Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Story of the Two Wolves

One day an old Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson. He said, "There are two wolves fighting inside all of us - the wolf of fear and hate, and the wolf of love and peace."

The grandson listened, then looked up at his grandfather and asked, "Which one will win?"

The grandfather replied, "The one we feed."

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


"You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

Kahlil Gibran

Friday, 7 December 2007

aid is not enough - the complexities of humanitarian emergencies

hey - check out the new events posted under 'other events'. i've been helping to coordinate an upcoming event with ivan gayton @ rhizome cafe. it is going to be a thought provoking night! hope to see you there.

aid is not enough - the complexities of humanitarian emergencies
date: Friday, December 21st
time: 8pm - 11pm
location : Rhizome Cafe 317 East Broadway
cost: $5-$10

details: Ivan Gayton - logistician and project coordinator with
Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders will deliver a dynamic & interactive presentation on the complexity of aid work in the absence of functioning social structures. Ivan will also be screening his new video The Borders Question

Monday, 3 December 2007

your heart

"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your heart."

Charlie Parker

Sunday, 2 December 2007


Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. The more familiar our mind is with virtue, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes. When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience pure happiness. If we train our mind to become peaceful we shall be happy all the time, even in the most adverse conditions. But if our mind is not peaceful, then even if we have the most pleasant external conditions we shall not be happy. Therefore it is important to train our mind through meditation.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso--The Meditation Handbook

Saturday, 1 December 2007

food ~ environment connection

"If every American went completely meat-free for one full day per week, the effect would be the same as taking 8 million cars off the roads."

- Environmental Defense

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Food often defines our cultures

"Food often defines our cultures -- it is across the dinner table where one truly begins to understand another.
The joy I get from cooking and eating is not just a matter of gluttony, it's one of history, sociology, anthropology, culture, and family." -- Dean McCord

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

borders question video

Should human beings have the right to migrate and seek work as they choose, regardless of borders and national sovereignty? Check out Ivan's video for some food for thought....

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Time for Serenity, Anyone?

"I like to live in the sound of water, in the feel of mountain air.
A sharp reminder hits me: this world is still alive; it stretches out
there shivering toward its own creation, and I'm a part of it. Even
my breathing enters into an elaborate give-and-take, this bowing
to sun and moon, day or night, winter, summer, storm, still –- this
tranquil chaos that seems to be going somewhere. This wilderness
with a great peacefulness in it. This motionless turmoil, this everything dance."

William Stafford
"Even in Quiet Places"

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

hands that harvested your food

"Strawberries are too delicate to be picked by machine. The perfectly ripe
ones bruise even at too heavy a human touch. Every strawberry you have
ever eaten has been picked by callused human hands. Every piece of toast
with jelly represents someone's knees, someone's aching backs and hips,
someone with a bandanna on her wrist to wipe away the sweat."

Alison Luterman, quoted in After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield

Thursday, 18 October 2007

art is a community effort....

"Fortunately art is a community effort -- a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh."

Allen Ginsberg

Friday, 5 October 2007


My first memories of apples start with childhood memories of the valley coming to life in spring with apple blossoms. Apple blossom time would signal the end of another winter, and offer the promise of a new growing season. The official arrival of Spring. The sweet soft scent of the blossoms would fill the air and pinkish white blossoms for as far as the eye could see. The community gathered together each spring for the Apple Blossom Festival, a celebration of community, life, traditions and heritage. We would line the road for the Apple Blossom Parade and watch the floats and festivities dance by. There was such pride the year my cousin, Crystal, was the Apple Blossom Princess!

The Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia is a long way from Kazakhstan, Central Asia, where botanists believe the apple has its origins. Existing as a wild fruit since prehistoric times, it was the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians that began cultivating the apple more than 3,000 years ago. Being in the heart of the silk route, as nomads and traders passed through the Kazakhstan, they would gather apples, and thus the humble, yet dynamic apple started its journey around the world. With 7,500 varieties, of which 50 are grown commercially, apples are now grown in every corner of the world. From Japan, Madagascar, South Africa, New Zealand, Russia, China, England, France to Canada & the U.S.

The Spartan is a tasty British Columbian success story. A member of the extensive McIntosh family, the Spartan is a cross between the McIntosh and Newton Pippin that was developed at the Summerland Research Station in 1936. With a crisp and bright flavour, Spartans keep well and mellow and gain flavour in storage.

Apples have a special appeal, not just commercially, but also for community and residential planting. The apple tree has a long life, is easy to grow and thrives in just about any climate. It offers shade for warm summer days, a home for birds, flowers for bees, and what great fun to climb. But what to do with all those apples?! We all love home made apple sauce, apple pie, apple crumble, apple chips… What happens when the tree owner doesn’t have the time, ability, or resources to pick their trees? Often, you will find the yard scattered with wasted fruit.

Another BC success story is The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project. The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project is a community-based, registered not-for-profit society that works to build community and strengthen food security using local fruit. The idea is simple: to connect people who have excess fruit from their backyard trees with volunteers who have the time and energy to harvest it. The harvested fruit is donated to community organizations such as neighbourhood houses, community kitchens, and friendship centres. Educational canning workshops enhance food preservation skills by training diverse members of our communities to safely preserve fruit using simple, up-to-date canning processes. The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project enables communities to connect through the growth, harvest, distribution, and celebration of locally-grown, backyard fruit. In doing so, it fosters community engagement, alternatives to market-based agriculture, and strong food security networks in Vancouver.

Started in 1999 by a group of Vancouver residents coming together to address their common concern for the large amount of fruit going to waste in their neighbourhoods, The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project now works with over 50 tree owners and 100 volunteers to harvest over 4,000 lbs of fruit annually from backyards throughout Vancouver.

Just as in my childhood, the mighty apple is part of the celebration of community and the change of seasons.

Paula Luther
The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project

Published in Slow Food Vancouver Newsletter October 2004

note - the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project is on hiatus for the 2007 season

Friday, 28 September 2007

apple revelation

I've had an apple revelation. It is fresh and tasty, crisp & fresh, delicious. A Red Delicious revelation.

It seems apples are part of my genetic make up, they bookend the growing season in my mind. Spring starts with the fragrance of apple blossoms in the air and the taste of fall is that of a crisp apple. Fresh crisp apples in the cool fall air, warm apple crisp, freshly stewed apple sauce with cinnamon, yellow, red, and green and beautiful variations in between. Spartan, Fuji, Braeburn, Mutsu, Pippin, MacIntosh, Gala and beyond, I love them all - except for the Red Delicious. I have never really been a fan of the Red Delicious. Until just a few days ago, then I had my apple revelation.

I arrived at the Vancouver Public Library, to see Michael Ableman speak, and was given an organic Red Delicious apple form George & Anna Zebroff's farm in Cawston. It was the comment 'it tastes like the holidays' that convinced me to give the old Red Delicious another try. Gone were the spongy texture and the lackluster taste that I found so uninspiring. This Red Delicious was bursting with taste & vitality. The most beautiful shade of red, it fit perfectly in my hands, and as I ate my apple, I relished in the delight of a newly discovered treat. This changes everything! Just as I could taste the warm Cawston sun and cool water that gave this apple life, I could taste the love that nurtures the apples and the land.

I was so pleased to see photographs and hear tales of George & Anna during Michael Ableman's presentation. As I looked around the room and saw people munching away on their apples, I couldn't help but feel like George and Anna were in the room with us.

I could not wait to share my apple revelation. The next morning, I started my class at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition by giving each student a Red Delicious apple from George & Anna's farm. Not only a good source of insoluble fiber, and good for digestion, heart health, and balancing blood sugar, the apple is also part of our folklore, and community. Farmers Markets are always a great way to connect with the people who are lovingly growing our food. With Winter Market season upon us, take the opportunity to stop by the Market, pick up some apples and chat with farmers about the diverse varieties grown right here in BC. It will add a sweet & tangy delight to your fall. Be prepared for a revelation of your own.

I wonder if it was a Red Delicious that fell on Newton's head....

Revelation Apple Crisp

6-8 local apples cored & chopped
(mix & match varieties for an explosion of taste & texture)
1/3 cup apple juice
¼ cup maple syrup
to taste grated fresh ginger

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup spelt flour
¼ cup sucunat
¼ cup organic palm shortening or organic coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped nuts & seeds (almonds, hemp nut, sunflower seeds, etc.)

Preheat oven 350° F.

Core & chop apples, add apple juice, maple syrup and fresh ginger. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Mix 2/3 of dry mixture with apple mixture and place in lightly oiled baking dish. Top with remaining dry mixture.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes.

Serve with tea & good friends

*use organic & local ingredients whenever possible

Published in the Slow Food Newsletter Fall 2005

an apple a day.....

An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

Hmmm.... could it be because it is a rich source of fibre? We all know the importance of fibre to a happy & healthy body. Gotta keep things moving! Or perhaps it is because the humble apple is a good source of Vitamin C? One apple (with skin) can provide 15% of RDA of Vitamin C. Important for the immune system, healthy skin, wound healing and more. Think you need a tropical banana for your potassium – think again! That same apple that is boosting your immune system, keeping you regular is, and maintaining blood sugar levels is also providing you with potassium. An important electrolyte, potassium plays a role in healthy muscle contraction. What is one of our largest muscles? The heart!

Apples are produced all around the world, but as luck would have it, there is an abundant supply of apples right here in BC. A trip to the farmers market will be rich with beautiful apples – red, green, yellow & every shade in between. Crisp and bursting with flavour like nothing else. Sweet to tart – there is something for every taste.

Of course, there are our old favourites – MacIntosh, Gala, Spartan, Mutsu. But this year, it is all about the new for me. The Sinta Gold – wow! Firm, crisp, moist, slightly tart, and you can taste the sunshine in it. I am having a love affair with the Sinta Gold – how did I go this long without discovering it?!

Maybe it is the love that am tasting? The Sinta Golds I am eating have been grown with love by Walter Harvey & family on Snowy Mountain Organic Farm in the Cawston, BC. Certified Organic & Biodynamic, you can taste the cool mountain water, warm desert sun, rich glacier soil in each bite. But, I think the secret ingredient is the love. With a happy family of humans, horses and dogs, these apples have a good life before landing in my hand. The proof is in the bite.

The Sinta Gold is yet another homegrown delight. Developed in the Summerland Research Lab, it is one we can call our own.

Not convinced? Try sampling your way through a farmers market to find your favourite variety – for eating, for cooking, for sharing. Your Local Farmers Market will be hosting a Winter Market the Second & Forth Saturday of the month at the Wise Hall, 10am – 2pm, admission is free. There will be a variety of apple growers there to delight your senses in apple flavours & tales. And to supply you with your apple a day. Enjoy!

Favourite Fall Apple Recipe

equipment needed:
hand – front & back

one fresh apple

place apple firmly in hand, rub until shiny & bright
with apple held in palm of hand, bite into apple with glee
use back of hand to wipe fresh & tasty juice away
smile with delight
repeat often

published FarmFolk/CityFolk Newsletter Fall 2006

Friday, 31 August 2007


And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,
"Your seed shall live in my body,
and the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
and your fragrance shall be my breath,
and together we shall rejoice through all the seasons."

Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

tomato festival - saturday august 25th @ trout lake farmers market

Few things can compete with the magical delight of a vine ripened, freshing picked cherry tomato bursting with an explosion of flavour as you pop it in your mouth on a warm, late summer day. It is the taste of summer. My patience is being rewarded with the bounty of Isis tomatoes outside my back door. Organic from the seed on up. Further down in the garden, an array of tomatoes ripen away, as I dream of fresh tomato salsa with purple tomatillos, gazpacho, salads, and big fresh slices of tomato with juice dripping down my chin. From the Andes to Market, the tomato is the taste of a late summer day.

The origin of the tomato has been traced back to the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Aztecs were the first people to cultivate, eat and name the tomato - xtomatl. Conquistadors are credited with taking tomato seeds back to Europe in the 16th century, where they quickly found popularity in the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Portugal and Italy. As the tomato traveled north, it was veiled in mystery. The French called it ‘The Apple of Love’, the Germans ‘The Apple of Paradise,’ but the British, while admiring its brilliant red colour, believed it to be poisonous. Brought to North America by colonists as an ornamental plant, it was not until the 1830’s that tomatoes were accepted as food. By 1850, the tomato was an important produce item, they could be found in home gardens and were being produced commercially. A stroll through your farmers market will discover beautiful heirloom varieties of every shape and colour. Black russian, green zebra, golden nugget, sweet million and others offer a delicious tale of genetic diversity and history.

Today, tomatoes are revered for their anti-oxidant qualities. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, Vitamin A, and also contain Vitamin C. Studies have shown that lycopene, of which the tomato is a rich source, can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, especially lung & prostate. The lycopene is actually more bio-available in cooked tomatoes. For optimal flavour, do not refrigerate tomatoes. To speed the ripening, place tomatoes next to bananas.

Groovin’ Gazpacho

The perfect late summer soup, this soup is served chilled

3 tomatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
½ medium cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped
½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic (to taste)
1 litre tomato juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
few dashes hot sauce (to taste) or chili pepper minced
½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
1 green onion, chopped for garnish

To peel tomatoes, place tomatoes in pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and place in cold water. Skins should remove easily.

Place tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, green pepper, and half tomato juice in blender and blend for ~30 seconds. Pour into large bowl & add remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with green onions. Serve with crusty bread and a side of good friends. Even better the next day.

Visit me at Harvey's Orchards @ Trout Lake Farmers Market for some of the tastiest biodynamic tomatoes!

Trout Lake Farmers Market
Victoria @ 15th Avenue
9am - 2pm