The Summer Issue
GARDENING & OUTDOOR LIVING
OUR FRESH NEW LOOK
Sandwiches for the perfect al fresco meal Get to know Coriander Girl A luxe green home
PUREGREEN • issue 5/summer 2011 1 | PUREGREEN • issue 5/summer 2011
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AN EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION by Jonathan MacKay
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TABLE of Contents IN EVERY ISSUE 7 EDITOR’S LETTER 8 CONTRIBUTORS The PGM Team 14
CURRENT EVENTS Eco events across the country.
INSPIRED LIVING Produced by Michelle Carangi Eco style finds for gardening & outdoor living.
BEFORE & AFTER By Kirsten Grove Bespoke wicker.
HOMESTEAD - The Crackers Column By Jesse & Melanie Senko A close look at one family’s choice to explore slow food.
102 ECO-LOGICAL By Charles Nock A look at what’s happening with honeybees. 104
IN THE BAG Get inside our Editor in Chief ’s purse and see what eco accessories she can’t live without!
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WORK & PLAY By Celine & Jonathan MacKay A quick and stylish do-it-yourself potting bench.
SUGAR FROM SUNSHINE Featuring Beckly Devlin A inside chat with an organic flower grower.
REAL LIFE RENO Featuring John & Patsy Bell A Toronto couple takes on an extensive green reno.
DEPARTMENTS STYLE & HOME 21 VINTAGE By Hindsvik Vintage A guide to plant styling using vintage vessels. 24 DIY By Rikkianne VanKirk Create plants markers with unexpected materials. 26
PRACTICALLY ECO Products & Tips for green living.
28 WORKPLACE Get to know popular Toronto florist Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl. 44
THE NEW GARDEN PARTY By Kate Black Make your own fashion traditions.
SEAT BY THE WINDOW By Conrad Buck Cancel your appointments - fashion picks for the leisurely man.
HOME FEATURE By Celine MacKay A historical property gets an energy efficient, luxury update.
ORGANIC KITCHEN 76 THE SANDWICH ISSUE By Jonathan MacKay Invite Summer to the table with these delectable sandwiches.
STONE CREEK CAMP By Petra Boykoff A Montana property that takes your breath away.
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Our new section icons, created by Bess, our illustrious illustrator, help you identify items at a glance.
ECO-LOGICAL Items for living green.
Editor In Chief............................................ Celine MacKay Creative Director of Photography..... Erin Monett Style Director............................................. Michelle Carangi Design Director......................................... Anile Prakash
DESTINATION Places to visit.
Illustrator..................................................... Bess Callard Food ........................................................... Jonathan MacKay
FOOD Eat organically!
Editorial....................................................... Kate Black Kirsten Grove Rikkianne VanKirk Petra Boykoff Jesse & Melanie Senko Copy Editor................................................ Erica Midkiff
STYLE Eco is very stylish!
For general inquiries about Pure Green Magazine please call 705-783-6844 or email email@example.com For advertising in Pure Green Magazine please call 705-783-6844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CURRENT EVENTS A selection of eco events within Canada.
HOMELIFE Chic green interiors.
WORKPLACE A look inside green businesses.
6 | PUREGREEN â€˘ issue 5/summer 2011
For submissions please email submissions@ puregreenmag.com. Please note that all applications will be included at our discretion only. Pure Green Magazine is published 4 times per year. All material is unique to Pure Green Magazine. We welcome you to quote us or use our images, however Pure Green Magazine must be credited. Pure Green Magazine Head Office is located at 8 Crescent Road, Unit B2, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, P1H 0B3.
As this issue comes full circle, I am overwhelmed by one thing: gratitude. The journey I and the Pure Green Mag team have undertaken has been quite an adventure, and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support structure behind me - a heartfelt thanks to all who have had a hand in creating this issue! Starting with this issue, our special ‘re-launch’ - you will notice quite a few new features! A new logo and style, new faces, columns and more. We’ve put careful consideration into every single word and function - we hope you like it. Your patience these past few months as we have been recreating ourselves has been very much appreciated. We’ve also been polling our subscribers and have listened! You’ve asked for more tips and knowledge on how to live green - you’ll find columns such as EcoLogical and Practically Eco that are dedicated to just that, along with tidbits of information throughout the magazine. And, of course, Pure Green wouldn’t be complete without a giant dose of eco style. This issue we’re talking gardening and outdoor living. I hope you’ll gather inspiration from the following pages my surroundings are exactly what inspire me! Each time I go for a walk I’m in a constant state of awe - where I live the apple trees are in full bloom right now and serve as constant reminders to never stop admiring the beauty in nature. It sparks in me such passion and strong will to help protect and conserve, which I hope translates to you within these pages in ways that are uplifting, casual, lighthearted and fun. Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl, our Workplace Feature (p.28) is exactly that - we had such a blast shooting with her (see photo at left)! Of course, part of appreciating your surroundings is to share it with others - be sure to check out our food editor Jonathan’s Organic Kitchen this issue (p.76) - he’s created delicious sandwich recipes that are begging to be shared. Each recipe creates meals for 4, so grab some friends and get started! Take the opportunity to rediscover your local farmer’s markets - ‘tis the season to enjoy locally produced good eats! With that, turn the page! Enjoy - and thank you for reading Pure Green.
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CONTRIBUTORS Hey, PURE GREEN team,
“What does living green mean to you?” Anile Prakash
“To me, living green means making the effort (within your means) to be respectful of what you’re taking and of what you’re giving back - whether it’s with food, products, or lifestyle.”
“To me, living green means respecting and loving your environment. At home we take small steps to do what we can; recycling, hanging laundry outside in the summer, making green choices at the market, cleaning with eco-friendly products, etc... ”
“Living green boils down to respect. Respect for one’s health and quality of life, and respect for all the earth and creation.”
“I believe that living green is acknowledging every single choice, big or small, that you make on a daily basis that will undoubtedly improve our environment.”
”Those who doubt one person can make a difference have never spent the night in a tent with a mosquito” - Source unknown.
“Living green means remaining conscious of what is happening in the world around us, and taking what steps (small and large) we can take to preserve the resources we have.”
PHOTOGRAPHER/ CREATIVE DIRECTOR
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“This season, I took out all of my spring/summer clothes and made my own ‘capsule collection’ by pulling together ten essential pieces that are the mainstays of my SS11 wardrobe, which helped me rediscover forgotten items.”
Jesse & Melanie Senko COLUMNISTS
BEFORE & AFTER “For me its not being wasteful with what we have been given. I am trying to teach my kids to use exactly what they need and no more. It sometimes feels like baby steps, teaching your kids to be kind to our planet but everything helps!.”
“Ever since our kids were born we've become more conscious of where our food comes from, how it's made, and what's in it. We're not on a "year out of the supermarket" stunt or anything like that. We're trying to make a slow, permanent shift in how we eat.”
“We live in a fast-paced, throw-away world. Living green causes us to slow down a little bit and forces us to ask ourselves questions about the materials, process, and possible future uses. I learn something new every single day.”
“For me, living a more natural and less consumption driven lifestyle is the best way to be green.”
“I do my best day to day, from buying local food where possible, consuming less energy at home, choosing quality items that are built to last, supporting local businesses, and always remembering those three R’s.”
Charles Nock, Ph.D
“For me, living green is rooted in my passion for ecology and ecosystems; the understanding that human beings are a part of a network which we depend on for survival.”
“Recycling in any form extends the life of a resource. Buying vintage not only lends a cool factor to your home, you’re also helping the Earth and extending the history of an object.”
Conrad Buck STYLE
“The provenance and ethics surrounding a product has always been at the forefront of my mind when making any purchasing decisions for our home and especially for our children.”
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build,decorate, live...green. Products you can trust.
PLAY PRODUCED by Céline & Jonathan MacKay PHOTOGRAPHED by Erin Monett SPECIAL THANKS to Jack Fice of Kimberley Jackson
As the days start to warm and you look to decorate your patio with potted blooms, how often do you find yourself looking for the perfect place to work? We took an old, discarded door and created the perfect bench in less than an hour! Read on to learn how to make a potting bench for yourself.
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PUREGREEN • style
“An old, discarded door creates the perfect work bench.”
UPCYCLE AN OLD DISCARDED DOOR, creates the perfect work bench. The antique details make it a style statement as well as functional. If using wooden sawhorses you will be able to attach the door from beneath using long screws. If you opt to commission metal legs, have the welder pre-drill holes for you. You will need to apply an acrylic based clear coat to the metal to keep it from rusting.
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WE COMMISSIONED Kimberley Jackson to create metal sawhorses but painted wood versions would do the trick too! We recommend AFM Safecoat’s exterior paint for a high quality, non-toxic protective coating.
WATERWORKS WE CREATED A VERY SIMPLE plumbing arrangement - use an old bucket as your ‘sink’ (in this case we’ve used a retired sap bucket). Using it as a template, draw an outline on the door. Carefully use a jigsaw to cut the hole for the bucket, remembering to cut the hole slightly smaller than your outline (if you aren’t experienced with power saws, be sure to seek out some help). This simple tap has been fitted in order to screw a hose beneath the workbench. And, voila! Instant running water. Beware - this arrangement has no drain so the bucket must be emptied by hand!
We opted for easy to source pieces, like this tap from a local hardware store.
SOURCES Sawhorses, Door, Sap Bucket, Vintage Ice Chest, Green Painted Bench Kimberley Jackson PURE GREEN’S EDITOR-INCHIEF, Celine MacKay, takes five.
Vintage Radio, Crates, Vintage Tin, The Antique Cellar Plants, Sandhill Nursery
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ECO-EVENTS OUT & ABOUT
What’s happening in your neck of the woods CONTRIBUTORS: Celine MacKay, Bess Callard, Lesley Stenning
MONTREAL Marché Atwater, 138 Atwater M,T,W 7am - 6pm, Th, F 7am - 8pm, Sa, Su 7am - 5pm, Open year round Marché Jean-Talon, 7070 Henri-Julien M,T,W, Sa 7am - 6pm, Th, F 7am - 8pm, Su 7am - 5pm , Open year round Marché Maisonneuve, 4445 Ontario E. M,T,W, Sa 7am - 6pm, Th, F 7am - 8pm, Su 7am - 5pm, Open year round
VANCOUVER East Vancouver, Trout Lake Park Saturdays 9am-2pm, May - October West End, 1100 block Comox Street Saturdays 9am - 2pm, June - October
Marché de Lachine, 1865 Notre-Dame, Montreal M,T,W, Sa 7am - 6pm, Th, F 7am - 8pm, Su 7am - 5pm Open year round ENTRY: FREE
Kitsilano, 10th Avenue + Larch Street Sundays 10am- 2pm, May - October Main Street Station, Thornton Park. Wednesdays 3pm- 7pm, June - October ENTRY: FREE
TORONTO Evergreen BrickWorks, Arnell Plaza Thursdays 8am - 2pm, May - October South End, Distillery District, Sundays 10am-5pm, June - October St. Lawrence Market, Jarvis + Front St. Saturdays 5am -5pm, Year Round ENTRY: FREE
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VANCOUVER IVORY VINTAGE MARKET Saturday, June 25, 9am - 4pm Elgin Hall, 14250 Crescent Road, South Surrey www.ivoryvintage.com ENTRY: FREE Local duo Michelle Baldwin and Maureen Funk have defined their vision for the 2011 Ivory Vintage Market by focusing on vintage, handmade, and eco-friendly businesses. A diverse group of local vendors have been chosen to reflect their ideals of conscious living, sustainable business practices, and a passion for the earth. Come out to support local artists + designers, and find unique and one-of-a-kind handmade, repurposed, and vintage items.
CHRISTIE ANTIQUE MARKET
CONSCIOUS FOOD FESTIVAL
May 28 and September 10, 8am - 5pm Christie Conservation Area, Dundas, Ontario. 1000 Hwy 5, West
Saturday, August 13, 11am - 8pm Sunday, August 14, 11am - 6pm Fort York National Historic Site, Toronto
ENTRY: $15 in advance, $20 at the gate
One of Canada’s largest and wellattended antique markets.
VANCOUVER FEAST OF FIELDS Three dates + locations: Okanagan Feast, Naramata BC. Sunday, August 21, 1pm - 5pm Lower Mainland Feast, Krause Berry Farm in Langley BC. Sunday, September 11, 1pm - 5pm Vancouver Island Feast, exact location tba. Sunday, Sept. 18, 1pm - 5pm.
The inaugural Conscious Food Festival will bring together thousands of city dwellers and rural neighbours to experience an extraordinary range of activities highlighting the connection between our plate and the planet. It will feature tastings, chef and farmer demonstrations, live music, open forums, interactive exhibits and seminars on food values, social justice and the environment. Enjoy vendors from retail food products,produce/ markets, wine, beer, chefs, restaurants and more!
MONTREAL FINNEGAN’S MARKET Every Saturday, 9am - 4pm 775 Main Road, Hudson, QC May - October www.finnegansmarket.com ENTRY: FREE Finnegan’s is Hudson’s flea market situated in the west end of town in the fields of the Aird’s farm. The Aird’s started it over 25 years ago and named it after their dog, Finnegan, since it was to be a “flea” market. Since then it has grown to include antiques and many handicrafts and has spread to encompass the whole field beside the Aird’s house and barns.
ENTRY: $85 per person (Tickets go on sale on June 1, 2011, for all locations)
Enjoy fabulous food + wine at this gourmet wandering harvest festival. Get ready to celebrate the very best that BC has to offer, from top chefs serving signature dishes made with locally grown food, to fine vintners and brewers showcasing the best of their beverages. Feast of Fields is the annual fund-raising event for Farm Folk, City Folk, a Vancouver nonprofit organization striving to make connections between local farms and restaurants, with an eye towards sustainability for the future of our local food system.
Saturday, August 13, 11am - 8pm TOHU’s Public Square , Montreal ENTRY: FREE The Fête Éco-Bio is one of the largest organic/eco-friendly events in Canada. This large, popular gathering, which promotes a new organic, environmentally oriented culture, turns La TOHU’s Public Square into an enormous, festive outdoor fair. Visitors will find a wealth of information about various environmental solutions and the latest green technologies. You can also buy delicious local organic products directly from the growers and producers. Highlights include a farmyard, an organic bistro, and organic food tastings!
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DIG IN THE DIRT
Style picks for the eco gardener PRODUCED by Michelle Carangi
RUBBER SOLE Go ahead and splash into that puddle with the Chantebelle POP boot, handcrafted with high quality natural rubber - a fantastic renewable resource.
READY, SET, WEED Go vintage with this hand cultivator and weeding fork set, perfect for removing those stubborn dandelions. $14, Sugarpush on Etsy
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JUG HEAD Turn any old jug or bottle into a watering can with this sleek reusable adaptor.
ALL TIED-UP Rummage aroun patch in style wi kind garden apr
$22, The Balcony Gardener
nd the vegetable ith this one-of-aron made from.
HANG BACK Gather your vegetables or wildflowers with this practical oversized basket.
NEWSWORTHY Use recycled newspaper and this nifty tool to roll plantable seedling pots
$125, BrookFarm General Store
A CUT ABOVE These elegant scissors are made by one of the worldâ€™s oldest existing companies, a Chinese knife company founded in 1663. $12, BrookFarm General Store
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TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Edited style picks for the eco gardener PRODUCED by Michelle Carangi
FOR THE BIRDS A fun solar birdhouse from Oooms ($95) paired with natural, high-energy birdseed (that just so happens to come in adorable packaging) from All Season’s and the birds will be happily singing your praises! $26 for 10lb, All Season’s Wild Bird Store
PRIME PATIO Create fun focal points and conversation pieces with Lana from Woolly Pocket’s new Island Collection and with German designer Jette Scheib’s new take on the recycled wine bottle which has us head over heels for candles. $36, Woolly Pocket $60, Uncommon Goods
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1 100% Organic Napkins, $24 for 4, Schoolyard 2 Hanging Terrariums, $56 each, Pigeon Toe Ceramics 3 RCI Rain Collector, #365, Hero 365
Best in summer seating Relaxing in your garden has never
felt so rewarding and looked this
LOUNGING AROUND WITH A CAUSE Add a graphic punch of super-saturated colour with Fermob’s Alizé sunlounger, or go English traditional with Vancouver’s own Gallant & Jones Deck Chair. $195, Gallant & Jones
BENCHMARK Go for modern minimalism with this handcrafted cast concrete and reclaimed redwood bench, created by NYC’s Pete Oyler. Price not available, Pete Oyler
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BEFORE & AFTER
A Summer garden seating makeover
PRODUCED by Kirsten Grove
“I THRIFTED THIS WICKER CHAIR A FEW YEARS AGO AND IT HAS BEEN IN THE CORNER OF MY BEDROOM EVER SINCE. This year, as Summer comes, I needed a garden chair so I painted the chair in a celadon green with a gray stripe on the side. The chair is quite whimsical and the colors modernize it. I can now use it for seating or to display pots.”
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with vintage celebrities
There are so many creative ways to display plants and flowers without using the traditional clear glass vase or department store planters. On the following pages youâ€™ll find some of our favourite non-traditional vintage or antique objects, doubling as planters or vases! WRITTEN AND PRODUCED by Daniel & Valeria of Hindsvik
PUREGREEN â€˘ style
LABWARE Vintage medicinal bottles are good for holding long stemmed plants or flowers and look great in clusters! Each one is different so they create an interesting look when grouped together.
looks GREAT in clusters!
Vintage Labware is also great for holding flowers. A great idea is to hold wildflowers in test tubes for a unique look like these test tubes and stamp carousel shown here.
22 | PUREGREEN â€˘ issue 5/summer 2011
CRATE IT Another favourite idea of ours is using vintage crates and boxes for potting plants. Greenery always looks great with aged woods and they can be used both indoors and out!
Antique maple syrup buckets make great planters or florist buckets. You can sometimes spot them in antique shops and the really old ones have a great time-worn patina and lots of character!
If all else fails, a classic VINTAGE VASE or PLANTER can always save the day and get you in the mood for Spring!
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DIYDIY PLANT PLANTMARKERS MARKERS
Re-use paint markers swatches using in the paint gardensamples Make plant PRODUCED by Rikkianne VanKirk Contributors: Celine MacKay
MARK YOUR GARDEN BY REUSING PAINT SAMPLE BOOKLETS AND CERAMIC TILES. From Spicy Banana Pepper Yellow to Endive Green, searching for titles for your flowers and vegetables is easy and a lot of fun when reusing paint sample booklets. The samples placed on ceramic tiles make a colorful, reusable, and functional accent to any summer garden. MATERIALS PAINT SAMPLE BOOKLETS Found at your local paint shop / hardware store. WHITE CERAMIC TILES 2 sizes (6”x 2” and 6”x .75”) DECOUPAGE GLUE PAINTBRUSH SCISSORS DIRECTIONS
1 Gather booklets and cut out desired titles. 2 Use a paintbrush to apply glue to the back of color samples. A thin layer will do. Place on top of tile. Let glue dry completely.
3 Once glue has dried, use the paintbrush to apply a layer of glue on top of the sample. Brush glue directly over the sample and around the tile.
4 Let first layer dry completely and brush 5 more layers of glue over the color sample. The extra layers will protect the color sample from garden watering and moisture. Be sure to let each layer dry completely before adding another. The glue can become uneven if the layers are not fully dry.
5 Once tiles are layered and completely dry, they are ready to use. Place them in the garden or wrap with twine and give as a gift.
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PRACTICALLY ECO TIPS, PRODUCTS & IDEAS for GREEN LIVING
GREEN your YARD
WHILE WE’RE HUGE PROPONENTS OF RECYCLING, it can be messy and not everyone enjoys a bright blue bin on their doorstep. Enter Alana Charles, the entrepreneur behind Toronto company Ubisu, which specializes in compartmentalizing recycling containers. Available in single, double or triple units, Ubisu’s flagship product, the Urbin, can stylishly stash your recyclables until collection day.
1. RECYCLE Need to update your fence? Keep the old boards, cut them lengthwise into smaller pieces and use horizontally to build screens or a garden trellis.
with landscape architect SANDER FREEDMAN
2. ABSORB Use permeable surfaces such as gravel, river rock, or screenings so water drains into the ground and down into the ground table. 3. DOWNSPOUT DISCONNECTION Prevents water going into municipal storm sewers. Use a rain barrel instead! 4. GRASS ALTERNATIVES Use hardy ground covers to replace grass so that no mowing is required, which reduce maintenance and emissions! 5. NATIVE PLANTS Use a variety of plants, preferably native, biodiversity and wildlife.
innovation WE THINK THIS IS PRETTY NEAT! Ecologic Brands, a San Francisco Bay Area company has created the revolutionary eco-bottle and has partnered with Seventh Generation to make laundry detergent green, and not just what’s inside! What is it? A new cardboard bottle (made from recycled cardboard and newspaper) that in turn holds a thin plastic pouch filled with the laundry detergent, reducing the amount of plastic used by a whopping 66%. HDPE plastic bottles that commonly hold household cleaners take 500 years to decompose. Ecologic bottles are fully recyclable - the cardboard exterior can be recycled or composted. The bottle itself then breaks open to free the plastic pouch, which is easily recyclable as well. Genius! Visit ecologicbrands.com to find a supplier near you.
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HOT off the press
guerilla gardening IF YOUR BUS STOP IS LOOKING MORE LIKE A DUST BOWL THAN A GREEN SPACE, you’ll enjoy the GreenAid seed bomb by Common Studio. You may have heard talk of the very rebel-esque phenomenon known as guerilla gardening, but if you’re still not too sure what the buzz is about, here’s the skinny.
EVER WONDERED HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LAUNDRY DETERGENT? How about brush your teeth with a stick? From mundane to wacky, whatever your task, this book covers it from the moment it landed on our desk, we were hooked. Each tutorial is written with the personal touch of experience so you can be sure the recipes work, and yes, they are practical, and yes, they will save you money! Authors Kelly and Erik truly live the lifestyle, cutting most if not all pre-packaged, consumer driven products out of their daily routine. If such a thought leaves you feeling overwhelmed or already begging off due to lack of time, rest assured. We loved that the book was broken down into handy sections - weekly and monthly - helping you stay organized and on task. Before you know it, you just might be scattering chicken feed round the yard!
WHAT IS IT?
A seed bomb is made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds and are a great way to combat the many forgotten grey spaces you encounter everyday.
HOW TO USE
Just toss it! Once deployed, a seed bomb will sprout in a few short days after exposure to a little sunshine and water. Common Studio even has an iPhone app that allows you to track the progress of your seed bombing and build an online community via interactive maps.
$10.99/10 pack GreenAid.co
ABOUT THE AUTHORS KELLY COYNE and ERIK KNUTZEN grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/12-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead, which the New York Times calls “…the contemporary bible on the subject.” $19.99 US | $22.99 CAN, Rodale Books
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CORIANDER GIRL featuring Alison Westlake
INTERVIEW by Celine MacKay PHOTOGRAPHED by Erin Monett
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A flower shop in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood uses locally produced flowers with a decidedly vintage flair. FROM OUR CONVERSATIONS, IT SEEMED AS THOUGH YOUR CHILDHOOD PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN SCULPTING YOUR CURRENT LIFE, IN PARTICULAR THE FARM. TELL US A BIT ABOUT THAT. I was really fortunate growing up to have the best of both worlds (farm life and city life) as my dad was in Toronto, and he would pick us up every weekend and bring us to “the big city.” The city was—and continues to be—so magical for me. I love cities. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I really began a love affair with the country. Storming out of the house, running up and over the hill, yelling at the moon—nature played an integral part in my development. I’d walk the fields for hours, longing over my high school crushes and dreaming about my life as a grown-up. I call them my “Anne of Green Gables years.” I’d wear flowy dresses and pick flowers and time my Walkman music just right for when I reached the precipice overlooking the land below. It’s not a coincidence I later became an actress. See below. YOU ALSO LET SLIP THAT YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN ACTING. (WHICH IS PARTLY WHY YOU WERE SUCH A PLEASURE TO PHOTOGRAPH!) WE’RE DYING TO GET A LITTLE INSIDER’S SCOOP ON THAT! Acting…let’s see, I pursued a career in acting pretty much straight after high school, taking an acting program at George Brown College, and I also worked for a landscape design company—this is where my flower affair began, but got put on hold as the acting career “bloomed” instead. After yet another wonderful program at Humber College, I worked for a good while, landing the occasional commercial and one- or two-day player roles on Canadian TV shows; my most favorite: Nurse #2 on a pretty awesome dramedy. And a hilarious Captain Morgan rum commercial for Halloween: I was “Pumpkin Spice.” The director actually had to stop filming twice and yell, “Pumpkin! If we see your ass in this shot one more time, it’s gonna cost us ten grand in film footage!” It wasn’t my fault! They put me in an orange hoop skirt that barely covered it! Being an actor isn’t something I once did, it’s still a part of me and I’ll definitely pursue theatre again in the future, but film-and TV-land is questionable; it didn’t make me feel very good about myself as it’s all so superficial. I needed something more grounding; I’m definitely a healthier, happier person when I’m nose-deep in delicious blossoms.
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PUREGREEN • workplace
I remember thinking in my early twenties, “one day I’ll have a floral boutique with gifts and antiques.”
WHEN DID FLOWERS BECOME AN INTEREST? I mentioned I worked for a landscaping business in college, so perhaps it really began there, or even further back on the farm—I really just loved flowers from a gardener’s perspective. I planted them, I harvested them, I grouped them together in lovely little vignettes at home. I remember thinking in my early twenties, “One day I’ll have a floral boutique with gifts and antiques.” I’d been inspired by shops in New York and a few favorites around Toronto. I’ve never worked well for others and knew I’d be a business owner at some point. I thought it would happen in my 40s when the acting career started to fade, but things don’t always go as planned. It can be so much more exciting when you scrap your original plans! WHY CORIANDER GIRL? (WE LOVE IT!) The name for me was almost the most important element. As I was dreaming it all and planning and picturing the end result, the name was so huge for me. Long ago, I’d thought about Coriander, as it was my favorite herb and thought it would represent a home and garden store with cut flowers very well. It wasn’t personal enough though and the minute I added “girl,” I pretty much freaked out and shook as I went to register the name because once you know, you know. Another reason I loved it so was that coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, and I saw that as a lovely metaphor for the idea and that idea being a tiny seed that just needed a little lovin’.
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“My job is essentially SPREADING LOVE.”
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PUREGREEN • workplace WHEN ASKED ABOUT HOW YOU BEGAN WORKING WITH FLOWERS, YOU TOLD ME A CHARMING STORY ABOUT HOW YOU OPENED A SHOP AND PANICKED BECAUSE PEOPLE THOUGHT YOU WERE A FLORIST! YOU’VE EMBRACED THAT TITLE NOW, CREATING FLOWERS THAT ARE UNIQUE AND DISTINCTLY “CORIANDER GIRL.” I’M ALWAYS DRAWN TO PEOPLE WHO DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING THEY LOVE AND BECAME A SUCCESS. DO YOU MIND SHARING A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES OPENING A SHOP AND STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? It’s totally true, and I can admit it because I’ve officially graduated from the school of hard knocks. When I decided to open my little shop of flowers, antiques, and gifts, I had planned on doing the occasional arrangement for a walkin or maybe a couple of small dinner-party type events. I even recall saying, “I don’t think I’ll do weddings; they seem a bit stressful.” Ha! I just booked wedding number 40 for this summer and I can’t believe how blessed I am. Stressed? I can think of a few other appropriate adjectives. Yes, happy and delighted, you guessed them. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT MAKES CORIANDER GIRL UNIQUE? I think it’s unique because it’s me; I’m the “girl” in Coriander Girl, and I’m a little different—those who know me will agree. Anyone can sell antiques and flowers and plants and cards; what makes a shop unique is the personality behind the product. I have dance parties to relieve stress on a regular basis, I blog about my dear fiancée and our darling rabbit, I’ve got the Coriander Dad by my side showing up with sangria for me and the girls when we’re pushing eight hours on a wedding prep (and he even takes the garbage away)! I’ve got incredible support from my amazing Parkdale community, neighborhood friends popping in to say hello regularly. I wanted Coriander Girl to be a stop on your pleasure journey. That’s all it ever has to be. DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WHEN WORKING ON A FLOWER ARRANGEMENT. I’m not a religious woman but some days, there is a higher power working through me. And other days, I should have stayed in bed. WE LOVE YOUR “CORIANDER GIRL” SUGGESTIONS FOR GIFTING A BOUQUET. IS THERE A STORY THERE? Let’s just say I may have been on the receiving end of one or two, possibly three of these bouquets in one or two of my former relationships.
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WHAT FUELED YOUR DECISION TO USE ONLY LOCALLY PRODUCED FLOWERS? IN YOUR WORDS, WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? Gosh, this is huge for me—let me get my soap box. When you buy from a company that doesn’t care where they buy their flowers from, you might be buying from a farm that employs young kids with no laws protecting them, women who are often mentally and physically abused on the job, flowers grown in warehouses no longer producing scent because there are no bees to attract as well as incredibly toxic pesticides, dips and sprays that you should not be inhaling as you bury your nose into that giant grocery store bouquet. Truthfully, it can be hard to maintain buying local in winter months, as it isn’t always a priority for the suppliers. Thanks to companies like My Luscious Backyard, Eco Flora, and eco|stems, people are becoming more aware of the importance of buying local flowers; it’s just as important as the food we eat.
“I’m definitely a healthier, happier person when I’m nose deep in delicious blossoms.”
FAVOURITE FLOWERS THIS SEASON? Oh goodness, this is like asking a mother which child is her favorite. I love them all so much but what I can tell you is that ranunculus is very charming and is getting along really well with others; lisianthus is surprisingly independent, and (I think) can be left on her own; and hyacinth too, she can really light up a room. WE ALSO LOVE THAT VINTAGE IS AS MUCH A PART OF YOUR SHOP AS THE FLOWERS. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION? With so much great vintage love out there, I don’t want to be a shop full of glassware made in China. Growing up on a farm, we put flowers in everything from sap buckets to rubber boots. It’s what I know. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? I love that I still hand deliver bouquets, and when I hand a person their flowers and they really look at the flowers, I’m overcome with gratitude. My job is essentially spreading love. After a really stressful day, the kind where a dance can’t even shake it off, I do a delivery for someone, and if it goes relatively smoothly—that means not getting stuck in an elevator or having my car towed—everything is right again in the world.
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YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED THIS SUMMER AT YOUR PARENTS’ FARM. WE’RE SURE IT WILL BE WONDERFULLY PICTURESQUE! ARE YOU GOING TO MODEL IT AFTER CORIANDER GIRL AND PLAN A LOCALLY SOURCED, ECO-FRIENDLY EVENT? WHAT’S TOPPING YOUR LIST OF MUST-HAVES RIGHT NOW? It is important for me to use local when possible. The wedding is no exception. People can expect to eat local county fare, organic fruits and veggies from my mom’s garden; our caterer out of Peterborough BE Catering was really open to working with us on that. We’re going with the loveliest tent rental company out of Belleville, Thompson Tents, and our officiant is a local gal too. The Merrill Inn in Picton will sleep many of our guests and possibly supply a delicious cider for the event, and I’m thinking of inviting the old guy who plays his violin outside the grocery store there to join my friends who are coming to play music. Our only imports are the photographers Joseph + Jaime from the city, because they’re amazing; Jeremiah Hill, our awesome videographer; and our great DJ, Brandon Corke, will be imported as well. I think in this regard imports are just fine! I want to include as many people in our day as I can, because it’s so great to be surrounded by things you love on your wedding day—so treats from Yummy Stuff bakery across the street from Coriander Girl, cookies from Elm Hill Cookies in Oakville will be there, and pies from Madeleines, Cherry Pie and Ice Cream will be there too! The (amazing) Sassy Lamb will also do up some cupcake pops for the event. Can you tell I like dessert? It’s going to be one heck of a country shindig. WHAT’S NEXT FOR CORIANDER GIRL? Oh lady, have I got plans. But what I’m learning is to actually stop and enjoy the moment, where I am in business right now. I’ve got so many ideas I’d love to implement, and the business is also telling me what it needs. You can expect to see some DIY bridal workshops and other flower classes. Sarah from My Luscious Backyard will be partnering with Coriander Girl for some exciting future projects. And world domination isn’t that far away.
continue reading for CORIANDER GIRL’S guide to creating the
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PUREGREEN • workplace
Creating the perfect posy... 1
The best way to make a dear posy is to work with the breaks off a large stem. Most people discard these breaks, but not me! I use every bit! If you’re making larger arrangements for around the house, wait to make your small posies from all the shorter stems you’ve gathered in the sink and the smaller little blooms the better. There isn’t really a method to my madness, I just clip and gather, much like if I was in the garden collecting stems for a favourite kitchen vase.
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by Coriander Girl I think if you’re planning where the next bloom should go, it’s dangerously close to looking contrived - and we don’t want that!
Don’t over-think it, feel it! Get a little crazy! Throw caution to the wind! Channel your inner Van Gogh but watch out for those scissors! We want magic to happen in that vase without losing an ear or a finger!
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SUNSHINE We caught up with Becky Devlin, owner of Roost, an organic flower producer from Virgina Beach. Cut flowers have a special place in our homes, from brightening up a dreary corner, cheering up a friend or simply bringing the outdoors in. While we’ve all considered the reasons for eating organic food, that thought may not have extended to your bouquet. Becky tells PGM why.
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO AT ROOST: I am an organic flower farmer and floral designer. I grow over 100 varieties of fresh cut flowers in our 1/4 acre cutting garden that is located on a large, organic vegetable farm in Virginia Beach. I sell seasonal bouquets through my Flower Shares subscription program, provide floral designs for weddings and events as well as give floral design workshops. HOW DID YOU BECOME A FLOWER GROWER: I started gardening and became obsessed with growing flowers. I had an art and design background so I filled my garden with every shape, color and texture I could find. When the plants started blooming I was surprised to find that I enjoyed cutting the flowers and designing with them as much as I loved growing them. My parents had a large field on their property that I was able to use and I started flower farming. YOUR FLOWERS ARE CERTIFIED ORGANIC. CONSUMERS ARE EDUCATED ABOUT ORGANIC FOOD, BUT DON’T NECESSARILY APPLY THAT THINKING TO THEIR BOUQUETS. WHY SHOULD THAT CHANGE: I think the slow food movement is driven by consumers’ concern for both their health and the environment. Very few people are truly aware of the negative impact that conventional, commercial growing has on the environment, so the “slow flower” movement has been much slower to catch on.
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PUREGREEN • special feature
When the plants start
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WHAT ARE FIVE THINGS THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THEIR FLOWERS: Organic growing is just as much about what is used as it is about what isn’t. So, while the lack of synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides is great, biodiversity in the growing environment and creating healthy soil that is rich in available nutrients is even better. The same principles apply to flowers. Flowers that are grown organically or sustainably are often more vibrant and longer lasting. Approximately 80% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. Most are imported from South America where there are over 100,000 flower farm laborers in Columbia alone. Workers on some South American farms have reported having eye and skin irritations, respiratory and neurological symptoms as a result of exposure to the carcinogens in the pesticides used. When flowers are grown on single-crop farms with no diversity, fifty to a thousand times more chemicals are required when growing flowers than with vegetables. Aside from the usual suspects, there are hundreds of varieties of flowers that make excellent cut flowers. Many flowers that most people think of as garden flowers like sedum, clematis, flowering grasses and fragrant herbs like basil and mint are all amazing in bouquets. There are hundreds of growers of cut flowers in the U.S., according to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (I am on the Board of Directors). Farms range in size from 1/4 acre to over 20 acres and growers sell to wholesalers, florists and specialty stores and through retail outlets such as farm stands and farmer’s markets. Flower buyers can search for local flowers at ascfg.org. Buying flowers that are currently in season is the best way to get the most beautiful and the freshest flowers, often for the best price. Most people don’t seem to have any idea what flowers are in bloom during which season, but can be sure they are seasonal when they get local flowers.
“Fortunately, I know more and
more small, sustainable growers who are selling their flowers directly to specialty grocery stores in their area.” issue 5/summer 2011 • PUREGREEN | 41
PUREGREEN • special feature YOU RECENTLY STARTED A CSA. TELL US ABOUT THAT: Several years ago, I decided I wanted to begin shipping my flowers. I debated for a while about whether I should ship since selling only locally definitely creates a smaller carbon footprint. But I decided that shipping organically grown flowers within the U.S. direct from my farm to someone’s home is still a lot more eco-friendly than shipping planeloads of conventionally-grown flowers half way around the world. Because we aren’t a wholesaler with the same crops coming in by the box, month after month, I decided the best way to sell our flowers would be in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) style subscription program in which shares are sold that give buyers an oversized bouquet each month of whatever is seasonal and fresh on the farm at the time. I launched a project on Kickstarter.com and pre-sold shares of our CSA to raise the funds to create and purchase custom shipping boxes that are both recycled and recyclable
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and keep the flowers from being damaged in shipping. The process was a lot more involved that I thought it would be, but we are finally ready to go and our Flower Shares are now offered through our online shop. Because our farm is small and I want to be able to provide personalized service to our subscribers, I am only offering less than 100 shares over the course of the year. A “share” of flowers is either 3 or 6 months worth of bouquets and subscribers have the option to send the bouquets to different addresses. This summer we will also start shipping custom wedding flowers for brides who want organic flowers. We will work one on one with the bride via email to create custom bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages that can all be packed and shipped. Brides will also have the option to order flowers by the bunch to create D.I.Y. centerpieces or we can make mixed bouquets that can easily be popped into any vase or container.
WHAT SHE FOUND ON THE LEFT PAGE - Cinch dress in floral degrade print in a lilac & cream gradient. $360, Sarah Stevenson. Sunglasses made in America from reclaimed exotic woods. $140, iWood Eco Design. Clogs made using locally sourced materials in Sweden, $130, Funkis. Organic cotton bag. $330, Christina KrĂ¤mer. WHAT SHE FOUND ON THE RIGHT PAGE - Vintage brass circular links, charms and chains bracelet. $28, Offset Warehouse. Marielle two-toned clutch hangbag. $125, Mar Y Sol. Fair trade resin bangle, $25, Manumit. Ultragirl jelly ribbon shoes part recycled from old shoes. $140, Vivienne Westwood for Melissa.
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THE NEW GARDEN PARTY Make your own fashion traditions PRODUCED by Kate Black
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SEAT BY THE WINDOW
Leisurely day for the well dressed man PRODUCED by Conrad Buck
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WHAT HE FOUND ON THE LEFT PAGE - 15” Laptop Sleeve is constructed from dead-stock WWII oil cloth. $79, Temple Bags. Handmade watch using reclaimed tropical woods from sustainable sources. $128, Artisan Life. Organic cotton Sykes shirt, $105, Howies. Men’s 3-hole chukka boot. $150, Oliberté. WHAT HE FOUND ON THE RIGHT PAGE - Hemp Rata Vulc shoe. $42, Vans. Eco-friendly preppie retro sunglasses. $22, icu eyewear. Swiss bread bag, $89, Temple Bags. 100% organic cotton twisted twill chinos. $150, Knowledge Cotton Apparel..
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CONSIDERED a historic home X Y undergoes a green reno
WRITTEN by Celine MacKay PHOTOGRAPHED by Erin Monett
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PUREGREEN • homes
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IN TORONTO’S PICTURESQUE ROSEDALE NEIGHBOURHOOD—AN UPSCALE BOROUGH OF STATELY, HISTORICAL HOMES THAT BORDER THE GENTLY WINDING, TREE-LINED STREET—IS NESTLED A CENTURY HOME, AS REGAL AS THE LAST, REVEALING NO HINT OF ITS GREEN SECRETS. A walk down the street leaves you wishing for a peek inside one of those houses, imaging a sweeping staircase, polished wood floors, and traditional good taste. A glimpse inside the entranceway of our featured home, owned by a family of five, does not disappoint. Upon answering the door, Christina* (*name has been changed in accordance with the homeowner’s wishes) warmly welcomes us and with a sweep of her arm announces, “This is our family home; we live here.” Although the home’s traditional decor and mildly formal arrangements hint at a structured approach to design, upon closer inspection one can see that softer touches and signs of use reveal a family life. The grand piano sits pride of place, ready to be played and heard, and the sheet music lying about implies that it gets a regular workout. Soft leather chairs are imprinted from years of storybook reading, and vintage heirlooms around the home speak to a treasured family history. Interestingly, many of the home’s green credentials lie beneath the surface, taking the shape of pipes running their course behind the walls and beneath the floors; light fixtures that boast the latest in lighting technology, like a crown jewel; and a hugely involved mechanical room that ticks and whirs like the true heart that it is. In short, energy efficiency is where this home really shines. When Christina and her family first purchased the home, it had been mercilessly divided into several apartments and ranked an utterly shameful 0 on Canada’s EnerGuide Rating. (Canada’s EnerGuide Rating System [ERS] offers a standard measure of a home’s energy performance. On a scale from 0-100, ratings of 80 or higher are optimal.) For Christina, who works as a Corporate Sustainability Consultant, energy efficiency was paramount on her list of improvements. The biggest step toward that goal was fully retrofitting a geothermal system: four different loops heat and cool the home, all regulated using a central control panel which sits on the countertop—very unassumingly, might we add! Built in 1901 and now restored to a single family home, Christina’s house now boasts a 30-50% reduction in energy usage (compared to a comparably sized home) and rates 83 on the EnerGuide scale.
THE ENTRY WAY The eclectic mix of styles are a study in duality. The diamond pattern in the throw rug echoes the ikat cushion, while the gold-leaf table reflects the antique frame. The ensemble is modernized by the bright white walls and refurbished chair.
THE FORMAL LIVING ROOM
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PUREGREEN • homes
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BRIGHT WHITES At the epicenter of the home is the kitchen. Bright and white it fits seamlessly with the remainder of the home, but also has a careful juxtaposition of traditional and modern style. A touch of modernity and simplicity is a tribute to Christinaâ€™s Scandinavian heritage.
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PUREGREEN • homes REFLECTION An antique gold-leaf mirror adds an element of formality to the dining room.
The family worked with a green building consultant alongside an architect and builder to ensure that they were making sound choices, yet Christina explains that the process was far from seamless. At the time of their renovation, completed three years ago, Christina felt that green building had yet to come into its own. “It’s taken some trial and error to get our system [geothermal] running just right,” she says, and some sacrifices were made because of limited availability. A great example, she points out, is her halogen recessed lighting. “I would have loved to go with LED’s, but at the time the technology and affordability just wasn’t there.” A mere year later and LED’s have made huge strides, a testament to the speed of green innovations.
LADY IN WAITING
But wherever possible, green interior finishes were chosen: historical details were preserved, such as the stained glass windows, the only ones that Christina didn’t replace in favour of more efficient versions; zero-VOC paint was used throughout the home; and, among other things, the couple took extra care to refurbish existing furniture rather than purchase new. “Our dining set is from when we were married!” laughs Christina; a simple reupholstering job has kept it current.
An antique portrait passed down from Christina’s family adds a sense of history.
FIVE GREEN THINGS that we did to most improve the space
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Complete GEOTHERMAL RETROFIT
Replaced windows and doors for HIGH EFFICIENCY VERSIONS
Used ZERO VOC paints
Furnished with ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE furniture
STUDY An authentic murano glass chandelier holds pride of place over the library. Well worn leather chairs add a sense of comfort, while the vintage persian rug grounds the space and picks up hues from the painting above the fireplace and the antique books.
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PUREGREEN • homes
The only windows Christina didn’t replace were the authentic stained glass - however she did add extra glazing on the exterior to improve energy efficiency.
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Christina explains that now that the extensive renovation is complete, she takes great pleasure in helping to educate others about green building. A brief conversation about the finer technical details of her geothermal system reveals that she really does know her stuff! The family’s accomplishments, even in the face of what was at the time an immature green building market and limited availability, are a testament that dedication will prevail: “We live in this world every day and wanted to demonstrate that it’s possible to have the home of your dreams, set positive examples for your children and community, and achieve meaningful change.”
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RENO with Patsy & John Bell
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PUREGREEN • special feature
A TORONTO COUPLE TAKE ON A
PURE GREEN MAGAZINE is excited to be along for the ride as Patsy and John Bell renovate their 1970s home in downtown Toronto. In Part One of this two-part series, we’ll learn about their preparation, see the demolition and new construction plans, discuss the green technology choices they made, and read about the challenges the couple faced as they embarked on their very first green renovation.
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MEET PATSY & JOHN BELL OUR INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING HAPPENED AFTER MY HUSBAND’S EXPERIENCE AS HOST OF HGTV’S WORLD’S GREENEST HOMES. For nearly four months, he and a crew travelled to thirteen different countries and saw thirty-nine eco friendly homes around the world. He came back inspired. But it wasn’t the houses that moved him—it was the people. Every single homeowner was committed to reducing their carbon footprint, and although their methods to achieve this were varied, the goal was always the same. The most common theme was the homeowners’ commitment to conserve water. From low-flush toilets or low-flow shower heads to grey water recycling or rainwater harvesting, every single homeowner did something to reduce their water consumption. What struck him was how simple it was to start to make a difference. It was so inspiring that when he got back from travelling, he cancelled our sprinkler system and we bought a rain barrel! Little did we know where it would lead us, but looking back that’s what marked the beginning of our big green shift! From that point forward we started examining how we lived and the choices we had made. We became obsessed about it. We started looking at the size of the house and soon noticed how inefficient it was. Our home was one hundred years old, and a massive energy consumer. There were rooms in our house that we never even used! What became clear was that we were living in half of our house, but paying for the entire space! It just didn’t make sense. We were committed to make a change; we both knew it was time to move. It was obvious that we wanted a smaller footprint—a house where we would live in all the rooms. We knew we wanted something we could renovate and make our own. In fact, that was key. The worse shape it was in, the better. And it didn’t take long; after looking for a few weeks, we found it. It had everything on our wish list. The house was in its original condition (my husband’s dream) so it had not been touched since it was built in the 70s. It was the shape of the house that sealed the deal for me; it was a rectangle with a flat roof, so it lent itself to a contemporary design—a blank canvas of sorts. It had the possibility to be so many different things. It was also located on a cul-de-sac (ideal for our kids) and just two short blocks from local shops, restaurants, and several parks! All this, and we would be reducing our carbon footprint. It was the life we had envisioned. And just like that, we were sold!
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PUREGREEN • special feature
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PUREGREEN • special feature
EFFICIENCY IS WHERE IT’S AT THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS DRIVEN FROM THE ENVELOPE OF THE HOME. All new exterior 2x6 walls are R-26, and existing masonry walls are R-22, using Roxul ComfortBatt Insulation made of recycled steel slag and basalt rock. The mineral rock insulation is moisture resistant, mold resistant, and non-combustible. The home is about 1,000 square feet larger than the original footprint, yet after significant upgrades with insulation, windows, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning), the home will use 75% less natural gas, a $2,400 annual savings that will decrease it’s GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 10,000 metric tonnes. The home will also have a grey water recycling system; all of its shower and bath water will be collected, filtered, and then used to flush the home’s toilets, decreasing its water consumption by over 130 thousand litres. The home’s hot water heating bills will be reduced by 35% with a Drainwater Heat Recovery unit, which captures the energy from showers and preheats the domestic hot water (by capturing heat from hot water draining from showers ). Nearly 1,200 KWH will be generated annually with a 1 KW photovoltaic solar panel system. The home will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified (Silver) and will have an EnerGuide (a Canadian measure of home energy efficiency) rating of 80.
Really trying to understand the best way to heat and cool the home while also taking into consideration air quality was our biggest challenge. We finally hired an energy consultant, which was a big help.
The process for some green technology has to be well thought out, and often involves a little more work for some trades, so communication and understanding during the building process is crucial.
Picking the right technologies and knowing where to draw the line was often a challenge. The bottom line is you can’t do everything, so knowing your ultimate goal is important.
PATSY & JOHN’S ADVICE NO QUESTION, WHEN IT COMES TO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGIES AND IMPLEMENTATION, YOU MUST WORK WITH SOMEONE WHO TRULY KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. We retained the services of an energy evaluator, home rater, and builder, a wicked combination, as our consultant has a phenomenal grasp of what works with what and how to implement it. When you are combining so many technologies and there is just so much information and so many products to choose from, you really have to work with someone that knows what’s what.
Coming soon... get a look at the finished product!
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CRACKERS bringing the slow food movement home TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS: Jesse & Melanie Senko
Welcome to the Cracker’s column - a brand new regular column featuring Jesse & Melanie Senko, the duo behind the popular food blog Homemade Crackers. In this introductory piece, Jesse & Melanie delve into how and why they’re choosing a garden over the vegetable aisle.
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A GROUP OF SMALL GREEN SHOOTS, BUNDLED TOGETHER WITH TWO RUBBER BANDS. THE SIGN ABOVE IT SAYS, “PRODUCT OF CHILE” IN SMALL LETTERS. IN MUCH BIGGER LETTERS, “ASPARAGUS $2.99/lb.” It’s signs like this that made us start gardening. Most people would be excited by the fact that they could have fresh asparagus in February, that it was flown in on a massive jet just for them, and that they could sneak a taste of the spring delicacy well before May. The idea that you can have fresh asparagus in Canada during a snowstorm in February shouldn’t make sense, but in our modern world, we make it make sense. But to us, it’s unsettling. It’s a sign of the homogenization of our food system—and more importantly our food culture—with little respect for the environment in which food has to grow. Asparagus is no longer reserved for spring, when it sends its first tender shoots through the ground. It’s available for all occasions all year round, like most other produce in the supermarket. The food in Canada has lost its seasonal rhythm. So we decided to rediscover it. Our decision to make a change, at least in our life, pushed us to start our blog Crackers. It documents our efforts to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible while supporting local food producers, eating seasonally, and growing as much of our own food as we can. It wasn’t long before we were canning tomatoes, making ketchup, baking bread, and even making our own yogurt. And this year that effort has pushed us into the garden. Big time. Our first real garden started last year. We built three 4x4’ garden boxes. One was for greens, and the other two were a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, and even watermelon. We situated our garden in the sunniest spot of our lot, and it was mostly successful. Last summer gave us our first taste of heirloom tomatoes, classic watermelon (yes, heaven forbid, with seeds), and chili peppers that have been spicing up most of our cooking all winter. But this year we’re moving on up. While planning over winter, we were faced with two options: continue growing in our 8’x30’ front lawn, or find somewhere else to grow. Either way, we knew we were growing.
“The idea that you can have fresh asparagus in Canada during a snowstorm in February shouldn’t make sense...” issue 5/summer 2011 • PUREGREEN | 67
PUREGREEN • homesteading
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SEED SWAP “The swap table at one of the seed swaps we went to. The idea is that you leave a packet of seeds you saved from one of your vegetables and take a packet of someone else’s. There is a revival of seed swaps as a protest to the idea of patenting seeds, as many companies are being allowed to do.” issue 5/summer 2011 • PUREGREEN | 69
PUREGREEN • homesteading We’ve been planning this year’s garden for months now. It’s based on the idea of selfsufficiency, or being able to live off of your own land with few external inputs. We don’t expect this year’s garden to be perfect, and in fact, we’re preparing ourselves for a fair bit of failure. We’re moving from an industrial world where we complain if something is tiniest bit different, to a natural system where everything is unique and failures and successes are to be expected. Jesse’s parents have a farm about thirtyfive minutes away from our house, and it was simple—we asked them for a quarter of an acre, and they were happy to let us use their land. The decision was made easier by the fact that we are hoping to move out into the countryside this year and we didn’t want to leave a garden before we could enjoy its fruit. Now a quarter of an acre is a pretty big jump from a few garden boxes. If you picture a football field, which is a tiny bit bigger than an acre, even a quarter of that seems vast. But we’re not just growing for this summer; we’re growing for the winter as well. We have lots of canning tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, and good storage potatoes and onions in the ground. A part of the plan is to build a classic, inthe-side-of-a-hill root cellar, like the ones that dot the hillsides of Newfoundland. We’re going to use Mother Nature to grow our food, and her natural, cool temperatures just below her surface to store our produce over winter. Starting vegetables from seed is a big part of self-sufficiency. But not just any seed; we made an effort wherever possible to purchase open pollinated seed. You’ve probably heard of hybrid seeds. They are created when two different varieties of a given vegetable are forced to breed. Breeders will take one with positive traits like taste and early ripening, and another with other traits like transportability and shelf life, and breed them together to create a hybrid with the sum of the traits. This is great in some cases, but the problem is that if you plant seeds from your hybrid vegetable, if they grow at all, they’ll probably revert to only one of their parents’ traits.
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Melanie while planting the garlic in November, 2010.
Jesse transplanting the onions we started from seed.
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PUREGREEN • homesteading Open pollinated seed grows vegetables that know exactly what they are. It produces true-to-type vegetables year after year, with only minor changes as they adapt to climate and conditions. If you use open pollinated seed, you can save the seeds from inside one of your peppers and plant a whole field in spring. If half of your tomatoes are affected by a disease, you can save seeds from the tomatoes that weren’t. It’s a natural evolution. So what can you do right now? Start a garden. It’s never too late. No matter what sort of space you have, you can grow something. You can grow herbs on your condo balcony, a whole selection of vegetables in a series of boxes in your small backyard, or even start a garden on your roof. You can plant potatoes in an old blue bin or upside-down tomatoes from planters hanging from your porch. We planted a 2’x4’ area with greens last summer and we didn’t buy lettuce until November. Our daughter, Edith, was still eating frozen kale in January. We’ve started to take control of our food security. We’re beginning to rely less on corporations and internationally sourced produce and have more food sourced from the most local source available: our backyard.
Jesse, Melanie & Elisha and each GARLIC in the fall s e v lo c ABOUT le xt year. t sing ves the ne lo , you plan c ic h rl it a g w w lb only get To gro its own bu ou tend to to y in g n p ri lo e sp v will de es in the bulbs. plant clov . No whole st e v r a If you just h u es when yo bigger clov SEED EARLY mostly ded cell trays - in these are At Right: Some of our see rden ga ur Starting indoors gives yo as tomatoes and peppers. st, fro t nting plants after the las a headstart so you’re pla n. rde rting your seeds in the ga opposed to only then sta
start a garden! it’s never too late.
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You can never be too young - Elisha (our son) & friend Edith consider the task at hand
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PUREGREEN • homesteading
homemadecrackers.blogspot.com 74 | PUREGREEN • issue 5/summer 2011
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EDITION CREATED by Jonathan MacKay STYLING by Celine MacKay PHOTOGRAPHED by Erin Monett
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PUREGREEN • food
Summer Meals... SPRING AND SUMMER ARE ABOUT BEING ACTIVE, GETTING OUT AND ENJOYING WHAT WE’RE ALL HERE TRYING TO PROTECT. Whether I’m puttering in the garden, hiking with the dog or paddling a canoe, I seem to be working up a mean hunger. My go-to food when I’m ravenous, has always been and will always be, sandwiches. I have a special place in my heart for sandwiches – hopefully no longer in my arteries. I do love a good burger and maybe someday I’ll share my recipe with you. I grew up on toasted BLT’s, and the clubhouse has been my standby at many an unproven restaurant. But, if I kept eating that way all the time the only help I’d be to the earth would be as fertilizer. So, in the interest of health, conservation of clothing fabric and mother earth, lose the mayo and . . . . sniff, sniff . . . . drop the meat. While I am not entirely dropping pulled pork on a bun, or the odd fajitas — the number one thing we can do for the environment (our health not withstanding) is eat vegetarian. So here was my dilemma: vegetarian sandwiches just didn’t satiate me. I would end up sneaking out and cruising for hotdog stands to get my hunger fix. So my mission was simple: make vegetarian sandwiches that won’t leave anybody asking “where’s the beef?” And by George, I think we’ve done it! You’ll notice that I use a mortar and pestle a lot. To me it’s as crucial as my knife and tongs. You can make dressings, marinades, rubs, sauces, powders, herb concentrates and any number of other jobs that food processors, grinders and graters can do. No electricity. Best of all, if you like to cook, it’s just a lot more fun.
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Making my own sauces and dressings whenever possible helps me avoid the low-grade ingredients, trans-fats, preservatives and chemicals found in some store bought varieties. It is more economical in many cases and creates far less waste from packaging. Don’t be afraid of a little fat – most often full fat products are far less processed, have far fewer chemicals and are far easier for you to metabolize. Don’t take my word for it though, it’s right on the label. Simply use good quality oils in moderation. Different oils have different properties so it’s best to use them accordingly. Also try to use premium organic salts, as they are far healthier and properly used will greatly enhance the meal. It’s ok to have flavour in your food. Enjoying your food is important too. In my recipes, it is implied that whenever possible you use ingredients that are local, organic, or both. Different regions have different access to organic produce. Get to know your local grocery stores and farmers markets. Find out what’s available in your area. As always, live within your means and be happy with the better choices you are making. Big or small, they have a huge impact both on you and the environment. All of these recipes are intended to support a healthier greener lifestyle. They are only a guideline though, and are meant to be morphed and tweaked to suit your taste and way of being.
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PUREGREEN • food
Pita with Bean Dip
INGREDIENTS: Spanish Bean Dip or Hummus (see issue one)
Spanish Bean Dip •
1 can of White Kidney Beans
1 Lime, Juiced
4 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
6 Shakes of Tobasco Sauce
½ tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of Cumin
1 Tbsp. of Chili Powder
1 oz. of Water
Fresh Cilantro (if desired)
Greek Style Pita
METHOD: Beans: In a food processor add all ingredients except beans and blend thoroughly. Add beans to mix and blend to a paste. Sandwich: Spread bean dip liberally over a warm Greek pita. Stack in your desired veggies and chow down!
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PUREGREEN • food
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Mushroom ‘Manwich’ INGREDIENTS: Marinade
Red and Green pepper, julienned, pencil width
Crusty Hoagie Bun
Swiss Cheese, Shredded
Thinly Shaved Parsnips (mandolins work awesome for this, watch your fingers!)
3 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Bulb of Garlic
1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
5 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp of coarse black pepper
1 tsp of dried chilies
1 ½ Tbsp of dried thyme
1 Tbsp of coarse mineral salt
½ tsp of paprika
½ cup of Plain Organic Mediterranean Style Yogurt
3 Tbsp of Prepared Horseradish (not creamed variety)
1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp of Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp of Sea Salt
1 pint of quartered button/cremini mushrooms 2 portabella mushrooms, halved and thickly sliced (other mushrooms welcome) 1 Red Onion, thickly sliced
METHOD: Marinade: In a mortar and pestle mash together all dry ingredients mixing thoroughly with one Tbsp of oil to create a paste. Stir together with remaining oil and vinegar and pour over mushrooms. Toss mushrooms until coated evenly and let stand a minimum of 20 minutes. Sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Side: Parsnip frittes, shaved 1/16” lengthwise and lightly spritzed with oil. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees turning frequently until golden brown. At the same time, nip the top of the garlic bulb off, a little drizzle of oil and roast until brown. Dip the chips in the yogurt and eat the garlic buds by themselves or on the sandwich. Sandwich: Preheat your barbeque to 400 degrees including a grill basket. Toss in mushrooms and stir frequently until roasted. At the same time barbeque sliced onions and peppers on the other side of the grill until roasted (onion should become translucent.) Slice your bun along the top, squish the bread to create a cavity, fill with mushrooms, onions, peppers and cheese. Toss back in the Q with one side turned off and toast the sandwich slightly, allowing the cheese to melt. Drizzle with yogurt saving some for dip. Serve with parsnip chips and roasted garlic.
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PUREGREEN • food
Black Bean Burrito with Cilantro
½ Quart Plain Organic Mediterranean Style Yogurt
Cumin, Chilies, Chili Powder, coriander, Organic Sea Salt or Himalayan
4 Organic Vine-ripened Tomatoes
Cheese (Monterey Jack or old white cheddar)
2 Bell Peppers
Fresh Corn Seasonally or Canned Baby Corn
¼ Spanish Onion
2 Cloves of fresh Garlic
8 Large Tortillas
2 Cans of Organic Black Beans
• METHOD: Tomatoes: Trim the stem off the top of the tomatoes, set cut-side-up in a roasting pan, sprinkle with dried oregano, spritz with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse mineral salt. Bake @ 350F for 45min or until skin splits. Let stand 15 minutes. Peppers: Coarsely dice or Julienne. Yogurt: To yogurt add ½ Tsp. cumin, minimum 2 Tbsp. chopped Cilantro, Juice from 1 lime and organic sea salt to taste (expect ½ tsp.). Mix thoroughly and let stand. *if you can’t find thick Mediterranean yogurt try draining regular yogurt in cheese cloth Corn: drain 2 cans of baby corn. Heat a little organic grapeseed/canola/sunflower oil in your skillet (gotta love cast iron for this) add a Tbsp. of butter (absolutely not margarine!!) this will prevent your butter from burning, toss in corn and sprinkle with chili powder, shake around to coat evenly and fry it till it’s brown. Alternatively, roast fresh corn and serve with a chili powder infused butter. Refried Beans: Drain and rinse beans, and add together with ¾ can of water in a food processor. Liquify. In a large skillet heat a small amount of organic (I like grapeseed but canola, sunflower also work) and brown ¼ Spanish onion diced, 2 large cloves of garlic diced and 1/2 Tsp. of crushed chilies, or 1 small fresh chili. Add bean mix, 1 Tsp. Cumin and 1 Tsp. Chili Powder. Stir constantly over medium heat. Once mixture begins to thicken add ½ tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt), 1-2 Tbsp. Chopped Cilantro. Continue stirring until mix thickens to paste.
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PUREGREEN • food
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Baked Cheese Sandwich with Chili Sauce INGREDIENTS: Sandwich
Organic Rye Bread
Organic 3yr+ White Cheddar
Local farmer market Chili Sauce or Organic Ketchup
Crispy Garlic Dill Pickles *I’ll give you the recipe for my family Organic Chili Sauce sometime soon, maybe even our dill pickles. Wink! Wink!
METHOD: Side: Julienne veggies pencil width and toss in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and add a few good pinches of salt and thyme. Toss to coat evenly. Spread on a baking tray and bake on high, turning once, for approximately 40 minutes, or until crispy. Sandwich: Slice cheese and assemble sandwich on a baking tray– no butter needed. Pop in a pre-heated oven of 400 degrees. Turn over once when the top slice is toasted and bake till the cheese is oozing. Serve with impossibly delicious sweet chili sauce and a pickle, that is, if you can drag yourself away from old faithful . . . ketchup.
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PUREGREEN • food
Poached Egg Melt with Blue
Blue Cheese or Sharp Cheddar
Your Favourite Barbeque Sauce
Basil Leaves (when available)
METHOD: Lightly toast the bread. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with barbeque sauce. Stack sliced tomato, basil, onion and avocado. Soft poach the eggs. Remove from heat and drain excess water. Place on the sandwich. Slice blue cheese and place on top. Pop in the oven and broil until cheese is melted. Serve!!
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PUREGREEN • food
STYLE ...and other tidbits
Here at PGM we’re long time fans of sustainable modular kitchen company VIOLA PARK, so we were thrilled to discover their new line of islands! We love the pared down modernist designs mixed with the added functionality of Viola Park’s own pivot storage system and in-counter bread box.
To see the whole line and inquire about pricing please visit, ViolaPark.com
IF YOU’VE YET TO KICK YOUR PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE HABIT, WELL, SHAME ON YOU! Jokes aside, perhaps the bkr is just what you need. The pure glass bottle is sheathed in a flexible silicone sleeve, rendering it modern, shapely and colourful, yet with a functional twist even when dropped the sleeve protects the glass from breaking. Sustainable and stylish - how perfectly Pure Green. We caught up with founders Tal Soltz and Kate Cutler to find out what inspired them to create the bkr. “We created bkr (“beaker”) with the inspiration of everything we love in life -- modern art, skyhigh boots, designs we saw in Tokyo, Italian furniture, Parisian street chic, the not-so-heavy, the small, the pretty, the cool, the calm, the bright, the MoMA, soft white sheets, room service and everything translucent and clean. But most of all, because we believe green products should be creative, beautiful and inspirational. We made it from glass because glass is the ultimate green and clean material, it doesn’t smell of every drink you ever put in it or leach chemicals, and it isn’t a metal camping accessory. We wanted not only a solution to an over-packaged, plastic, disposable world, but a revolution against it as well. So bkr - our soft, round, small, modern and well-designed permanent water bottle was born. It’s not just fresh out the box, the latest bottle. It’s a movement to do better. It’s going beautiful to make more beautiful. We are clean design, clean body, clean earth -- all clean everything™”
MIND the World’s Oceans EACH YEAR 170 BILLION POUNDS OF FISH ARE HARVESTED FROM THE WORLD’S OCEANS. Certain species have been over fished to the point of near extinction and threatening the collapse of fragile oceanic ecosystems. Barton Seaver, a National Geographic fellow and Washington D.C. chef, has come to the rescue of concerned seafood lovers with his newly released cookbook For Cod And Country. Seaver introduces cooking with seafood that hasn’t been over fished or harvested using destructive methods. What’s more, the book features seasonal recipes using fish caught at specific times of year. Seaver takes a holistic approach to sustainability and covers wellness, portion size, fishermen, catch methods, and a fish’s role in the marine ecosystem. For another great resource, check out National Geographic’s Seafood Decision Guide. The interactive online guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthy while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters. Cod and Country $30, Sterling Publishing.
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CAMP STORY by Petra Boykoff PHOTOGRAPHED by Gibeon Photography
EVERY SO OFTEN YOU FIND A PROPERTY THAT IS SO STUNNING, IT TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY. Stone Creek Camp is one such place, not for its sweeping grandeur, but for its quiet simplicity and complete elegance. Situated on Flathead Lake in Montana, this property has easy access to Glacier National Park, two downhill ski resorts, and three wilderness areas. Depending on the season, you can keep yourself busy with swimming, boating, and horseback riding in the summer months and skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. Or better yet, you could do nothing at all. CONTINUED ON PAGE 96
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PUREGREEN • destination
“Feel a part of NATURE.”
PUREGREEN • destination (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 93)
STONE CREEK CAMP WAS DESIGNED BY Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise and furnished by Mimi London based on the lodges of New York’s Adirondack region. Rather than one central building housing all the necessary rooms and functions, the camp is comprised of a communal Lodge, a master suite called The Lake House, a guesthouse, and a restored traditionalstyle cabin. Since Stone Creek Camp is surrounded by such natural beauty, it was imperative to blend the indoor and outdoor living spaces. Slide-away exterior walls, huge windows, and multiple decks and screened-in porches allow visitors not only to soak up the amazing lake view but also to feel a part of nature. As you can probably guess, a healthy respect for the environment was inevitable; from sourcing local building products to energy efficient initiatives throughout, the creators of Stone Creek Camp seamlessly integrated sustainability into this luxury vacation spot. The most innovative building is The Lake House with its super efficient cordwood walls and living green roof. Throughout the property you’ll also find Low-E glass and a hydronic radiant floor heating system to help keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Materials were chosen for their natural beauty and easy maintenance. The ipe wood flooring used throughout the property is naturally resistant to rot and harsh weather, while the Corten steel roofs oxidize to the perfect golden shade without the use of chemicals. And that gorgeous wood on all the walls and doors? It’s Douglas fir taken right from the building site. Now that’s what I call camping.
BREEZEWAY Throughout the buildings great care was taken to blurr the barrier between indoors and out. This huge opening takes advantage of the breeze, making this a perfect spot to have a bite on a hot afternoon or play a game of Euchre on a humid summer evening.
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“...bringing the indoor living spaces outside was a must.”
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PUREGREEN • destination
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GEOMETRY A closeup of the cordwood walls highlights the natural geometry. The sharp right angles of the metal staircase are the perfect juxtaposition to the organic shapes of the rock garden.
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HOMEMADE LIVING SERIES by
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ALL ACROSS CANADA WE’RE SEEING A RESURGENCE OF INTEREST IN PREPARING FOODS YOURSELF. From sprawling country homes to compact apartment dwellings, people are getting excited about moving away from mass production and back to their own kitchens with new primers and books specifically tailored to a new generation of homemakers, such as this issue’s feature book, Keeping Bees from Ashley English’s Homemade Living Series. Ashley lays out in clear and concise format the tools that you’ll need and all the tricks of the trade. We loved the wonderfully illustrative photographs and the unique Beekeeper Profiles that make it feel real and doable! While keeping bees may sound like a scary proposition, Ashley laid all our concerns to rest and had us yearning for some homemade honey - she’ll have you reaping the rewards of supporting your very own bee colony in no time.
PHOTO CREDITS: Erin Monett
OTHER TITLES Released in March, 2011, Keeping Bees and Home Dairy are the latest titles in Ashley’s Homemade Living Series. For more modern homesteading, you can find her previous titles, Keeping Chickens and Canning & Preserving. All books $19.95 Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. Get to know Ashley! Blog: Small Measures Twitter: @ashley_english
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ECO-LOGICAL THE BEE DECLINE:
Is there reason to be concerned? by Charles Nock, Ph.D.
pointed to a number of peculiar characteristics of “collapsed” hives: the sudden disappearance of almost all of the worker bees, the absence of dead bees at the hive, a queen and a small number of very young bees are the only remaining bees in the hive, and food stores (pollen and honey) that are still abundant. CAUSES OF CCD BUSY LIKE A BEE. INDEED, WE HUMANS GENERALLY RESPECT THE SOLID WORK ETHIC OF ONE OF OUR closest insect allies, but truth be told, the bees are getting a raw deal. For example, did you know that the value of honeybee pollination in Canada is estimated to be more than one billion dollars a year? Um-hum, the check is in the mail I hear. The relationship between honeybees and humans is reported to stretch back to the time of the Egyptians. More recently, the European honeybee (Apis mellifera) was brought to Canada from Europe in the 1600s by early settlers. Since then, honeybees have become widespread in North America (“wild” honeybee colonies in North America derive from domesticated hives). In Canada, the first recorded use of honeybees was around the 1820s in Quebec, and then use spread to Ontario around the 1830s. Incredibly important to our food production system—in environmental speak they provide an ecosystem service— honeybees pollinate more than ninety different farm-raised plants. Our dependence on their diligent pollination service is the reason that concern over honeybee colony mortality erupted amongst beekeepers in North America in 2006. While it is normal for honeybee populations to experience mortality from causes such as mites, disease, and stress, keepers in North America witnessed a jump in colony mortality from 17-20% to 30-70%, which came to be know as colony collapse disorder (CCD). SYMPTOMS OF COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER What differentiates CCD from the losses of colonies experienced by beekeepers previously? Beekeepers have
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Fast forward to 2011, and there is still much uncertainty about what causes CCD, but it is likely that there are a number of important factors at play; for example, mites, other parasites, pesticides, and stress from management activities are thought to be important. Much attention has been focused on the varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that attacks both young and adult honeybees. In addition, the mite is also an effective vector for transmitting diseases. A second mite, the tracheal mite, is also a vector for disease. There is, however, some cause for optimism: mites can potentially be controlled by allowing hives to be ventilated, reducing the use of pesticides may reduce bee exposure, and finding a biological control agent for the mites such as a fungal pathogen could help reduce mite numbers. WHAT ABOUT WILD HONEYBEES, BUMBLEBEES AND OTHER NATIVE BEES? Scientists estimate there are about four thousand different species of wild bees that are native to North America. They prefer to nest in thick grass, soil, and wood, and mostly do not make surplus honey or form large colonies. Interestingly, a bee that most are familiar with, the bumblebee (genus Bombus), is dedicated to the three R’s, and repurposes the burrows of mice after their departure for its home. While much research attention has focused on the decline of managed bees and on CCD, we should also be concerned about the decline of wild bee populations. It is likely that some of the same factors that are leading to CCD in managed honeybees are also having effects on wild bee populations— for example, pesticides. Perhaps still more important—as is often the case in ecology—is the loss of the bees’ habitats when natural areas and their flora are transformed during development.
TIPS FOR A BEE-FRIENDLY GARDEN: Have you noticed the number of native bees in your garden is on the decline? Here are some simple things you can do to make your outdoor space a bee-friendly one.
Chemical free = happy bee: A garden free of insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides is an important first step in supporting the native bees in your area. Insecticides, in particular, are highly toxic to bees. Speak to the experts at your local nursery about chemical-free ways to manage pests in your garden.
Herbicides may clear out the dandelions, but that also means no early spring meals for bees. While your garden will be a veritable buffet of nectar at the height of summer, leave something for the bees to nibble on in the spring and fall seasons too.
Mix it up: Growing flowers that vary in colour, shape, and size will appeal to hardworking pollinators. Did you know that bees are most attracted to purple, blue, and yellow flowers? Cosmos, clematis, echinacea, foxglove, and geranium work well—these come in a range of colours, are easy to care for, and are very widely available.
Home is where the un-mowed grass is: Native bees don’t live in hives; they burrow in the ground, seek shelter in brush piles, and live in wild grass. Set aside areas in your garden that are left undisturbed and you’ll see a big improvement in the native bee population. In addition, keep a birdbath or other source of clean water nearby.
The shape of the bloom matters as well. Bee tongues come in many different lengths, so providing a variety of shapes will bring in more varied bee species.
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IN THE BAG
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EVERYDAY I carry with me...
PHOTO by Erin Monett A new PGM column - we wanted to know, what is essential to your everyday life? Catch a glimpse into the purses of eco gals, starting with PGM Editor-in-Chief Céline MacKay. “My bright pink vegan Matt & Nat purse is my must-have spring accessory. I’m never without the tools to take notes thanks to my recycled paper notebook. Of course, a busy day is never without coffee, so my ceramic reusable takeout cup is a must have accessory, along with some natural mints and finished off with my favourite lip gloss. I put my best foot forward with some natural solid perfume and organic lotion too. When the sun peeks out I make sure my skin is protected on the fly with my Mineral Veil - a special powdered sunscreen. A vintage brooch from my husband’s grandmother is the perfect accessory, and I stay in touch with my trusty cell phone.”
1. Purse: Matt & Nat 2. Notebook: Eccolo 3. Cup: I’m Not a Paper Cup 4. Mints: Altoid 5. Lipgloss: LUVU Beauty 6. Solid Perfume: NUTS 7. Lotion: Kiss My Face 8. Mineral Veil: LUVU Beauty 9. Brooch: Vintage 10. iPhone
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NEXT ISSUE august 2011 A Lodge in Algonquin Park Preserves with Crackers & The Organic Kitchen And MUCH more!!