Category: Sustainability

Copley Community Orchard – Bokashi Field Trial

By , 21 May 2012 21:22

The Environmental Youth Alliance has partnered with the City of Vancouver to work with community members to create Copley Community Orchard on the former grounds of Richard and Marie Copley’s orchard. This land was vacant for decades, and now, in keeping with the site’s history, the focus of the project is perennial fruit agriculture and celebration.

The site is shared between the EYA’s youth programming and Copley Community Orchard. Community Studio has assisted us in designing our exciting plans which include an apple orchard, cherry trees, espaliered apple and pear trees, rare or unique fruit trees, berry bushes and fruiting shrubs. We also have planned an accessible bed area which will be open to all members of the community.

I received permission to add some bokashi to the cherry trees as a fertilizer. Here’s what I did.

Bokashi will be added to the cherry trees on the right [north] side of the path.


Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1


The trees were planted during the first work party on April 28 -29, 2012.

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-1


Holes are made on the uphill side of the roots, about 4 – 5in / 10-12cm deep

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-2


Bokashi is added to the holes and covered

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-3


Tree No. 1 with opposite for control and reference

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 1-5


Tree No. 2

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 2-1


Tree No. 3

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 3-1


Tree No. 4

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 4-1


Tree No. 5

Copley Commons - Bokashi trial 5-1


I will take pictures again on the Canada Day Weekend July 1, 2012

Terra Biosa – Yummy Yards bokashi field trial

By , 27 April 2011 08:10

Cross-posted at Great Day Solutions


Yummy Yards is a Community Supported Agriculture business in Vancouver.

Yummy Yards Bokashi Bed #1

I gave Emi and Kate some bokashi to test on one of their garden beds

Yummy Yards Bokashi Bed #3


and I’ll be checking throughout the spring and summer to document

the progress of the plants they grow there.


Yummy Yards Bokashi Bed #5

Walking my dog and beautifying the 'hood

By , 1 February 2010 13:38

Over the past four months since we started fostering Chloe, I’ve been noticing the damage to lawns caused by crows and other critters going after the grubs of the European Chafer Beetle when I take her out for a walk.

A video from City Farmer explains the problem:

Last week I decided to do something about it. I created a flyer that I am distributing only to houses that have lawn damage clearly attributable to the Chafer Beetle. It isn’t hard to figure out.

Flyer: [Click for full version]

Easy Care Lawn from West Coast Seeds

We don’t need more lawns. Ideally, as the City Farmer says above, we need more vegetable gardens in our front yards like this one,

Front Yard Veggie Garden

but if you are going have a lawn, use a grass seed that doesn’t require much mowing or watering. The product above meets that criteria.

So far, I’ve walked between Cambie and Main from 16th to 19th and plan to go all the way up to 24th. Then I’ll do the same route between Cambie and Oak. It takes me about an hour at a leisurely pace and Chloe loves it too.


100 flyers: $5.55

Exercise and improving the world: Priceless


"Without the ability to grow our own food…"

By , 31 December 2009 11:30

Without the ability to grow our own food, we leave our children and grandchildren held ransom to buy food on the world market from whatever source, of whatever quality, at whatever price.

Gary Runka,

First General Manager of the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission.

Source [pdf] @


Politics and Permaculture

By , 12 May 2009 06:31

Found this written in the Vancouver Permaculture Network’s Yahoo group:

As far as politics not being appropriate for a Permaculture listserv, nearly everything we do is affected by politics. Zoning laws decide in many ways the lifestyle we can have.

Can we build a cob house?

Can we live in a hand-built cabin made of recycled materials?

Can we have several people living together on the same land?

In some neighbourhoods you can’t have several unrelated people living together in the same house.

In some neighbourhoods you can’t put up a clotheseline.

Can we plant our front yards with vegetables?

Are cars required to have good fuel economy?

All these things and nearly everything else we do is regulated by laws, if you think about it. And who makes these laws? The government does. If those laws contribute to or lead to unsustainable lifestyles, then those laws need to be changed, or sustainability will be very difficult to ever achieve. Zoning is an excellent example of this. And the only way to change the laws is to change the government and elect people who understand what kind of laws a sustainable society will require. So I don’t understand how Permaculture has nothing to do with politics.


Living Oceans Society 10th Anniversary

By , 15 October 2008 18:28

I donated a bokashi bucket to the Living Oceans Society‘s silent auction

Living Oceans Society is Canada’s largest organization focusing exclusively on marine conservation issues. We are based in Sointula, a small fishing village on the Central Coast of British Columbia.

Living in a coastal community, we are reminded each day that it’s not just about the fish—it’s about the fish and the people. Living Oceans Society believes that people are part of the environment and that by protecting the B.C. coastal ecosystem, we can build sustainable communities today and for our children.

Since Jennifer Lash started Living Oceans Society in 1998, we have advocated for oceans that are managed for the common good, according to science-based policies that consider entire ecosystems.

I’m in good company with many other businesses contributing to a great cause:

Living Oceans Society – Join us in Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary!


Emily for Greenest Person on the Planet – YouTube

By , 29 July 2008 14:18

Emily – one my clients – won the semi-final of this  contest! She has a bokashi bucket in her company’s office and her mother is using bokashi on Bowen Island. Congratulations Emily!!



From an article in the Vancouver Sun:

Emily Jubenvill is more than just an environmentally minded Vancouverite.

She is the greenest person in Canada, and one of five people worldwide in the running to become the "Greenest Person on the Planet."

More than 600 people from 25 countries entered the contest, which posed a series of questions testing entrants’ eco-commitment.

Fifty of them were named finalists in the global search for the greenest person, with voters asked to cast their ballots for the top five contenders. Source

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 😀


Keep Transit Public Rally

By , 21 November 2007 23:53

Background and commentary here, here and here [Source]

Keep Transit Public #1 - 21nov07

Keep Transit Public #2 - 21nov07

Keep Transit Public #3 - 21nov07

Keep Transit Public #4 - 21nov07

Keep Transit Public #7 - 21nov07

The video:

I love this creative blast from the past, but I think Richard Nixon might be starting to lose his relevance….

Keep Transit Public #5 - 21nov07

The sign makers told me this was not a real quote, but when you watch the video, Kevin Falcon says that the Gateway Project will not raise greenhouse gas emissions. Go figure.

Keep Transit Public #6 - 21nov07

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