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villagevibe March 2009 : News and views from the heart of Fernwood

Broadway Comes to Fernwood >> by Caitlin Croteau


pera in Fernwood, you say? How about rock opera? Drawing inspiration from Puccini’s 1890s opera La Bohème, Jonathan Larson’s Rent is the story of a group of struggling young artists who reside in New York’s Alphabet City in the 1980s. This challenging and potentially controversial piece for teenagers to tackle will be performed by Vic High students this spring. Issues of sexuality, drug addiction, finding self, and illness (La Bohème’s tuberculosis is replaced in Rent by the shadow of AIDS) abound. Rent is so controversial, in fact, that drama teacher Alan Penty was surprised when Vic High’s Principal gave the green light to the project. The students had to settle for a toned down school version with some of the riskier numbers cut out! When Mr. Penty’s students heard he’d got his hands on a copy of the script they were excited and ready to take on

the challenge. And what a challenge it is, in both subject matter and style. As a rock opera, most of Rent is sung, unlike regular musicals where there are breaks between big show numbers. This is only the second musical the school has produced, but the genre seems popular among the student body. In total there are 30 cast members as well as a 10 person backstage crew. Part of the reason Mr. Penty chose this piece is because he sees Vic High’s voice as reflective of the community. The intertwined themes of marginalized residents, housing challenges, and artistic integrity clearly have a particular relevance to Fernwood. The fundamental message of Rent is about being your own artist, your own person, and not “selling out to the man,” something many Fernwoodians can easily relate to. So know you’ll have a great time when you come out and support these emerging young artists at Vic High’s production of Rent, which runs March 4th - 7th, 2009 at 8pm. For tickets contact: (250) 388-5456.

Fernwood Sun Run is Hot Photo: Patrick Chenier

Community Centre Tuesday, March 31, 7 - 9pm. Come to the meeting even if you’re only curious! If at least 20 of us are ready to leap to sun power, we’ll contact Solar BC to initiate the next step. They will guide us through the whole process, including finding reputable installers at the lowest current market price. Imagine a village run by the sun. Let’s call it Fernwood. Fernwood, let’s go! For more information about SolarBC, solar hot water technology or the 2009 financial incentives, go to and click on ‘We Provide Incentives’.

>> by R ainey Hopewell


ant to reduce your hydro bill by 60% and have one of the hottest rooftops in Fernwood? Solar BC would like to help Fernwood run with the sun. Solar BC (a BC Sustainable Energy Association initiative) is offering subsidies up to $1625.00 to help 2000 households harvest the sun to heat their water. And it gets even better, because now if a group of 20 or more homeowners place orders together, each household will receive an additional $375.00, bringing the total rebate to $2,000.00 per installation on existing rooftops.

AND among the first 100 households to register for a solar hot water system in 2009, two lucky winners will be reimbursed for 100% of their expenses. AND the new federal home renovation tax credit also can be applied to solar installation. AND for those of us without cash-on-hand (ha, ha), there are low-interest loans available through TD Bank or Vancity for this endeavor. Going solar has always been economical, since the long term financial and environmental savings are profound. But going solar has never been so affordable or just plain neighbourly as it is right now. Fernwood, let’s go! There will be an information meeting about solar-powered hot water technology and the current financial incentives at the Fernwood

in this issue Herbal Beer Making Page 2 Feature: Springridge Commons Placemaking Page 4 Local Eating in March Page 7

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editorial : Growth and Hope The volunteer editorial team of the Village Vibe decided unanimously that we really like this issue. “You’re bang on, this is another terrific issue! You notice that it’s almost a theme issue? ‘All about the earth’ or some such thing!” wrote assistant editor Trish Richards after reading through the stories for the first time. “This is a SPECTACULAR issue,” chimed in the Vibe’s other assistant editor Aaron Ellingsen after looking at the first proof, “I love it. It makes me feel like spring!” I think we like this issue so much because it is full of growth and hope. We only need to read the daily papers or flip on the evening news to see that there seems to be a dearth of both in the world these days. Rather we hear tales of financial ruin, shrinking economies, increasing national debts.

What strikes me is that neither the plants at Springridge Commons, nor the neighbourhood fruit trees, nor the soil in which Fernwoodians will plant their vegetables this spring have a clue that there is an economic crisis. They keep on growing just the same: taking in the sunshine that beams down, soaking up the rain as it falls. And there is hope too: Imagine Fernwoodians running with the sun – thousands of Fernwood rooftops sporting new solar panels. Fernwoodians gathering in the Commons for Saturday work parties. And children and adults coming together at the end of the month for a Village Vibe box paint in in Fernwood’s Village Square. The down to earth stories in this month’s Vibe remind us that above all – and even in the seeming worst of times – life has a propensity to simply live.

above all, life has a propensity to simply live Like the work of Fernwood NRG? Go to and donate to Fernwood NRG.

Herbal Beer Making

declaration of principles and values We are committed to creating a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable neighbourhood; We are committed to ensuring neighbourhood control or ownership of neighbourhood institutions and assets; We are committed to using our resources prudently and to becoming financially self-reliant; We are committed to the creation and support of neighbourhood employment; We are committed to engaging the dreams, resources, and talents of our neighbours and to fostering new links between them; We are committed to taking action in response to neighbourhood issues, ideas, and initiatives; We are committed to governing our organization and serving our neighbourhood democratically with a maximum of openness, inclusivity and kindness; We are committed to developing the skills, capacity, self-worth, and excellence of our neighbours and ourselves; We are committed to focusing on the future while preserving our neighbourhood’s heritage and diversity; We are committed to creating neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy, and alive; and, most of all, We are committed to having fun!

>> by Don Ollsin “Now that’s a great way to take medicine,” a friend comments, as he finishes a glass of my well-aged, homemade Echinacea Hawthorn beer. Bubbly, clear, crisp and delicious, as well as nutritious! The finest Belgium yeasts I use are crucial to the multilayering of flavours and they are an important ingredient for taste as well as health. The yeasts are the vital alchemical ingredients that transform the malt into alcohol and the crude herbs or ‘wort’ into refined medicine. Herbs of all types have been used in brewing beer for thousands of years. Calendula is one of my all time favourite herbs for brewing. Its bright orange blossoms contain anti-inflammatory properties and are therefore healing to sensitive tissues like those found in the gut. Calendula has a slightly bitter flavour, which is traditional for beer, and as a bonus it also imbues a beautiful, golden-amber colour to the beer. You can create beer for different seasons: a nourishing Dandelion beer for spring; a soothing Calendula beer to sip in summer time; a more robust Oregon Grape Root beer for the fall; or evergreen-tip ale for the dark days of winter. Or you can craft them for the various body systems. A base of Echinacea works well for the immune system and Siberian Ginseng for excess stress. It is a fun and practical way to imbibe something enjoyable, while at the same time enhancing your personal health. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, you can grow your own herbs. Otherwise, you can ask your neighbours if you might weed their unsprayed dandelion patch to make herbal beer with. Or see what’s growing in Springridge Common that you could selectively harvest and use. Creative brewing is what homemade beer is all about! Don Ollsin will be conducting a workshop on how to brew your own homemade herbal beer on March 8. To register call (250) 592-7523 or visit his website at

Page 2 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | March 2009

Fruit Tree Pruning >> by Shannon Ash As winter’s end draws nearer, pruning season is underway. A sunny Sunday morning in February found a dozen eager folks gathered at the Fernwood Community Centre for a workshop on fruit tree pruning. Sandra Nelson of Urban Oasis Garden Centre facilitated the class on February 15 , which covered the basics of pruning with an emphasis on fruit trees. Pruning of fruit trees, we learned, requires more consideration than the pruning of ornamental plants. Growing and maintaining healthy and productive fruit trees is an important part of supporting food security in Fernwood. It’s hoped that pruning skills developed in workshops like this one can be used for fruit trees in public areas like Springridge Commons and also for fruit trees on private land that are accessed by the LifeCycles Fruit Tree Project. Sandra noted that keeping a log of pruning done and harvest results can be of help in the years-long process of developing a fruit tree (or rehabilitating a neglected one) to its potential, especially in a community initiative where different people may care for the same tree over time. The workshop included extensive hands-on demonstration and practice as we gathered in Springridge Commons to look at the trees and learn how to decide what to prune and the best way of doing it. Tools at hand included secaturs, loppers, and the tree saw. Springridge has a number of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, and we directed our attention to apple, cherry and plum trees, among others. We had a good introduction to pruning (along with handouts to help with information retention!) and got some work done on the Commons as well. What better place to be on a beautiful brisk February morning?

The Way of the Dream Film Series Hosted by Don and Sandy Ollsin Cornerstone Café Tuesday evenings in March $15.00 per evening or $50.00 for the series Cash, Visa, and Mastercard accepted To register call Don at 250-592-7523


Residents pan buses without planning >> by Brenda Kennedy Residents along Bay Street are surprised and dismayed that BC Transit is planning to introduce a new “cross town” bus route, without updated planning or traffic studies or calming measures. Bay Street is a densely residential street that can’t handle the additional traffic and stress of a frequent all-day bus route. The residents have formed a “community action team” to press for answers and changes to the proposal. The proposal to introduce a bus goes against the City’s and the CRD’s own visions for Bay Street and the neighbourhood. The most recent City community plan involving Bay Street (the Hillside Quadra Planning Study) included recommendations for speed reduction measures and bicycle lanes on Bay Street. The city plan dates from 1996 and was based on data that is now 20 years old. Residents wonder how such a drastic change to the street’s use is proposed without an updated community plan. Bay Street is also part of the CRD’s proposed Capital Regional Bikeway. “Introducing a bus without also introducing calming measures would make Bay Street even more dangerous for cyclists, rather than making it an important east-west link in this great cycling initiative,” says resident and cyclist Andrew Hoge. The proposal directly affects hundreds of families, who aren’t feeling heard. “When we started collecting petition signatures door-to-door, most hadn’t heard about

the bus, despite open houses that BC Transit held. We feel BC Transit is trying to slide this plan into place without proper consultation and City involvement, and are concerned about making such a major change to a densely populated street without doing a traffic plan or involving the community more directly,” says resident Jo Harris. There are no plans to do a traffic study or to introduce calming measures. Bay Street is not a well-functioning street as it is, holding the dubious distinctions of Victoria’s #2 and # 7 most crash-prone intersections. It is so narrow in at least two of the two-lane blocks that signs are posted giving bicycles the use of the entire lane. In the single-lane blocks there is heavy street parking. There are no verges, and near Quadra there is not even a sidewalk. Housing is very dense and the blocks are short with a lot of side street traffic. “Introducing a bus to an already dangerous street without even considering the various calming measures that have beautified streets like Finlayson is a bad idea,” says resident Rod Pendlebury. “The residents are being steamrolled by BC Transit.” Residents are also concerned about the engineering of the street, which is built on swamp and is already unstable whenever trucks pass over it. Buses will cause more damage to the road and properties. “The way the houses are built along Bay, many do not have backyards, making their front yard the only outdoor space. Eighty-four buses a day will not afford us much privacy or enjoyment of our properties,” adds resident Paul Simola.

Inconvenient? Find a Village Vibe near you Maybe... Inevitable? No! Shelbourne


Bay Oak and Fern Centre for Sustainability


Pembroke Gladstone Fernwood

Unfortunately, Climate Change is real. But fortunately, it tells us something important: we’re doing things unsustainably. Unfortunately, that means we have to change in order to survive. But fortunately, we are the species that does change better than any other: we’ve adapted and changed for over 100,000 years, at an ever increasing speed. Unfortunately, we were smart enough to create the problems of this Earth time. But fortunately, we’re smart enough to create the solutions. So what are we waiting for? Climate change presents a tremendous opportunity to invoke the diversity, ingenuity, artistry, and flair of our species to create sustainable, satisfying lifestyles, to pull ourselves back from the brink of disaster for life on Earth. Need a boost? Need some camaraderie? Need some solace? Need some hope? Come to the Cornerstone Café for a Fernwood viewing of An Inconvenient Truth and introduction to Canadian Earth Institute discussion circles for empowerment about sustainability. Thursday, March 19 at 7pm. Free! Bring your own popcorn and cushion. Coffee, tea, and sweets provided at low cost. For info about this event, call Rainey & Margot at 250-380-5055 or email


>> Margot Johnston & R ainey Hopewell




Village Vibe Box Locations

bie Village Vibe Box Locations: Cornerstone Cafe–1301 Gladsto Mom’s Market–1358 Gladstone Chez Beau Soleil–1317 Camosu Fernwood Square–1284 Gladsto Haultain Common–1420 Hault Koffi–1441 Haultain Bicycleitis–1623 Bay The Parsonage Cafe–1115 North 2232 Belmont

Cornerstone Cafe – 1301 Gladstone Mom’s Market – 1358 Gladstone Chez Beau Soleil – 1317 Camosun Fernwood Square – 1284 Gladstone Haultain Common – 1420 Haultain Koffi –1441 Haultain Bicycleitis–1623 Bay The Parsonage Cafe–1115 North Park 2232 Belmont

March 2009 | | Page 3

Springridge Commons Placemaking: Creating the Community Commons

feature :

>> by Matthew Kemshaw

Located in the heart of Fernwood, Springridge Commons stands as Victoria’s oldest and largest ‘Food Forest’.


ocated in the heart of Fernwood, on the corner of Chambers St. and Gladstone Ave., Springridge Commons stands as Victoria’s oldest and largest ‘Food Forest’. The Commons is composed of an immense diversity of trees, shrubs and ground cover plants, with over 100 species represented within its confines. All the plants on site are planted in guilds, or communities, wherein fruit or nut trees are surrounded by beneficial shrubs, underneath which are herbs and other ‘dynamic accumulator’ understorey plants. Created to work with the ecology of the land, our food forest continues to evolve as the natural process of succession shades out some plants while favoring others. Amazingly, this bastion of biological diversity was created upon the bare gravel of a bulldozed schoolhouse. Springridge Elementary was destroyed in 1968 to make way for a gravel parking lot. For two and a half decades, automobiles used the property sparingly. Many took advantage of the empty space to spin doughnuts in the loose gravel. Fed up with this practice, neighbors brought large stones onto the periphery of the site and, in the mid 1990s, began planting some drought tolerant plants in the marginal soil. Many of these early plantings failed, though some clung to life long enough to see a flourishing of activity around the Commons in the late 1990s. It was at this time when local permaculturalists became involved in building the soil fertility and ecological diversity on site. Lead by the dedication of local plant man Geoff Johnson, Fernwoodians managed to haul tons of organic material onto the site in an effort to increase fertility and support what they dreamed would become an urban oasis of food and life.

Page 4 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | March 2009

Their tireless efforts paid off and thanks to the work of billions of micro and macro organisms (humans included), trees, shrubs and groundcovers began to thrive. This brought more wildlife and more smiles into the neighborhood. In the summer of 2007, the LifeCycles Project Society became the primary stewards and lease holders of Springridge Commons. As a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating awareness and initiating action around food, health, and urban sustainability in the Greater Victoria community, LifeCycles works proactively to promote and create personal, shared and community gardens, research, and educational activities and youth skills development programs in and around Victoria. LifeCycles experience in building community gardens is unparalleled in BC. The organization’s involvement has been warmly received by the many Commons Stewards who have volunteered their time maintaining the garden as well as the neighboring Chambers Street Block Watch Group. These people, who work in and live around the Commons, are the true life force sustaining Springridge.


While Springridge Commons has been cultivated for the past 12 years by wise ecological gardeners, its potential as an educational tool remains largely untapped. To further the site’s educational potential, the LifeCycles Project Society is working with local artist Ayrie Cunliffe and urban homesteader Geoff Johnson to build interpretive signage that will detail key plantings and their uses.


By tidying up the Commons with a few more plantings, then installing beautiful places to sit and relax, LifeCycles hopes to create a truly unique outdoor destination in which community members can come to nourish their minds, souls and bodies. To make this vision a reality, LifeCycles has submitted an application for funding through the Evergreen – Home Depot’s ‘Rebuilding Nature’ grant program. The society has asked for support to build two large semi-circular cob benches in the center meeting area on site. In the middle of these two benches will be a large, circular wooden table. Standing over this will be a watertight sod roof, which in time will support grapes and other vines growing up it. By creating a beautiful, comfortable, and spacious meeting place at Springridge, we can encourage more people to come out and meet, share, and spend time in their community. Beyond providing habitat for wildlife and food for people, the Commons was created to draw diverse individuals and groups into relation with their place, enabling them to experience a truly ecological urbanity rarely seen in such a densely populated region. By working in partnership with the Fernwood Neighborhood Resource Group, the Compost Education Center, and the Haultain Commons, LifeCycles has endeavored to make this third goal of the Commons a reality. Community Engagement

Springridge Commons has always been maintained by community volunteers. Many hands have worked to mulch, weed, plant and prune all the major plantings at Springridge. Without these people, the Commons simply would not exist. It is critical that we continue to maintain community support for the Commons to ensure it becomes a space that we can all enjoy and use. As spring begins to blossom, we’ll need many hands to make light work of the yearly activities necessary in the Commons. If you are interested in: learning about ecological gardening, connecting with your community, or just getting some fresh air, Springridge workPARTIES are for you! LifeCycles will be organizing work


Saturdays: 10am – 12pm

We are looking for plants to fill the Commons. If you have plants you’d like to donate, please bring them to a work party and plant them with the Commons Stewards. Edible plants and/or plants that play well with others are most appreciated. If you have extra compost, leaf mold, healthy garden soil, etc. to contribute to the site’s fertility, it is always appreciated. You can contact Matthew to arrange pick up by calling 250.661.3805.

parties once per week. If you are interested, please come out on Saturday between 10:00am and 12:00pm to get your hands dirty. If you are interested in learning more about development at Springridge, LifeCycles will be presenting its vision for the Commons at the next Place Making Troupe Meeting, Monday March 16 at 7pm in the Cornerstone Café. Fernwoodians are always welcome at these visionary gatherings. As Springridge Commons is located within a very urban environment (created on the bare gravel of a degraded site) its presence serves to inspire both the community gardening and ecological restoration policies of community and regional policy makers. Springridge Commons stands as a lonely example of what we can do towards the creation of ecological, integrated gardening projects in the urban core. Victoria’s Community Gardening Policy document, released in 2005, shows that City Council members and city Parks officials are supportive of this kind of initiative. It is up to us as community members to become involved and show our support for these kinds of life giving initiatives. Together, we can create a Commons future that is bursting with diversity and wholeness.

Denise Savoie Member of Parliament for Victoria

constituency office: 970 Blanshard Street Victoria, BC V8W 2H3 telephone: 363-3600 e-mail: on the web:

Your voice in Ottawa VillageVibe

March 2009 | | Page 5

gleanings : Victoria’s Urban Forest Master Plan

>> by Margaret Hantiuk I recently attended a workshop at City Hall about our urban forest. The term ‘urban forest’ means not just our trees but also shrubbery, under-storey plants, soil, the resident wildlife, and then the built environment that supports trees and green spaces. Dan Marzocco, supervisor of arboriculture for Victoria, said that our urban forest is comprised of 200,000 trees (20% on public land and the rest on private and commercial property!) Most of the beautiful cherry trees that line our streets were planted almost 100 years ago, as a gift from local Japanese-Canadians. There were also maps showing that 60% of Victoria is impervious surface where rainfall does not seep into the ground. Rather, it’s carried off in storm drains. (Our ground water systems need this water, so we should use more gravel and

interlocking pavers in our yards.) Fernwood is 17% treed. As half of Victoria’s public trees are nearing the end of their lives and will soon have to be replaced, there is much work to be done and much planning needed to do the work sustainably. One of many challenges is planting with climate change in mind: as we become steadily warmer and drier, many of our tree varieties (cedar for one) are suffering. With water restrictions in mind, we must plant drought tolerant varieties. Another is working with developers so that existing trees will be protected and new ones planted. While replacing and fixing existing infrastructure (sidewalks, roads, sewer and utility lines, etc) our arborists now work alongside crews to minimize damage to tree roots. City arborists and Parks crews are constantly assessing the status of trees on public property, pruning, watering, and generally caring for them to keep them healthy and safe. The good news is that we are all learning more about how to care for trees, and what a tremendous asset they are: Victoria’s public trees alone are valued at over $80 million. And it’s difficult to factor in the hidden assets of trees, such as their aesthetic value that attracts tourists and professional, business, and artistic talent to our city. Trees have been shown to make neighbourhoods safer, people happier and workers healthier, besides their more commonly known roles of providing shade, food, shelter for wildlife, privacy, buffering sound, beautifying places, framing views, increasing property values, reducing storm water runoff, and magically filtering pollutants and adding

oxygen to our air. We all know now that trees help to reduce greenhouse gases. The City of Victoria is keen to develop neighbourhood plans for planting new and replacing old trees in public green spaces, but also to encourage us to take care of our own trees in our yards, to plant appropriate ones including more native species. With 80% of our urban forest in private hands, it is vital that we all understand our responsibility to protect and conserve this invaluable resource for all of our wellbeing and for the health of our ecosystem and the planet! There are bylaws and fines for removing certain species and sizes of trees (even your own) so check out the City’s website (www. before doing so. Why not start an ‘adopt-a-tree’ program or a boulevard orchard? We can also help by watering our boulevard trees in droughts and by protecting them from damage, above and below. Please remember that the roots of even large trees do not go down as much as they spread out close to the surface. The most important feeding roots are at the tips, beyond the canopy drip line. All roots are essential for stabilizing the tree. Cutting or damaging roots can weaken a tree as it cannot then feed properly. Damaging roots also makes trees more vulnerable to disease and pest invasion and less stable in the face of windstorms. More info can be accessed at: and www.treewatchvictoria.

A New Mindset on Soil

>> by Owen Bridge More than anything else, the primary role of the organic grower is to nurture a healthy and fertile soil. As long as the soil is healthy, it will produce healthy

agriculture we have replaced the natural order of things that kept the soil healthy, we can’t just extract the biological wealth (existing humus) from the soil without also adding plants that will proliferate with few other inputs from their more biological wealth (compost, manure, leaves, straw, etc.) to replace it. Organic matter, in one source or another, human caretakers. Agricultural and garden soil is an ecosystem unto itself, should be added in regularly and in generous amounts. Especially on poor, already depleted soil it’s important but one that could be thought of as having a symbiotic relationship with humans. Unlike the soils of undisturbed to provide a boost of organic matter in order to get things forests or meadows, which since the last ice-age have been started. In parts of Asia for example, the same farmland has been cultivated continuously for over 4,000 years and steadily increasing in organic matter and it’s perhaps more fertile now than it was at first. This is in biodiversity, garden soils don’t have a constant source major contrast to much of North America, where in many of fallen leaves, dead wood, or grass roots to decompose cases a few hundred years of human disturbance has left the and add fertility and humus. To avoid degrading the long once-rich soil exhausted. This disparity is due in large part term health of the soil in our efforts to grow our species’ to the high emphasis in Asia on increasing organic matter favoured plants, we need to make an attempt to replicate in the soil through utilizing absolutely all available sources these soil-building systems ourselves. of organic matter and using lots of manure (both animal In any natural ecosystem organic matter is primarily and human). produced by plants at the point of photosynthesis and As well as regularly adding compost and other organic eventually added to the soil through decomposition. matter, here on our farm we grow green manure crops to be Without disturbance, these systems would continue increasing soil fertility indefinitely. Because through – continued on page 7

Learn about God during Lent

at St. Barnabas Anglican Church

– continued on page 7

(Google us and learn more)

1525 Begbie Street, Victoria (corner of Belmont and Begbie) Church Office: 250-595-4324 Page 6 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | March 2009


Local Eating in March >> by Lee Fuge and Susan Tychie March has to be the hardest month of the year to find Vancouver Island vegetables to eat! The good news: soon enough some of the wild local greens will start to appear in abundance. Some over wintering root vegetables are still available to enjoy. You can find them at the farm gate, right here in town at the FoodRoots Winter Pocket Markets, and through the home delivery box services that focus on local food. Our island climate means that we can store winter vegetables right in the soil. Joe Kingcott up at Kingcott Farm in Ladysmith said the blanket of snow that stayed this winter actually kept his beets and Jerusalem artichokes from freezing. Jasper at Madrona Farm reports that once you chipped your way through the icy top level the soil was easy to dig. During those snowy weeks Jasper was digging baby carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips. At the end of January parsnips were still in abundance and the kale was beginning to come back. Farmers at Feisty Field out by Prospect Lake are still harvesting carrots. When the local crops are limited, variety comes from how we cook and combine our food in recipes! Roasted marinated beets are a colourful sweet addition to winter salads.


weather dependent, and our global weather patterns are changing. Sustainable farming means growing diverse varieties of individual vegetables so that there is a larger genetic pool to draw from. As a shopper and gardener you can choose unique varieties – like heritage tomatoes and cucumbers – to support the farmers in this process. As the days get longer, the leafy greens start to grow faster. This is true for our wild greens as well. Look for miners’ lettuce and nettles soon in the Springridge Commons. Pick nettles with care as they are known as stinging nettles for a reason! Wear gloves, and be assured that once cooked they no longer sting. For more information on nettles check out www.vitalitymagazine. com/node/216 Impossible Nettle Quiche In a 10-inch pie plate, place:

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 2 cups cooked nettles, drained (steam until limp) In bowl, combine flour with baking powder

1 cup (250 mL) flour 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder 1 tbsp fresh Thyme (1 tsp dried) Using pastry blender or 2 knives cut in butter until mixture is in fine crumbs:

1/4-cup (50 mL) butter Whisk in:

To Roast Beets

4 eggs

Place whole beetroot on cookie sheet/roasting pan.

11/2 cups milk

Sprinkle with oil and, and roast in 400 degree oven until

Pour over nettle mixture.

easily pierced by a fork (3/4 hour).

Bake in 350ÂşF (180ÂşC) oven until golden and knife

Allow to cool then peel and cut into a chunky dice. Pour marinade over the beets and let sit for an hour or

inserted in centre comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

longer. The vinegar acts to preserve the beets. Marinade:

2 Tbsp Oil 4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 1 tsp Dried crumbled Basil 1 Garlic clove minced Dash of Maple syrup Spread marinated beets over a bed of greens, then top with:

1/2 cup crumbled Feta Fresh ground pepper

Root vegetables roast well in many combinations – potato, parsnip, and carrot for example. Balsamic Vinegar and black pepper can be sprinkled on the hot vegetables right out of the oven. Just toss and serve. Greens are grown undercover at this time of year, but can be in short supply in the first couple of months because of the limited amount of sunlight. Everything is

The global food system is under threat from changing weather patterns, rising petroleum prices, and dwindling water supplies in crucial agricultural areas. California farmers, who feed many of us on the west coast, are experiencing drastically diminishing access to water for their crops. Closer to home, we need to conserve our own water and the health of our soil. The soil is the basis of the food system. Organic farming practices increase soil fertility and do not rely on petroleum-based fertilizers. On the island, we currently produce about 10% of the food we eat. Sixty years ago, before the advent of industrialized global agriculture, island farmers produced up to 80% of our own food. That’s not long ago. This gives us hope that we can do it again!! Plant a garden – nothing is too small! Add some wild foods to your diet. Support your local farmers. Check out the FoodRoots Pocket Market at the Cornerstone CafÊ Tuesdays from 2:30-5:30.

Calling all artists at heart! Do you have a gift with a brush? Or do you just like to get messy with paint? Either way, young and old are welcome to attend the villagevibe Box Paint-In. Saturday, March 21st from 1–4pm at The Paint Box in Fernwood Square.

in you See ocks! sm

| from page 6

tilled back into the soil. We try as much as possible to avoid having bare ground in the garden. Whenever there is no food crop to be grown, you may as well be using the space for growing organic matter in situ. We grow primarily buckwheat as a green manure in the summer, as well as oats and winter rye in the fall and winter. I always notice a dramatic increase in earthworms and other soil life after we add any source of organic matter to our formerly depleted soil. Also dramatic is the response of plants to at last have healthy, living soil to grow in. The areas of our garden that we have focused on enriching produce much hardier, more self-reliant plants. The scraggly Jerusalem artichokes that we inherited with the farm grew to eight feet last year after having compost spread over them, while the half of their bed that didn’t receive the compost grew to a mere two feet. When you think about it, soil is one of the most crucial resources that we require to survive. The foot or so of topsoil that covers the world’s agricultural areas is what our species is totally dependent on to produce food. It took thousands of years of natural processes for that vital resource to develop, so it’s of tremendous importance not only to preserve but also to enrich what we have left. A mere handful of healthy soil has countless billions of individual micro-organisms, consisting of thousands of species ranging from bacteria to fungi to nematodes. This is why I think of soil as an ecosystem rather than simply as a medium for plant growing. When any ecosystem is healthy all of its species have the opportunity to thrive. In this case that includes our garden plants. This gardening philosophy is a quite a shift from the predominant mindset that got us into so many of the ecological problems we’re dealing with today, the view that we should have total control over the ecosystems in which we live and that all life in the garden other than our cultivated plants are enemies and competition to be destroyed. That’s an outlook on nature that we’re going to have to collectively overcome - for the sake of all life on earth, the sooner the better.



Brushes will be provided, but paint is limited so you are encouraged to bring your own. For more info contact Fernwood NRG 250.381.1552 Sponsored by



The Paint Box School of Art


You’re crazy not to... tIPVS'BDJBM  #BDL 'PPU 4DBMQ .BTTBHF )JMJHIUT  )BJSDVU4UZMF $160.00 t.BOJDVSF$VU $50.00 t)JMJHIUT$VU $85.00

March 2009 | | Page 7

what’s on in Fernwood Arts, Theatre and Entertainment Belfry Theatre – SPARK FESTIVAL. Mar 9-22. The Belfry’s spectacular annual festival. Two weeks of contemporary theatre, mini-festival of ten-minute plays, play reading series and workshops with some of Canada’s most innovative artists. Works include Bash’d: A Gay Rap Opera, RADIO:30 by Chris Earle, Haircuts by Children, Moving Along and Rage. Mini-festival features new work from local companies Gotta Getta Gimmick, WAVE Theatre, coMOTION, Where’s Noonan?, Modern Myth Physical Theatre and Theatre BOMBUS. Many Spark events FREE on a first-come first-served basis. See website or call for info. 1291 Gladstone Ave. Info: 250.385.6815 or Bluegrass Wednesdays. Fernwood NRG and the Fernwood Bluegrass Association present Wednesday night bluegrass jams at the Cornerstone Café. 7:3010pm. FREE! Collective Works Gallery. “Tossed Ashore on a Tide.” Works by Rosalie Matchett. Show runs Feb 27-Mar 13. Gallery hours>11am-6pm Tues-Thurs; 11am-8pm Fri+Sat; 11am-6pm Sun; closed Mon. 1311 Gladstone Ave. 250.590.1345. www. Live at the Cornerstone – 1301 Gladstone (at Fernwood Ave.) Mon, Mar 16. 7pm>Placemaking meeting including gala premiere of a short film about Terry the bubble man and other shorts by Camosun students. Thurs, Mar 19. 7pm> screening of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. For film info see: www. Sat, Mar 21. 8pm> the Cornerstone Collective’s own CHAR brings her powerhouse soulful vocals and bluesy groove to Fernwood’s living room. Sat, Mar 28. 8pm> local causeway veteran Jean Bedard will play many of your favourite songs from Sting, James Taylor, Keb Mo, Chet Atkins and more! Thank you for supporting independent touring and local musicians and your neighbourhood! Live Music at Fernwood Inn. Open Mic Thursdays. 8:30-11:30pm. 1302 Gladstone Ave. FREE! Live Music at Logan’s Pub. 1821 Cook St. Ministry of Casual Living. 1442 Haultain St. Info: www. Victoria Bluegrass Association Jam. Tuesdays 7:30-10pm. Orange Hall. 1620 Fernwood Rd. $2 to play ($3/non-members). Listen by donation. Victoria Folk Music Society. Sundays. 7:30pm Open Stage. 9pm Feature Performer. (Mar 1>DAVID LOVINE. Mar 8>TIM WILLIAMS. Mar 15>KITANGUS. Mar 22>TANIA OPLAND and MIKE FREEMAN. Mar 29>IAN TAMBLYN.). Norway House. 1110 Hillside Ave. $5 feature performer nights/$3 all open stage night. Vic High presents: RENT. Broadway Musical theatre hits the ‘hood.

Come out and support Victoria High School’s production of Jonathan Larson’s Rent. Mar 4-7. 8pm. Tickets and info, contact 250.388.5456

Kids and Families at the Fernwood Community Centre Family Community Day. Family fun directed and facilitated by the participants. Snacks, crafts, play equipment and varied themes. Mondays 9:30-11:30am. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. FREE! Parent and Tot Playgroup. Snacks/Crafts/Circle Time. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-11:30am. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $1 per family. New!! Food Skills for Families Workshop. Workshop provides participants with the tools and inspiration to create nutritious, interesting and delicious meals while having fun in a social setting. Six-week session starting Mar 28. Saturdays, 3-6pm. Fernwood Community Centre. For info contact allison@fernwoodnrg. ca or 250-381-1552 ex.122. FREE!

Youth, Adults & Seniors Fairuza Fridays. Drop-in Co-ed. Ages 10-14. Nintendo Wii, big screen movies, basketball, floor hockey, roller skating, music. Fridays, 7-9:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre. Info: 250.381.1552 ext.25 FREE! Falun Gong. Peaceful meditation practice. All welcome! Wednesdays, 5-7pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. FREE! Fernwood Seniors. 55+. Gentle exercise, lunch and activities. Monthly special guest speaker. Fridays, 11am Fernwood Community Centre MPR. $2 for lunch. Floor Hockey. Drop-in Co-ed. Adult (18+). Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7-9:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $4, or get a punchcard: $40/11 sessions.** Flow Yoga. With certified instructor Jay. Adult. Fridays 5:30-7pm. $5. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. Hatha Yoga. With certified instructor Elke. Gentle poses, breathing practice, deep relaxation and meditation. Tuesdays, 3:30-5pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $5. Karate. Drop in. Adult Co-ed. Instructor Lucas Trottier. Sundays, 1-2:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** Kundalini Yoga Mondays, 7-8:30pm. $5 drop-in. Fernwood Community Centre. Moksha Yoga. With instructor Lena Simmons. Tuesdays. 7:30-8:30. $5 drop-in. Fernwood Community Centre. Tai Chi. Thursdays. 4:30-5:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre. 1240 Gladstone. $5 drop-in.

Women’s Soccer. Drop-in. Sundays 5-6:30pm, Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** **We accept Sports Trader Bucks and Canadian Tire Money at face value!

Special Events Fern Fest 2009!! Sat, June 20, 2009. 11am-11pm. Come out and help us in our celebration of the wonderful Fernwood Community! Live entertainment, family activities, beer garden, BBQ, Workshops and more! Free admission. Fernwood Business Network. Everyone welcome. Tues, Mar 3 (first Tues monthly). 10am. Fernwood Inn. For info contact Ryan Rutley at Café Con Leche. Drop in to chat and visit with other breastfeeding moms and babies in a funky friendly café. A La Leche League Leader will also be present. Mon, Mar 9. koffi, 1441 Haultain Street at Belmont, 10am. For more info contact Victoria Green Drinks. An inclusive gathering of the sustainabilityminded for refreshments and conversation. Tues, Mar 10 (second Tues monthly). 5-7pm. Canoe Brew Pub, Marina and Restaurant 405 Swift Street. For info see www. Fernwood’s Outrageous Recycling Day. Bring your CLEAN plastics, styrofoam packing and food trays, electronics and foil-lined coffee/chip bags. Sat, Mar 14 (second Sat monthly). 10am-1pm. Across from Fernwood Community Centre. By donation. Fernwood’s Outrageous Recycling Day seeks volunteers! Come help us make it all happen! For info: Fernwood Place Making Troupe. All Welcome! Life Cycles brings us their exciting new vision for Springridge Commons. Come hear about it, and share you thoughts and aspirations for our beloved Commons. Monday, Mar 16 (third Mon monthly). 7pm. Cornerstone Café. Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective. All welcome! Tues, Mar 17 (third Tues monthly). 7-9pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. foodsecurity@ La Leche League – Victoria Evening Grp. Breastfeeding information and support - meet moms and babies, moms-to-be, and older siblings. Thurs, Mar 26. 7-9 pm. For info contact Uschi Leslie at 250.595.4453 or Uschi. Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective hosts: Monday Movie Nights at the Cornerstone. Screenings of food security–related films. Mon, Mar 30 at the Cornerstone. 7pm. Bring the Sun – Solar Heating Info and Options Session. It may be winter in Fernwood now, but the Sun is never far away…. Come out to an info session on the economics, options and incentives available for solar domestic water heating systems. For a primer on the

villagevibe Published by Fernwood NRG (Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group) 1240 Gladstone Street Victoria, BC V8T 1G6 T 250.381.1552 F 250.381.1509 Editor: Lisa Helps Assistant Editors: Aaron Ellingsen, Trish Richards Contributors: Shannon Ash Owen Bridge Caitlin Croteau Lee Fuge Margaret Hantiuk Rainey Hopewell Margot Johnston Brenda Kennedy Matthew Kemshaw Don Ollsin Jo Roueche Susan Tychie The views expressed in the Village Vibe do not necessarily reflect the views of Fernwood NRG.

technology and available incentives see www. and the March Vibe article. Mar 31. 7-9pm Fernwood Community Centre. FREE! Fernwood Community Kitchen. Cook nutritious, creative meals with your neighbours! Info: Spring Ridge Commons Workparties! Come get your hands dirty in Fernwood’s only public food garden. Saturdays, 10-12pm at the Commons. Please bring tools if you’ve got ‘em. Village Sustainability Workshops. Ongoing workshops at the Oak and Fern Centre. Contact Rainey and Margot for information at 250.383.9171 or hope_of_rain@ The Fernwood Commons: A Fernwood Community Communication Forum. For info on Fernwood comings and goings and neighbourhood news and views, check out The Fernwood Commons online: http:// If you have a workshop or special event idea for the Fernwood Community Centre or the Cornerstone Café email james@ If you have a Fernwood event you would like listed in the Village Vibe calendar please send an email with the subject line “vibe calendar” to

Come on in out of the cold, where neighbours gather! Open daily from 11:30 1302 Gladstone

Page 8 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | March 2009



VillageVibe March 2009  

Fernwood's Neighbourhood Newspaper

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