Board of Directors’ Hot topic: Should we plant raspberries in the Community Garden or allocate the space for a few more individual garden plots?
Catch up on the latest JLFS biz and check out the minutes from our Feb 25 directors meeting.
2012 was a year devoted to consolidating our Society’s activities, especially the community garden and farmers’ market. It was a year for helping the membership of the JLFS settle in to our roles. With our big building projects done, our roots are established. Now we’re at the stage of thinking about how to nurture our soil, and decide what new goals to aim for. It is a good time for a new generation of leaders.
With these thoughts in mind, Co-Chairs and JLFS founding members Ursula Winkler and Heather Young-Leslie announced they would not be standing for election for the 2013 season. Tiffany Toussaint, our excellent secretary for the past two years, and Kim Forster, the Garden Coordinator for 2013, both have other projects they want to focus on in 2013. Karl Peetoom, Treasurer in 2012, decided he’d be happy to continue managing the membership sign-ups, but not act as Treasurer.
With so many board positions going vacant, we were all a bit leery about the viability of the JLFS – would there be enough members willing to step into the leadership positions? We needn’t have worried. At the AGM on Feb 21st, some 30 JLFS members came out to nominate and acclaim several new board members. We now have a board with lots of fresh blood, and just enough past members to retain institutional memory. Continuing board members are Noriko Stevens, Jeanine D’Antonio, and Paula Klasson. Tracy McKay, a founding member of the JLFS, returns to the Board after a two year hiatus.
The full board of the JLFS, 2013 – 2014 are:
Co-Chairs: Julie Desbecquets and Chelsea McBride
Treasurer: Shelly Templeton
Secretary: Tracy McKay
Communications: Bob Covey
Community Garden Coordinator: Sarah Peterson
Farmers’ Market Coordinator: Noriko Stevens
School Liaison: Jeanine D’Antonio
Fundraising / Grants Coordinator: Bob Covey
Education Coordinator: Paula Klasson
Thanks to everyone who came to the AGM!
Dandelions! Everyone is talking about dandelions. Despite their sunny yellow colour, or the magical fairy-dust way they spread their seeds, they’re pretty unpopular. Weed! people say, as if ‘weed’ was an epithet. But ‘weed’ leads to talk about herbicides; which is scarier?
My grandmother used to say “a weed is just a plant growing where you don’t want it”. Dandelions, and other so-called weeds, are unpopular precisely because they are so easy to grow, so successful in their adaptation to marginal or damaged soils, and so good at out-competing the plants we deem desirable. They’re hugely under-appreciated. As the famous quote from Andrew Mason goes: “If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.” Indeed, dandelions, and many other ‘weeds’ are actually beneficial. If we only knew how to use them, perhaps our thoughts would turn less to herbicides and more to harvesting.
With these ideas in play, the Jasper Municipal Library‘s programming coordinator came to the JFS with a proposal. Janeen Keelan wondered if we would like to partner with the library to offer an Edible Weed Walk. “Wow” we said, “what a great idea. YES!” We set the date for June 6th, from 6-7pm. Despite being in the middle of June Monsoon time in Jasper, we had a fantastic turnout. Twelve (12!!) people turned up to walk around Jasper townsite — in the sometimes driving rain — to look at the weeds and to learn about weeds that we can eat.
Our Weed Walkers came from the EU, UK, USA and Jasper itself. One was a chef — hoping perhaps to learn how to exoticise the local food content of his menu?
We made up a hand-out with nutiritonal information and recipes using locally available, edible weeds. Check it out below. Janeen took pictures. Enjoy, and post some feedback if you try the recipies. If you make Dandelion Root Coffee, invite us over!
For at least 11,000 years, people have been saving seed savers and planters clan mothers, , priests and eventually, gardeners and . Farmers were responsible for nurturing their crop, and saving the best seeds from that crop to in subsequent year. Over the last fifty or sixty years, as agriculture and horticulture has become more and more commercialized, and as agribusiness has expanded to include the chemical inputs designed to maximise production, seeds have become part of an industrialized agriculture. Over the last decade, the commercial seeds market has been dominated by a handful of transnational companies.. We called those
None of this is particularly problematic, except that the process has included dramatic reductions in the breadth of seed varieties commercially available. That’s bad for biodiversity, which is very bad for the ecosystem. The other problem is that industrialized, bio-engineered seeds are now being produced that may not produce plants that will themselves be fertile and provide viable seeds. No one really worried about that when it was seedless oranges. But now… plants whose seeds we like to eat as ‘grains’ may not produce seeds that farmers can save and replant. That is very bothersome!
Seed exchange events emerged as a form of community-based resistance to the industrialization of seeds, in order to preserve local biodiversity and heritage plants. The first was held on a Sunday in Brighton, England. It is the longest running Seedy Sunday. In Canada, heritage seed advocate Sharon Rempel initiated the first Seedy Saturday at the Van Dusen Botanical Garden in 1990. Now there are Seedy Saturdays all over the country!
Jasper’s FIRST Seedy Saturday is Today. It will be small, but so are all seeds. They grow into magnificent things. So, we hope, will we.
We all lost an hour of sleep last weekend. Semi-traumatic as that was, it means that spring really is coming. The Community Gardens may be covered with snow yet, but many of us have started our seeds. My neighbour the Tomato Guru has his dining room table covered in milk containers that have been recycled into seedling planters for tomatoes. They’re all labeled: Early Girl, Best Boy, Tumblers… in a month, the little seedlings will be out in his greenhouse, reaching for the sun.
The other thing that we are reminded of when we turn our clocks forward is the JLFS’s annual Locavore Days. This year is extra special because we’ve teamed up with the Jasper Municipal Library, which celebrates Nutrition Month every March. Kudos to Paula Klassen, one of the founding inspirers of the JLFS, for the stellar Locavore Days organization, and to Janeen Keelan, JLFS member and librarian, for the Library’s cool events, and for the great poster!
The events begin on Thursday, March 15th, with a public panel discussion on the challenges –and successes– for having local foods on menus in a national park. Jasper’s restauranteurs have some real challenges: as an international destination, cuisine expectations are high. That means a range of foods not from anywhere near Jasper. At the same time, local, or at least regional cuisine is esteemed. But we are in the middle of a wildlife preserve where the people footprint is constrained and nothing can be harvested. With our closest food producers are at least 100km from the park gates, the 100-mile diet just doesn’t work here! Yet we are having some successes. So for our Locavore kick-off event, some of Jasper’s star chefs, our local brewer, and a bee-keeper will gather at our local brew pub, to share their challenges, successes and dreams for a local food system for Jasper. Ingenuity consultant and LEAF auditor Melissa Scaman will act as discussant for the panel, and Jasper’s Environmental Stewardship Coordinator Janet Cooper will describe the commercial composting program (fueled by food waste).
It will be an evening of thinking about how food service businesses can be more environmentally responsible and improve the local food system. It’s also a time for celebrating the successes we are having.
And we’ll probably have a pint (or two) of the locally brewed beer.
Report of the JLFS, 2011. Presented to the Annual General Meeting, Jan 14, 2012, at the Habitat for the Arts. Turnout at the meeting was excellent, with several new members signed up, and new people elected to postions on the executive.
This was the second year of the Jasper Local Food Society, one in which a number of challenges were met. Some Key Achievements, as outlined in the presentation, included:
Grants & Awards