Tuesday, 8 December 2009

thanks to everyone who came out to the winter market on saturday, december 5th. it was great fun. the new chicken series was very well received, and will continue to grow, along with images of other fabulous farm animals. i do love my farm friends - they have so much character. clearly, reading dr. dolittle and spending time on the family farm when i was young had a big impact on me!

my next scheduled winter market date is saturday, february 13, 2010 and i will have lots of love infused images!

in the meantime, i can be contacted directly if you are needing a fixin' of tasty farm fresh images. i currently have a selection of cards, postcards, magnets and framed photos (framed in locally sourced - east van - reclaimed wood).

drop me a line - chickpeanutrition[at]gmail.com

happy eating!


Friday, 4 December 2009

winter market - saturday december 5th 10am - 12pm

hey friends & foodies

i will have my farm fresh foodie photos @ tomorrow's winter farmers' market. foodie photos framed in hand crafted frames from local reclaimed wood, postcards, cards and magnets. part of the new chicken series will be included. fun! pop round - would love to see you.

and.... lots of beautiful local foods grown & processed with love. what better gift for the holiday season?

10am - 2pm @ the wise hall - adanac @ victoria

my next market date - february 13, 2010

Friday, 13 November 2009

Farmers' Market Nutrition & Coupon Project Video

it has been quite around here lately! this video will give you an idea of what i have been spending my time on the past couple of years. enjoy!
www.bcfarmersmarket.org/fmncp for more info.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

beauty & art @ every turn

As summer progresses, crops of rice paddy art are beginning to emerge in Japan. The crop art — created by strategically arranging and growing different colours of rice plants — can be seen in farming communities across the country.

more pics: http://www.pinktentacle.com/2009/07/rice-paddy-art/

Saturday, 13 June 2009


In this plate of food
I see the entire universe
Supporting my existence.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

fresh - today!

hey vancouver folks - would be great to see you there!

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system.
Wednesday June 10th @ 7:30 pm $10
Location: UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street
watch the trailer - http://www.freshthemovie.com/
Panel to follow screening:
Philip Solman (Moderator), Publisher of Edible of Edible Vancouver
Valerie Roddick, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Planning
Paula Luther, Project Manager, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Project
Tara McDonald, Executive Director of Vancouver Farmers Markets
Karen Rideout, Faculty of Land and Food Systems at University of British Columbia
Ana Joanes, Director & Producer, FRESH

Saturday, 23 May 2009

first local asparagus of the season!

i just got home from the trout lake farmers' market - with my first local asparagus of the season - grown @ in season farms in abbotsford.
i am excited!
i can already taste my dinner of fresh asparagus lightly grilled on the barbeque with fresh lemon, salt & pepper. the brown bastmati is soaking now - for cooking later & i will harvest some fresh salad greens & radishes from the garden to complete the meal.

life is good.

Friday, 22 May 2009


"Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want."

Frances Moore Lappé & Anna Lappé

Celebrate Biodiversity Day - May 22, 2009

Celebrate Biodiversity Day - May 22, 2009

International Day for Biological Diversity is a chance to celebrate the plant and seed diversity that's critical to the world's food supply. By planting many crop types - varieties that are resistant to different growing conditions, diseases, and pests - farmers all over the world ensure there's always food on the table. USC Canada and our partners are striving to protect that diversity in every country where we work.

I'm going to plant something today!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system.

Date: June 10th
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street

watch the trailer - http://www.freshthemovie.com/

Panel to follow screening:

Philip Solman (Moderator), Publisher of Edible Vancouver

Valerie Roddick, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Planning

Paula Luther, Project Manager, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Project

Tara McDonald, Executive Director of Vancouver Farmers Markets

Karen Rideout, Faculty of Land and Food Systems at University of British Columbia

Ana Joanes, Director & Producer, FRESH

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

ready, set, go - farmers' market season

farmers' market season is upon us - hooray. the trout lake market opens this saturday - 15th ave @ victoria (trout lake community centre). i'll be there early for fresh spring greens & a big dose of community love.

...and i'll be vending at the vancouver farmers' markets this season. i'll be there with my foodie photography - original photographs of local food framed in one of a kind frames made from reclaimed east van wood. photocards & postcards as well.

july 19 - kits mkt @ kits community centre
august 29 - west end mkt @ nelson park
october 4 - kits mkt @ kits community centre

i may end up trying a few dates @ the new station street wednesday market. check out www.eatlocal.org for lots of market news. sign up for the newsletter & stay in the loop.

see you at market!

Friday, 8 May 2009

stone soup festival - may 9th

hey kids - i'll be there selling my foodie photos. come on by - i'd love to see you!

Britannia Community Centre - Napier @ Commercial Drive
12pm - 5pm
May 9 '09

This East Vancouver tradition marks the beginning of Spring and gives opportunity for the local community to celebrate together. This is our 14th year of bringing community together in celebration of spring, food, the environment and community itself. More than ever people are aware of the issues of food security, the benefits of sharing resources and eating ‘local’. Stone Soup will celebrate the global diversity of food, the environment and its importance to the ‘culture’ of our community. Stone Soup brings the community together in a quest to sample, explore, create, and experience with features such as: Latin American Foods Feast; Global Food Forum and Artist Talks; Food Workshops; Artist and Musicians; Farmer's Market; Food Film Festival; Crafts and of course FREE SOUP!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

get your vote on!

May 12, 2009 is the date set for the Referendum on Electoral Reform. It is taking place at the same time as the general election. The referendum asks voters this question:

“Which electoral system should British Columbia use to elect members to the provincial Legislative Assembly?”

The existing electoral system (First-Past-The-Post)

The single transferable vote electoral system (BC-STV) proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform

How BC-STV Works

A new map

Each region has the same number of MLAs as in the current first past the post system, but they are grouped together into 20 multi-member districts across the province.

So, for example, there will be four MLAs who represent the Kootenays as a whole, instead of one MLA for Nelson-Creston, another MLA for Cranbrook etc.

Why does BC-STV do this? In order to give as many voters as possible an MLA they voted for.

In our current flawed first past the post system only 40-50% of voters have an MLA they voted for. With BC-STV 80-90% of voters will get an MLA they voted for. Multiple views represented, multiple communities represented.

A new way to vote

On the ballot, voters can rank as many candidates as they like - as easy as 1,2,3. Voters decide which candidate best represents their chosen party. They can even vote for candidates from several different parties, or for an independent.

Political parties hoping to win more than one seat will have put forward a diverse slate of candidates to maximize their appeal with voters.

STV allows voters to ‘spend’ their vote efficiently. If our first choice is least popular and is eliminated, our vote goes to our next choice. If less than our whole vote is needed, then we get “change” to spend on our next choice.

A new map and a new way to vote. Two changes that will give the people of BC the type of politics that they asked for.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

help stop ge rice

concerned about the genetic engineering of our food? check out the new campaign by Greenpeace International against GE rice. rice is the staple food of half the world's population & if the European Union decides to import GE rice, it will indeed encourage planting.


Tuesday, 31 March 2009


"Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you
believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take
responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you
guarantee there will be no hope."
- Noam Chomsky

Monday, 30 March 2009

eat local...

here's a great article by the ever talented Jeff Nield of FarmFolk/CityFolk - click the link for the full article.

Over the past couple of years, the concept of eating locally has taken hold of the public imagination. Thanks to years of on the ground work by a group of dedicated non-profits, activists, farmers, small businesses, and eaters, the benefits of eating food grown as close to home as possible has at least made it to the edge of mainstream society. Buying locally grown food is a positive choice for the environment, the economy, personal health, and our communities. Not to mention that learning where your food comes from is empowering information that will lead to a greater understanding of the food system in general.

Friday, 27 March 2009

earth hour

Saturday, March 28th
8:30pm local time

Vote for the earth by switching off your lights for one hour.
Take action - engage - and have a bit of fun


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Vandana Shiva

"The alternative to money is the currency of relationships."

Vandana Shiva

Friday, 20 February 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009

everywhere there is joy & delight

Take hold of your own life.
See that the whole existence is celebrating.
These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious.
The rivers and the oceans are wild,
and everywhere there is fun,
everywhere there is joy and delight.
Watch existence,
listen to the existence and become part of it.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

BC Farmers' Market Nutrition & Coupon Project

paula luther , RHN

published in The Stirring Stick, December 2008

As the season shifts and we move into the cool winter slumber, our energies are also drawn inward, and we are given the opportunity to reflect on the passing season, and create the diversity and abundance of what lays ahead. In our ever increasingly busy and focused world, it is refreshing to take the time to reflect upon the interconnectedness of all of the elements that come together to create success, understanding that it is this unique and powerful meeting that creates a unique and dynamic outcome.

Biodynamic farming intimately understands the principles & importance of interconnectedness like no other. Just as these principles cultivate a diverse and rich crop, so too can they cultivate a diverse and rich community. This is integral to the foundation of the BC Farmers' Market Nutrition & Coupon Project (FMNCP), which brings together local farmers, farmers' markets, low-income families with children, pregnant women, cooking and skill building programs, and government. All of these elements work together for low-income families with children to have access to local, nutritious foods. So that we may all eat local, nutritious foods.

This BC Association of Farmers' Markets initiative is the first of its kind in Canada. Funded by the Province of BC, this innovative project provides $15 per week in coupons to low-income families that are used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy or fresh cut herbs at participating farmers’ markets for 17 weeks during regular market season (June-October). 2008 season saw 10 communities around the province participating. Participating communities included; Prince George, Smithers, Kelowna, Kamloops, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Vancouver (YLFMS), Gibsons, Comox Valley, and Victoria.

Participating families are low-income with children and pregnant women, actively participating in a designated cooking & skill building program. Families develop & build their knowledge and skill in the preparation of healthy, nutritious meals using fresh foods. The coupons support the educational component, allowing families to put into action what they are learning in the cooking & skill-building programs. Hands on cooking, nutrition, menu planning and budgeting are a few of the activities families participate in.

For some participants, it was their first experience at a farmers' market. For others, it was a chance to connect with familiar faces. For all, it was an opportunity for the whole family to experience the magic of their local farmers' market. Kids especially enjoy the opportunity to select their favourite fruit or veggie.

“My kids have tried vegetables that they never tasted before. They also became more involved in buying our food and in preparing it. One insists that he is the family expert on how to split peas. I have learned so many new recipes from the skill building component. I have also tried many vegetables that I hadn't before (such as kale) and have gained many more cooking skills. Our family is also eating healthier. I can't say enough good things about this program. It has also been a nice bonding experience with other parents.”

Hastings Community Centre participant, Vancouver

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition and Coupon Project also supports local farmers' markets and communities, by keeping food local, and supporting local farmers. Markets have created a welcoming environment for participating families, vendors really enjoy the direct connections with families purchasing products, and have benefited from the increased sales the coupons brought to the market. Local media highlighted the FMNCP around the province, creating an opportunity for the community as a whole to learn about their local market.

... I want to thank you for the Farmers' Marker vouchers we have received. They encourage me to visit the Gibsons Fiddlehead Farmers' Market that I have never visited before. It is an amazing place and I will continue to visit long after I stop attending the CPNP [Canadian Prenatal Program]. Talking with other moms who attend the CPNP, they are all extremely pleased with the vouchers as well. It is nice to support organic farmers, but even more so, local farmers. Thank you so much for this very forward thinking project.”

Bellies & Babies participant, Sunshine Coast

These direct relationships go beyond the 17 weeks participants receive their coupons. One cooking and skill building group enjoyed the market experience so much, they have formed a buying club to purchase direct from farmers throughout the winter market season. Not only do they delight in the taste & nutrition the local & seasonal foods offer, they enjoy the market experience, the direct relationship with those growing their food and the social interaction the buying club offers them. They are also benefiting from purchasing together by receiving volume pricing, while keeping their monies local.

This group, like others around the province, have used the Farmers' Market Nutrition & Coupon Project as a catalyst to create sustainable change in their lives, and the lives of their families. Each has woven together the different elements to create a unique and dynamic transformation. The pattern is slightly different for each community, and each individual, but it is tasty for all.

The 2009 season is just around the corner, and with it brings an opportunity to reach more families around the province. The Farmers' Market Nutrition & Coupon Project will be expanding to 20 communities across the province.

If your market is interested in participating in the 2009 season, a great first step is to speak to develop relationships with local cooking and skill building programs that offer programming for low-income families &/or pregnant women. Applications for the 2009 season will be available in the new year. For more information, check the BCAFM website www.bcfarmersmarket.org or contact:

Paula Luther, RHN

Project Manager



Happy Solstice

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Eating Local is for Everyone

Eating Local is for Everyone

Organic farmer Ann Friesen redeems a days worth of coupons at the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market
Photo: Paula Luther

Eating local is good for the consumer, the farmer, and for the Earth. Unfortunately, revisions to international trade law and national regulatory practices in the past few decades have all but crushed small family farms, the champions of the eat-local movement. The corporations that currently dominate our global food trade operate on such a large scale (e.g. two firms control about 75 per cent of the world market for cereals), they can undercut pricing on a global scale. They lobby all levels of government for continued subsidization of their petroleum-dependent growing and transportation habits. This means that an apple grown in New Zealand, sprayed with pesticides and fertilized with petroleum-based products, costs half the price of one grown organically within 100 miles of my Vancouver home. A harsher consequence of this corporation-dominated food economy is that people of low income generally find local, organic food inaccessible due to its price tag.

Food stamps were accepted at farmer’s markets across the US until the early 1990s, when a transition to electronic debit food stamp cards and the technology they entail severed the link between food stamp program participants and local farmers. However, the past decade has seen a renewed attempt to encourage lower income people – at higher risk of obesity and health problems associated with poor access to nutritious food – to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2006 New York City’s Greenmarkets teamed up with city council and introduced terminals at some of their open air markets where food stamp recipients could use their debit cards.

Michael Hurwitz, Greenmarket’s director, has watched the growth of these initiatives (16 of 46 markets had terminals in 2008 and the plan is to expand to 25 in 2009), as well as the response of the community. “We have thriving markets in lower income neighbourhoods,” he states. And programs like these are a critical support for bringing local produce to people who are clearly hungry for it. At the federal level, the USDA oversees the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a federally funded, state-administered nutrition program that provides vouchers for farmers’ market produce for nutritionally at-risk persons, although only in a supplemental capacity (no more than $30 per year, per participant).

Farmers’ markets in Canadian cities may actually be more inaccessible to people of lower income due to the fact that Canada has no federal food stamp program, and most cities rely on food bank handouts to support the nutritional needs of impoverished citizens. However, in 2007, the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets – inspired by the USDA’s FMNP – launched the ground-breaking Farmers’ Market Nutrition and Coupon project (FMNCP) with funding from the provincial government. The FMNCP connects existing cooking and skill building (CSB) programs with local farmers’ markets and provides participants with coupons redeemable for a variety of fresh fare.

As it heads into 2009, the program has doubled its capacity from 2008; it has plans to work with 20 communities across British Columbia during the coming year. Paula Luther, the program’s manager, estimates that the program had a redemption rate of about 96 per cent for the distributed coupons in 2008. After the 2007 pilot program, it became clear that all parties – participating farmers, CSB managers, coupon recipients, and their families – benefited from both the increase of connection with their community and the sense of mutual support.

Children in these families have front-row seats as their parents shop at the markets and come home to prepare nutritious meals from local produce. Luther relates watching a parent give her child a coupon and allow him to make a choice for what food he would like to bring home.

Imagine for a moment, the typical experience of a child in a supermarket, grabbing at brightly coloured boxes of processed, sugary, artificially coloured and flavoured products. Now imagine that same child walking among stalls laden with fresh, colourful local produce and reaching up with delight to take hold of a bright orange and white striped squash, or a shining red apple.

The BCFMA allocated $165,000 for coupons in 2008. When compared to the market share of the multinational agri-businesses, programs like these are a tiny sliver of the economic pie. And yet the fact that these relatively few dollars benefit the most vulnerable members of the community while supporting sustainable, local agriculture is the magic that Luther hopes will enchant community after community.

When asked how this sliver might grow to become a mainstream economic force, Luther points back to the community level. Volunteer at your local market. Sit on a board of directors. Offer your skills at a local community kitchen. She urges people to “Step outside and get to know your neighbours, share a garden, have some mason bees, plant a tree!” Head out to your local farmers’ market, imagine what it could be like if everyone in your community could participate, and, as Luther advises, “If you don’t see what you want, then you get to create it.”



"Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want."

-Francis Moore Lappe

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


"There are always flowers for those who want to see them."

- Henri Matisse