Village Vancouver February 2014 Newsletter and Upcoming Events

Village Vancouver 

Newsletter and Upcoming Events 

February 2014

Welcome to the February 2014 edition of the Village Vancouver monthly newsletter and Upcoming Events.

An example of Vancouver placemaking at the Gather Round park.
(Photo from
We hope your winter holidays have been restful.  Judging by the amount of special events coming up and community activity, we're starting to emerge from our winter hibernation!  Village Vancouver is excited to announce that Mark Lakeman will be working with Vancouverites on further developing placemaking projects in our own city!  Placemaking is an intentional collective approach to planning, designing, managing and programming public spaces so that connectivity, creativity, and shared value is maximized from cultural, economic, social, and ecological perspectives.  Placemaking makes places come alive with the community that dreams of its potential.  Come take part in dreaming additional community into Vancouver's places!  In addition, we look forward to welcoming April Rinne who will be giving a talk on collaborative consumption and the sharing economy!

On February 25th, Village Vancouver and the UBC Sustainability Initiative are co-sponsoring an evening with Richard Heinberg at UBC. Stay tuned - details are still being finalized for this event. And be sure not to miss the 13th Just Film Fest (formerly the World Community Film Festival), BC's largest social and environmental justice film festival, now co-partnered by CoDev, Langara College, Amnesty International, and Village Vancouver.

In This Newsletter:

  • An Example of Placemaking in Vancouver: The 'Gather Round' Park
  • Mark Lakeman, talk on Placemaking - Feb 7
  • Village Vancouver launches 9-month Placemaking course with Mark Lakeman - Feb 8
  • Richard Heinberg in Vancouver -  Feb 25
  • Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy, talk by April Rinne - Feb 13
  • Just Film Festival - Feb 28 to Mar 2
  • Business Showcase: The Thyme of Your Life
  • East Van Grub Crawl - Mar 2
  • Food Scrap Drop Spots - Tuesdays and Saturdays
  • Winter Cultivating Food, Cultivating Community Workshop Series - Gardening & Biking
  • West End Neighbourhood Food Seed Saving Workshop and Potluck - Feb 23
  • Neighbourhood Small Grants Program - Coming up this Spring!
  • Volunteer Positions with Village Vancouver
  • Paul Stamets: Mycellium Running:  A Presentation & Book Signing - Mar 16
  • Salon d'Elan Vital: A Walk on the the Wild Side, a slide show on 5-month hike - Feb 1
  • UBC Farm Symposium - Feb 7
  • Organic Landscape Management Courses at Langara College 
  • Additional events: workshops, courses, and potlucks!

Your February newsletter team,

Rhiannon, Jordan and Ross


Become a Member Today!

Join the Village Vancouver community by joining our website! We hope you'll also become a member of the Village Vancouver Transition Society.  Your annual membership will make our movement even stronger! It's easy to join - just click here!

An Example of Placemaking in Vancouver

The Sunday neighbourhood coffee in the
Gather Round traffic circle park. 
(Photo from

Vancouver's smallest park (0.0003 hectares) called 'Gather Round' was created in 2012 by Julien Thomas, a nearby resident, and his neighbours, at 10th Avenue and St. George Street in East Vancouver, inside its traffic circle!  A Neighbourhood Small Grant allowed him to coordinate the design of the park so that people were the priority as opposed to the vehicles.  A local stoneworker created a stone mosaic in the middle of the park where, on Sundays in the summer, you can find often neighbours serving coffee within the traffic roundabout park with others popping by to visit.  It's also the site of work parties and musical jams.   

Street mural painting at Gather Round park.
(Photo provided by 2014 Lakeman event organizers.)
In 2013, it was the site of a City Commons project, created by community members -- a new colourful playful street mural!  “Most neighbours immediately get it,” says Thomas. “It's a community collaborative effort.”  

You too can be a part of this movement!  See the details of the upcoming course below!

Village Vancouver launches 9-month Placemaking course with Mark Lakeman!

  • Intro class with Mark February 8th, all day, location TBA, register here, and
  • Public talk on Friday, February 7th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Simon Fraser University, 149 W Hastings St, tickets here.

(Photo submitted by event organizer.)
Placemaking pioneer Mark Lakeman returns to Vancouver to anchor and guide a 9-month placemaking course hosted by Village Vancouver in partnership with City Commons and Living the New Economy Vancouver!  The 2014 Vancouver City Commons Placemaking Course is designed to empower and facilitate community leaders in creatively reimagining the way space can be used in urban environments, building community and actively engaging citizens in the evolution of their neighbourhoods.
Learn more and register for this unique course at

The course begins with an intensive introduction to placemaking with Mark Lakeman and local Permaculture educator Sara Dent on Saturday, February 8th. To kick things off the evening before, Mark will deliver a public talk on Friday, February 7th entitled Cracks in the Pavement: Placemaking and the remaking of the modern City at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (SFU Woodwards). Buy your early bird tickets today!

Placemaking, the creative reclamation of public space was the brainchild of Mark, an urban designer, and his neighbours in 1996 when they transformed their own intersection into a place for community gatherings and interaction - starting a mini revolution in Portland, OR that has spread throughout the city and inspired the creation of City Repair, an organization that engages citizens in transforming spaces into places.

“Repaired” (place-made) streets and intersections often serve as community gathering places for events such as block parties or even more spontaneous, year-round gathering such as at the Gather Round roundabout at St George Street and 10th Ave in Vancouver, which has been transformed into a “micropark” complete with lawn chairs. Community bookshelves and info kiosks serve as neighbourhood “water coolers” where conversations are struck among strangers and residents stay in touch with what is happening in their neighbourhood. Community gardens cultivate deeper connections with one’s neighbours and with the Earth itself.

The Vancouver City Commons Placemaking Course will guide and support participants with all the skills, tools and assistance they need in order to lead placemaking projects in their own neighbourhood this summer during the 2nd annual City Commons placemaking convergence. The first City Commons event in July 2013 was an initiative by the Vancouver Tool Library, leaving a legacy at 5 sites throughout Vancouver. Village Vancouver hopes that this course will help dramatically increase the number of projects that can be completed in 2014.

Also, the City Commons Placemaking Course is looking for great project mentors! Do you have experience with undertaking community projects that you would like to share with an emerging Placemaker? Let us know! The organizers of this course are hoping to match each participant with a mentor to whom they can turn for advice as they navigate the sometimes complex business of engaging their neighbours in group projects. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please write to for more information.

Please join us for Mark Lakeman’s public talk on February 7th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, and for the Placemaking intro class with Mark and Sara on February 8th! Let’s make place for community!

(Photo submitted by event organizer.)

Richard Heinberg Returns to Vancouver!
  • Feb 25,  6:30 – 8:30 pm
  • CIRS Main Lecture Hall, UBC

Village Vancouver and the UBC Sustainability Initiative are co-sponsoring an event with Richard Heinberg in late February. More details shortly on the VV website!

Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy: Opportunities for Cities, Organizations, and Well-Being

  • Thursday, February 13, 2014, 5:30pm - 7:30 pm 
  • Followed by a reception, register here.
  • Location: The HiVE - 128 W. Hastings St. #201, Vancouver

April Rinne, Chief Strategy Officer, The Collaborative Lab (45 min presentation)

(Photo submitted by event organizer.)
Responding Panel:
Sadhu Johnston, Deputy City Manager, City of Vancouver
Chris Diplock, Co-Founder, Vancouver Tool Library, Lead Researcher, The Sharing Project
Hilary Henegar, Marketing Director, Modo - The Car Co-op

To create the sustainable future we all want, we will have to alter how we live, work, produce and learn. It can be done.  April Rinne, Chief Strategy of Collaborative Lab, will illustrate how the collaborative economy (or the "sharing economy") has the potential to transform the way we design products and services, create sustainable and "shareable" cities, re-imagine public services, reduce waste and connect communities. Using a wide array of innovative examples from around the world -- from transportation to office space to food to education – she will show us how we can use technology and human ingenuity to unlock the wealth that exists in people, places and resources to develop scalable solutions to many of our pressing challenges and to improve social outcomes.

April Rinne's visit to Canada marks the launch of Cities for People, a Canada-wide initiative to create more resilient and livable cities.  Her national speaking tour is co-sponsored by One Earth and Social Innovation Generation.  April’s visit in Vancouver is co-hosted by One Earth with partners including The Sharing Project, Modo The Car Co-op, Board of Change, BC Partners for Social Impact, Village Vancouver and other local partners.

Just Film Festival
February 28 – March 2, 2014 at Langara College

(Image from

Formerly the Vancouver World Community Film Festival, this year CoDev is partnering with Amnesty International, Langara College and Village Vancouver to bring you the annual global issues documentary film festival that has become a “must see” for film buffs and solidarity activists alike. Sign up for our e-bulletin and stay tuned for updates.  For current information, see the 2014 Just Film Festival website!

Business Showcase – The Thyme of Your Life

(Photo from
The Thyme of Your Life is a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast that focuses on garlic and olive oil.

The transition movement includes supporting a vibrant local economy.  Business Showcase introduces a local business each month that is a part of creating stronger communities and a resilient, sustainable future.  If your business fits this theme, please send a short description to

East Van Grub Crawl

Regular Neighbourhood Potlucks, starting March 2, 2014

Come break bread with your neighbours, get to know the people who live around you and help build stronger communities in Vancouver!  This is a roving potluck (or GrubCrawl) where everyone enjoys one dish at each different person's house, traveling between stops
(Photo from
together.  The delightful surprise is that you won't know who your dinner companions will be until you all arrive at the first home!  We’re starting with East Vancouver first off, but we'd love to see the concept spread across the city. 

Herewithforth, the first Sunday of every month (starting March 2nd, 2014) shall be known as GrubCrawl day!  (The one in East Van is open to residents living between Hastings and 12th Ave & Rupert and Clark, but you can sign up your other neighbourhood on the website.)

We only need 3 to 5 homes to sign up in your area for a given Sunday for your GrubCrawl to be a ‘go’ and you'll receive an email notice 5-6 days before the meal to confirm.  The email will list the other addresses you'll be visiting, the order you'll be making the stops, and how many people to expect.  The first house should make an appetizer, the last, dessert and in between you'll figure it out!

The site is now open and accepting registrations for our first round of meals, and what better way to beat the winter bleahs than with great food and new friends.  Head on over to to get yourself on the list or check out the FAQ for more info.

Think this sounds fun but don't live in East Van?  We can set up the website for your neighbourhood!  Contact!

Food Scrap Drop Spots - Ongoing

  • Tuesdays 6 - 7:30 pm, Gordon Neighbourhood House, 1019 Broughton St.
  • Saturdays 10 - noon, Gordon Neighbourhood House, 1019 Broughton St.
  • Saturdays 10 - noon, West End Community Center, 870 Denman St

Organized by West End Neighbourhood Food Network, Recycling Alternative and Village Vancouver.

Every Tuesday and Saturday our volunteers receive food scraps from hundreds of the 45,000 residents in the West End. The take since June 2012 now totals over 40 tonnes of food scraps for composting to be recycled back into growing, also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Upcoming Tuesday evenings Jan 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, 25
Upcoming Saturday mornings at both locations Feb 1, 8, 15, 22

Village Vancouver 
Winter Cultivating Food, Cultivating Community Series

Strathcona Community Centre, 601 Keefer St., Vancouver

Pre-Registration required: 604.713.1838 or in person at Strathcona Community Centre. Subsidies are available to low income residents of Vancouver with a Leisure Access Card.

Balcony and Container Gardening
Thurs Feb 6, 7 - 9 pm, cost: $25

Want to grow food but you live in an apartment? In this course we will cover the techniques and  challenges specific to gardening indoors and on balconies in containers. We'll look at soil, fertilizing organically, watering, containers, different sun orientations and what to grow. Instructor: Grant Watson.

Introduction to Organic Food Gardening
Thurs Feb 13, 7 to 9 pm, cost: $25

This course covers the basics of planning, preparing and starting a food garden. You’ll learn some simple techniques for starting plants indoors and in the garden, where to get supplies and how to do it all without the use of artificial additives. Instructor: Grant Watson.

Free Bike Maintenance Basics Workshop
Sat Feb 22, 10 - 11:30 am, free

Making 86% of trips by walking, cycling and transit has been identified as number one among the 'Top 5' biggest potential Ecological Footprint-reducing contributions being used by the Greenest City Lighter Footprint "Feet to the Fire" Committee as a baseline.

This free workshop offered by Village Vancouver and sponsored by Bikes for All ( is designed to take a non-mechanical look at basic bicycle maintenance and help anyone become more confident at many essential tasks around keeping your bicycle safe and operational in many driving and weather conditions.

Free Bike Security Basics Workshop
Sun Mar 9, 10 - 11:30 am free

This free workshop is designed to take a look at basic bike security. Topics covered will include how to secure your bike, choosing a lock, how to inscribe ID on your bike, and other security measures you can take to protect your bicycle.  Led by Paul Wong from workshop co-sponsor Bikes for All.

West End Neighbourhood Food Network 
Free Seed Saving Workshop and Potluck

Free Seed Saving Workshop
Sun Feb 23, 2 - 4 pm
West End Community Centre, Bidwell Room, 870 Denman Street
RSVP to WENFN ( or register with WECC (604.257.8333 or or in person)

You'll learn about the different strategies that plants use to reproduce and how to use this information to effectively select, harvest, and store your own seeds. The emphasis is in on annual food crops. Instructor: Grant Watson

A Village Vancouver Seed Library will be on hand and free seeds will be available. Help keep the library going - please bring seeds to swap and donate to the library if you're able to.

A Village Vancouver Potluck precedes the workshop from 12:45 – 2 pm (see below).

Village Vancouver Potluck
Sun Feb 23, 12:45 - 2pm
West End Community Centre, Bidwell Room, 870 Denman Street

Register on VV website or email Ross at or register with West End Community Centre (604.257.8333 or or in person)

Share some good food and conversation with neighbours. Bring something yummy to share and a cup, bowl, spoon, etc. if you're able to, and find out the latest with Village Vancouver. Everyone welcome!

Sharing Webpage for Village Vancouver 

Need a lawnmower?  Does your wheelbarrow sit unused 355 days a year?  Going traveling and need someone to care for your bike?   

A Village Vancouver lending circle has just been created on the sharing website.  The more people using it, the more people we have to lend to and borrow from!  You list the things you want to borrow, the things you have available to lend, and your wish list in case someone has what you’re looking for at  So sign up now!

Small Grants Program:
Coming up this Spring

Created by the Vancouver Foundation in 1999, the Neighbourhood Small Grants Program supports ideas that connect and engage residents in their community to strengthen their own neighbourhood.  Past projects have included neighbourhood block parties, a portable canning kitchen, emergency preparedness workshops, neighbourhood exchange-a-book boxes, and bike tune-up workshops.  Start thinking of projects you might want to organize for your neighbourhood’s grants up to $1000.  Be creative!  Be collaborative!  We'll update you when the 2014 deadlines are posted.  Or check back here soon!

Volunteer Positions 
with Village Vancouver

 Immediate Village Vancouver volunteer needs:

Newsletter Reporter -- Practice your writing and reporting on events happening within Village Vancouver.  Write short articles for the newsletter on current events.  We need help to share the good work that’s happening out there!  (Skills: researching, writing,  4-10 hours a month.)  If you’re interested, contact!

Admin Team Members – Help Village Vancouver get even more organized!  We need helpful hands to do straightforward administrative tasks such as keeping email lists current and helping organize files.  Your help will support the foundation that allows the organization and the transition movement to thrive!  (Skills: general computer skills, Minimum 4 hours a month).  If you’re interested, contact!

Village Vancouver always has need for more engaged involved co-creating volunteers, so contact us if you wish to be involved!

Paul Stamets: Mycellium Running
A Multi-Media Presentation & Book Signing

(Photo from
March 16, 3 - 5pm
Canadian Memorial Church
1825 W. 16th Ave
(604) 737-8858 for tickets (Banyen Books)

Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over thirty years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored four new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation. He has written six books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation.

Cost: $15 (Reg), $10 (Senior), tickets at Banyen Books (instore or by phone 604-737-8858)  More information here.

Salon d'Elan Vital: A Walk on the the Wild Side

Image from
Feb 1, 1 - 4 pm, Potluck 1 pm, Slide Show 2 pm
Location: Kits, near beach
RSVP to for address

Join us for a potluck and salon. Rhiannon Johnson will show slides and talk about her 3500 km journey last summer, a 5 month-long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. What does it take to walk through the wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington on her walk towards Canada? What were the biggest dangers? The greatest thrills? Come find out and dream of adventure together!

UBC Farm Symposium

(Photo provided by event organizer.)
February 7, 2014 from 8:30 am to 3 pm
Old Barn Community Centre, Upstairs Meeting Room
6308 Thunderbird Blvd
Cost: Free! Lunch is $5.

Join us for a full and free day of presentations and group activities providing insights on our food system sustainability, with topics ranging from hops production, institutional food procurement, and community education.  Snacks, refreshments, and a delicious local lunch will be provided. Please register in advance here as space is limited and demand is high! Or tune in to our livestream.

Organic Landscape Management Courses
at Langara College

Get down and dirty!  Organic landscape management is the design, installation and maintenance of landscapes to promote environmental health and is based on the understanding that all organisms in nature are interdependent. In order to have healthy plants we must nurture the health of their entire ecosystem. Sustainable landscapes clean the air and water, restore habitats and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities.

These courses are suited for anyone in the landscape and horticultural trades seeking to upgrade skills, or for individuals interested in working as a professional landscape/garden designer.

  • Organic Master Gardener
  • Growing Food in the City
  • Plant Knowledge for Organic Gardeners
  • Ecological Landscape Design
Learn More.  604 323-5133,, 

Additional Events

Village Vancouver Main St. February Potluck and Workshop.  Feb 4, 6 - 8 pm at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, 3981 Main St.

Sauerkraut and Vegetable Fermentation Workshop. $12,Feb 8, 1:30pm to 3:30pm, Britannia Community Centre.  

Kits Village February Potluck Feb 9, 6 - 8 pm, RSVP for location.

Kits Village February Plastic Recycling Depot Feb 13, 6 - 7 pm, RSVP for location.

Workshop: Renew, Re-Engage and Reconnect to Life, $145. Feb 22 - 23, Stanley Park Ecology Centre.

Aquaponics Workshop and Tour, Tour: $99, Workshop: $899 (early bird).  Feb 24 - 26, UBC.

Workshop: Greenest City Series: The Salad Bowl, gardening in small places
Sat Mar 1, 3 - 4:30 pm, Free. Registration required, phone 604-665-3972.
Additional dates for this free workshop are March 15, April 5, and May 3.


Village Vancouver Upcoming Events

Click here for the calendar of upcoming events!