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)

2018-05-20T11:59:53-07:00May 20th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|2 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).

2018-04-26T04:16:53-07:00April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Propagation Workshop with Manon Tremblay

RESCHEDULED to MARCH 25 9:00am-3:00pm

This workshop looks at different techniques to help you grow the plants you always wanted without having to buy them! We will learn about hardwood and softwood cuttings, layering, air layering, division, grafting, as well as looking at different seeding techniques to ensure germination. Morning at South Hall, afternoon at Community Greenhouse. Car-pooling will be organized. Please bring a bagged lunch. Sliding scale $25-$35. Registration is required – just email

More details below:

Perhaps you have seen the videos on Facebook teaching you how to “magically regrow” vegetables from your table scraps, such as celery or onions from discarded ends. While that is definitely one use for propagation techniques, there are other benefits too, such as growing plants that are hard to find in a nursery (but spotted in your neighbour’s plot), growing cuttings to give away as gifts, or saving the cost of buying seeds or nursery starts when you’re expanding your garden.

Plant propagation is “the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts.” (Thanks Wikipedia.) It’s surprisingly simple, as well as sustainable and cheap. And it reduces your dependence on multinational seed producers, while building community too.

We are very happy to host Manon Tremblay for a Propagation workshop in March. This workshop looks at different techniques to help you grow the plants you always wanted without having to buy them! We will learn about hardwood and softwood cuttings, layering, air layering, division, grafting, as well as looking at different seeding techniques to ensure germination.

Last year we were hosted Manon for a pruning workshop that was very well-received. Here’s just some of the enthusiastic feedback we got: “One of the best workshops I have attended” … “Manon was full of information, I would sign up for any workshop that she was leading. She was fantastic with questions, explained things really well, was completely approachable” … “Yes, I had attended other pruning workshops in the past, but Manon was so knowledgeable and presented her material so clearly, that I walked out feeling much more confident, and really understanding the rationale behind the pruning. I am grateful that you brought in such an outstanding teacher.”

Manon is a Horticulturist and Environmental Educator passionate about edible plants and organic gardening. She has been working as a Landscaper and Landscape Designer for the past 15 years and loves to share her experience and interests with enthusiastic gardeners.

2018-06-20T17:10:25-07:00March 20th, 2017|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Bees and Seeds Day: Saturday – January 28th, 10am-1pm

Beginning at 10am at the South Hall, the Seed Library of Galiano will have its inventory on hand for those interested in browsing and borrowing seeds for the upcoming growing season. Yes, the time for spring starts is just around the corner! There will also be some seeds available for free, and those who wish to swap seeds with others are welcome to bring them along for a mini Seedy Day. Please contact Colleen with any questions.

2018-06-20T16:59:11-07:00January 20th, 2017|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Beekeeping Workshop

Beekeeping Workshops: January 28th – 1pm

Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 28th, as popular and inspiring Vancouver Island Apiary inspector David MacDonald returns to Galiano to share his knowledge. A Beginner’s Tutorial will be from 1-3pm, followed by a more Advanced Class from 3:30-5:30pm at the South Hall, but all levels of knowledge/experience are welcome. If you are interested in participating please RSVP Colleen at or 250-539-2737. All are welcome. $10-15 per workshop, sliding scale, or, $20 for two classes.

2018-06-20T16:58:02-07:00January 20th, 2017|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Growing Citrus & Subtropicals

Saturday, January 21 1:00-3:00 at the South Hall. Please RSVP to register. $15-$25 sliding scale.

Did you know that you can grow citrus on Galiano, without a greenhouse or any special equipment? Our increasingly mild winters mean that the list of Mediterranean plants that can survive our winters is growing.

Bob and Verna Duncan have dedicated the last twenty years to pushing the envelope on what we can grow in our region. They own a nursery and demonstration orchard in North Saanich, where they grow over 400 varieties of fruit trees, including citrus, olives, avocadoes, figs, olives, and pomegranates. They’re experimenting with exactly which conditions these plants need to thrive, and they travel to the colder regions of Israel, Turkey and Greece to learn what local farmers there are doing. They have brought back hardy varieties and cultivated them here, so they have plant varietals that are most likely to succeed in our conditions. Bob trained as a botanist and entomologist and worked with the Canadian Forest Service.

But it’s the citrus that gets me really excited. Available from their nursery are Meyer lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit, variegated Pink Lemons, yuzu, kumquats, and sudachi. While some of these do need a greenhouse, the lemons, limes and sour oranges are hardy enough to survive our winters along the south wall of a building with a bit of floating row cover to trap the heat and a string of Christmas lights on the coldest days. The yuzu, a fragrant Japanese lemon, is especially cold-hardy. And citrus ripens through the winter, when fresh, ultra-local, pesticide-free fruit at the peak of ripeness is a real treat.

The Food Program is hosting Bob and Verna for a presentation in January – join us to learn all about cultural requirements and variety selection for success in growing citrus & sub-tropical fruit trees (such as avocado, pineapple guava/feijoa, pomegranates, and loquats) in South Coastal BC.

And next time you are in Victoria visit, visit Fruit Trees and More, just a 5-minute drive from Swartz Bay, and see what Bob and Verna have done on a third-acre suburban lot. It really has to be seen to be believed. See for more info.

2018-06-20T16:57:12-07:00December 20th, 2016|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Seed Saving Session – Saturday, November 12th, 11am

Please join us at the Community Greenhouse at the school garden for a hands-on session, led by Galiano Conservancy Food Forester Cedana Bourne and the Food Program’s Barry New, to prepare some of our seed harvest. We will get together for threshing, winnowing and learning to process some difficult-to-save seeds. Please bring your gatherings and some containers for the seeds. Paper bags and envelopes are best. All are welcome, even if you didn’t grow any seeds this year: just bring your questions and curiosity. Free for SLOG, GCA, or Greenhouse Community Members. By donation otherwise. Any questions? Please contact Barry at or Cedana at

2018-06-20T16:47:19-07:00November 20th, 2016|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Beekeepers Course – Sunday, August 7th

Apiary Inspector David MacDonald will be coming to Galiano to share his knowledge on beekeeping, with specific focus on the varroa mite and its impact on honeybee populations. This course is for all levels of beekeepers, from novice to experienced, and will combine a morning tutorial with a field inspection at a local apiary. If you are interested, please RSVP to Colleen at Details have not been confirmed but the course will likely run from 9am until 2pm. Entrance fee is by donation, a sliding scale of $10-15, with proceeds going to the Food Program.

2018-06-20T16:28:25-07:00July 20th, 2016|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments
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