Category Archives: Organizations

Organizations related to or supportive of local food

Start Your Own Community Garden

Are you green with garden envy? Before I managed to snag a plot in the community garden lottery last year, I was green with envy too. Now I’m just green — or my garden is, anyway.  If you’re on an impossibly long wait list like I was, or don’t have a community garden in your area, why not consider starting one?

The Vancouver Community Agriculture Network in collaboration with the Environmental Youth Alliance have compiled a handy dandy guide to help you get started. It covers everything from tips on finding appropriate land and getting organized, to planning the space and sourcing resources.

There’s lots of information for even the most beginner gardener, and a few tips that even veterans may appreciate.

Sourcing Seeds Locally

Where I’m from, the first name off anyone’s lips when talking seeds is West Coast Seeds, best known for their gardeners’ porn annual seed catalogue. The catalogue IS full of beautiful pictures, but the best part when you’re in the garden planning stage at the start of the season is their regional planting chart.

West Coast Seeds provides valuable information, along with gardening books and tools, but as I understand it, they don’t actually source their seeds locally. There are a variety of companies that produce seeds grown in our own climate, many of which are also organic. Here are some options:*

Stellar Seeds Sorrento, BC

Salt Spring Seeds Salt Spring Island, BC

Full Circle Seeds Sooke, BC

Two Wings Farms Victoria, BC

Sunshine Farm Kelowna, BC

Other suppliers from slightly farther afield…

Wild Garden Seed Oregon, USA

Heritage Harvest Seed Carman, Manitoba

Lindenberg Seeds Brandon, Manitoba

Territorial Seed Co. Oregon, USA

Talk about taking eating local to a whole new level: you can eat regionally adapted plants, while supporting your Eat Local economy! Learn more about organic seeds at Organic Seed Alliance.

*List courtesy of Gourmet Gardens


Related Posts:

Why Local Seeds Matter
Let the Planting Begin
West Coast Seeds

Escape to the Organic Farm

Have you ever wanted to just chuck it all and escape back to the land? I’ve harboured that fantasy every once in a while when the rush of urban life seems too much. Yes, even though the thought of actually getting my hands dirty grosses me out. (Hey, I’ve never claimed to be more than a bumbling gardener at best!)

I’ve recently come across an organization that has me seriously considering an escape. Okay, not quite to the far reaches of the Sub-Sahara, but certainly to spots somewhat closer to civilization. Like maybe a berg in the Maritimes or a homestead just up the river from Dawson City, Yukon. (It’s beautiful up there, I’ve been twice.)

Apple Press, WWOOF Australia

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an international network of organizations that offers access to organic farms throughout the world where volunteers can learn about farming and contribute to the running of the farm in exchange for room and board.

The criteria are simple. Volunteers must:

  • Have a genuine interest in learning about organic growing, country living or ecologically sound lifestyles.
  • Help their hosts with daily tasks for an agreed number of hours.

Hosts are required to:

  • Grow organically, are in conversion, or use ecologically sound methods on their land.
  • Provide hands-on experience of organic growing and other learning opportunities where possible.
  • Provide clean dry accommodation and adequate food for their volunteers.

Other than that, the specifics vary from host to host, with summaries posted online. For a $20 annual fee you can read the full details and contact the host whose project interests you, literally across the globe.

In checking out the site I was astonished at the wide variety of locations and job descriptions, and quickly became lost in time as I contemplated how wonderful it would be to escape to a far away place and get back in touch with the land in a very tangible way. Working with livestock, building, clearing land, planting, harvesting, you name it.

Even me, with my loathing of dirt and distaste of bugs, could find a spot that suits me, and allows me to contribute. Hmmm, I’ve always wanted to explore Newfoundland, and go back to Spain, and explore New Zealand…

Urban Gardening on Steroids

Here’s a great — and extreme — example of a family taking ownership of their food supply. It’s proof that even a small amount of land can give us much more than we may imagine is possible. Be inspired!

We have a great community garden program here in Vancouver, BC but there are always more people who want to garden than there are available plots. I’d love to see more people with land share it with the people who want to garden. If you’re interested, check out Sharing Backyards.

Find more inspiring videos at

Tasty Fundraiser for Farm Folk/City Folk

Rocky Mountain Flatbread is hosting three share-the-proceeds events with Farm Folk/City Folk on February 2, 9 and 16, 2010. Rocky Mountain Flatbread has long been a supporter of eating local — they source much of the ingredients for their menu from local farmers.

Fund raise painlessly while you enjoy local and delicious eats.

Master Gardener Program

The Earthwise Society has brought Gaia College’s popular Organic Master Gardener Certification Course to its beautiful campus at Earthwise Garden and Farm in Boundary Bay, Tsawwassen. The session starts this Monday — quick, there’s still time if you’re interested.

Everyone is welcome. No previous experience required. Just come, learn and have fun. It is a practical experience-based course consisting of lectures and hands-on exercises. To receive a Certificate of Completion students must attend all sessions and complete and present a satisfactory assignment.

The sessions run Mondays and Thursdays starting Monday, January 25th. For more information about the course, contact the Earthwise Society directly.

Farm Folk / City Folk 2010 Calendar

Farm Folk City Folk 2010 CalendarHey folks, it’s time to whip out a fresh sheet of paper and start organizing your life. Better yet, use the Farm Folk / City Folk 2010 calendar.

On the practical side I love the big squares for adding notes, but it’s the beautiful images of life on the farm from award-winning photographer Brian Harris that make me feel refreshed when the schedule gets jam-packed. There’s nothing quite like farming — or on my scale, community gardening — to reconnect with the earth as our food source. Oh, and don’t forget the delicious, monthly, local food recipes!

Remembering and connecting to the the rhythm of nature is it’s own reward, but for those who want more it’s also good to know that all proceeds from the calendar go to supporting community initiatives at Farm Folk / City Folk.

Note: You can find the Farm Folk / City Folk 2010 calendar at select retailers or order it online. Do the latter and tell them you heard about it here at and you’ll also receive a pair of complimentary Farm Folk City Folk greeting cards.

Fork in the Road: Cultivating Food and Community in Local Neighbourhoods

Langara College, in concert with Village Vancouver, is hosting Fork in the Road, Cultivating Food and Community in Local Neighbourhoods this weekend, November 13 & 14. Participants to this workshop walk away with practical tools and ideas for involving friends and neighbours in local food issues and the inspiration to become involved in a neighbourhood food network.

Theatrical games and exercise are used to facilitate dialogue and personal change. Past participants have called these sessions, “Energizing”, “Fun”, “Mind-opening”, and “Empowering”.

Friday, November 13, 6:30 – 9:30pm and
Saturday, November 14, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (workshop includes both sessions)
Langara College
100 West 49 Avenue, Vancouver
$50 admission fee
Register: 604.323.5322
Bring your own lunch and food to share

For further information, contact Leslie Kemp at 604.323.5981

Do you plan to attend? Please leave a comment and let us know how it goes.

Stone Soup Film Festival Coming This Fall

Learn more about food issues, both locally and internationally, at this year’s Stone Soup Film Festival. Presented by the East End Food Co-op and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, the festival will explore health and nutrition, food economics, agricultural worker rights, and urban agriculture over two days of great films.

October 17 & 18, 2009
Britannia Community Services Centre
1661 Napier Street, Vancouver
Purchase a pass for $15: 604.718.5800

The film festival is a part of the Stone Soup Fall Food Gathering, also taking place at Britannia Centre. Events will include:

  • “DIY” Food Day on October 3, a day of sessions where participants learn the art of making and preserving food
  • Community Potluck on October 15 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
  • Food Justice Forum & Discussion on October 8 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

More information (pdf)

Planning to attend? Leave a comment and let us know how it went.