Join us at this year’s Seedy Saturday on February 14th from 10:00am-3:00pm at the Farmers’ Institute on Salt Spring. This is a non-profit grassroots event that provides an opportunity for gardeners, seed companies and nurseries to exchange seeds and ideas.
This year, the food program is again organizing travel to Salt Spring to take part in the event. We will boat over from Retreat Cove and then take a taxi to the venue. Total cost for roundtrip transportation and event admission will be about $25. Advance registration is required so that we can organize transportation, so if you’re interested, please contact Emma.
The Galiano Club Community Food Program is offering Food Safe Level 1 on island. The course will take place April 18th at the South Community Hall. The class runs from 9am to 4pm. The cost of the course is $75, which includes the workbook and certificate upon completion.
There are 25 spots available in this on-island class. Contact Alison at: firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
This is a great opportunity to get your Food Safe certification on island (saving ferry costs.) The Galiano Chamber of Commerce has offered 10 subsidies to any employee of Chamber businesses or island student. The Food Program will subsidize 5 spots for kitchen volunteers.
Foodsafe Level 1 is designed for people working on the front lines of the food service industry, from dishwashers to servers, bussers to line cooks and chefs. The course covers safe food handling, Hygiene, sanitation and work safety. In level 1 you’ll learn how to prevent foodborne illness, receive and store food, prepare and serve food safely, and clean and sanitize.
All food vendors at the Galiano Saturday Market are required to have their Food Safe certificates.
Happy New Year, everyone! It’s the perfect time of year to start thinking about rebirth and renewal, and seeds!
Bill C-18 is currently before the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee. According to the National Farmers Union, “If passed, it will give multi-national agri-business much more money and control while increasing farmers’ costs and reducing farmers’ autonomy and Canadian sovereignty.”
Exercise your right to save seed. Join us at this year’s Seedy Saturday on February 14th from 10:00am-3:00pm at the Farmers’ Institute on Salt Spring. This is a non-profit grassroots event that provides an opportunity for gardeners, seed companies and nurseries to exchange seeds and ideas.
The main hall will be full of tables from seed suppliers, nurseries, local farms, community organizations and other garden-related product vendors. There will also be local food vendors offering their wares. The main attraction is the seed exchange, where you can swap and share regionally-adapted seeds and help ensure genetic diversity. There will also be a roster of presentations from gardening experts. This year’s program includes many workshops. There are other events throughout the weekend.
This year, the food program is again organizing a group of local residents to travel to Salt Spring together to take part in the event. We will boat over from Retreat Cove and then take a taxi to the venue. Total cost for roundtrip transportation and event admission will be about $25. If you’re interested, please contact Emma at email@example.com or at 539.2175. Make sure you do a personal seed inventory beforehand.
And don’t miss the Galiano Garden Club’s Annual Seed Exchange! Feb 11th 2:00-4:00pm at the North Hall.
By the time you read this the Stock Up! Market will have passed, the Saturday Market will be finished and our gardens will be winding down. Hopefully you were able to put away some of the season’s bounty to keep you through the winter. Canned tomatoes, dried tomato slices and frozen pesto are bursting out in our house.
We at the Food Program work hard to encourage an increase in the amount of food grown on Galiano each year, but the reality is most of our food arrives on island via the ferry. We all have to cope with winter weather, and sudden and possibly extended power outages can affect our food supply. But if you have a well-stocked pantry and have ample firewood, it’s not an emergency, just an adventure.
If you know a storm is coming, there are some simple things to do to get ready. Fill the bathtub with water, wash the dishes (beginning a power outage with a clean kitchen makes it easier to cope!) Start a soup or stew you can keep warm on your woodstove after the power goes out. Keep a supply of simple-to-prepare foods in your pantry, things such as: pasta, baked beans, canned or dried soup, granola bars. Boil water and fill a large thermos so you don’t have to heat the water every time you want a cup of tea! In the morning, remove milk and any other supplies you might need for the day and put them in a cooler so you don’t have to keep opening the fridge when you need something.
A chest freezer is good for up to three days if it’s full and left closed. Long before the power goes out, fill empty space with jugs of water. This makes the freezer more efficient. The jugs keep the freezer frozen longer when the power goes out, can be used to turn your refrigerator into a giant icebox if the power failure is prolonged and provide you with clean drinking water. Covering the freezer with blankets also helps to maintain the temperature.
If you are prepared with at least a week’s worth of food, and ideally much longer, then you have the ability to care for yourself and your family during any adventure. Once the necessities are in place, it gives you the time and peace of mind to build snow forts or curl up in front of the wood stove with a good book.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve got a pot of tomatoes bubbling away on the stove. Doug picked more than 20lbs this morning, his tomatoes are producing well this year – producing far more than we can possibly eat, but I don’t want to compost any of them! Instead, I’m cooking them down and will can them into a thick tomato sauce later this evening. Making a homemade tomato sauce that we’ll use on pizza, pasta and curries all year long.
On average Canadians throw away a quarter of the vegetables that we buy – it’s expensive and wasteful, even worse if you’ve grown the food yourself.
To prevent food waste, we need to get smarter about what we eat. Before you start planning dinner do a quick inventory of what’s on the counter, or in the fridge, and eat the most perishable things first.
But sometimes planning alone isn’t enough and you find yourself overwhelmed, then it becomes time to either share the bounty with others, or put up food for the freezer or pantry. The tomato sauce I’m making doesn’t require a lot of attention – I just need to give it a stir once in a while. After about six hours it will be perfect for us, and I’ll can it in the pressure canner – 15 minutes at 10lbs pressure, then its good in the pantry till we need sauce. If I had freezer space, I could just bag up the cooled sauce and freeze it. But, the freezers are full with Salmon (waiting to be smoked) and Blueberries from this years bumper crop, as well as dozens and dozens of jars of basil pesto (we had a huge basil crop this year as well as tomatoes).
Before you spend tons of time canning, dehydrating or freezing – stop and think about what you are making. I put up tomato sauce and pesto, because we eat a lot of it in this family. A few years ago someone gave me a tub of fresh corn that I made into an amazing Corn relish. I love it, but no one else does. So I’m still working my way through the jars. The same goes for jams and jellies – they are a great way to preserve the fruit harvest, but if you are more of a smoothie person, than a toast and jam person, just freeze the fruit instead of jamming it. Before you stock your pantry, you need to think about you and your family and what you eat.
The same goes for pantry staples too. Keeping a well stocked pantry lets you be flexible when it comes to creating dinner out of the most perishable thing in your fridge, and lets you cope when you can’t get to town for a few weeks, but there’s no point stocking your pantry with things you don’t eat, that’s just another waste of money and food.
On Sunday December 21st we will gather together to celebrate the Winter Solstice, the night of the longest darkness. On Galiano we celebrate the solstice by gathering together as a community. This is the Seventh Annual Solstice Potluck Celebration. It’s all about gathering with your friends and neighbours, sharing some wonderful food, watching the kids arriving at the hall in a lantern procession, chatting around the fire, and enjoying the music and entertainment of some amazingly-talented locals.
One of the ways the dictionary defines community is: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing…” That’s sounds perfect to me. We share this small island. Perhaps we all have different ideas on the best way to live here—but we all choose to be here, together. We all choose to create community together.
We are blessed to live in a community that cares about each of us, that supports us when we are sick or hungry, and need an extra meal, a community where hundreds of volunteers work at everything from making food, to running a library, fighting fires, tending a garden, recycling our garbage, or helping at the school. It’s a community where you can always find someone to stop at the bank for you, or bring something home from town, or lend a hand when you need your kids looked after for a couple of hours.
We live in a community where people go beyond all the time. Communities like this are amazing—but they are not accidental. Each and every day we make choices about what we can do to share with others, and help build our part of this community, and it is those choices, the choices we make to work together, and create together that make this place such an amazing place to live.