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Posts Tagged ‘work party’

(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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Sorry to overwhelm everyone with photos today but I wanted to post some happy ones in the hope they’d cheer me up. I spent hours crying last night and have remained in a foul mood all day, but these pics are full of joy and light. Hope you enjoy and have a beautiful weekend; maybe we’ll see you out on Sunday!

Pretty, pretty yarden.


Things are growing!


This is our wheelbarrow.


Its wheel is the worst.


Oh, hey there onions.


The refurbished fairy altar.


Yes, that cactus's name is Quagmire.


Seriously, please do.


Sara rocks it out.


My double chin and I are way too cool for school.


And now it's Max's turn to play us a tune.


Max and the illusive Sam chill on the steps.


Ander works way harder than I do.


Our yarden has hidden flowers everywhere.


We don't always play guitar. Sometimes we drink beer, too.

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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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So this weekend’s work party was a resounding success! We had five or six people stop by over the course of the day and Ander did a fantastic job educating passerbys on our yarden. We had a bunch of people sign our petition to keep our yard exactly the way it is and we’re so much closer to getting a block party organized!

It was really nice to connect with the neighbours, actually. One told us tales of how people would come by our house with empty strollers and steal our pumpkins. One guy who works as a landscaper was fully in support of us and promised to bring us clean grass clippings, plants from other sites, tools he doesn’t need, and topsoil as well as offering to help fix the tools we have. So much love!

Kiko was a total jerk and did not help at all.

Fun story: The tenants previous to us used to use the front yard as some sort of trash can. I made the champion decision to tackle the one bed we’d never bothered to dig out previously because it’s full of trash. Ander pulled out two baby carriage frames from it weeks ago. I managed to dig out a garden hose, three bags of garbage, a fully-inflated basketball, a used diaper (ewwww), an army man, a plastic Viking figurine, and numerous pens and pencils. Seriously. Disgusting. Who buries trash in their yard when we have a weekly trash collection service?

Max was a champ and not only fixed up the greenhouse and finally (FINALLY!) got all the Christmas lights off the house but he tackled organizing our garage. We have cleaned that bastard out at least six times in the past two years, and yet it magically accumulates stuff. I think there’s some sort of vortex in there which allows for remote garbage dumping for aliens or perhaps time travellers. But it’s more organized now. Just need yet another dump run.

Sara was fantastic as well, hauling woodchips and tackling the out-of-control back beds. The whole yard is really starting to come together!

And … OH GOD we totally terraformed the boulevard. Now it has five nice neat ordered rows for planting. We’re going to put yarrow, flax, borage, and … I can’t remember what else in there. Should be neighbourhood friendly.

I definitely need to spend more time in the garden. I hauled dirt and dug weeds for almost eight hours on Saturday and my poor body is still aching today.

Special thanks to Razan and Erik for playing in the mud with us all day and to Tristan and Lina for bringing us much needed nourishment.

Photos to come whenever Ander gets them to me!

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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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