Author Archives: candrina

Fresh Take on Water: “Vancouver Tap”

While at dinner with a friend a few years ago, I was amused when the waiter offered me a choice of either “bottled water” or “Vancouver Tap”. It was a higher end restaurant and I thought this was a great way to describe the less exciting option. It wasn’t just tap water – it was a much sexier, well-branded “Vancouver Tap”.

1057179_drinking_water_2Perhaps the ultimate in consuming local food and beverages, tap water is beginning a return to vogue. With the realization that bottled water leaves behind, well, bottles (3 million in Vancouver area landfills last year alone), many environmental groups and, indeed, Metro Vancouver itself, are lobbying residents to take another look at “Vancouver Tap”. In fact, Metro Vancouver has a current goal to reduce bottled water use by 20% by 2010 by encouraging residents to refill reusable water bottles with tap water.

Further to the environmental affects, the cost of bottles vs. tap is staggering. Bottled water costs $1-2 per litre while tap water in Metro Vancouver costs a mere $0.80 per 1,000 litres. If you’re concerned about the chlorine taste in the water (used to disinfect the water from both the Capilano and Seymour reservoirs), water filtration systems such as Brita can help.

So, next time you need to quench that thirst, reach for “Vancouver Tap”: it’s cheap, safe, and leaves no bottle behind.

Growing Our Own Vegetables

Last summer, I decided to try my hand at patio vegetable gardening. Oh, nothing ambitious, you understand — just some tomatoes.

I signed up for a seminar on growing heirloom tomatoes through Slow Food. I got lots of great information and decided to give it a try. How bad could it possibly go? After all, I have neighbours who have beautiful vines of luscious red jewels in their gardens.

How did my experiment turn out? About as well as my first attempt at chili (read: not well). Apparently, my patio is completely void of veggie-growing sunlight. Instead of the tomatoes my neighbours were enjoying, I got two – yes two – little, hard green tomatoes. Not exactly the harvest I was hoping for.

This year, still determined to grow something, I’m considering renting a plot at the community garden. I was initially concerned that it would be difficult to locate one but a handy website, City Farmer, simplifies the search. The site offers a list of gardens divided by city, each with location and contact information. There are even gardens designated as “organic”.

I must admit, I’m a little intimidated. Will I be able to fill my plot? Will any of it grow? What if more veggies grow than I can possibly eat?

Despite my apprehension, my belief that the simple act of growing our own vegetables helps safeguard the environment, build communities, and connect the grower with their food source pretty much insists that I, at least, investigate the possibility of renting a plot. I will be visiting some of the gardens in my area over the next weeks and deciding where and if I will begin my new experiment this spring.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

The 100-Mile Diet Comes to TV

Have you ever heard of the 100-Mile Diet? That’s where participants commit to only eating  foods, including beverages, grown up to 100-miles away from home. Sounds easy, right?

Well, it is until you realize that the staples of most households, such as beer and coffee, are grown nowhere near your house (unless you have a nice little cottage in the Peruvian rain forest).

Food TV Canada is launching a new series this Sunday, “The 100-Mile Challenge“, which follows six families as they challenge themselves to only eat and drink from within the 100-mile limit for 100 days. Yep, 100 days. Where did they find families brave enough to take on the challenge in front of the cameras? Mission, BC, of course!

The show’s site is much more than just an ad for the show. Check it out for recipes, tips, and help finding appropriate foods in your area.