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Archive for the ‘Tuesday links’ Category

Hola from the Farmhouse! Sorry I’ve been behind (again) but so goes the life of an itinerant hippie. I am also behind on sleep, although I had probably the best sleep in a week last night thanks to a long-forgotten bottle of melatonin. Man that stuff leaves me with some messed-up dreams.

 

What can I share with you today? The latest in the Vancouver chicken drama! (Vancouver city council approved the motion last night.)

Vancouver’s first fully legal backyard chicken eggs could be in frying pans as early as June.

City staff are preparing to take registrations from would-be egg farmers as soon as council approves enabling bylaw changes expected June 1. The move is a tangible result of the city’s evolving food security policy.

“After that people will be able to register their hens,” said Tom Hammel, the city’s deputy chief license inspector. “We are working on a website to give people instruction on how to build their enclosures.”

Mmmm, fresh eggs. Too bad we can’t participate in the chicken-ocracy. I’m sure the neighbours would protest. No, I know the neighbours would protest. Going from messy garden to chickens? Especially with all the misinformation out there about avian flu, it’s just too much of a headache for me to want to deal with.

Interested in raising your own chickens? Check out Chickens in Vancouver.

 

Also check out this video about guerrilla gardening in Vancouver by David Henderson-Hean, which came in first place at the 5 Minutes to Change Your World competition.

I’ve tried embedding the video but because I’m still a bit stupid when it comes to the Internet, I can’t make it work (that’s what she said). Please take the time to watch it, though. It’s quite wonderful.

 

Okay, and one more quick one that is near and dear to my heart. Want to show your support for Marc Emery? Check out the Free Marc Emery page about upcoming rallies and protest actions.

I don’t want to turn this into a debate about what kind of guy Marc is. No matter how you feel about the man personally, you’ve got to respect and appreciate his place in this crazy marijuana movement. His extradition is entirely political—the DEA admitted that as far back as 2006—and it sickens me that Canada would extradite someone to a country for a crime that amounts to a $200 fine here.

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Hola, blogoverse! I haven’t forgotten about you, I swear. But even the most intrepid Internet user needs to take a break sometimes (and this weekend was far too nice to spend inside!).

The dirt is gone, the door is clear! I have the best roomies ever!

 

This week on the Tuesday links docket? A lot of events!

 

The annual IGNITE! Youth Festival is happening this month from May 17 to 22! This is Vancouver’s largest youth-driven arts festival, featuring music, dance, theatre, and visual arts from individuals between the ages of 13 and 24. Our intrepid Ander sits on the youth panel and will be there every night so stop by and say hi!

Here’s the link to the Facebook event listing, so add it to your calendar. Seriously. Do it now. I’ll wait for you to come back.

 

What else should you be getting up to this week? Farmhouse open house on Saturday, May 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’re looking for the Farmhouse’s Next Top Roommate (ad is HERE: Farmhouse Seeks Dirty Hippies!) so please come by and check out our house or pass on the ad to some dirty hippies you might know!

 

After you stop by the Farmhouse on Saturday, you should make your way over to the Grandview Park block party! The park is located on Commercial Drive, and a group calling itself “Friends of Grandview Park” (and supported by the local business improvement association) is looking to have the park redeveloped (closing it down from July 2010 until at least March 2011). Among the groups’ complaints? The park attracts “non-families” who tend to loiter along with hard drug dealers, protesters, and, most scandalously, children who are learning to ride bicycles and bicycle polo players (They use the tennis court for that! HOW DARE THEY!).

However, a group of park users disagrees with this assessment, saying that the “Friends” of the park are contributing to the gentrification of the neighbourhood as well as discriminating against the homeless and “non-families” (what the hell does that even mean???).

Read all about it at the Defend Grandview Park blog.

 

And since this blog’s all about shameless self-promotion, yours truly will be opening for the fantastically wonderful Jackie Treehorn on May 12 (that’s tomorrow) at Nyala Restaurant (4148 Main Street). They’re smutty, soulful, and always put on a good show. I’m smarmy, break strings, and sometimes even funny.

With that RINGING ENDORSEMENT, I hope to see your lovely faces there! Bring your dancing shoes and buy me a beer :)

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Even grownups like to draw on the walls!

TUESDAY LINKS!

Slide show: An Ode to Farming: Images of agriculture around the world.

 

The poor maligned dandelion; people are so cruel to you! Here’s a great video from Dover, Ohio’s annual Dandelion Festival, which includes all sorts of delectable dandelion treats (wines, salads, fritters, cheesecake, ice cream!) plus pictures of adorable animals (via The Unusually Unusual Farmchick).

 

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Ah, yes. I’m being negligent again about the blog. But I’ve got lots for all you animals today!

First up, Rin was featured in the Powell River Peak this week!

There’s a new farmer in town and she’s uber urban. Rin Innes is offering the community seasonal shares of her urban farm harvest. With pre-season commitments she plans and plants to fill members’ weekly bins with fresh, organically grown produce through the entire harvest season. Everybody wins and everybody eats.

This quote is also from the article. Keep it in mind. It’s entirely relevant to the next part of this blog post today.

Innes believes healthy communities need healthy farms. Aside from the obvious benefits of eating locally-grown food, such as freshness, taste, nutrition and the knowledge that the food has not been sprayed, irradiated, waxed and transported great distances, she believes that when people make a direct connection to their food they build strength in their community. Supporting farmers means stronger food security… [emphasis mine]

Got it? Good. Hold it in your mind, then read on.

 

So, there’s a lot of stuff going on at the Farmhouse right now. I’m too weary of the subject to get into all the details, so here’s the gist: Neighbours complain about the state of the yard. Neighbours call city. Bylaw enforcement office threatens us with a huge fine if it’s not cleaned up by May 1.

But … it’s a GARDEN. We grow FOOD. It disgusts me that Vancouver touts itself as some sort of green leader—a model of sustainability—but as soon as someone tries to live that way, it gets shut down for being an eyesore.

Seriously, the rhodo is beautiful. I suppose if we planted only flowers our neighbours would be okay with it?

New smoking area. I'll concede we need to move that pile of bricks.

This? Gorgeous! But it's within two feet of the sidewalk so it's got to be moved. Ooh, and I should sweep the sidewalk and tidy all that up.

As Ander put it: 'If the city bylaw says all yards must conform to the prevailing standards of the neighborhood, and your neighbors all have square, manicured lawns, then it is simply not possible to grow your own food in most parts of Vancouver.' I'd like to point out that the house to the left of us currently has nothing but dirt in their front yard. And the yard beyond that gets covered in chemicals on a semi-regular basis.

I just don't see how anyone can find this ugly.

A bed all ready to be planted.

See, we use the leaves for mulch. Like in a forest. It's called permaculture; look it up.

One of the complaints levelled at us was that we have a number of plastic buckets laying around. Guess what's in them.

DIRT!

Two feet. We've got to move the garden two feet from the sidewalk. Also, the boulevard can't be planted without city approval. Apparently.

The city also complained about the palettes we have laying around. You know what we're using them for? Firewood and building compost bins.

Oh, look. More buckets full of dirt! And that tarp? Covering more palettes. Aren't we just the worst?

All I know is that Garden Buddha is not amused.

I don’t want to direct my anger towards all of my neighbours, since it seems like the majority are supportive of the garden. We have lots of curious people stopping by and asking about what’s going on. Despite a language barrier, an older man was trying to give Max gardening tips last week. One of our neighbours thinks we are awesome because we drink and play guitar on our porch sometimes. And several have been open to Ander’s idea for a block party.

Here’s to hoping we can do some serious community building in the face of opposition.

Since there are some things that must be done for us to avoid this fine ($250 minimum, up to $2000 plus an additional $50 each day past May 1 that we don’t “adhere to the prevailing standards”), we are having a yarden work party on Saturday. We’re going to clean up what we can, collect mulch and woodchips, clean out the garage, and whatever other yardening that needs to be done. Feel free to stop by our little hippie house to lend a hand or just to chat. We can’t pay you but there will be beer to drink!

Location: The Farmhouse (470 E. 56th Avenue)
Date: Saturday, April 24
Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

And now some links.

1. Urban seeds promote more genetic diversity and City of Vancouver aids the planet by collecting food scraps—a couple of excellent articles from the Georgia Straight‘s Earth Day issue.

2. Photo gallery: 420 marijuana celebration in Vancouver—a bunch of photos I took at the 420 rally on Tuesday. Yes, I’m an egomaniac. Now go look at my pretty pictures! I also wrote this: Vancouver’s 420 rally sees thousands gather for marijuana. Read it too.

3. Edible Geography—all sorts of interesting facts and history about food in interesting locations.

4. And thanks to the magic of WordPress, I found this blog: Fairview Gardens CSA, a community supported agriculture project in California. The recipes are making me drool right now. Also, they’ve got a killer blog layout ;)

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Oops, missed the links last week. Did anyone notice? The stats for this here blog say … NO. I missed them, though. And I have lots this week!

 

First, a Farmhouse update.

Our intrepid Ander wants to be in a marching band. However, because his ukulele is not quite loud enough to hold its own against the loud brass and drums, he is now the proud owner of a glockenspiel! (Well, technically a portable glock is called a bell lyre.) Made of solid metal, it just needs a strap so Ander can carry it and play at the same time. I’m super excited about it!

 

It looks pretty much like this. Because my camera batteries are dead, I'm stealing, er, borrowing photos from the Internets.

 

Other than that, I really have no idea what’s going on at the house. All I know is that several of the roomies seem to have lives (what’s up with that?) and have been spending days at a time away from the house. Me? I’m a big dork and tend to spend my evenings sitting in my room, watching things like the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice and tweeting about it. That Mr. Darcy, he’s intoxicatingly arrogant.

By the way, if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, do yourself a favour and pick it up. Too funny for words.

 

And now I have scads and scads of links!

 

La Vida Locavore, a blog about sustainable living and local food. Be sure to check out the “Recent Diaries” feed on the right-hand side of the page; lots of good discussion and sharing going on.

 

Hyperlocavore: Billing itself as “A Free Yard Sharing Community”, this site helps connect those desiring to grow food with those who have space. Unfortunately, the Vancouver network isn’t very active. However, on the local level, check out Sharing Backyards, a Vancouver-based network. The Farmhouse isn’t listed (we’re managing our own garden … somehow) but there are lots of people looking for gardens of their own, especially residents in the downtown core.

 

I’m totally stupid for not writing about this before! Fresh Roots is a Vancouver community supported agriculture program happening right now in East Van. You buy in ($650 for 22 weeks) and, beginning in May, you get a box of food every Thursday from a local backyard! Give them a call at 778-862-FARM or visit the site and download the application form. (They’re all super wonderful people, and I’m not just saying that because I know them!)

 

In news: B.C. apple growers are feeling the economic pinch and are only able to sell their produce for 12 cents a pound to wholesalers, which is terrible when you consider it costs 22 cents a pound to grow them in the first place. The arrogance of the headline irks me to no end, though: “B.C. apple growers in crisis. Should we care?”

Um, why is that even a question? The only way we’ll have food security is if we give a damn about where our food is coming from. And that starts by giving local growers all the support we can! (Sense a theme in today’s post?)

 

A recent court case has blocked Home on the Range, a Chilliwack-based farm from distributing raw milk—even thought they are distributing it within the letter of the law, which includes putting labels on the bottles warning against human consumption. The farmowners have until April 19 to appeal the decision.

 

And in more milk news, a recent study has found that if most infants are breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives, nearly a thousand infant deaths could be prevented each year in the United States. To which I say: “NO SHIT”. Seriously, you needed a study to prove that?

The report also highlights that tens of billions of dollars would be saved as well—because obviously it all comes down to money. Oh, and that doesn’t include the money new moms would stop spending on formula.

Is anyone else boggled at how often the solution to the problem is the one that countless people have been using for thousands of years? Want healthy babies? Breastfeed them. Want healthy food? Grow it yourself. Want a non-polluting mode of transport? Walk.

 

Yes, yes. I’m over-simplifying and ranting now. So often this is what happens to me. Maybe I should change my name to MiRANTa? (Har har har.)

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Hey hey, it’s a Tuesday!

 

Let’s start with an incredibly bizarre slant on something near and dear to my heart.

From the New York Times: The Femivore’s Dilemma: “Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place.”

So, women choose to go back to the land to have some autonomy over how and what they eat … and that’s anti-feminist? I also love that the writer—a woman—deigns to call women making the choice to raise chickens “chicks with chicks”. Way to fail.

Among the many problems with this article? The term femivore, which sounds like someone who eats women. (That was pointed out in this article: The Biotic Woman: What the Hell is a Femivore?)

A response to the article: I’m a “femivore” and I’m having a dilemma.

There was a lot of rage in the ol’ blogosphere about this article. If you’ve got time, Google some of the many well thought out responses.

For extra fun, here’s a Globe and Mail article about the same issue, except it focuses on stay-at-home dads.

 

Are ecofriendly products to blame for Vancouver’s unfriendly people? A new study examines how buying green products affects attitudes.

 

An oldie but a goodie: Dr. Gabor Maté takes a look at the Downtown Eastside.

 

Ever wonder about what household objects get up to in their secret lives? Look no further. (The site’s in Russian but the photos need no words.)

 

And if you’ve got time, watch this bad boy!

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This week’s links are full of doom and gloom—and a little funny for good measure.

 

A Deforestation-Based Diet: Seven Foods That Are Destroying the World’s Forests: It’s not just meat. Soy and corn are also big offenders.

 

This blog post made me laugh: Confessions of a former nonvegan. The whole blog is full of lots of funny stuff, too.

 

Hippies are so dangerous, didn’t you know? Police seize copies of Steampunk magazine and kombucha in raid. My favourite part of the article?

At one point a hazmat team in full protective gear was brought in to investigate a jar of kombucha tea fermenting in the basement. Madison claims a JTTF agent shook his head and said, “You guys are just a bunch of hippies!”

And one last article, which discusses poverty tourism. Apparently it’s not all about rich kids full of privilege exploiting misfortune for adventure.

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