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!