Category: urban agriculture

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

"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] @


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

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 😀


Bee Hive Hosting

By , 12 August 2007 23:33

Update: 14 August 2007 – Bees gone! See comments.

T. who I met through the Guerrilla Gardening Meetup Group asked me if I could host a bee hive in my garden. My house neighbours said okay in exchange for some honey.

They arrived tonight….

A Boy Bee


T[apprentice] & S[teacher]


There are bees in both boxes. The cardboard box contains a swarm with a virgin queen. S wants the bees outside to go inside and to stop the established bees from killing the new ones, she sprays the swarm with a mixture of sugar water and vanilla.


The old bees will lick the vanilla mixture off the new bees because they taste good and be accepted as friends.

In just over a day the swarm started building a honeycomb


Here they are at the entrance of their new home


Eventually they will get inside

Another view of the honeycomb they made


Daylight pics to be added in a few days….

Worms for composting available in Vancouver/Lower Mainland [and elsewhere]

By , 25 May 2007 09:24

My focus on composting and sustainability has led me to some interesting places on the ‘net. Lately, I’ve been looking for extra compost bins on Vancouver Craigslist. While reading the posts, I find many people asking for worms aka wrigglers to start their own worm bins. This is great news. Even though I offer for sale a completely different [better] composting system, – no fruit flies, no odour – I am happy to see people take the steps to reduce their food waste.

I have replied by email a number of times to individuals with this information:

City Famer’s Worm Composting page

City Farmer’s Worm Supplier page includes suppliers in BC, Canada, The U.S.A and from around the world.

The City of Vancouver

has a limited number of Worm Composters available at the low price of $25. The units come complete with the bin, lid and tray, worms, bedding and instructions, and a mandatory one hour workshop at the Compost Demonstration Garden [aka City Farmer – Al]. To register for the workshops or to get more information, call the Compost Hotline at 604-736-2250.

The GVRD’s Composting and Yard Trimmings page has a A Guide to Composting with Worms [.pdf file]

Finally, if you live in Vancouver, I have thousands of worms in my compost bins if you want to come over and sort through the stuff. Call or email me. My contact information is on the Home page in the left column.

Cross-posted to

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3 minutes of Honey Bees [on YouTube]

By , 23 April 2007 22:52

I recorded this on the weekend.

The “Video Fireplace” of nature.

This is a hive at the Strathcona Community Gardens in Vancouver, BC.

Look closely and you will see pollen on the legs of the bees as they walk from their landing area into the hive.

Aside from the wind, the sounds in the background are an industrial area [see map link above] across the street from the gardens. I’ve been here in the summer where four hives are active and I still can’t hear the bees buzzing because of that noise unless I get really close.

This clip was filmed using a Samsung Digimax D53 camera and the 3x optical zoom. I am sitting about 3 feet away from the hive. Windows Moviemaker used to add the Titles and brighten the image 1x.

Comments and feedback welcome.

Heavy Petal – City Farmer promotes backyard sharing.

By , 26 February 2007 09:34

Andrea Bellamy writes:
Sharing is good

City Farmer recently announced Sharing Backyards in Greater Vancouver, a website that aims to bring together people looking for a space to garden with those who have under-used backyards and are willing to share.

I received an email about this from City Farmer a few days ago but didn’t look at the website at the time. It is a googlemap Mashup and I’ve added my backyard to the list of people offering space.

Vancouver: Saving Food from the Dump

By , 18 February 2007 02:22

Nice to see this progress…

Saving Food from the Dump – CKNWAM

Feb, 17 2007 – 3:50 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – Recommendations have been made to Vancouver City Council on food composting and diverting food from the landfill, thanks to a new food policy report.

Susan Kurbis of the Food Policy Council says they looked at a small-scale community garden compost in the Strathcona district that led to some surprising results, “They were processing, actually, up to 4 to 6 tonnes a week of food that was destined normally for the landfill…out of 100 tonnes of food waste, we were able to secure 20 tonnes of finished compost.”

The report also studied ways in which edible foods, destined for the landfill, can be diverted as a resource for local charities.

Vancouver City Council Meeting 15Feb07

.pdf file Second Annual Food Policy Progress Report

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