Food Program

Seaweed Harvesting

Summer is seaweed season in the Pacific Northwest. On Galiano, we are literally surrounded by seaweed. It’s a wild, sustainable, delicious local food source that is both nutritious and delicious. These days it’s enjoying a reputation as a ‘superfood’, but coastal cultures included seaweeds in their traditional diets long before it was trendy.

If you’re interested in harvesting our local seaweeds, you might be wondering how to learn what kind of seaweeds you’re likely to find on our coast, where and when to collect to make sure that your harvesting impact is sustainable, how to preserve it and how to prepare it to eat. While a license is required to harvest seaweed for commercial use, individuals can hand harvest at low tide without a license (though not at Montague as it is against the terms of the park’s foreshore lease).

The Food Program is excited to host a workshop this month that will get you started. Amanda Swinimer operates Dakini Tidal Wilds in Sooke, BC, which sells hand-harvested seaweeds for food and medicinal uses. She holds a BSc in Marine Biology from Dalhousie. Amanda teaches people about seaweeds in schools, colleges and universities, and leads workshops in communities. Amanda is passionate about sustainable harvesting. Her seaweeds are ‘pruned’, leaving the rest of the seaweed to continue growing, and only when seasonally appropriate.

Join us on Sunday, June 10, at 9:00am for a hands-on session at a local beach at low tide, followed by further instruction at the South Hall. Amanda will cover species identification, sustainable harvesting, and incorporating seaweed into your diet.

And finally, in keeping with the theme of gut bacteria, did you know that researchers have found that many Japanese people have a gut microbe that “has acquired a gene from a marine bacterium that allows the Japanese to digest seaweed, something the rest of us can’t do as well” (Michael Pollan, New York Times, 2013)

2018-05-20T11:59:53+00:00 May 20th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

11th Annual Nettlefest

Photos are being posted on Facebook as fast as the plants themselves are coming out of the ground. It’s the middle of February and the nettles are coming up, and I’m as excited as everyone else seems to be. Nothing says spring on Galiano quite like the prickly, tasty, little nettles that grow everywhere. Tasty, green, with Vitamin C that is especially welcome after the long wet winter we’ve had. (Anyone who’s tried Dora’s “green bull” will appreciate what a boost nettles can give.)

When you are picking nettles for cooking, choose the young and tender leaves, usually the top four or six on a plant. Use scissors to cut the tip so you don’t damage the plant. Nettles are delicious – but most first-time nettle eaters are nervous about being stung. Use kitchen or garden gloves when you are picking and in the kitchen until the nettles are processed in some way. Once the fresh nettles are steamed, frozen, dried or cooked the sting is neutralized. There are lots of different ways to use nettles. After watching the entries for the cooking competition over the last few years I’ve learned that there’s nothing you can’t do with nettles, from scrambled eggs to ice cream! My personal favourites are nettle pizza and a nettle pakora.

This year, the Galiano Community Food Program’s 11th Annual Nettlefest runs April 6th to 8th. There will be a cooking class on Friday night, a foraging walk on Saturday morning, the community nettle pick on Saturday afternoon, and of course the community potluck on the Sunday evening, with the increasingly popular nettle cooking competition. Check the website for all the details. There’s lots to do, lots of ways to volunteer and get involved. Come celebrate spring on Galiano.

2018-04-27T00:01:54+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments

School Garden Update by Brahmi Benner

As the new coordinator of the School Garden, I am excited to inherit such an inspired project. It is a privilege to learn about the garden’s creation and the tasty activities begun by Janice Oakley. It has been beautifully stewarded by Colleen Doty and Janna Feldman since. Alison Colwell has created delicious memories for our elementary kids. School enthusiasm for gardening has been well cultivated.

I am an Early Childhood Educator and I also look at the garden with this lens. Young children can learn through instruction but they need open-ended exploration. We’ll take a playful approach to soil, compost, and weeding. Robust edibles like mint and lemon balm can be tasted often without damage. These easy-to-interact-with elements help build motivation for the growing that requires more method and patience.

Greenhouse Coordinator Barry New helps us make the most of our soil and composting systems. Our spring seed starts are warm in the greenhouse and the Community Greenhouse group members have donated starts to the school garden. I hope to engage members of the Seniors’ Garden to share their knowledge and lifelong passion for growing with the children.

Another passion of mine is democratic and “emergent” education, which starts where the children’s interests already lie. Giving them a voice in the selection of the food creates an empowering and engaging environment. I’ve made planting lists with the K-2 class and will meet with the older grades. There are teachable moments in this conversation. When a six-year-old asks to grow bananas, we can discuss how climate affects our plants. The kids have also requested that we bring back the Pizza Garden, a round bed used to grow pizza toppings.

A garden is a safe place for children to practice working with real tools, such as hand tools that offer challenge and build skills. We are envisioning some fun structures for the kids to play in. Kids are drawn in by change and novelty, so we’re looking for volunteers to help us create bean houses; lightweight wooden structures that will grow walls of beans and other creeping vines. Giving our iconic scarecrow a makeover will be a fun textile activity. Festivals like Mini-Nettlefest and Applefest celebrate seasonal harvest and create meaningful connection.

The School Garden of 2018 will be a mix of great Galiano traditions and creative new ideas. We hope to see volunteers of all ages join us. Our next all-ages work party will be held on Saturday, May 12 at 1pm. Join us for snacks and coffee as we focus on soil, weeds and pruning.

2018-04-26T21:14:58+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments

Volunteers Extraordinaire – Rick and Dorothy Beauchamp

When Ralph Griffiths put out his call to recognise people who have made a difference on Galiano Rick and Dorothy Beauchamp immediately came to mind.

Rick and Dorothy first came to Galiano in 1982. They felt it was a good fit for them in that the community reminded them of Nelson. They camped at Montague and were able to do this in the spring and fall while they had only a toddler. Once their second child was born and their first child was school-aged, they decided to try to find a piece of land on which to put a trailer so that they could come to the island at other times. They managed to scrape enough money together to buy the McRae’s land with a cabin in Montague Harbour. They were able to manage this because the McRae’s carried part of their mortgage. A few years ago they renovated the old cabin into a beautiful home and garden.

Rick and Dorothy grew up in Nelson, B.C., another small community where volunteering plays a key role in the community life. They met in high school and married during university. Dorothy became an elementary teacher and Rick an orthopaedic paediatric surgeon.

As youth both were involved in guides and scouts. Dorothy volunteered in a care facility and later, as an adult, was a guide leader for over 25 years. Rick volunteered as a Classifier with the International Cerebral Palsy Sports Association for Bocce tournaments. He travelled to England, Rio de Janeiro and Argentina in this role. Rick and Dorothy have been role models for their 3 children who now also volunteer in their communities.

Rick and Dorothy were part of the running community in Vancouver for 20 years running races from 5k to marathons (Dorothy ran 8, Rick ran 7). They opened their home every year to their multi-age running group for a soup party, building community in the city.

If it is a Monday Soup and Bread likely you’ll find Dorothy in the South Hall kitchen chopping and Rick doing a lot of dishes with surgical precision in the “dish pit”. When asked what motivates them to volunteer both say that they wanted to help out in the community if they could and that they love the community aspect of the Galiano Club. They enjoy (and contribute to) the camaraderie in the Hall kitchen and enjoy touching base with others. Rick likes volunteering in positive situations that don’t involve meetings. He likes dishwashing, chopping vegetables and grating cheese. Dorothy likes doing anything in the Hall kitchen. They like the social and connecting aspects of the Food Program and especially appreciate the leadership that Alison Colwell provides the Program.

Rick and Dorothy have been involved in other aspects of the Food Program and community including Nettlefest and the Community Picnic where Dorothy has won first prize in many food contests. Rick has served on the Health Care Centre Board, helped paint the South Fire Hall years ago and Dorothy worked for the Wine Festival.

Rick and Dorothy have talked about how rewarding they find volunteering in this community. I would say that the Galiano community benefits enormously from their contributions. Thank you, Rick and Dorothy!

 

 

2018-04-27T21:12:13+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Community Meals, Food Program, Volunteers|0 Comments

The Galiano Club Community Food Program Celebrating 10 Years

In August 2006, the Galiano Club applied for and received funding from the Vancouver Foundation to upgrade the South Hall kitchen with a view to establishing a Food Program. We had no clear idea of what it might be, how a food program would be received or where it might lead. Some of the concerns identified at the time were that, as an island community, we were dependent on ferries for almost all our food, that we were at risk of losing the skills of previous generations of growing, foraging, canning and even some food preparation. At that time quite a few of our residents were living below the poverty line and struggling to have enough food. There also was a rather vague idea and hope that we might be able to bridge some of the divisions in the community through food.

Ten years ago this month the Galiano Club received confirmation of grant funding from Vancouver and Victoria Foundations to start a Food Program. We reached out to the community to establish an advisory committee and job descriptions. Janice Oakley and Martine Paulin were our first part-time Coordinators and became the face of the Program. They set high standards of creativity, community involvement and integrity. In addition to Janice and Martine, we have been fortunate to have had some outstanding people work for the Program – Nicole Mouner, Genny Stirling, Alison Colwell, Emma Davis, Barry New, Colleen Doty and Janna Feldman. Alison Colwell is now the part-time Manager and Emma, Barry and Janna are part-time Coordinators. The Program would not have grown as it has without all of their skills and commitment and without the tremendous support from the community as teachers and mentors, participants, land lenders, evaluators, funders and donors.

Looking around on a Soup and Bread day, at a Games Night, an elders’ and kids’ luncheon, the annual Winter Solstice Dinner, at Nettlefest, the Community Picnic, at food activities at the School and in the School Garden, it seems like some new traditions have been established. The Community Greenhouse, the Garlic Growing Co-op and Gleaning, the Stock Up Market, the thriving Saturday Farmers’ Market and the new farms are all indications of real growth toward island sustainability. Seeing the different ages interacting and people from all parts of the island connecting through food, it feels like the Food Program has been a catalyst for some good things in our small community.

It has been a wonderful voyage and the journey continues. Thank you Galiano!

 

2018-04-26T21:04:53+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program|0 Comments

Food and Culture Panel

At the Food Program, we’ve been paying extra attention to bacteria this year. In November, we hosted Alysha Punnett from the Compost Education Centre, for her workshop on soil bacteria. This month, we are hosting a panel discussion exploring the connection between how we eat and healthy gut bacteria. Did you know that:
• Out of the top 10 causes of death for Canadians, 9 of them have gut microbial links, including strokes and heart attacks;
• Brushing your teeth three times a day reduces dementia and Alzheimer’s;
• Just one course of antibiotics can negatively impact your gut microbiome for up to 1 year, but that you can also help replenish your gut bacteria through diet and probiotics;
• Fermented foods are part of traditional food cultures from all four corners of the globe?
Join us for this live event at 2:00 on Sunday April 21, and learn all about what you can do to encourage a balanced microbiome that supports living and aging well. Our panel, moderated by Nancy McPhee, will be made up of three Galiano personalities who each bring a unique perspective to this discussion

Dr. Erin Carlson, Galiano’s GP

Manisha Decosas wrote her PhD thesis on the negative impacts of the Green Revolution on crop diversity, soil, water, and seed security in India. She studied grass roots food sovereignty efforts and how they can transform both farming and policy. Her research also includes work on the many values of traditional food cultures, both nutritionally and socially. Manisha has lived on Galiano since 2010 where she has taught yoga and commutes to teach Women’s Studies at Langara College.

Dr. Brett Finlay is a professor of microbiology at UBC, and author of the book Let Them Eat Dirt, which explains how an imbalance in the microbes in children’s growing bodies can lead to chronic health conditions. His work also includes the effects of bacteria on aging. He spends quite a bit of time on Galiano and is known locally for his love of trails and jazz music.

Just before the event, join us for tasting plates of gut- friendly foods prepared by Cedana Bourne (Galiano Conservancy Association), Jesse McCleery (Pilgrimme) & Martine Paulin (SANTE Functional Nutrition).

2018-04-26T04:16:53+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

11th Annual Nettlefest Festival

Photos are being posted on Facebook as fast as the plants themselves are coming out of the ground. It’s the middle of February and the nettles are coming up, and I’m as excited as everyone else seems to be. Nothing says spring on Galiano quite like the prickly, tasty, little nettles that grow everywhere. Tasty, green, with Vitamin C that is especially welcome after the long wet winter we’ve had. (Anyone who’s tried Dora’s “green bull” will appreciate what a boost nettles can give.)

When you are picking nettles for cooking, choose the young and tender leaves, usually the top four or six on a plant. Use scissors to cut the tip so you don’t damage the plant. Nettles are delicious – but most first-time nettle eaters are nervous about being stung. Use kitchen or garden gloves when you are picking and in the kitchen until the nettles are processed in some way. Once the fresh nettles are steamed, frozen, dried or cooked the sting is neutralized. There are lots of different ways to use nettles. After watching the entries for the cooking competition over the last few years I’ve learned that there’s nothing you can’t do with nettles, from scrambled eggs to ice cream! My personal favourites are nettle pizza and a nettle pakora.

This year, the Galiano Community Food Program’s 10th Annual Nettlefest runs April 6th to 8th. There will be a cooking class on Friday night, a foraging walk on Saturday morning, the community nettle pick on Saturday afternoon, and of course the community potluck on the Sunday evening, with the increasingly popular nettle cooking competition. Check the website for all the details. There’s lots to do, lots of ways to volunteer and get involved. Come celebrate spring on Galiano.

2018-02-28T22:53:40+00:00 February 28th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments
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