Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bowen Road Farmers Market

Hope you're all having a great spring! I just wanted to pass on the exciting news that the Bowen Road Farmer's Market begins this Wednesday. Have a great time everybody and congratulations to all the organizers!
Here's an email I got from Dirk the grandmaster farmer about the market:

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Beginning THIS Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM each week until Thanksgiving
Location: Mid Island Co-op Parking Lot on Bowen Road at Labieaux Road
Get it fresh from your local farmer! Get it freshly picked! Produce, meat, seafood & plants are all at the Bowen Road Farmer's Market along with a tasteful sprinkling of local arts and crafts.

A new farmer's market in central Nanaimo to give you a fabulous selection of local farm produce, seafood, meats, baking, preserves and nursery plants. Come taste the joy which local producers put into their offerings. Juried, local arts and crafts will also round out this primarily farmer's market.

This is Nanaimo's food-oriented market promoting the 100 mile diet and connecting the people of our community with the farmers in our region who grow and raise the food we eat, as well as small-scale food processors and unique artisans. Farmers markets throughout Canada find that true "farmers" markets flourish when the focus on food is 80%, and artisans 20% and that is what this market adheres to.

In 1960, Vancouver Island grew, raised and produced 60% of the food we consumed. Today, it has dropped to less than 6%... and that includes meat and dairy! This means 94% of our food is imported…. leaving us vulnerable to a myriad of outside factors affecting our food security and sustainability.

Farmers' Markets make it possible for farmers to make a living wage and offer our community members wholesome, nutritious food that keeps families healthy. Markets also create a sense of connection and foster community, allowing our children to learn where their food comes from.

Dirk Becker's summary: “…farmers = food = farmers showcase = farmers market = consumers = community = public lobby = socio- political, environmental, agri-"cultural" change!!”

Friday, May 02, 2008

Edge of the world

Igloo Church, Inuvik, NWT

So I've done my road trip and have decided to set up our home in Inuvik, NTW, pretty much the edge of the world.

It's been an amazing few weeks as I've been madly falling in love with this incredible part of the world.

Right now it's a balmy -7C and snowing. For this winter-starved kid, that's just fine.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of discoveries and meetings. Our first week here coincided with the Governor General's visit to this area. So being me, I basically crashed every event she attended and did my best to make ourselves known to the community.

I even got a chance to travel the ice highway to Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik. It was gorgeous landscape and thrilling to be driving on a frozen river surrounded by seemingly never-ending plains of ice and snow.

(Catching a rare spring sunset)
I'm still adjusting to the 20 hours of sunshine. My circadian rhythms are out of whack so we always feel like I either sleep too much or not enough. I always seem to be a meal behind schedule. Most days we don't eat lunch until 4 or 5pm. Dinner has often been a midnight feast.

Here I am at the trapper cabin that was my home for the first week here. It's part of the Arctic Chalet B&B Resort. Judi and Olaf we run this place have been the most wonderful hosts. They run dog mushing tours from here and have a number of cabins on the property just on the outskirts of town.

The cabin was just big enough for a small bed, table and a oil heater. No running water but it did have electricity and wifi. Cozy until I needed to go to the washroom :P
Along with all the amazing scenery, I've also been enjoying some local foods.
I was invited to the Gwich'in Wellness Camp grand opening where I got a chance to feast on local caribou, wild goose, moose and arctic char.
At a local grocery store, I also found ground musk oxen from Banks Island. Right now it's the only available local meat at the stores so it's become my main meat source. It also happens to be the most affordable meat.
It's not as gamey as I expected it but still very rich and meaty.
The Dempster Highway is closing up for a month so food prices are expected to skyrocket until the ferries open up for the river crossings. I've filled my cupboards and fridge with food. Though I'm not eating as much locally sourced food as I usually do, I am looking forward to growing produce at the community greenhouse, going fishing, trapping and gathering wild foods.

Have a great May!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sustainable Seafood

I received this note in my comment box in response to the yummy crab entry last summer. We need to do our part in helping maintain a sustainable seafood industry.

Hello, I am the fisherman that supplies Andrew's (Evening Cove) crabs.
I am a small footprint local harvester and marketer. More and more of us are realizing for seemingly obvious reasons that this is the trend for primary food production. I harvest within 30 km and sell from Nanaimo to Campbell River. Well, DFO without any science, policy or vision is threatening to basically eliminate commercial crabbing from Victoria to Campbell River from March 15- Sept. 15. This is the viable portion of the year; the crab are abundant, the local market is in full swing and the weather is safe for the small boats that can do this viably without a lot of fuel.
I am looking for public support for sustainable seafood harvesting in our communities before it is all gone and we look back at how stupid we were. I have my dock customers and Thriftys Foods as well as the David Suzuki Foundation any many others coming onboard to help. If you like to help me encourage DFO to support responsible seafood harvesting please call Kim at:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Falling in love in Bozeman

After Devil's Tower, we headed up to Bozeman, Montana and proceed to fall madly in love with this town's land and people.
It's gorgeous valley ringed with great mountains and filled with the nicest people.

It also has some great ice!
This is a gorgeous weep of ice in the Hyalite Canyon, the central hub of ice-climbing in Southern Montana.
Beyond the incredible climbing, this town is so 100 Mile Diet friendly.
A few blocks from our motel was their Community Food Co-op, a delicious treasure!
They not only have a great selection of fresh, local produce, they also had a great hot and cold deli, a bakery and a coffee shop. The prices are comparable, if not lower than grocery store prices.
They proudly advertise the local farms that source their products and the employees are knowledgeable and passionate about food but not at the expense of the enviroment,
Our motel didn't have a fridge or any cooking devices so I picked up a small kettle/hot pot. Every day, we'd make a trip down to the Co-op and pick up our food for that day.

For dinners, I picked up a bunch of local winter veggies, organic kamut salad, some asian roasted chicken and marinated tofu from the deli and bring it all back to the motel for some on the road cooking.
The kettle/hot pot allows me a range of heat from simmer to boil for an extended period of time, making it perfect for soups, steaming veggies, boiling noodles and even eggs. Together, we lived off of $10 a day for groceries, including some really yummy vegan chocolate cake:)

Ta-dah! Dinner a la motel room.

And to top it off, they make a really nice baguette with local, organic flour! Yippee!!

We also discovered this great Mexican restaurant called La Tinga that makes their own corn tortillas, salsas and the best chicken and green salsa taco I have ever had. On our last day there, we went the La Tinga and proceed to pretty much eat through the whole menu.
Here's their breakfast tortilla. This helped fuel those brisk, ice-climbing days.
We loved it all so much that I picked up a dozen tortillas and a couple containers of salsa for the road.
Thanks Bozeman for such a wonderful week! We'll be back soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the road

For the last couple of weeks I've been in the Rockies feeding my soul.
(Lake Louise, Alberta).

I've been romping on some ice...

Hanging out with the locals...

We started out in Waterton Lakes outside of Lethbridge. There the ice was gorgeous. The village around the lakes was mostly closed for the winter except for a few lodges.

The Kilmorey Lodge was opened and they have some yummy local foods and even sell their own Saskatoon Berry jam that they gather from the park and make right on premises!

We then went north up the Lake Louise on the next leg of our Rockies adventure. Since we were staying at the hostel and the last time I checked, there wasn't much for local farming in the Rockies , I had packed a huge cooler bag of veggies and fruit from home. It's a great way to minimize my food footprint and keep my costs down.
On our way to Lake Louise, I also found out that Calgary has a year-round farmer's market. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to explore and we weren't there on the right day. Oh well, maybe next time.
After Lake Louise, we headed down to Wyoming for Devil's Tower. This climb has been on our and most other climber's list of climbs we most want to do. It's a powerful and beautiful place.
As we traveled through Montana and into Wyoming, all I saw were huge grasslands peppered with cows grazing happily, roaming free and being cows. I even saw the odd herd of buffalo. I couldn't wait to get a taste of the region's meat.
Most of the businesses and campgrounds around Devil's Tower is closed this time of year. Fortunately for us, the folks as Tower View Restaurant and Campgrounds were opened. The new owners, the Cages, just bought the place last September and are planning to expand the campground, RV park and even cabins. They are a few minutes outside the park and were happy to rent us a car camping spot for a few nights. That was a huge help since the nearest winter campground was over 20 miles away. They also have free wifi. I've been working online during this road trip so have internet access has been a determining factor about where we stay. So far we haven't had too much trouble finding at least a library or a coffee shop with wifi. We've even found gas stations and laundromats with it!
Linda, Larry, Patty and Billy Cage are the warmest and nicest folks and made our stay in Devils Tower that much more special.
To top it off, they make a mean buffalo burger!

Do you see those chips? Those were made right on the premises and are the best chips I've ever had.
This is good, honest home-cooking with no frills, bells or whistle, just good food. Linda does all the baking from scratch. We enjoyed homemade muffins and pies and huge breakfasts. They're getting ready for their first season at Devil's Tower and I hope them all the best.
The folks at Tower View were the epitome of great hospitality and we're looking forward to visiting them again.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hiding out in the mountains

I've been hiding out in the mountains for these past few weeks. These last number of years, a battle has raged behind the scenes that has prevent me and my beloved from pursuing our true journey. That battle has come to an end finally and we are free to continue our path. The mountains have been calling us and finally we are able to call back.

But on the 100 mile diet front:
- Start planning your gardens for the year. Seedy Sundays/Saturdays are near. Keep an eye open for them in the local papers.
- Prepare your soil for your new plantings.

I received this reminder from Dirk Becker of Compassion Farms regarding the
new Farmers Market at the Bowen Road location.!!!!!:
hello again folks
just a friendly reminder!

this fri feb 29th at 7pm is the Bowen Road Farmers Market Inaugural planning meeting

we are:

forming a farmers market society

creating a board of 7 directors

and we are asking for input into the creation of the constitution and for the rules and guidelines of the market

please come early (before 7) to allow time to socialize
those of you who have not indicated you are coming
please let us know now so we bring enough coffee, wine, cheese, etc.
also please send this invitation to anyone else that you would like to see at your market

In October we had a very successful Farmers Showcase that attracted more than 3,000 people! We were able to showcase products from local producers and gauge the public's interest for a Farmers Market in central Nanaimo.
The Mid-Island Co-op is happy to host our new Farmers Market at the Bowen Road location.
The Bowen Road Farmers Market will commence after Mother's Day, on Wednesday May 21rst from 4 - 7pm.
This gives farmers more time since many of them will already be doing two markets in Cedar, Duncan, Qualicum, etc.
It also gives us a few more days for it to be warmer and for there to be more produce.
A group of dedicated people are in the process of creating an official association and we would like to invite you to the inaugural meeting on Friday, February 29th at 7pm to kick off your new market. We want and need your input!
Please let us know either way whether you are able to attend (especially in consideration of refreshments).
Please let us know how many weeks of the market you would like to sign up for.
Please send us your input if you cannot attend.
At the meeting, we will all vote in a board of directors, ratify the constitution and establish market rules.
some of the items we have considered so far :
- market times? 4 to 7 pm
- successful markets generally have 80% farmers and value added, the remainder being 20% artisans (make it, bake it, grow it)
- no dumping (low prices) or "distress sales" (such as having an extra 100 cabbages and selling them too cheaply)
- end of the year surplus monies from fees can go towards a project that supports agriculture, like the purchase of land for community gardens or McSeeds
memberships $20 per year
weekly fees: (prepaid)
12 weeks $12 per week
24 weeks $10 per week
drop in:
members $15 non members $20
Date: The inaugural meeting is Friday, February 29th
Time: 7pm
Location: Bowen park (not Beban) in the clubhouse at the end of the bowling green.
To confirm your participation in this meeting, the market, give input or for more information, please respond to this email or call
390- 5199
We look forward to your participation in this inaugural meeting of your farmers market!
Yours in service,
Dirk Becker

I'll be back in a few weeks with stories and pictures and tales of my 100 mile diet on the road.


Friday, January 11, 2008

R.I.P. Sir Edmund Hillary

Good night, sweet hero.
You're on belay,
Climb on.