Thu, 29 June 2006
What alternatives exist to the standard grocery store excursion? Farmers' Markets are certainly one option, but how about food delivered right to your door! While many home grocery delivery services have failed miserably, the most successful operations seem to be those fostering more sustainable food systems. Let's explore some of these options.
Also to explore is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); yet another form of sourcing fruits and vegetables from a location other than the inanimate grocery store shelves. The CSA movement sees customers sharing the costs and benefitis of farming by investing in the growing season of a local farm.
David Van Seters - Founder and CEO, SPUD (Small Potoates Urban Delivery Inc.) - In business since 1998, SPUD is Canada's largest organic grocery home delivery service. The business serves over 5000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island, Calgary and Seattle. SPUD is committed to protecting the environment by buying local, organic, minimally packaged, and eco-friendly products. They build community by creating more direct connections between food producers and consumers; reduce traffic congestion and pollution by delivering groceries on a set route; and ensure their customers know where their food is coming from.
Mark Bomford - Program Coordinator, UBC Farm at the University of British Columbia - The UBC Farm is a 24- hectare teaching, research and community farm located on the UBC campus in Vancouver. As a new project launched in the summer of 2005, the UBC Farm now offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program. The initiative acts as a working example of the benefits of sustainable food systems.
Velvet Kavanagh - Organic Goddess, Endless Harvest Organic Food Delivery - Launched in 1998 just outside Nelson, British Columbia, Endless Harvest is an example of a small-town organic grocery delivery service that looks to foster sustainability through its business practices. Endless Harvest was started to provide people with an easy, affordable way to eat organic and locally grown food; to help people make informed decisions about food; and to help local farmers reach new markets.
Thu, 15 June 2006
Some of British Columbia's most productive agricultural land could turn into highways and parking lots in the coming years unless changes are made to the Province's Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), says a new report by the David Suzuki Foundation.
"B.C.'s farmland is facing death by a thousand cuts," says Ann Rowan, director of the sustainability program at the David Suzuki Foundation. "We need decisive leadership from the province to ensure our best farmland doesn't get paved over."
The report Forever Farmland shows how in recent years farmland that is nestled along the edge of towns and cities has fallen prey to regional development. Between 2001 and 2006, thousands of hectares from Courtenay to Invermere have been eliminated from the ALR and converted into subdivisions. The pressure to remove land from the ALR is greatest near the major population centres where the most productive farmland is predominantly located.
While supporting local farming may seem to be the first step in creating a sustainable food system, local farming can only be supported if there is adequate land on which to farm.
Ann Rowan - Director of Sustainability, David Suzuki Foundation - Since 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation has worked to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us. Given our rich natural assets and the strong environmental values, Canada should be a world leader in sustainability. However, in a recent study comparing the environmental performance of Canada to other developed countries, we finished 29th out of 30.
Erik Karlsen - Chair, Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Erik Karlsen is a professional land use planner with over 35 years experience in advisory through management level positions in federal, provincial, regional and local levels of government and private sector. Mr. Karlsen worked for the BC Provincial Government for 29 years leaving in April 2002. Since then he has been a consultant, a member of advisory committees and taught at Royal Roads University in the Masters of Environment and Management Program. Erik Karlsen has been awarded several awards of distinction for his contribution to sustainable development planning and management in BC and Canada.
Heather Stretch - Northbrook Farm / Saanich Organics - Located in Central Saanich, Heather has been growing fruits and vegetables at Northbrook for 6 years. Heather is a co-owner of Saanich Organics - a collection of small-scale farmers selling their produce through a home-delivery service and at local restaurants and grocery stores.
Robin Tunnicliffe - Feisty Field Organic Farm / Saanich Organics - Feisty Field grows a variety of fruits and vegetables near Prospect Lake within the city limits of Victoria. Robin is also a co-owner of Saanich Organics.
Thu, 1 June 2006
How do food issues make their way into our public schools. As Deconstructing Dinner's Jon Steinman recalls, "I remember graduating from high school not knowing the first thing about growing food and having very little idea how the food I consumed impacted the planet on which we live." With schools being the building blocks of our society and culture, how does our government-funded education system incorporate into curriculums the most important issue facing all humans - food.
Colleen Matte and Su Donovaro - Earth Matters - Colleen and Su were the coordinators of the One-Tonne Challenge Food-to-Table program. Earth Matters is a youth-driven environmental organization based in Nelson BC. They focus on developing and running innovative experiential education programs and community development programs.
Karl Machado - Teacher, L.V. Rogers Secondary School - Karl teaches a unique environmental science class for Grade 12 students. Karl has hosted the Food-to-Table program for two years in a row.
Marilyn Lawrence - Teacher, A.I. Collinson Elementary School - Marilyn is the grade 4/5 teacher. Her class participated in the Food-to-Table program.
Sarah Miles and Amber Johnson - Students, L.V. Rogers Secondary School
Grade 4/5 Students - A.I. Collinson Elementary School
Thu, 1 June 2006
“Permaculture” or “permanent agriculture” was originally conceived almost 30 years ago by Australian ecologist Bill Mollison. Observing aboriginal culture and forest ecosystems, he conlcuded that we could deliberately design agriculturally productive ecosystems, echoing diversity, stability, and resillience of natural ecosystems.
Permaculture designs provide food, energy, and shelter for people and animal inhabitants while linking the needs and outputs of each element.
Permaculture is a holistic approach to land use, which works with nature’s rhythm and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animal, water and soil management, and human needs into intricately connected and productive communities.
Gregoire Lamoureux – Kootenay Permaculture Institute/Spiral Farm – The Kootenay Permaculture Institute is located just outside of Winlaw in the Slocan Valley of British Columbia. Gregoire is a permaculture designer, consultant, and teacher. He has worked with permaculture systems for over 15 years and taught courses in many parts of Canada. He taught the permaculture design course as a Summer Session at the University of Manitoba in 2005. Gregoire is on the Board of Directors of the Slocan River Streamkeepers and has served on the Board of Seeds of Diversity Canada for seven years. He is a founding member of the Kootenay Organic Growers Society. He has written for Natural Life Magazine. He has been a guest lecturer at the BC Organic Agriculture Conference, and the Guelph Organic Agriculture Conference.
Peter Bane – Publisher, The Permaculture Activist – North America’s leading (and the world’s oldest) permaculture periodical. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, since 1985 the publication has informed on permaculture design, edible landscaping, bioregionalism, cooperative action, aquaculture, natural building, earthworks, renewable energy and more.
David Holmgren – “Permaculture Strategies in a World of Declining Fossil Fuels” – recorded on September 10, 2005 by the Necessary Voices Society. David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of “Permaculture One” in 1978. Since then he has written several more books, developed three properties using permaculture principles, conducted workshops and courses in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, USA, Israel, Italy, France, Britain, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. He has consulted and supervised on urban and rural projects in Australia and New Zealand. Within the growing and international permaculture movement, David is respected for his commitment to presenting permaculture ideas through practical projects and teaching by personal example, that a sustainable lifestyle is a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependant consumerism. At home (Melliodora in Hepburn, Central Victoria), David is the vegetable gardener, silviculturalist and builder. The Fryers Forest Eco-village, also in central Victoria, has been a major project in recent years, where he performed many roles including planner and project manager. As well as constant involvement in the practical side of permaculture, David is passionate about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability, the focus of his seminal book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.