Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events - March 2013

Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events 

March 2013

March into spring!

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

Can you believe that spring is already just around the corner? In some parts of Vancouver, the first cherry and plum blossoms are already beginning to come out. Before we know it, we'll be in the thick of another growing season in Vancouver - hopefully the most abundant yet since Vancouver City Council approved the new Vancouver Food Strategy in February. Congratulations to the City and to everyone who worked so hard on this strategy proposal, including the fine folks at the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the Vancouver Urban Farming Society! This is a very positive step towards a greener and more resilient city.

Speaking of positive steps in the right direction, this will also be the theme of the upcoming New Economy Summit (April 4-6) at UBC. Village Vancouver is proud to be partnering with the New Economics Institute, AMS Sustainability, Extraenvironmentalist, One Earth and others to convene people and ideas for this weekend of connection and learning about the emerging new economic paradigm that promises to bring balance back to the world and resilience to our communities.

In this month's newsletter, read about:
  • Rob Hopkins on resilience
  • New Economy Summit at UBC
  • Upcoming potlucks and workshops on Commercial Drive and Main Street
  • Pickles, Jams and Preserves!
  • Garden plots available in East Van
  • The Kitsilano Sew Op
  • Vancouver's first co-housing project
  • Tiny homes
  • Neighbourhood Small Grants
  • One Billion Green Jobs
  • Bee School
  • A message from a Nepalese Villager
  • Bhutan to go 100% organic
  • Events of interest in Richmond
  • Vancouver Storytellers event
  • And more!
Happy spring!

Your March newsletter team,

Jordan, Sharon and Ross

The Village Voices Vlog

Do you prefer watching and listening to reading? The click on the image above to watch the latest edition of the Village Voices Vlog, where VV board members provide a round-up of some of the most interesting things that have or are about to take place in Village Vancouver!

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!

Support Village Vancouver and local economic resilience in one go!

Now you have another way that you can support the work of Village Vancouver - and help build a more resilient local economy at the same time! Simply trade in some of your Canadian dollars for Seedstock Community Currency that Village Vancouver has received in donations from local businesses. For every dollar you contribute, receive an equal amount of Seedstock in return which you can spend at any participating local business. New businesses are being added all the time, so check the website regularly, subscribe to the Seedstock newsletter, or visit them on Facebook.

~From the Transition Network~

‘Breathing new life into the concept of resilience’: the notes from my ‘Four Thought’ talk

-By Rob Hopkins

Here are the notes of the talk I gave that went out just now on Radio 4′s ‘Four Thought’ programme.  You can download the podcast of the programme here (which also includes the Q&A that followed as a bonus feature).  I hope you enjoy(ed) it.

“It’s generally considered unwise to use props when speaking on radio, especially on your first appearance on Radio 4.  However, this talk will contain two props, and here’s the first.  It’s a £10 note from Brixton in London, but it’s a Brixton Pound.  Rather than the Queen’s head, it features David Bowie’s.  I’ll tell you more about it later, but it matters because it leads us into what I want to discuss this evening, the question of resilience. 

The former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie once described resilience as ‘bouncebackability’.  In our own lives, and in the lives of those around us, when we encounter difficulties, we either respond with resilience, or we don’t.  Sometimes we are able to adapt to enforced changes, to ‘go with the flow’ as it were, and at other times everything falls apart.  This applies to us as individuals, as communities, and as entire economies.  The degree to which we are resilient matters very much.

Join us at 

The New Economy Summit: 

Redefining Prosperity, Rethinking Our Economy

 April 4-6 at UBC  

Village Vancouver is pleased to be partnering with New Economics Institute,  AMS Sustainability, Extraenviromentalist, One Earth, and others to help organize The New Economy Summit from April 4-6 at UBC.
We invite you to join us in examining how we can move towards prioritizing an economy which emphasizes human well-being and a healthy ecosystem while ending economic stagnation.
As climate change accelerates, inequality increases and the imperatives of global finance are driving speculative bubbles, we want to formulate a new approach to economic thinking. Because our political system hasn’t addressed an economic structural change, can Canada’s universities jump start transition to a new economy?
This will be a gathering of people who understand there’s something fundamentally wrong with the current economic system and pioneers who are already building a new economy. We invite participation from students from universities across the region, and citizens and organizations who are interested in building momentum for this movement. 
A stellar group of presenters, with several VVers among them, will explore a wide range of topics including:
  • Building a Local Food Economy 
  • Co-ops
  • The Transition Town Movement
  • Local Value Exchange
  • Ethical Investing and Social Markets
  • Sustainable University Endowments
  • Currencies for Campus Communities
  • Not-for-profits
  • Financing the Local Food Economy
  • Redefining Value in our Communities
  • Changing Economics Education
  • Dynamics of Craft Economies
Presenters currently include Herb Barbolet, MIchael Barusky, Morris Berman, Jordan Bober, Randy Chatterjee, Darren Fleet, Tom Green, John Helliwell, David Korten, Michael Lewis, Donnie MacLurcan, Michael Linton, Ross Moster, Emmanuel Prinet, William Rees, John Restakis, Benjamin Richarson, Juliet Schor (via skype), Christie Stephenson, Vanessa Timmer, and Bob Williams. (Subject to change.)
More details can be found at

Commercial Drive Village Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

Our monthly Commercial Dr. Village Vancouver Potluck and Workshop will be Thursday the 21st of March.

Potluck (6-7pm): Bring something yummy for the potluck.
Workshop (7-8pm) – Seed Starting & Seed Swap: Learn how to grow veggies from seed and swap a few seeds with neighbors.  We'll have the new Grandview Woodland Seed Library, some soil and small pots to share.  If possible (but not required), please bring:
  • seeds to swap or donate to the GW Seed Library
  • small pots to plant seeds 
What: Commercial Dr. VV Potluck & Workshop: Seed Starting & Seed Swap 
When: Thursday, March 21st: 6-8pm
Where: Rising Star Housing Co-op (1556 E. 5th Ave.) common room
Why: Build community, eat good food and start some seeds for your garden!
Cost: Free!!!

Hope to see you there,

Commercial Dr. VV Steering Group

p.s. Commercial Dr. Village Vancouver hosts a potluck and workshop the third Thursday of every month.  Check out the Commercial Dr. Village Vancouver website for future workshops.

Main Street Village Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

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

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

Workshop (7-8pm) – Veggie Fermentation: Learn the art of veggie fermentation from Alyssa & Nikoo visiting from our Commercial Dr. Village. We'll have a few veggies and materials to share. If possible, bring some of your own supplies, but everyone is welcome! 

Supplies to bring (but not required):

  • veggies (cabbage, carrots, beets, onions, apples, etc.)
  • wide bowl
  • salt
  • widemouth one liter canning jar
  • cutting board & knife
Canning & Seed Exchange. We're doing this monthly! Bring something you've canned, seeds you've saved or food you've grown and exchange it with others!

Main St. Seed Library: If you have any extra seeds you'd like to donate to the library please bring them by to share.  Or, if you're getting ready for Spring (already), take a few seeds home.

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

Future Workshops:
Tues. April 2nd 6-8pm: Seed Swap & Seed Starting
Tues. May 7th 6-8pm: Chickens 101 w/ local coop visit
Tues. June 4th 6-8pm: ??? (got any ideas?)

Hope to see you there,
Main Street VV Steering Group (Ileana, Sophie, Jason, Randy)

p.s. Main St. Village Vancouver & Little Mountain Neighborhood House host a potluck and workshop the first Tuesday of every month at LMNH.  Check  out the Main St. Village Vancouver website for future workshops.

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

Jams and Pickles and Preserves, Oh My!
-By Lucie Bardos

Boiling down the brine
(Photo by Lucie Bardos)
When I, a complete food preserving newbie, heard that there would be a workshop on how to make jams and pickle your own food, I jumped at the chance. Preserving food is a great way not to have to buy out of season produce and it can also support local growers and create a sense of community. Additionally, it's a great new skill to acquire and one that is definitely useful for a lifetime, especially a lifetime that includes the possibility of future food shortages. Furthermore, knowing exactly what goes into your food (because you were there every step of the way) is very appealing in this era of unpronounceable chemicals and GMO-containing ingredients being added to so many of the food products we buy at supermarkets. The workshop I attended took place at the W2 Media Cafe on West Hastings Street in Downtown Vancouver, and was led by Karen of Good Girl Bad Girl Preserves.

I know that the process of preserving fruits and vegetables can get quite complicated because you have to be bacteria-growth and chemical-reaction-savvy, as well as make sure that one of your own fingers doesn't end up in the pickled carrot jar. These and other things one needs to watch out for made me a little bit nervous about the whole make-your-own preserves thing. However, Karen's solution to all of this was to work as a big group and make the job fun while having multiple eyes and ears open to make sure that the whole process was done just right. In our interview following the afternoon-long workshop, she explained that working in groups non only creates a sense of community and allows you to spend time with your friends, but that it also makes the whole process of preserving seem less like work and helps ease what she dubs "pickling fear".

During the workshop, we successfully created 17 jars of orange zucchini marmalade and 17 jars of pickled spicy beans and carrots. Knowing that Karen would post all of the recipes online following the workshop ensured that participants could enjoy themselves and observe the different steps of the preserving process, such as creating the brine for the pickle jars, boiling down the jam, and adding just the right herbs and spices to make our creations delicious. I must say that I felt quite proud at the end of the day as I clutched my still-warm jars of spicy pickled goodies and marmalade, both of which turned out to be quite tasty.

Awaiting the final stages of pickling
(Photo by Lucie Bardos)
Karen explained that food preservation is something that people have started to come back to in recent years as a means of reverting to more organic ways of living (and eating!). She explained how she learned the process through her own family who has done pickling and preserving for generations. This was especially true since she was raised in a fishing community and canning fish was a means of preserving the fish harvest that took place during only a few months of the year. Karen also noted that many community centers and other organizations around Vancouver are now holding canning and preserving workshops during post-harvest months - it's just a matter of keeping your eyes and ears peeled. She also gave us a great resource for do-it-yourself folks: a book simply entitled "Preserving" (around $30 dollars to buy new) which she deems the easy-to-read bible of food preservation. So if you're itching to learn some valuable and enjoyable canning or pickling techniques, why not grab a copy of "Preserving" and round some friends up for a food preservation party, or join a local workshop group and meet new people with similar interests. It's definitely worth it!

For more information about Good Girl Bad Girl Preserves, go to:

Kitsilano Sew Op and Music Exchange

The Kitsilano Sew Op will be meeting on the first Saturday of every month in 2013. Come join us and help build the Sew Op concept, refurbish machines, and work on creative cloth projects.

Not into sewing? Bring an album or some tracks released within the past month and listen to some new tunes in an inviting atmosphere. Snacks provided.

We are still accepting donations of used sewing machines. We provide these machines to community members free of change on short-term loans. Please contact Sandra at for details.

Help Vancouver Cohousing Become a Reality

-By Colin Angel

Vancouver Cohousing is proposing a cohousing development for E 33rd Ave. We have come together as citizens and future homeowners to design affordable housing that is family-supportive, senior-friendly and energy efficient. We are working through the city approval process, and are proposing to build between 29-31 efficiently sized units. We are looking for residents of Vancouver and Kensington-Cedar Cottage, in particular, to show their support for our project by signing our petition, writing letters and joining us at City Hall for our Public Hearing on March 12 at 6:00pm. 

Cohousing communities consist of privately owned homes plus extensive common areas. They are designed by residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit neighbourhood with a healthy blend of privacy and community.

Residents manage their own cohousing communities, and perform much of the work required to maintain the property. They also participate in the preparation of optional common meals, and meet regularly to solve problems and develop policies for the community.

Cohousing addresses affordability by enabling residents to significantly downsize their homes due to the extensive common facilities available to them, such as a community kitchen and dining room, activity rooms for children and teens, a studio, rooftop and ground-level gardens, a workshop, courtyard and kids play area.

Cohousing is inherently more sustainable, as it lowers each family’s footprint and enables and encourages sharing and cooperative behaviour. An edible landscape, food gardens, rainwater capture, construction practices exceeding LEED-gold standard, shared cars, bikes and other facilities ensure that our project is green today and for the long term.

Research shows that Cohousing brings many direct benefits, not only to its residents, but to the broader neighbourhood. It is a significant generator of social capital, residents learn and practice cooperative decision-making processes, develop supportive relationships, and are more civically engaged. We believe cohousing is a unique and powerful response to important issues our city faces, such as loneliness, isolation and corrosion of neighbourhood trust.
Locally, there are cohousing communities in North Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley and the Chilliwack area. Many hundreds of others have been built across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Join us in making history by supporting Vancouver’s first Cohousing project. Please sign our petition: and contact us at if you would be willing to write a brief letter of support, or even better attend our Public Hearing on March 12 at 6:00pm.

Another way to reduce your footprint - the Tiny House Movement

Thanks to VV Community Member Deborah Sims for writing to us about the Tiny House Movement. This movement, begun in the United States, promotes a minimalist but very comfortable lifestyle living in a tiny, 100-400 square feet dwelling (the average size for new homes in Vancouver is closer to 2000 sq ft). One of the attractions of this form of home is the low cost (under $40,000). Many of these homes are portable and depending on the local by-laws can be "parked" in a backyard space without incurring any additional taxes or utility payments. (Does anyone know how this would work with Vancouver bylaws? Let us know!)

See some examples of "tiny homes" on the website of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company,

Tiny House Workshop Coming to Vancouver July 20-21

Tumbleweed Tiny House Co, founder Jay Shafer is coming to Vancouver in July to teach a two-day workshop where you will learn all the detailed information on green home building that you can't learn anywhere else. During the workshop he will answer common and not so common questions about constructing a tiny home, while also delving into the philosophy and movement behind tiny home living. He goes in depth on green building materials, and shares ideas on how to save using recycled products.

Workshop only $239 if booked before May 31st (save 40%). Learn more here.

Garden plots available in East Van

Located at 10th and Commercial Drive, is My Own Backyard (MOBY) garden with cobshed, nearby playground and greenspace.  The Annual General Meeting is being held on Wednesday, February 6.  For more info on how to become a new member, email 

Since its inception in 2008, Cedar Cottage garden (Victoria Drive and Hull Street) has grown to 100 garden plots with lots of common areas.  To apply for membership email or check out our website at

Bees coming to Cedar Cottage Community Garden!
On March 2nd, Cedar Cottage Commnity Garden will become home to a new beehive that will be stewarded by local residents Cylia Wong and Peter Finch.

Cedar Cottage community gardens to organise joint Earth Day celebrations
Members from Cedar Cottage Garden, Crow’s Point Garden and Copley Orchard are meeting to collaborate and create a same day event to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 21 (possibly from 12-2 pm).  Each location will be doing something different.  More info to follow so please check the events page of Village Vancouver.  We hope to see you there.

Neighbourhood Small Grants now open

General Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants are now open for applications. The deadline for all neighbourhoods is March 31st.

Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Grants are for amounts up to $1000 for projects, workshops or events that bring neighbours together and/or make a positive mark in the neighbourhood. They're super easy to apply for - all you need to do is team up with at least one of your neighbours. Many Village Vancouver members have successfully applied for these grants in the past and used them to carry out Transition projects. We hope that many of our members will apply this year as well! Looking for a neighbour to co-sponsor an application? Why not send out a message or start a discussion in your neighbourhood Village page on our website?

**New this year: a) The grant areas have been expanded --everyone who lives in Vancouver is now eligible to apply, and b) both grants are now for up to $1,000. (Please note that the Vancouver Foundation website hasn't been updated to reflect this yet.)**

Here are just a few ideas that might get you started:
  • Party event, picnic, celebration, block party
  • Recycling initiative
  • Reskilling workshops: bike maintenance, seed saving, sewing, etc
  • Collaborative gardening
  • Emergency Preparation
  • Tool libraries
  • Preserving: canning, fermenting, drying
  • Documenting Neighbourhood Small Grant projects
  • Composting projects
  • Permaculture conversions
To learn more and apply for a grant, please check out the Vancouver Foundation's Neighbourhood Small Grants website at, or visit to apply for the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants.

One Billion Green Jobs

Village Vancouver member Philip Be'er, founder of Home Harvest Farms, has a vision: by investing in a significant scaling-up of urban agriculture, we can fight climate change while creating thousands of new livelihoods in Vancouver alone, while at the same time improving our health, reducing crime rates and poverty, and developing a vibrant and resilient local economy.

Philip isn't just dreaming about this - he's taking action. Two years ago, Philip founded Home Harvest Farms and developed durable and affordable planter systems that allow food to be grown anywhere - in homes, schools, offices, on rooftops or boulevards - with unprecedented ease.

Now Philip needs your help! He has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds he needs to be able to complete his new rapid deployment mobile raised bed prototype while also finishing his book, One Billion Green Jobs, laying out his well-thought out and researched vision for taking the urban food revolution to the next level.

Please show Philip that you support his vision and the work he is doing to make it a reality: contribute to his campaign, and share it with your friends!  

Watch the 6½ minute documentary below about the real threats that climate change poses to Vancouver, and what we can do about it while strengthening our economy and communities at the same time.

The Bee School with Brian Campbell
May – August 2013

Ever wanted to learn how to set up a hive or two and keep your own honeybees? The Bee School offers hands on, sustainable and organic beekeeping tailored to meet the needs of small-scale urban beekeepers. Each class is three hours long spread out over the beekeeper’s year to capture the essence of working with honeybees. Tuition ($300) includes a honeybee disease and pest manual, loads of printed material to study at home and technical support for your first venture into apiculture.

This course is being offered at Cedar Cottage Garden (Victoria Drive and Hull Street) on the following Sundays (1-4 pm): May 12 & 26, June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 18 (8 structured sessions plus one practicum in Richmond TBD).

Please contact with Beehive Course in the subject line and a garden member will contact you

Message from a Villager abroad

We recently received this message from a Village Vancouver website member all the way from Nepal!

Farming in Nepal: Here too, agricultural chemicals
are a concern

Dear Village Vancouver,

I have been receiving your newsletters periodically. I am really impressed with it. I am sending this message from Nepal.

We have put our feet on the project from compost making and improving environment in the village and we have been opposing the farmers not to use chemicals in the farm or soil which has been deteriorating our environment-naturally, culturally, socially, economically.

The reason we started is basic one for further elevation product in organic production. The workshop aim is very useful for our family members but we have lack of fund at the moment and we are aware of raising fund on this ground.

I'm now in Sydney in Australia to attain my son's graduation. I'm going back home next week. In Australia I got some counselling from the City Council about the compost. Regarding the soil testing, I'm taking a soil testing kit to Nepal from Australia how reliable it is. 

Thank you very much for your time, and hoping to receive more interesting news in future. 

Kind regards,
Chandraman Gurung

Bhutan to go 100% organic

Nepal's neighbouring kingdom of Bhutan, meanwhile, has recently announced that it will become the first country in the world to make 100% of its agriculture organic within a few years. 

This will cement Bhutan's growing reputation as a paradigm-shifting nation, after it officially abandoned the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a means of measuring progress, in favour of a much more inclusive "Gross National Happiness Index". 

Read more about Bhutan's shift to 100% organic here.

Upcoming Events in Richmond

     Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m, Seedy Saturday. At the Red Barn, Terra Nova Rural Park, a celebration of local seeds and foods, gardening, and education. Conservation and sharing of local seeds is a basic of local
conservation and food security.
More at

     Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m, eco-tour of the Garden City Lands.
Scheduled at the request of Richmond Poverty Response Committee with a theme of  Community Wellness, including the ways the Garden City Lands PARC can improve the quality of life of the area and the whole community.
More at

     Thursday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. Price of Gold. 

At the Richmond Cultural Centre performance hall (Minoru Gate). Documentary on current
Mongolian gold rush after-effects (similar to the B.C. gold rush), with public discussion. Part of a Cinevolution festival (to March 7). One reason the Garden City Conservation Society board strongly supports Cinevolution events is that they bring together our diverse local cultures, with values for conservation and community wellness. Scroll down at

Vancouver Storytellers Evenings in Kits

On the 3rd Sunday of every month, Vancouver Storytellers hosts an evening of storytelling in Kitsilano.

Sunday, March 17th at 7 pm: Listen!  Laugh!  Enjoy!  Stories for You!

Theme: Wheel of Fate and Fortune

StorytellersMary Gavan; Jennifer Martin; Linda Stender; Kira Van Deusen;

Host: Priscilla Jones

Cost:          $6; includes tea; treats by your donation
Contact:     Mary Gavan:   604-683-1575
Location:   1805 Larch/ 2nd Avenue (Door and parking in alley by St Mark’s) 


Village Vancouver Calendar of Events