Category: Vancouver

Organic, local Food Co-Op starting. Join today!

By , 30 June 2008 08:50

I’ve been a member Neighbors Organics Weekly Buying Clubs for a while and was disappointed to see them cease operations a few months ago.

So were a lot of other people who convinced owner Grant Watson to keep it going and here is the next step:


Member Drive to Restart NOWBC Operations

Please show your support by July 21st

Hi Everyone,

Neighbors Organics Weekly Buying Clubs is moving forward with plans to re-start operations, please help us get the co-op started so that we can start selling great organic food again! So far 14 people have filled out the online survey. We need 50 people to take action by July 21 so we can move to the next step. And we need you to tell your friends.

Help us revive NOWBC as a Co-op and start sourcing delicious, local organic food again by doing any or all of the following:

1. SUPPORT THE CO-OP SET-UP: We need a minimum of 50 people who want to be members to send a cheque for $20 to NOWBC to help with consulting fees. Cheques will not be cashed until we have enough to actually proceed. There are funders who will augment this if we show that there is support among our members and potential members. Make cheque payable to NOWBC, put "Co-op Share" in the memo and mail to:

NOWBC c/o Grant Watson 102-5698 Aberdeen St Vancouver, BC V5R 4M6

2. COMPLETE THE ONLINE SURVEY: We need to have at least 150 people fill out our survey. Whether you are ready to sign up to be a member yet or not, please fill out our survey. This helps us decide what the terms of association of the co-op will be.

3. TELL YOUR FRIENDS: Tell your friends and give them the opportunity to sign up and/or fill out our survey too. Feel free to forward this notice! Help us build a strong local food distribution network.If you are new to NOWBC, please see our web site ( to find out who we are! In short though, NOWBC is a source of local organic food, at co-op prices, structured so that members can order exactly what they want from our suppliers each week (and not what they don’t!).

NOWBC Re-Structuring Details

Here is the NOWBC good news–we now have sources for start-up money and some advisors ready and waiting to help us revive NOWBC as a co-op. But here’s the deal: in order for us to actually GET the funding to setup the resources we need to get going, we have to show we have PEOPLE who want to buy food through NOWBC by having at least 50 people commit with seed money. Cheques received by NOWBC will be collected until we have at least 50. Then we will work with a co-op expert to build a business plan and by-laws. You then be invited to join, and funders will be invited to help with seed money. They have already expressed interest, but need to see a solid plan.

With sufficient sale of shares and outside funding, we can move forward–form the co-op, source some food, set up the infrastructure, hire staff and provide our members great food again! We don’t need a huge amount of startup money, but we do need enough people making a commitment to buy food through NOWBC to make it viable. Lets believe in ourselves and

Thank you for your time and interest!
Revitalization Committee: Joanna, Ross, Cabot and Grant
Neighbours Organic Weekly Buying Clubs


Please share this with all your friends and neighbours.

Guest post: The hive mind

By , 8 June 2008 09:49

Tammy T was featured in a blog post last summer. Yesterday, she sent this email and I received permission to print it here.


I have officially entered the hive mind. It is what I had wanted to do so that I may understand her more succinctly. It is a bit creepy though, when the aging next door neighbor now appears to be a failing queen and the groups of teenagers at the skate park across the street are moving like a cluster of bees at the edge of the hive. I hear the buzz in everything, the tiny tapping of bee feet on wood is my new favorite sensation in my ears and having those same feet clinging to my skin as they walk along my fingers, hands and arms is by far my favorite skin sensation these days. I love being with them, I love learning from them.

The queen though has been a mysterious figure to me since the get go. I know her power and I know some of her challenges these days, but I had yet to meet her. It wasn’t until I met her absence that I began to understand a bit more of what it was that she possessed. And like I said, I have yet to truly meet her, but in time I suppose, in time.

When a hive loses its queen you know it right away, it sounds like a box full of mourning monks chanting the same sorrowful LOUD tone. ZZZZZZZOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH as opposed to the higher pitch of ZZZEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHH. I am working on understanding the frequencies of pitch and scent used by the bees. The subtleties are where the communication happens in the hive. When I first heard the sorrowful sound I had no idea what it was. My imagination saw the inside of the hive as a high domed cathedral and they were inside praying. I thought that this hive was a special hive, a different hive, that wasn’t so preoccupied with the hum drum of collecting nectar and instead geared her efforts in prayer. I prayed with them

A few days later a queen arrived in the mail from Pennsylvania. A queen breeder who does not use any chemicals sent her. He breeds bees that can live with the destructive varroa mite and survive (they are called survivor stock). As far as queen breeding goes he seems to have an ethical operation, but queen rearing is a whole other topic altogether!

As we put the queen cage in the hive we played a recording of a queen piping (a call a queen makes when she is being born and letting the hive know she is there). The ladies immediately settled down to a low hum. I continued praying with them.

Will they accept her or kill her? Will there be enough workers to tend the hundreds to thousands of eggs she will begin laying if they do accept her? Will she survive her mating flight or will she be eaten by a bird or grasshopper or spider? Who is to say? There are so many variables in this whole wide world of bees. Nature! So many variables! Makes me want to pack it up and go get a predictable office job so I can buy things to keep it all in control! 😉 For someone who is such a proponent of the wild nature of life, I must admit that sometimes I do get flustered with just how wild things really are and I crave some semblance of control. But aha, the bees have called me and I have heeded and so, and so, I humbly submit to the wild nature and ride the ebb and flow of the life and death of the Hive.

For there really is only one Hive. All bees feel it, all the backyard bees that are being loved and treated with such care can feel and are affected by the murder of the queen mother that happens every spring when the majority of beekeepers re-queen their hives to prevent a failing queen or swarming. I believe that we all have the ability to feel these subtleties. It is just that the bees don’t have a choice. Subtleties are how communication happens and if the entities in the wilderness were to tune off the subtleties they would die. Unlike humans who have been trained to tune them out so that we can survive. Imagine if we were in tune with all the subtleties of our world today? We would be completely bombarded with so many chemicals and loud sounds and strong vibrations of our modern industrialized, mechanical, technological era that we would be incapable of doing much else.

I find the Hive mind is much different than the Human mind. It is all connected for sure, but I find that there are so many sections and segments…fragments, I suppose, in the Human state. The Hive mind is continuous and ever flowing. Life, death, pain, love, mystery, assuredness, community and conflict all exist at once. There is no separation between me and my enemy. I will kill you if you try and enter my domain. I will hurt you if you try to steal from me, AND you are me. We all exist as one. I suck on the nectar of your soul and you feed me. I am filled with love and you are love. We all exist as one. Blessed bee 😀


I'll be at the Vancouver Farmers Market this summer

By , 30 May 2008 13:58

It is official. I have 16 days at the Vancouver Farmers Market this year. Eight days each at Kitsilano & Riley Park. You can see a schedule on the right, but for the record, here are the days:

  • June 1 – Kitsilano
  • June 11 – Riley Park
  • June 15 – Kitsilano
  • June 25 – Riley Park
  • July 9 – Riley Park
  • July 20 – Kitsilano
  • July 23 – Riley Park
  • Aug 3 – Kitsilano
  • Aug 6 – Riley Park
  • Aug 20 – Riley Park
  • Aug 24 – Kitsilano
  • Sept 3 – Riley Park
  • Sept 17 – Riley Park
  • Sept 28 – Kitsilano
  • Oct 12 – Kitsilano
  • Oct 26 – Kitsilano

    This is a whole new marketing dynamic. Previous years, I parked my bicycle outside

    Bokashi Bike

    the market area, displayed my bokashi kits and arranged to meet with people later in the week. The inner cynic in me says that officials at YLFMS – who are all great people – let me have a booth to keep me from going there on the days that I’m not inside. I don’t mind at all!

    In the past month, I have acquired a tent for my booth, a banner, folding tables, decorative items for displaying my wares, new printed materials, arranged Car Co-op vehicle use etc. The biggest challenge is trying to determine  how much stock to bring. I don’t want to run out before the final bell goes. This week, I’m bringing it all!

    I already have commitments for orders this Sunday. That’s a nice feeling.

    So watch this space for updates. I can’t live blog my first day, but I’ll try to make notes as I go along and post it in the evening along with some pictures.

    One more thing: Letting me know in advance that you are coming to purchase my products on the market days would be greatly appreciated. That way, I can hold items aside for you until you arrive.

  • -30-

    If you are in the Vancouver network on Facebook you can join the Farmers Market group page here and their fan page here.

    I also have a fan page on Facebook: Great Day Bokashi

    Guerilla Gardener news from Vancouver, the UK and in the land of Oz

    By , 29 May 2008 15:50

    This is a post about a news article about Guerilla gardeners that showed up in the Asian Pacific Post a few weeks ago. I mentioned it in some Twitter posts when I found that they had used some of my images without my permission. This has been corrected.

    The same article appeared yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is ephemera of the news cycle that I find interesting. The story is a filler that editors can add when they need more content. The Asian Pacific Post added a local angle which they were not required to do but I’m glad they did. I’m surprised the Sydney Morning Herald could not do the same [from their own publication!]


    Pink snow in Vancouver

    By , 11 May 2008 18:50

    Here’s the view in my neighbourhood this morning:

    Pink snow in Vancouver

    It is surreal and beautiful too.

    Snow Petals

    A tweet: Love watching the falling petals of cherry blossoms; snow that doesn’t melt. The wind blows them down the street like confetti. Slippery too.

    Real snow on April 19 -  No one I know remembers it snowing so late in the year

    snow in april - tfw

    But snow at the end of March is normal – it did that last year too.

    Snow in Vancouver on March 28

    Snow and cherry blossoms

    Snow & Cherry Blossoms

    First post with Windows Live Writer – positive reviews on Lifehacker. I agree.

    Outside Superstore / Home Depot

    By , 7 April 2008 23:14

    Look closely. I see a water channel between the mountain ranges on this air vent cover outside the new Superstore / Home Depot store at Cambie at 7th

    Mountain Ranges Sound Waves 2

    At this angle it looks like a VU meter gone crazy:

    Mountain Ranges Sound Waves

    The air vent is both beautiful and cold at same time. It was probably designed to make it impossible for skateboarders to use it while evoking elements of our natural landscape.

    Sparrow Party

    By , 26 January 2008 21:05

    Sparrow Party

    I heard the birds chirping from across the street, then went closer for a better view.

    Snowline series

    By , 20 January 2008 21:25

    This is one of the reasons I and so many other people love Vancouver. When the rain stops and skies clear, the world looks like this:

    Snow Line  - 16dec07

    SnowLine  - 17dec07

    SnowLine2 - 20dec07

    Snowline 01Jan2

    Snowline 13Jan08

    Snowline 20jan08

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    CityFarmer TV – Vancouver Aquarium Composts Everything

    By , 9 January 2008 21:51

    A short video from City Farmer showing how the Vancouver Aquarium has introduced full composting to their public facilities. Well done!

    Online Videos by

    Heather showed me a new composting initiative taking place at the Vancouver Aquarium. Eighty percent of waste produced at the cafeteria including plates, cups, cutlery, napkins and food waste, goes to a compost facility in Metro Vancouver.

    More videos here

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    Public photography: It could have been a lot worse.

    By , 16 December 2007 13:53

    A few weeks ago, I was travelling the city by public transit. I got into a snit about some uncivil behaviour and decided to take some action.

    This is my story:

    I boarded the bus at Broadway & Cambie heading south. I walk to the back and notice some papers strewn around two of the side seats. I don’t think anything of it, its a Saturday night. I sit down on the third and as soon as I do, I notice that there is a mess on the floor too. I get up just as the bus driver says: “If you don’t want to smell like what’s on the seat, you better move.” I moved the temporary bus stop sign so all three seats are now covered.

    Bus#1 - 24Nov07

    What peeved me is that there were five people sitting in the vicinity of this seat. So, I expressed my frustration and said out loud: “No one could have told me about this? Thank you for your consideration.” I sit down on the opposite side.

    We’ve travelled to 12th Avenue.

    Between 12th and 16th Ave, I get my camera out. Usually, I turn my flash off in public places but this time I did not. I take a picture of the mess above and two more. The third shot is of a couple sitting in the area [who said nothing] getting off the bus at 16th Avenue.

    Bus#2 - 24Nov07

    Here is where things get interesting. When I take the second picture, I hear a man’s voice expressing surprise. After the third picture is taken, I feel the camera being grabbed from my hand and the wrist strap breaking. As he is doing this, he is saying something like “Some people don’t like their picture being taken and this what happens when you do that.”

    Okay. The man is standing there with my camera is in one hand, a paper bag in the other. I can tell he wants me to grab for the camera, so we can have a scuffle and he can smash it. I take the opposite approach and say loudly and clearly:

    “Give me back my camera and I will erase the image.” He freezes. What can he do? I have given him exactly what he wants.

    I repeat my request three times – even guy beside me says to give my camera back. The bus driver is saying “Whatever is happening between you two, take it outside.” Finally, he says “I don’t believe you.” then “Get off the bus” His stop is also my stop. As I look down to make sure I have everything, I noticed the syringes on my lap and on the floor. They weren’t there before. Great.

    We’re at 19th Avenue.

    We get off the bus and he hands me my camera and I try to turn it on. The lens is extended and there is no power.

    “It’s not turning on. If you broke it, there’s nothing I can do.”
    “I didn’t break it.”
    “I’m checking the batteries. I’ll take them out and put them back in.”

    The battery case is empty and I say: “When you grabbed the camera from me the batteries fell out. There is nothing I can do” and I put the camera in my pocket.

    There are a few more words and he walks away.

    Most disturbing to me: other people got off the bus at the same time we did and no one stopped to watch how it would resolve.

    I get home and have a drink. The next day I look at the image and laugh.

    Bus#3 - 24Nov07

    He is behind the pole. Would he recognize himself?

    Yes, I am very lucky. People have been killed for less.

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