Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Food Security Snapshots

Annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser, part of the Collingwood Days community festival.

One of the mason bee houses on the Rooftop Garden. We had a total of 17 plugged holes at the Rooftop and also 17 plugged holes in the mason bee condo at the Collingwood Community Gardens. To learn more about the blue orchard mason bee and the importance of pollinators, visit Mason Bee Vancouver.

Everybody say "MOO!" We teamed up with CNH Settlement Services and the Seniors Wellness program for a local food adventure at Avalon Dairy.

Avalon is a family business that is right in our neighbourhood. It's the oldest continuously operating Dairy in BC. In the background you can see the original Crowley family farmhouse that was built in 1908.

Our guide answers questions outside the bottling room. We weren't able to enter the processing building due to health regulations.

A glimpse inside the bottling room. Avalon is known for their glass bottles. Glass containers have had a resurgence in popularity in recent years. This is partially due to health concerns over harmful compounds in food-grade plastics (especially Bisphenol A, or BPA). A summary of concerns about BPA can be found in this brochure released by the US Bureau of Environmental Health in 2009. The Canadian Government amended the Hazardous Products Act in March 2010 in response to growing research on the harm of BPAs. More information about these changes can be found here.

Community kitchen participants hulling strawberries for dessert.

Grating carrots for salad.

Strawberry monkey!

Sharing food skills during community kitchen.

The Renfrew Collingwood Aboriginal Youth Canoe Club hosted the 2010 Pulling Together Journey from July 1-July 9. The Pulling Together Journey brings law enforcement officers and government representatives (including municipal police, RCMP, and Border Services, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) together with Aboriginal Youth for a nine day canoe and camping journey. Along the way, the participants are welcomed into the different Aboriginal territories by local community members, and learn about protocol and culture. Here, Canoe Club members paddle The Spirit of the Salmon from Dead Man's Island in Stanley Park to Ambleside.

A small group Food Security people helped to prepare the big dinner feast in Semiahmoo on the final day of the journey. We learned about indigenous food traditions, cultural celebrations, and got to share in a bountiful feast. Here, food security volunteer Barry enjoys the scent of smoking salmon.

We shucked a lot of fresh Dungeness crab! The feast also included bannock, clam chowder, and smoked salmon, as well as fresh berries for dessert.

Square foot gardening at the Collingwood Community Gardens.

Supplies for a peach salsa and tomato canning workshop.

Peeling blanched peaches for the salsa. We used the peach salsa recipe from Bernardin's Guide to Home Preserving. Be sure to use tested recipes from reputable sources for home canning, especially for low-acid foods like vegetables and fish.

After a long 45 minutes of waiting for our hot-packed tomatoes to come out of their boiling water bath. Processing times differ for different jar sizes and different methods (e.g. whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes all have different processing times), so always consult a reliable recipe when canning at home.

WOW!! Home canning!

Garlic scapes on the Rooftop Garden. We were affected by Garlic Rust Fungus, so the bulbs we harvested were quite small this year.

Practicum student Chanel with freshly harvested garlic scapes and bulbs.

Plump peas grown on the roof.

Blueberries growing on the roof.