located between the morning and afternoon gardens!)
  • From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM: an afternoon set of five more gardens south of town.

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 Nina Mussellam’s garden in the morning and at Alison Harding’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!

We will also have a freezer compost demonstration (9:00am – 12:00 pm) at the Brain Injury Society garden, and a fruit tree pruning demonstration (3:30pm – 4:30pm) at Georgia Marvin and Vanessa Sparrow’s garden.

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 once again holding our 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 edible or medicinal 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 five answers, you can leave your guidebook at the last garden you visit. We’ll be collecting these and drawing for prizes: a $60 gift certificate from Sunshine Organics/Ecossentials, a $40 gift certificate from Springtime Nursery, and a $20 gift certificate from Mother Nature. (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 an entry form in each garden where you stamp your guidebook.

Thanks in advance to all the gardeners and people who put this year’s tour together – enjoy!

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.

Had the last meeting of the year last night, and (I think) the first meeting of the second year of meetings… meaning, if I remember rightly, that the first meeting ever was in December 2007, back when we had no name for these monthly gatherings.

About 8 people showed up, which is not bad for a December evening. The food was great: a delicious curry and rice, some mashed (local) potatoes with parsley & smoked salmon, deviled backyard (illegal!) eggs, and yummy shortbread and other treats for dessert.

Conversation was, as always, fairly free-wheeling. But we did do a go-round and give everyone a chance to talk about what they’re up to, what’s going on in the garden, and all that good stuff. I handed out copies of the first draft of the seed-saving plan and we talked about that. I’m pretty certain that this is a project that will really spark people’s imaginations and lead to good conversations about the importance of local seed-saving, the fragility of the global food supply, backyard gardening in hard times, and all sorts of other topics near and dear to the heart of the Kale Force.

For anyone interested in getting more involved, the seed-saving project — which badly needs a jazzy name — has a blog. There’s not a huge amount of information there now, but this is the place on the web where we will be creating and following this local project, answering questions, sharing information and results, and all that.

See you in the new year!

Well, it’s been while since I’ve posted to this blog. But we had a good meeting of the Kale Force this week. A dozen people showed up, shared some good food, and talked about the usual good stuff: growing more food, eating more food, and working towards a proper local food economy.

The special guest for this month was Wendy Devlin, who very kindly agreed to come out and talk to us about saving seeds. She ran down some of the good reasons to do so, and helped us get our heads around how to get started saving seeds. It looks as though we’ll have a follow-up meeting in September to go out to her place and do some hands-on seed-saving.

I reported to the group on the demonstration garden project up in Sliammon. I’m working with some folks up there to set up a little garden in the front area of the Ahms Tah Ow School. On July 21, we are holding a public consultation meeting to give people in the community an opportunity to offer their ideas and advice.

I also reported briefly on our little effort to start a cooperative for the purpose of increasing local food production. So far we’ve been thinking about urban farming, maybe creating a small farm or network of backyards in the city, and using that as a way of producing food which can be distributed through a CSA or to the Open Air Market, or some other way of getting the food to where it is needed. It’s early days yet, but we have a core group of people working away at it and I hope that we’ll come up with something good in a few months.

Doug Brown asked about the by-laws regulating animals in the City of Powell River, and I agreed to pursue that. More details to come soon.

The Kale Force met again on Wednesday night this week, with about 14 people in attendance. As always, we spent some quality time at the beginning, eating the food that people brought, and catching up with each other. Then we went around the room and everyone introduced themselves and said a word or two about what they were doing there, what their interests were in food security, and so on.

I gave a pretty long-winded spiel about some of the stuff that is going on in the Food Security Project. Besides the obvious stuff like Seedy Saturday this past weekend, and all kinds of other administrative overhead (bleah), the most exciting new development is that I went out to Sliammon a couple weeks ago and had a very positive meeting with Laurette Bloomquist, Dawna Pallen, and Rose Adams of Sliammon Health; and Maureen Adams from the band office. They’re all very concerned about nutrition and access to good food out there, and our meeting was a first brainstorming session to see if we couldn’t get something going to tackle the problem. We shot around a couple of ideas, one of which would be awesome if we could make it happen: a weekend-long picking & canning/drying festival to provide for canned/dried fruit for the community, to be used especially for elders and others really struggling during the winter months. Now I just need to keep working with them to see if we can’t chase down some funding for that idea and make it happen. Whew.

The demonstration garden is moving along well, and there will be a work party next Monday (March 17) to plant the fruit trees. Starting this week, Friday afternoons will be a regular meeting time in the garden for anyone who wants to connect with the team of folks who will be taking care of the garden now that the youth project is slowly winding down. We’ll be meeting from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in the garden behind the Community Resource Centre to plan upcoming activities, workshops, and work parties; and also to dig in and work on the garden. So come on out and see what’s happening there!

Another thing that’s happening is that Kimberley Murphy-Heggeler, the new volunteer coordinator of the Good Food Box, is keen to start boosting the profile of that program around town. She has met with Georgina Kendrick, who runs the Food Bank in town, and it looks as though there may be some way for those two programs to partner, since the Food Bank is mainly in the business of distributing non-perishables, whereas the Good Food Box distributes produce. It would be good to connect the two together. Also, Kimberley and I are thinking about getting local businesses and individuals to sponsor a Good Food Box by paying the low low sum of $12 per month. We need to work on a campaign to raise awareness, and hopefully start getting the community on board with the idea of signing up for a one-off box or a year-long subscription. There are plenty of places in the area who would happily distribute boxes of produce to their patrons.

The star attraction of the evening was Sue Moen, from the LUSH Valley Food Action Society over in the Comox Valley, who told us about all the activity over on their part of the island. They’re working on a centralized hub for food distribution, food preparation training, small business incubation, and social connection for people on the margins. It sounds like an excellent project, and similar in some ways to some of the activity that is starting to coalesce around the Community Resource Centre in Powell River. I’ll be keeping my eye on what’s happening across the strait, since we can certainly learn from what they’re doing.

We brainstormed a bit about how we can start to spread the word about the need for more local growing. Most of the people present were feeling a lot of anxiety about the gap between where we need to be in terms of production, and where we’re at. But in some ways it’s tough to reach out to the unconverted, or to people who never think much about where their food comes from and the hidden costs of food trucked in from thousands of miles away.

We certainly need more activity, and more outreach into the broader community. This is obviously part of what I’m funded to do by Vancouver Coastal Health. But somehow we need to build up a team of people who are willing to take on some of this effort. I had hoped that the regular Kale Force meetings would provide the impetus for this sort of thing; and maybe over time it will. I’m not sure yet how valuable it is to have a regular meeting which is informal and more about connecting people together than it is about trying to make sure that every meeting is full of activity and learning. There is a place for both sorts of things, and sometimes I find that an endless series of meetings which are tightly scripted leaves you feeling hungry for opportunities to just connect and talk informally, strike up casual conversations and let ideas just brew naturally.

It’s possible that the regular Friday meetings in the demonstration garden will provide the more action-oriented venue, and Kale Force will continue to work well as a more social event. I want to hold the options open a little, and let things evolve naturally as much as possible.

What’s your opinion? Any ideas for future activities?