Posts Tagged ‘abundance’

(Text from Ander!)

There is lots of work to be done, and we’d love your help and company!

Since our boulevard was removed without any notice, and all the dirt put in the front yard … well … let’s just say we can’t get into our front door anymore. All that soil must be sorted and placed onto existing garden beds.

Also, all the city hoopla has caused us to fall behind in our planting schedule. Come dig, plant, and play with soil with us! We are also looking for someone who will come and cook for the hungry workers. Vegetables and other ingredients provided (some improvisation required).

When: Wednesday, May 5 from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. … or whenever we are too tired to work any longer.

Where: The Farmhouse, 470 E. 56th Avenue

Please bring if you can:
-empty wine bottles
-cardboard with low amounts of ink
-a vegetable to contribute to lunch

Thanks, friends! See you there!


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This post brought to you by the colour yellow and the letter kale. Wait, kale's not a letter ...

Our phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people enthusiastic about the garden and wanting to help. We’ve also had many, many curious people just stopping by (or driving by slowly), including a woman earlier in the week who came all the way out from UBC with her little baby on an adventure. So much love.

To that end, we’ve arranged some times that Ander and Sara will be available to give tours, drop off donations, or just talk permaculture. Tour the garden! See the greenhouse! Meet Garden Buddha! Make an offering at the fairy alter! Play with our decrepit cat!

Farmhouse Open House

Friday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Address: 470 E. 56th Avenue (between Fraser and Main)


Here are some supplies we’d love for the garden if anyone has them lying around. Please keep in mind that we do not want money or anything bought new; we’re simply hoping these are things you’re looking to rid yourself of anyway!

Farmhouse Wish List

    • cardboard free of inks and tape
    • woodchips
    • old bricks with which to edge beds
    • a decent wheelbarrow
    • someone with a truck willing to donate a couple of hours of time to collect woodchips and/or go on a dump run (we can supply gas money and dump fees)

Hope to see you there!

Love from the Farmhouse Animals

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This is the yard after this weekend. Still a work in progress but the foundation has been laid.

Anyone down for another work party this weekend?

UPDATE FROM MAX: Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang dropped by because his office has been getting a huge volume of calls about the yarden. He seems very sympathetic and in support. He gave me some business cards to pass on if you guys want to talk to him.

It’s working, it’s working!

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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.


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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So, I’m in the kitchen of the Farmhouse right now with a slowly growing group of cohorts for a night of dinner and music in celebration of the equinox and, you know, life in general. We just talked to our beloved former roomie Caterina, who’s chillin’ out in California right now. Rin’s going to visit her soon-ish and I’m extra jealous. She promised to give the Goose lots of pets for me!

All’s well in Farmhouse land. There are little plantings growing in the yard, despite the horribly unseasonable snow that seems to keep falling in our fair city. Rin planted some mushrooms today (a first for her) and a perfectly timed thunderstorm watered the patch after. I picked some chickweed and corn salad for dinner and it always amazes me that food grows out of the ground. I’m so accustom to foraging for food at the grocery store that when it comes from my own yard, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Miracle in action, obviously.

Mmm, fennel is getting roasted and Margaret has affixed bells to her hat. I see Margaret scooping tahini and Rin is making something; she informs us that she’s just making it up as she goes along. I just show up and eat. I’m also a world-class stirrer.

Alright, it’s time that I stop being an antisocial crab and maybe play some bass? I’ve got a new (and unnamed) acoustic bass to play and many ridiculous songs to sing. Happy equinox!

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This week has been a contrast, weather-wise. On Tuesday, we were definitely in rainy day Farmhouse mode – all of us had the day off, so we sort of wandered from room to room, not quite sure what to do with ourselves. We’d all made plans for the day but the rain was just completely discouraging so we ended up spending most of the day in the kitchen, colouring pictures and eating.

Thursday and Friday, however, were absolutely perfect. I finally managed to get in a day down at Wreck Beach, although the omnipresent police officers were not much of a highlight. The water was cold but there was no way I was taking the hour bus trip to UBC not to splash in the water!

Also this week, Caterina and I put our warpaint on and went dumpster hunting.
ready for the hunt

Our reasoning is that if a security guard sees our face paint, he or she can’t help but be amused with our antics and let us go (wouldn’t you?).

Ander, who took our picture, said, “Look intense! Look fierce!”, which Caterina captured perfectly. However, I had just finished watching two episodes of America’s Next Top Model, so my intensity is all in the eyes.

The dumpster that we went to (good dumpster grounds are highly-regarded secrets) ended up being pretty empty and there was already another diver there who’d gone through and scored whatever was available. However, he was a complete angel and split his haul with us, taking food out of his pack to share.

We are truly, truly blessed.

Today we had a yard sale – not in our yard, which is growing so much every day (I’ll post pictures as soon as I can find Margot and her many cameras!) – but down the street at a friend’s (we are slowly convincing all our friends and loved ones to move to South Vancouver, which is obviously the coolest part of the city). Ever the professionals, we started making signs about 20 minutes before we opened and spent most of the day chasing the dog around, chatting up our neighbours, and relaxing on the back porch.

Tomorrow, we’re going to have a free sale (in hopes of getting rid of all the stuff that didn’t go today), then put whatever doesn’t “sell” into the alley until Tuesday, although that’s no guarantee it’ll go either. A friend recounted a story for us today about these four fairly-new tires he had but he couldn’t use, so he stuck them in his back lane with a sign that read “FREE”. The tires sat there for a month and a half. Then he put up a sign that read “$20!” and they were gone in a week. Are people just naturally distrusting of items to which people won’t attach a dollar value?

Then again, we’ve been burned by free stuff lots before. I always find myself playing the game, “Why Was It Free?” whether I want to or not! This game often strikes with clothing at our house. You’ll find a great skirt in the Free Box with nothing obviously wrong with it, but you’ll put it on and the zipper’s busted, or there’s a stain that won’t come out, or it bunches up when you walk.

With that in mind, free sale this Sunday down the street from the Farmhouse! Lots of adorable clothes! Old economics textbooks, bike frames, and a coffee maker which may or may not work.

Alright, I think it’s time to curl up in my nice, cool basement room and rub some nice, cool aloe on my very sunburnt shoulders. There are definitely yard sale photos to come (everyone had lots of fun dressing up with our hippie gear) but it seems Ander and his camera have disappeared as well …

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Beans are looking happy happy.Greetings Farmhouse Family!

As the days get longer and the garden starts growing, the time has come for the official launch of the Farmhouse Farm home delivery program! From our little urban yard, we are exploring how we can build a local food and economic system that keeps the abundance within our community.

I’ll be doing a weekly delivery — bike delivered, no fossil fuels required :) It will be a selection of what I’m growing at the time, focussing on things to be eaten fresh. I can guarantee that you’ll always have salad, edible flowers, fresh herbs, and hard greens like kale, cabbage, mustard, etc. The rest will be a selection of veggies that can be enjoyed cooked or not, trying to get the greatest variety possible in each season. We’ll start in June with several varieties of radishes, beets, baby carrots, snap peas and shelling peas, and as the summer progresses we’ll see fava beans, pole beans, tomatoes, summer squashes, fennel, watercress, and into the fall our winter squashes and full-season cabbages, root crops, and cool season beans and peas. I’ll also be including seasonal wildcrafted items as they become available, especially blackberries! Lastly, each box will also have a special surprise that will be different each time, but always organic, wheat-free, vegan, and made with love. It might be cookies, jam, preserves, sauces, home-made bread… who knows what the gods of abundance will provide!

The charge is $35.00 per week, June 1st to Hallowe’en, That works out to just $600 a year to keep you in fresh organic veggies, as local as it gets without getting the dirt under your nails! In addition, we’ll also be doing periodic market days during the low season, and I’m hoping by next year to be able to offer the box eight months of the year.

There are 3 boxes left that are yet to be claimed, so if you’re interested drop me a line. I’m also totally open to folks splitting a box and having the delivery split between two houses on alternating weeks or any other arrangement that makes it work for everyone — let’s get creative!!

Questions and ideas are welcome. Can’t wait to hear from you!

love and light,

Email farmhousefarm [at] gmail [dot] com for more information or to sign up.

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