Village Vancouver January 2013 Newsletter

Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events 

January 2013

2013 - The Year of Remagination

Welcome to the January 2013 edition of the Village Vancouver monthly newsletter and Calendar of Events

Welcome, as well, to what might very well be one of the most pivotal, exciting and sometimes perhaps even downright terrifying years of our lives, if not in human history.

Everywhere, it seems, we are approaching a cliff or a wall. Due to the failure of its leaders to reach real compromise, the United States continues to teeter on the edge of a "fiscal cliff" that threatens the stability, not only of its own economy, but that of the rest of the world. Meanwhile, even greater and more chronic failures on the part of world leaders everywhere are carrying all of us towards even scarier cliffs - ecological and social cliffs. How much longer can we continue to defy the biophysical limits of our planet, or the limits of the growing ranks of the marginalised in our societies to tolerate injustice and inequality, before we tip over the edge? Often, it feels as though there is far too much momentum going in the wrong direction; the Great Turning will require far to0 wide a berth, and before the stern even begins to hint at an alternate course, it will be too late. To the exhausted and overwhelmed activist at the helm, the situation can at times feel titanically hopeless.

And yet, it is not hopeless at all - and that it what is so exciting about the times we are living in! As author Anthony Weston declares in his inspiring book Mobilizing the Green Imagination: An Exuberant Manifesto, humankind has been drastically underutilising the enormous power of its collective imagination. Just think: everything that we now see in our human-created environment, from immensely complex cities to high-tech gadgetry to the words you are reading on this screen has its ultimate origin in the human imagination. Humanity has used the power of its imagination to transplant itself from its ancient cradle in southern Africa to now inhabit every climate on Earth, right down to the least hospitable; our imagination has even taken us to the moon. 

On the other side of this two-edged sword, one could say that our runaway imaginations are what got us into the messes we're in now.

But could we not instead put our imaginations to work in the other direction, that of radically re-imagining our relationships with the Earth and with each other? Charles Eisenstein speaks of graduating from the conception of Mother Earth to that of Lover Earth - maturing away from the childlike attitude that Mother Earth is there to provide for all of our needs in a unidirectional parent-child relationship of giving and taking, and embracing Lover Earth instead - the Earth as the cocreative partner of humanity, to whom we give back at least as much as we take, and give joyfully. What sparks of the imagination might be kindled in our lover's eye, as we allow our love to guide us to the healing and regeneration of the wounds we have formerly inflicted? 

The only thing now in the way of such a new, mutual and fruitful relationship is the lack of imagination.

Too often, environmentalists find themselves tinkering at the margins, trying to mitigate and preferably neutralise our harmful impact on the Earth: zero waste, zero carbon, zero footprint. What if, as Weston suggests, we were to fire up our imaginations a bit more and begin to imagine ways of doing things that do not merely have a neutral impact on the Earth, but a positive, regenerative impact on our planet? What if, far from becoming waste, every product we use were to end its lifecycle in a compost pile, yielding its nutrients to other useful, beautiful and/or tasty things? What if, instead of making our buildings energy self-sufficient, we designed them to produce a surplus of clean, renewable energy to share with others? What if, instead of contaminating water, our cities and households became like wetlands, cleaning the water that passes through them? What if, instead of building expensive dikes to protect our low-lying cities from the pretty much inevitable sea level rise, we began re-imagining those cities to, like Venice, embrace the encroaching waters? Richmond, the Venice of the Pacific, anyone? These are just a few of the ideas that Weston throws out there in Mobilizing the Green Imagination, hoping to provoke a few in our own fired-up imaginations.

Now how is this, then, for a collective New Year's resolution:

Having been spared the end of the world in 2012, let us embrace 2013 with a new lease on life! Let this be the year of letting go of the old stories, the old patterns, the old limits, and the embracing of a new story for humanity and the planet. Let us dust off our fantasies, pull our dreams out from under our beds, drag our shy imaginations away from the walls and out onto the dance floor. Let us awaken the Lover within, and scheme constantly of ways to give joy to Lover Earth, and to each other. Let us consciously, at every moment we can, kick up our exuberance levels at least a few notches.

Let 2013 be the Year of Remagination!

Happy New Era!

Your January newsletter team,

Jordan, Sharon and Ross

Transition recognised in European Parliament

Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins and Filipa Pimentel with the Civil Society Prize awarded by the European Parliament to the Transition Network in December, 2012. Says Transition Network's Funding Manager Nicola Hillary: “This prize is great recognition for the work of so many people in hundreds of European communities who are engaging their local civil society in developing low-carbon futures and livelihoods which promote well-being for all in the community”. Read more here.

Become a member today!

Have you joined the Village Vancouver community by joining our website? We hope you'll consider becoming a member of the Village Vancouver Transition Society as well, making our movement even stronger! It's easy to join - just click here!


Calling all tech-saavy Villagers!

Village Vancouver, as you know, is dedicated to helping Vancouver transition to a more resilient and positive future. 

Right now, in response to the changing needs or our organisation and our community, we are thinking of transitioning our website. 

Our aim in changing our website would be to create a clear and useful communication channel with the Village Vancouver community as well as with those learning about Transition for the very first time. We are seeking a powerful and direct impact on the visitor that clearly conveys what we are about and how to get involved, while maintaining the interactive features that allow our website to serve as a community hub, as it does now.

We have a few ideas already, but to do a good job we will need a lot of help and knowledge from tech-saavy and communication-saavy people. Does that fit your description? If so, would you be willing to join a team of volunteers working to evaluate and implement a change in our web technology? Please contact to find out more and to express your interest in helping with this very important transition.

What's out, what's in for 2013?

Out: Private Equity. In: Farmland
The Transition Voice has published a fun and poignant list of what's out, and what's in now that we're in 2013. Among the substitutions:

Out: Peak Oil. In: Peak Denial

Out: Credit Default Swaps. In: Fossil Fuel Portfolio Divestments

Out: e-learning. In: Pulling radishes

Read the full list here...                   

Announcing: New Commercial Drive Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

If you live close to Commercial Drive, 2013 is your year! Several local Villagers have come together to launch a new monthly Village Vancouver potluck and workshop in the neighbourhood, starting this month on January 24th when we will host a veggie fermentation workshop. Beginning in February, the monthly meet-ups will take place on the 3rd Thursday of every month.

Potluck (6-7pm): Bring something yummy for the potluck.

Workshop (7-8pm) – Veggie Fermentation: Learn the art of veggie fermentation. Things to bring:

  • veggies (cabbage, carrots, beets, onions, etc.)
  • wide bowl
  • salt
  • widemouth one liter canning jar

What: Commercial Dr. VV Potluck & Workshop: Veggie Fermentation

When: Thursday, January 24th: 6-8pm
Where: Rising Star Housing Co-op (1556 E. 5th Ave.) common room
Why: Build community, eat good food and ferment veggies!
Cost: Free!!!

Sign up to the Commercial Drive mailing list here to ensure you receive reminders about upcoming meet-ups. We have lots of great workshops planned for upcoming months, including local currency, bike maintenance, seed starting, chickens 101, and more.

Main Street Village Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

The Main St. Village meets the first Tuesday of every month for a potluck and workshop.

Our February Village Vancouver & Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Potluck and Workshop will be Tuesday the 5th of February.

Potluck (6-7pm): Bring something yummy for the potluck.
Workshop (7-8pm)Sewing 101: Join our local villager Amie Peacock, as she teaches us the basics of sewing.

 If possible, please bring:
-pair of fabric scissors
-thread (any color)
-sewing machine (optional)
-old pants-jeans or dress pants that you want to repair, shorten or hem
-measure tape

Canning & Seed Exchange. We're making this a monthly thing! Bring something you've canned, seeds you've saved or food you've grown and exchange it with others!

What: Main St. VV & LMNH Potluck & Workshop: Sewing 101
When: Tuesday, February 5th: 6-8pm
Where: Little Mountain Neighborhood House (3981 Main St.)
Why: Build community, eat good food and learn to sew!
Cost: Free!!!  

Check out the Main St. VV website or "like" us on Facebook: 

Drop in "Spaghetti" Night Community Wide Gathering

Kits House February PotluckFriday, February 1st, 6:00 - 8:00 PMSt. Marks, 1805 Larch St.

Village Vancouver, the Drop in "Spaghetti" Night Team and Kitsilano Neighbourhood House are collaborating to bring you a celebration of the wildly delicious DISNs!
February's Kits House Potluck celebrates a series of 13 mostly locally sourced and locally prepared neighbourhood dinners hosted by Kits Villagers and supported by a Green Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation. Each of these meals has brought or will bring neighbours together to share a meal cooked on one stove, reducing transportation and energy consumption.
Hosts have been encouraged to prepare their meals using locally sourced ingredients (e.g., 100-Mile Diet) and to track the origin of all of their ingredients.  We will be reporting on the results of these Drop-In 'Spaghetti' Nights and encourage all who hosted or participated in a DISN to share their experiences as well.
Everyone is welcome to attend! We invite you to bring a dish featuring local ingredients to share at this month's potluck. Local chef, Russell Cameron, will also be providing soup and bread.Save the date!
Click here for more details and to RSVP. For more information: 604.736.3588 ext. 31.

It's also not too late to attend a Drop-in "Spaghetti" Night. Six more are being held between January 16th and January 27th.  
January Dropins 
Share a meal w/neighbours, prepared by a neighbour.
They’re called Drop-in “Spaghetti” nights, because many of the ones we've held in past years have involved serving spaghetti, but can involve any foods - e.g., Drop-in Rutabaga Night.
Open to all, DISN's are especially aimed at neighbours living close to one another (w/in 2-3 blocks of a host). In many cases, ingredients will sourced fresh and locally -- e.g., in the summer, ofttimes from the Thursday Westside Community Food Market at 8th/Vine.  (VV tabled w/the Seed Library and other goodies.)
If you would like to attend or host a DISN, please RSVP below or to Ross at

Kits Village Helps Kits Library Pick Out Sustainability Books/DVD's 

Decisions, Decisions. So many possibiilties -
what to Choose? Kits Villagers Derek Irland and
Ross Moster, and Assistant Librarian Michelle Chou
in one of our favourite aisles at Banyen Books.
KVer Laura Lee Coles also helped and took the pictures.
(VVer Dana Wilson couldn't make it, but provided
some great suggestions as well.)

Kits Library Assistant Librarian Michelle Chou recently asked a group of Kits Villagers to help her pick out books and DVD's related to sustainability for the library. We decided to support a local bookstore - Banyen Books. Three of us accepted the invitation, while others who couldn't make it provided suggestions, and we ended up selecting over 50 books and DVD's on a wide variety of topics including Permaculture, Community Energy, Resiliency, Gardening, Local Economies, Urban Homesteading, Co-operatives, Green Building, and much more. A (near) complete list can be found here.

Derek, Ross, and Michelle with boxes of books and
DVD's bound for Kits Library. 
We appreciated the opportunity to help make more books and DVD's on sustainability, resiliency, and community building accessible to the community - thanks for asking us to help, Michelle! - and we encourage you to visit Kits Library and take advantage of the new selections.

We'll be adding the list to the website, and encourage you to let us know your favourite books, films, websites, etc., so we can expand the list. You can send your selections to Ross at

Vancouver Affinity Circle

You are invited to join Vancouver's Affinity Circle every Wednesday from 7:15 to 8:15 – Free.


A Fire Alarm
When you have pain in your life you automatically tense up.
You resist the pain or you fight it.
Unfortunately, that just makes the pain hang around.
Through experience you learn that the way out of pain is not to resist it but to accept it.

One way you can begin to accept it is to see the pain not as an attack on you or as a punishment of you, but as a communication that tells you something is awry.
It is like a fire alarm that wakes you up before the fire engulfs you.
It is a messenger telling you to adjust something in your life that is dysfunctional and out of balance.

-From Everyday Wisdom by Paul Ferrini

Introducing the Transition Companion Widget

Author Rob Hopkins with his Transition Companion
The Transition Companion is Transition founder Rob Hopkins' second book, following The Transition Handbook. In it, he writes about what Transition initiatives are doing on the ground all over the world, providing tips and inspiration for how to start successful Transition projects in your community.

Now, thanks to Green Publishing, The Transition Companion is available to read for free, electronically, using the Transition Companion Widget.

To access this inspiring book online, click here.

Rob Hopkins: Change that spreads like mycorrhizal fungi

As I enter the final stages of editing the new book I have been working on, provisionally titled ‘The power of just doing stuff‘ (more information to follow), I am at the stage of, for one reason or another, cutting out perfectly good stuff that just doesn’t fit anymore (it’s a small book).  Seems a shame to waste them, so I’ll be posting a few here.  Here’s the first, which expands on something that got a mention in the video I posted here last week, the concept of thinking of Transition, and how it spreads, as being like mycorrhizal fungi. 

“There’s a particular type of fungus, known as mycorrhizae, that is one of the most extraordinary living things on this planet.  It forms in undisturbed soils and builds vast networks between the various elements that make up a forest, holding the soils together, increasing the plants’ abilities to scavenge nutrients, hold onto water, recycle debris, restore degraded soils.  It allows the various plants to send messages to each other, such as to warn about the arrival of pests and diseases.

2013 Rural-Urban Permaculture Design Course

Community Leadership Workshops at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House

Hastings-Sunrise Meaningful Movie: Food Inc.

January 17, 2013

Doors at 6:30pm, move begins at 7pm

St David of Wales Church, 2475 Franklin Street (at Kamloops)

How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same - a tomato still looks like a tomato - it has been radically transformed.

In the Oscar nominated "Food Inc.", producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollon (The Omnivore's Dilemma) lift the veil on the food industry - an industry that has ofter put profit ahead of consumer health, the  livlihoods of farmers, the safety of workers and our own environment.

PG Rated, doors open at 6:30, movie begins at 7pm followed by a discussion on the movie topic for those interested in participating. 

Popcorn, juice and snacks available for $1 each from our concession, proceeds to the DR. A.R. Lord School PAC.

Everyone welcome to St. David's, our movie venue.

Hastings North Community Small Grants - Applications open now! Deadline February 28th

The Hastings North Community Partners Group (HNCPG) manages and distributes Community Small Grants which are funded by the City of Vancouver through the Hastings Legacy Fund. Annually, the HNCPG distributes $18,000 in Community Small Grants to fund various community based projects in the Hastings North area.  Projects must take place, and both applicants must reside in the area of Boundary Road to Victoria Drive, and 1st Avenue North to the waterfront.

Projects can include cultural and performances and activities; murals and art projects; community celebrations (that are not looking for annual funding); dances and festivals, community and neighbourhood gardens; food movement projects; resident led classes; community dialogues and discussions, and more.  New projects that meet the criteria will be given first consideration for funding, as will those that intentionally promote social inclusion and cross-cultural connections, as well as include numerous members of the community.

For more information and to apply, please visit the Hastings North website.

Volunteer Opportunity with Growing Chefs

Growing Chefs! Chefs for Urban Agriculture is currently seeking chefs and those interested in food to be a part of their 2013 Classroom Gardening and Cooking program. In the Classroom Gardening Program, chef volunteers are paired with elementary school classrooms (grades 1-3) to give students hands-on experience growing and cooking their own food.

Growing Chefs! creates a forum for chefs, educators, growers, community groups, and families to work together to further awareness of food sustainability.

For more information please visit or contact Sophie at 

Book recommendation: Mobilizing the Green Imagination

An Exuberant Manifesto

by Anthony Weston

Dysfunctional cities, catastrophic climate change, ever-deepening distance from nature - today we see environmental disaster everywhere we look. In Mobilizing the Green Imagination, philosophical provocateur Anthony Weston urges us to move beyond ever more desperate attempts to "green" the status quo, toward entirely different and far more inviting ecological visions:

Life after transportation - decentralized work, inventive infill and self-sufficient micro-communities to facilitate life in place
Adaptation with attitude - cities that welcome the rising waters
A Great Second Chance - moving beyond exploitation of the whole natural world
A cosmic ecology - why not a green space program?

These postcards from beyond the leading edge of today's green thinking are bold, audacious, extravagantly hopeful and profoundly inspiring - the perfect antidote to the despair brought on by too many "doom and gloom" scenarios. Nothing less than a complete reinvention of contemporary environmentalism, Mobilizing the Green Imagination belongs in the back pocket of anyone who dares to dream of a brighter future and a better world.

Village Vancouver Calendar of Events