Village Vancouver Newsletter and Events Calendar - June 2013

Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events 

June 2013

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

Now what are we going to do about this intersection?
The theme for June seems to be "take back the streets!". Not only is June officially "Bike Month" in Vancouver and in cities around the world, but it is also the month when pedestrians take over the streets on Car Free Vancouver Day, a tradition that only goes back to 2005 but is already one of Vancouver's favourite festivals. What started on Commercial Drive has spilled into the West End, Kits and Main Street. It is at that last location, at 13th Avenue, that Village Vancouver will once again create one of the highlights of the festival, the Village Vancouver Demonstration Transition Village. Village Vancouver will literally take over the intersection and turn it into nirvana for anyone interested in community, food, learning new skills, lightening our footprint on the planet, and more! Come check us out!

Continuing in the same vein, the popular Earthwalks organised by the False Creek Watershed Society and Village Vancouver are back again for a second year! These walks go beyond taking back the streets  - they are about remembering the place of nature in the neighbourhoods now mostly covered by urban streets and homes. Learn about the natural history - and present - beneath the surface our our cities, along our shorelines and in our parks.

As the Earthwalks reveal, you never really know how places will transform over time. One interesting example is the new (Village Vancouver-sponsored) Woodland Community Garden in Woodland Park off Commercial Drive. Less that a century ago, that area was still, well, woodlands - virgin old growth forest. Eventually that forest was chopped down and paved over by Georgia Street. 30 years ago, that section of Georgia Street was removed and integrated into Woodland Park. Today, that same area is being transformed into a community garden - neighbourhood gathering and food-growing place. Imagine what transformations your own neighbourhood has undergone, and might yet undergo - perhaps by your own initiative and that of your neighbours?

July will see a lot of "placemaking" going on in Vancouver, thanks to the Vancouver Tool Library's City Commons initiative. City Commons is inspired by the Village Building Convergence that takes place annually in Portland, Oregon. City Commons will be a multi-day, citywide placemaking event that will encourage community members to transform several underutilized private and public spaces into common places that foster neighbourliness - learn more and find out how you can get involved in this awesome initiative on their website.

In this newsletter:
  • The world stands up to Monsanto
  • Join Village Vancouver at Car Free Day!
  • From Here to There: Stories of Food, Energy and Transitioning to Sustainable Communities.
  • Transition School at Langara College
  • Earthwalks back by popular demand
  • Permaculture guru Toby Hemenway comes to Vancouver
  • Woodland Community Garden breaks ground
  • Film Fundraiser for Woodland Community Garden
  • Commercial Drive workshop and potluck: Backyard Chickens
  • Kits Eco-Àrts events
  • Learn to sew at Carnegie Community Centre
  • Permaculture course at UBC Farm
  • The most important tar sands case you've never heard of
  • And more!
Have fun taking back the streets (and all that lies beneath)!

Your June newsletter team,

Jordan, Sharon and Ross

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 (now more than 65 of them!) for anything from organic food to soap, yoga, counselling, photography, DIY supplies and more. New businesses are being added all the time, so check the website regularly, subscribe to the Seedstock newsletter, or visit them on Facebook.

The world stands up to Monsanto

On May 25th, people all over the world, including thousands right here in Vancouver, took to the streets to march against Monsanto and it increasing threat to the world's food supply posed by its genetically modified seeds (GMOs). Not only are genetically modified crops posing a major risk to ecosystem and human health, but it is concentrating corporate control over food and farming at unprecedented levels.

Vancouverite Raam Ayan (aka Swami G.) decided to register his protest against Monsanto with a rap - "Monsantrocity" - that has already been seen by more than 45,000 people! Click on the image above to watch it for yourself.

Want to learn more about GMOs and what YOU can do to help stop the encroachment of GMOs in our food supply? Dianne King has some suggestions - read them here.

Join Village Vancouver at Car Free Day!

We're not taking over the intersection - we ARE the intersection!
There is no better place to be than Car Free Vancouver Day on Fathers' Day, June 16th.  On Commercial Drive (Venables to North Grandview), Denman Street (Robson to Davie) downtown, all over Kitsilano (block parties Saturday and Sunday), and Main Street (from Broadway to 30th Ave--20+ blocks!), the streets will come alive with literally hundreds of thousands of engaged and happy people.
Village won't just be on Main Street at the intersection of 13th Avenue, BUT WE WILL BE THE INTERSECTION!  Our close to 20 tent Demo Sustainable Village will include our extensive library, movies, chicken coops, bees, solar panels, homesteading resources, seed libraries, neighbourhood food networks, gardening, permaculture, emergency preparedness, a plastic-free zero waste kitchen display, visioning, kid-oriented carpentry and painting activities, refreshments, community groups like Be The Change, SPEC, and Cottonwood Community Garden and SO MUCH MORE. In other words, imagine your ideal neighbourhood!
Read an article here about the festival, featuring Village Founder Ross Moster, and watch a short movie here to see how it is organized and view what it looked like on its first year on Main Street.
Be there, be part of one of the largest Car Free Day exhibitors, and enjoy the spirit of safe, open streets, Transition-style!
If you'd like to volunteer to help us with setup (10 am-noon), at a Village info table during the day (between noon and 7 pm), or with breakdown, or have tables, chairs or tents we can borrow (we're currently looking for 3-6 more tents) OR if you would like to promote/display a community project, group, or activity you're involved in, please contact

Some of the many volunteers who made the Demo Village come to life in 2012

From Here to There 3: Stories of Food, Energy, and Transitioning to Resilient Communities
Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut St
registration/doors 5:30 pm
stories and presentations 6-9pm
light refreshments
What is the future of food in Vancouver, especially as cheap energy sources peak and climate change intensifies? In partnership with the Vancouver Food Policy Council and Village Vancouver Transition Society, MOV is pleased to host an interactive evening of inspirational stories and storytelling from local innovators, practitioners, and community members that encourage people to think about our local circumstances and how we can map a course for change here in Vancouver.
Sara Dent (Young Agrarians)
Emmanuel Prinet (One Earth)
Marc Schutzbank (Fresh Roots)
Naomi Steinberg (storyteller)
Harold Steves (Richmond City Councillor/farmer)
Cease Wyss (T'Uy'Tanat, UNYA )
moderated by Ann Pacey (Village Vancouver)
by donation

organized by FED-AP Working group (Herb Barbolet, Philip Be'er, Hanna Cho, Barbara Joughin, Brent Mansfield, Thomas Moore, Ross Moster, Ann Pacey, Jay Penner, and Adrian Sinclair)

Village Vancouver's 6th Annual Transition School at Langara College's Sustainable Communities Summer School

Village Vancouver is a key partner at Langara College’s Sustainable Communities Summer School, taking place from Saturday, July 6 to Friday, July 12, 2013.  Among the highlights of the Summer School is the 4th Annual Sustainable and Equality event, Building the Bridge to a Future Where People and Nature Flourish, a day-long event on Saturday, July 6th.  The day will examine the roots of inequality and the unsustainable way the world is today. It will provide opportunities for people involved in the environment, unions, social justice and co-ops to network, share ideas and experiences and find common ground.

Village Vancouver’s 2013 Transition School includes  a dozen plus offerings on a wide range of topics.

Participants can attend one or more practical, hands on workshops and pick up tangible new skills in the areas such as Composting,  Introductory Permaculture Design, Balcony and Container Gardening, Urban Beekeeping, and Gardening for Year Round Harvest, while at our community resiliency workshops  participants can learn about Building Resilient Neighbourhood Food Networks, How to Create a Village in a City, and Community Currencies.
Finally, several "big picture" offerings, including Introduction to the Transition Town Movement, Ecological Economics,  Setting the Context for Social Change, A History of the Future of Food, a screening of In Transition 2.0, and the aforementioned Building the Bridge event all strive to help participants engage in critical thinking about our current state of affairs and how we might create a more just, equitable and sustainable world. 

For further details, visit or contact Judi Piggott at 604.323.5931.

Back by popular demand - Earthwalks Vancouver!

False Creek Watershed Society has partnered with Village Vancouver to offer a series of “Earth Walks”.

We live in the city of Vancouver with almost a million other residents. We are blessed to be surrounded by mountains, forests, oceans and rivers. But how well do we know about nature in our own backyard? The Earth and the natural world are present everywhere – from the arboretum of Queen Elizabeth Park to the buildings of downtown Vancouver to our last wild salmon stream to the farm flats of Southlands and even as nature applies to human economic theory.

Please join us for this exciting series of free walks this summer and fall. The leaders are amazingly knowledgeable in their specialty - so come along to listen to their words, connect with the land and ask lots of questions!

Did you miss the New Economy Summit at UBC in April?

At the beginning of April 2013, Village Vancouver was a key partner together with AMS Sustainability,  The New Economics Institute, Extraenvironmentalist and One Earth Initiative in organising and executing the highly successful New Economy Summit at UBC (April 4-7). 

If you missed the Summit, the next best thing you can do is read this excellent article about the 3-day event by Alice Zhou, now published in the Vancouver Observer's Bee Vancity.

Marpole Neighbourhood Food Network

Marpole Place Neighbourhood House and Village Vancouver are teaming up to organize and co-sponsor a Neighbourhood Food Network in Marpole. Many neighbourhoods in Vancouver already have Neighbourhood Food Networks ("NFN's"), and now we can add Marpole to the list!

Marpole Place Neighbourhood House cultivates community connections through weekly community dinners and breakfast, a community garden, Monday bread pick up, Super Saturdays Kids, monthly luncheons and canning workshops.  They're always striving to grow and use local food in all of their food programs. MPNH also holds special events that celebrate the diversity of food and culture in the Marpole community such as their  National Aboriginal Day and Chinese New Year Celebrations. MPNH is  excited to be part of a larger network to share their vision of building a more sustainable and equitable food community in Marpole.

Marpole Neighbourhood Food Network presents a Free Edible Balcony Garden Workshop

Join us at Marpole Place (at the corner of W 70th Ave & Hudson) on June 15 from 10-2pm for a FREE introductory balcony gardening workshop!

Not everyone has access to garden space in the ground, but if you have a balcony, you can grow a lot of your own food. Reduce your dependence on grocery stores, improve your diet and create a beautiful space that you and your family can both enjoy and eat!

It doesn’t get fresher or more local than stepping out your patio door to gather veggies for a salad or stir-fry. It’s easier to do than you think! Let me show you how it’s done.

You’ll discover innovative ways to make the most of small gardening spaces, vertical gardening, options for containers and what to look for in a good quality soil. We’ll discuss companion plants that work well when planted together and how to plant a high-density garden that will give you the most food in the smallest space. Good options for compact-growing vegetable varieties and shade-tolerant veggies will also be discussed. You really can grow food almost anywhere!

As part of this workshop, we’ll plant a demonstration garden for the use of the Marpole Place kitchen when they make community meals. This garden will also be used to teach children about growing food, and provide inspiration to community members to grow their own gardens.
Please bring a lunch, a pen, a pair of gardening gloves, and (if it looks like rain), a rainjacket. Please register in advance at Marpole Place. See you there!

For more information or to sign up for the workshop, contact Marpole Place. 
Phone: 604-266-5301

Marpole Neighbourhood Food Network is co-sponsored by Village Vancouver and Marpole Place Neighbourhood House.

Permaculture guru Toby Hemenway comes to Vancouver

July 27 & 28, 2013
Van Dusen Gardens
Presented by Brewery Creek Community Garden

When people generalize about what permaculture means they often gravitate to the ideas of permaculture being a philosophy about sustainable, organic gardening and land management.  Perhaps this due to the image of lush fruit filled forests that play so well on people’s imagination; spurred on as a much needed escapism from the humdrum of urban life.  If one sees permaculture in these narrow terms it won’t be long before one realizes how increasingly unattainable it is for the average person to acquire a humble bit of land to experiment on. Discouragement can easily set in and food forests start to seem more of a daydream than a reality.  Where does this leave permaculture?  Does permacultures accessibility stop there?  Fortunately no! Permaculture is a much broader philosophy than we often give it credit.  This nature based system of design is fueling creative solutions to all aspects of urbanism from community planning, to business models, to energy strategies. 

Toby Hemenway has been one the strongest voices we have in permaculture. His book (Gaia’s Garden : A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture) was an instant hit and became an international best seller.  It is his belief that we are ready to start broadening the discussion of permacultures role; especially in an urban setting. As a result this has led him to start work on a new book focusing on solutions to living in an urban centre and utilizing all its potential.  Toby will be speaking in Vancouver only July 27-28. He’ll be holding a workshop entitled  Urban Permaculture for a Fear Free Future.  In this workshop he’ll be talking about how permaculture can create resilient and regenerative cities.  He’ll discuss strategies for food production, energy security  and resilience in metropolitan area.  If you are a layperson with permaculture or working your way to be a grand elder of the “Permie” scene, you’ll  get a holistic and fresh look at permaculture at this workshop.  Best of all by attending this workshop you’ll also be supporting a local Community Garden.

Learn more and register:!urban-permaculture-wokshop/cxq7

Woodland Community Garden breaks ground!

The site of the future Woodland Community Garden
Ground has finally been broken at the Woodland Community Garden site at Woodland Park, near Commercial Drive. This new community garden, which is sponsored by Village Vancouver, will accomodate for than 60 gardeners as well as an intergenerational gardening project called Le Chou, which will bring together 10 youth and 10 seniors to learn and get their hands dirty together. One of the things that will make Woodland Community Garden unique is that many of the plots will be gardened collaboratively by more than one person. The garden will  also feature a meeting place for all park-goers to enjoy.

This garden is currently full, but please feel free to add your name to the waiting list here. There are still a few spots open for people in wheelchairs who would like to garden in a wheelchair-accessible tabletop bed, so if that's you, please write to to let us know.

Breaking ground for the garden
Woodland Community Garden has been a tremendous community builder in the northern Commercial Drive area, bringing together dozens of neighbours who previously did not know each other together to achieve a common objective. It is a great example of how Village Vancouver catalyses stronger, more resilient communities by planting ideas and knowledge, connecting and supporting people who then become collaborators, and ultimately helps build community around actvities that benefit both people and the planet.

The Woodland Community Garden project has received huge support from the extended community as well. Special thanks goes to:
  • Harvest Power (, which has very generously offered to donate all the soil and compost needs of the garden!
  • Home Depot and store manager Jabin Saggu for a donation of $500 in tools and supplies.
  • The CityStudio Design and Architecture students for their tremendous assistance
  • Cornerstone Landscaping for volunteering a truck to help transport soil and compost
  • The Vancouver Park Board for all it's help in making this garden possible, from the approval process through site preparation and financial support via the Neighbourhood Matching Fund. Thanks especially to our Park Board liaison Lindsay Cole for all of her help in shepherding this project to success over the past year!

Woodland Community Garden invites you to a film fundraiser - June 23, Eastside Family Place, Britannia Community Centre

Enjoy a great film, awesome community and help support East Van's newest community garden! Join us on Sunday, June 23rd at 7pm at the Eastside Family Place at Britannia Community Centre to watch the film "In Organic We Trust" (watch the trailer here). Get your raffle tickets for your chance to win oodles of great prizes from over 20 businesses in the community (see below)!

Tickets at the door - $10 to $20 sliding scale in support of the Woodland Community Garden. We hope to see you there!

**Doors open 6pm**
**Film starts at 7pm sharp**

RSVP and follow this event on Facebook:
Remember to invite your friends!

Thanks to our community business sponsors who have all donated prizes to the raffle: Adeline’s, Banshee, Black Dog, Manifesto, Quidditas, The Reef, Havana, Famoso, Flower Box, Full Bloom, Seed Bank, Steam Tea, Virgin Marys, Uprising Breads, Dandelion Kids, Drive Organics, Bikes on the Drive, Fets Whisky Kitchen, Zumba at Britannia, Bean Around the World, Salt Spring Island Seeds, Health on the Drive, Art by Jori van der Linde, Still Point Massage Therapy

If you would like to purchase raffle tickets but cannot make it to the film fundaiser, please write to to arrange a purchase!

Commercial Drive Village Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

Our monthly Commercial Dr. Village Vancouver Potluck and Workshop will be Thursday the 20th of June.

Potluck (6:30-7:30pm): Bring something yummy for the potluck.
Workshop (7:30-8:30pm) – We'll visit a local chicken coop and learn all about backyard chickens!

What: Commercial Dr. VV Potluck & Workshop: Backyard Chickens
When: Thursday, May 20th: 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Rising Star Housing Co-op (1556 E. 5th Ave.) common room
Why: Build community, eat good food and learn about backyard chickens.
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.

Take the Sharing Project's survey!

Lend your voice to the dialogue on the future of sharing in Vancouver! The Sharing Project, fresh off their successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, is releasing their survey on opportunities for our city’s sharing economy. The survey will be open from May 22-June 19. Take some time to visit the website and fill out the survey. Your participation and input is valuable so click over to answer questions about what you’d like to share and with whom. The research findings and recommendations will be revealed late in the summer.

To save money, reduce their consumption, and connect with their communities, Vancouverites are increasingly turning to the sharing economy. Initiatives like the Vancouver Tool Library, Modo Car Co-op, and The Hive co-working space have proven that the demand exists for shared skills and resources. These organizations have already demonstrated the environmental, economic, and social values of sharing. The researchers at Collective Research Group have started The Sharing Project to answer the question: “what next?” The Sharing Project aims to produce groundbreaking research to empower citizens, shape policy, and identify new opportunities for sharing in Vancouver. Through focus groups, interviews, and surveys, they are determining what you want to share and how you want to do so.

Upcoming events from Kits Eco-Arts

RoundAbout Kits Project encourages gardeners to promote bee and butterfly habitat and build community connections.

Next workshop: Sat. June 15 - come and make a mason bee house or a sign for your garden.
12noon - 2pm- Meet at Wired Monk coffee shop and then come to private residence nearby for workshop

Kitsilano Bee-Line Walks  - Mary Bennett will lead Walk #8 on Saturday, June 15 2-4pm.
starting from Wired Monk and ending at City Farmer

Bird on the Beach - Series of workshops and celebration in September at Vancouver Maritime Museum to build a bird out of recycled plastic. In the meantime, we host fairly informal sessions to create prototypes and design the big bird. We also could use help collecting plastic,including: the black bottoms of rotisserie chickens (and any black plastic); coffee cup lids; and large plastic jugs (9"x9"x14") from places like Dairy Queen.
Join our group to get invitations

Volunteers needed: We'd like to host a table at Khatsahlano! Saturday, July 13 - and need a dozen or more volunteers to host a display of various eco-art projects and help people create garden signs and/or recycled plastic creations. We'll have a display of birds from recycled plastic; garden signs; mason bee houses and materials for demonstrating and creating projects.

For more information, please visit

Learn to sew at Carnegie Community Centre

Karenza Wall of Chindi Nation Needlework Design is offering free beginner's sewing classes at the Carnegie Community Centre! Learn how to sew by machine and by hand, whether it be to mend your existing clothes or sew something brand new!

Learn more about these FREE workshops (all supplies and refreshments provided!) here:

Permaculture Design Certification Course @ UBC Farm 2013

Design Solutions for Sustainable Food, Building and Community Systems - August 17th - Sept. 8th, $950 - $1250

Want to make a difference?  Interested in gardening, food, sustainable housing and community building?  Consider our 15-day intensive Permaculture Design Certification course over three weeks with all the trimmings. Led by James Richardson, this urban PDC explores opportunities for change in places as small as a balcony, and as large as a 40 hectare farm. With UBC Farm, Vancouver City and the surrounding bio-region as our classroom, we'll explore the theory and practice of change with open heads, hearts and hands.


The Beaver Lake Cree Judgment: The Most Important Tar Sands Case You’ve Never Heard Of

After five years of perseverance, Alberta's Beaver Lake Cree Nation, one of the First Nations most heavily affected by the tar sands developments. has won the right to take the government to court to argue that the dramatic ecological impacts of tar sands extraction is infringing on the constitutionally recognised rights of First Nations people to live sustainably off the land.

In short, this court battle is over the very constitutionality of the tar sands developments, and the implications are huge. Find out more here.


Village Vancouver Calendar of Events