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Bluffs Park Management Plan

It was in 1948 when the Bluffs first became a park for the recreational use of the public. The intention at the time was to preserve the ecosystem and maintain its natural state and beauty. Much has changed since that time as the number of residents on the island has grown, as has the number of visitors. The definition of recreational use has broadened and the natural ecosystem has become much more precious as others have disappeared. In addition, the Capital Regional District has begun the process of developing a park management plan for Matthews Point park. Because this will have implications for The Bluffs as the neighbouring park and because the last time The Bluffs plan was reviewed was in 1988, the time has come to update the park management plan.

2018-10-08T11:53:12+00:00September 29th, 2018|Categories: Club Programs|0 Comments

Upcoming Gleaning Season by Emma Luna Davis

Are you a landowner whose fruit trees are dripping with fruit, but you have no time to pick them? Would you benefit from having access to healthy fruit but have no fruit trees of your own? Is your garden overflowing? Would you like to share the bounty with other members of the community? Do you enjoy the simple joy of harvesting fruit or vegetables in a group?

If so, the Gleaning Project is for you! The gleaning project organizes groups of volunteer pickers to pick excess fruit (and sometimes vegetables). The harvest is divided 3 ways: One third for the landowner, one third for the Food Program, and one third divided amongst the picking volunteers. The Food Program share is used in our events, as well as distributed via the clinic, school and food bank. We gather all of the harvest together first and weigh everything so we can do things as fairly as possible, and so we can keep an accurate record for our notes and our funders. It’s an exercise in working communally, and everyone takes home some fruit picked by each of the volunteers.

We’re very excited to be adding the Mt. Sutil berry crop to our picking sites this year. We are very grateful to the landowners who generously host us, and work hard to be respectful of their space and property. That means we schedule picking times that are convenient to them.

When we have a site that is ready to pick, we email the volunteer pickers to inform everyone of the opportunity. We try to give you as much notice as possible, but often the window is pretty tight – ripe fruit waits for no picker!

We work hard to gauge the right number of pickers, taking into consideration how much fruit there is and what we can safely manage at each site. Sometimes there are more people interested than we can accommodate—please know that we do our best to make sure everyone gets a chance to pick and if we say no to you for one pick, you’ll probably be first in line for the next opportunity. This does mean that each person

should not expect to pick more than a handful of times each season. How often you can expect to pick depends on your availability and how bountiful a harvest we have from year to year—last year about 55 people participated in about 20 picking sessions.

If you are offered a chance to pick, please take that commitment seriously. We know that things come up and sometimes it is necessary to cancel—in that case please give us as much notice as possible so we can replace you. That lets us visit a site with the right number of pickers and get all the ripe fruit, rather than have to return multiple times to the same site.

Some people want to pick but they don’t have a use for all of their share. If this is the case for you, please let us know when you ask to pick – that helps us figure out the right number of pickers.

If you would like to be notified about upcoming picking sessions, or if you have trees that need picking, or if you have any questions at all, please email Emma.

Mt. Galiano – Walk in the Woods by Allan Forget

Mt Galiano is much more than that awesome view from the summit. It is also just a very nice walk through the woods.
The Mt Galiano Nature Reserve lands were acquired by the island community in 1992 after an intensive & very creative & ultimately successful fund raising campaign to purchase the 84 hectares from the MacBlo Company. A hiking trail to the summit was constructed that same year. Stewardship was given to the Galiano Club & that arrangement remains in place today.

2018-05-21T11:59:25+00:00May 21st, 2018|Categories: Club News|1 Comment

Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon is a well-known, traditional French recipe. It is a stew prepared with beef braised in red wine, traditionally red Burgundy, and beef broth, generally flavoured with garlic, onions and herbs.

Ingredients: Beef, Bacon, Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Barley, Garlic, Flour, Herbs & Spices

Nutritional Information:

  • Kcal: 540
  • Protein: 51g
  • Carb: 35g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Sat. Fat: 9g
2018-05-22T14:20:16+00:00May 20th, 2018|Categories: Frozen Meals|0 Comments

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+00:00May 20th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Workshops|0 Comments

Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns in the Gulf Islands: History, Archaeology, Anthropology by Stephen Nemtin

There was a robust Japanese charcoal making industry going on in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia before and after the turn of the 20th Century.
Charcoal was used in B.C. mainly for the salmon canning industry as a heat source to solder the tops of the cans after boiling. Charcoal was also needed in the explosives, blacksmith and soap making industries.
However the story of Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns begins with the story of fire. In the beginning all animals were afraid of fire.
Introduction
The fossil of Lucy, Australopithecus, one of our most famous human ancestors is from 3 1/2 mya (Million Years Ago). Lucy was found in Ethiopia, in a beautiful rift river valley flowing below the Ethiopian Highlands out to the Gulf of Aden. This would have been a lush forest environment to live in with lots of water. Lucy and her little band walked upright (Homo Erectus ). These early hominids would have definitely seen lightning and fire yet there was no need for a fire since they were living 10 degrees above the equator.
Climate Change
Over the next 2 million years the earth would transform into the last great glacial ice epoch. Imagine, that there was so much snow and freezing temperatures that our entire country of Canada, along with some parts of northern United States would have been one great glacial ice field, 3 kilometres thick. Across northern Europe, Russia, China, and India there were large glacial fields and ice rivers in the mountains of Asia and Africa. Thirty percent of the planet covered in ice and the permafrost extended another 100 to 200 kilometres from the glacial edge. The shore lines would have been 120 feet lower.
Glaciers drastically changed our planet!
All animals and birds throughout this time would have been migrating out of the mountains and forests closer to the equator for warmth.

Turkana, the largest dessert lake in Kenya, a country contiguous to Ethiopia, is a treasure trove for archaeologists. They discovered varieties of Homo Erectus, from 4 mya to 1.9 mya. During the period of 1.9 mya these hominids were “flintknapping” to make stone tools and building shelters. Turkana Boy, KNM-WT1500 is another famous Homo Erectus fossil 1.5 mya . He looked far more human than ape with a larger brain and a skeleton that was 40 % human (Homo sapien sapiens).

Playing with Fire
These varieties of Homo Erectus lived in the middle of the last glacial era. Homo Erectus at this time was attracted to fire for its magic, power, energy, light, warmth and for roasted foods. They would have followed it, watched it and poked it with sticks like little children playing at their first campfire . Homo Erectus befriended fire and it became their protector from wild animals. They also discovered fire could be transported by carrying charcoal embers from one place to another eventually determining which wood made the hottest and longest burning charcoal embers for travel and migration.
In South Africa, inside the “Wonderwerk Cave”, there is clear evidence that fire and roasting of food had taken place a million years ago. It was probably at this time that Homo Erectus learned how to make fire by using the “flint /spark percussion” method, with flint and marcasite (a type of orthorhombic pyrite FeS2). It is still unclear when the discovery of the “friction” method, for making fire occurred. All these discoveries of controlling, transporting and making fire were momentous for the future of human evolution. These were the first stepping stones toward culture and populating the earth.

The Hearth
It is interesting that all the ingredients necessary for an oven/kiln are present in every environment: wood, air, fire, charcoal embers, stone, sand, clay or mud.
The camp fire, the fire pit or ring became the hearth and all of these are the first great structural embodiment and symbols of “home”. “A cave” with a fire was a “home” and such gathering places providing a safe refuge for cooking, eating and sleeping. Over the next 850 thousand years, telling of stories, music, art and religion would evolve from leisure time around the hearth. Varieties of Homo Erectus would transform into varieties of Homo Sapiens with fire as a central ingredient for their survival .
Humanoid Migrations were already taking place at 160 to 75 thousand years ago and were spreading further throughout Africa and into the Middle East, Asia, India, South East Asia and China, following the coastlines as the glaciers retreated. Around 60 thousand years ago, there was another “Great Warming” and by 35 thousand years ago there were Homo Sapiens migrating deeper into all parts of Europe, Asia, China, Australia and Japan. Homo Sapiens, Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals were all roaming and looking to caves for dwellings. The Bering Land Bridge opened up at around 30 thousand years ago allowing Homo Sapiens of different ethnic groups to follow a new migratory route across and down through to the Americas.

Pottery, Ceramics & Kilns
Another treasure trove of prehistoric artifacts dating back roughly to 29000-22000 years ago was found in the Czech Republic in the middle of Europe. Dolni Vestonice and Pavlov were two sites close together by a stream bed that had a clay base. Dolni Vestonice had six yurt tepee-like structures each with a small hearth.There was also a large community structure with several small hearths and in the middle of the settlement was a large central hearth.The entire settlement was surrounded by a fence of mammoth bones. Archaeologists discovered art objects in abundance, thousands of pieces of fired clay animals and figurines. There were carvings of bear, wolf, fox, reindeer, horse, lion, rabbit, mammoths plus human female and male figurines and other sculptures in bone and wood.
An exciting find on the Pavlov site were the remains of the first potter’s “covered oven kiln” for baking clay. It was found inside a lean-to shelter that was dug into the embankment of a near by stream. Then a spectacular discovery on the Dolni Vestonice site where archaeologist found evidence of the first earth dome “slope kiln” and a potters hut, dug into the side of a hill with thousands of broken shards lying around.

Open Fire Method
It is important to note that prior to this time period “earthenware” pots could be fired, by placing the object on an open fire pit of burning wood and charcoal embers with burning sticks placed around the sides to create a more rounded bake

Kilns of Japan
Japan was connected to the continent through several land bridges prior to 15,000 years ago. This allowed for the migration of people to Japan around 35,000 years ago. Japan’s first clay fired pots belong to the Jamon culture. At the Odai Yamamoto 1 site in Sotogahama  archaeologists discovered “earthenware pottery” and other artifacts from 16,500 years ago. During the beginning of the Jamon period in Japan the open fire method was used to fire pots. Between 8,000 to 6,000 years ago, different sizes and designs of pit kilns /ovens began to appear. The reason for these new designs was the discovery of how to smelt copper out of rock using a high heat.
Charcoal became the prime fuel energy source for the smelting of copper, tin, bronze, gold, silver and later iron at 1000 BC. In Japan and all over the world charcoal makers were using different types and sizes of charcoal pit kilns for the production of charcoal to be used for the smelting of metals and firing ceramics. The oldest charcoal making association in Japan is the “Sumiyaki no Kai” who produced a pamphlet that had over a hundred different kiln designs for the making of charcoal. Charcoal making in Japan would become a huge industry and art form. The most famous charcoal in Japan is “Kishuu Bincho-tan white and black charcoal from the Wakayama prefecture made from an ubame oak. At the early part of the 20th century a new special kiln technology was introduced from the Wakayama prefecture to the Kochi prefecture on Shikoku Island. This modern traditional industry produces a special “TOSA BINCHO-TAN CHARCOAL” using ubame oak. (Miyagawa 2006)
The new kiln technology measures about 3 meters high with a complex ceramic dome structure. There are six holes, three on each side of the dome for loading the wood inside and for controlling the heat.

Charcoal Pit Kilns on the Gulf Islands British Columbia Canada
In the 1870’s AD migrations of Japanese came to the Gulf Islands of British Columbia Canada from the Wakayama prefecture and they brought with them the skill of charcoal making. There are fifteen known charcoal pit kilns on the Gulf islands, 5 on Galiano, 5 on Mayne , 2 on Salt Spring, 3 on Saturna : and unconfirmed rumours of charcoal kilns on Pender and Prevost Islands. All of these charcoal pits were “dug into a slope” lined with a rock wall and a dome created for a top. All the pit kiln sites would have had a shed roof over the entire mound to protect it from the elements.
On the Gulf Islands  there are three different distinct designs of charcoal pit kilns. Salt Spring and Mayne Island each have a large “oval” pit kiln.  These measure 6.2-meters wide, one and a half meters high, 3-meters long, with a 1-meter long, wide, high entrance.

Evidence from the Salt Spring Island dig of 2015 proved that this oval kiln had a ceramic top of sand/clay 5 – 7 inches thick . A dense charcoal layer was found six inches below the surface material outside the entrance of the kiln. This layer covered a 5 meter arc around the front of the kiln which suggests that the charcoal had been raked out of the kiln at the end of the smouldering process. In Japan today this method of raking out the burning charcoal then smothering it in a fine ash is used to make the famous Bincho-tan white and black charcoal.

Another kiln design is what I call the “tear drop” shape. This design is similar yet larger than the oven/kiln found at the Dolni Vestonice site 20,000 years earlier. It measures  6-meters long , one and a half meters high, 3 metres wide with a 1meter long, wide, high entrance. In the photo below one can see a central air outlet for the smoke . A meter to the right and left of the central outlet and half way up the wall are two holes made for chimneys that go up inside the rock wall. These two flues were a new technology added to this kiln design after the Japanese had arrived.The idea probably evolved from the Japanese working together with the west coast settlers. There are 10 of these tear drop shaped charcoal pit kilns in the Gulf Islands.

The smaller tear drop shaped kilns had a sand mixture for a dome top not ceramic. There was also no evidence of a charcoal layer beneath the surface material outside the kiln. The charcoal was not raked out at the end of the process but remained in the pit, until the smouldering died out from the lack of oxygen after the flues were covered. The charcoal was loaded carefully from inside the entrance of the pit.
There is another amazing design of a circular shaped pit kiln on Mayne Island. It is 3-meters high and 4-meters in diameter.

I would like to thank Mary Ohara, Rose Murakami, Salt Spring Island Garden Society, the B.C. Wakayama Ken Jin Kai and the Sumiyaki no Kai (Japan Charcoal Fuel Association):  without their support, perseverance and determination in promoting the history of the charcoal pit kilns on the Gulf Islands this history would have been lost.

The Canadian Census of Galiano Island in 1901 lists 14 Japanese wood cutters and 9 Japanese charcoal makers. The restorations of the Japanese charcoal pit kilns on the Gulf Islands have become memorials, testaments to the strength, courage and ingenuity of these new Japanese immigrants to Canada.  This article is dedicated to all those Japanese woodcutters and charcoal makers.

2018-04-28T01:34:19+00:00April 28th, 2018|Categories: Club Programs, Uncategorized|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+00:00April 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+00:00April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments
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