by Amy Reiswig, August 2010
Carolyn Herriot believes it’s best done in your own backyard.
From the parable of the mustard seed to salad days, gardening is a time-honoured source of symbols and stories. The issue of reaping what we sow, in both the literal and symbolic senses, underlies Carolyn Herriot’s new book on self-sufficient gardening. Alluding to the popular 100-mile diet concept, The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food (Harbour Publishing, May 2010) provides month-by-month advice on bringing our food footprint even closer to home and examines what that means for us as a society.
by Aaren Madden, August 2010
Calvin Sandborn of the Environmental Law Centre stands on guard for the environment and public interest.
Every year, a volume of oil equal to the Exxon Valdez spill is carried into Puget Sound through stormwater runoff. This is due to the 20th-century’s fixation with pavement, which, instead of letting natural systems do their work, sends rainwater away through pipes as if it were garbage, rather than the resource it is. In our region, the ramifications are felt and seen as threats to public health (polluted beaches), food security (local shellfish beds closed due to contamination), environment and ecology (the spawning salmon used to be so thick in Colquitz Creek, you could walk across them), and overall quality of life.
by Leslie Campbell, August 2010
A new community co-operative provides a model for primary health care, one emphasizing local control, accessibility, collaboration, and prevention.
From my perspective as a child of elderly parents making frequent use of the health care system, it’s easy to imagine the system being totally swamped when I and my fellow boomers hit 75 or so. We obviously have to take a different tack, but few—and especially those in power—seem willing to ignite the serious conversation we need to have, let alone propose creative solutions.
A 2009 study, jointly-funded by the BC Medical Association and the BC Ministry of Health, showed that if five percent of those with chronic disease had access to a primary care physician or nurse practitioner, BC would save $85 million per year.
by linda rogers, August 2010
Like his father and grandfather before him, Tony Hunt has distinguished himself and his culture by giving his life to his art.
It was hard to believe I wasn’t hallucinating when I saw a canoe floating in the duck pond at Government House yesterday afternoon. The ducks didn’t seem to mind at all, so this must be their new normal. I have been following the progress of the new cultural industry at the vice-regal residence and I was waiting for Spain to score that one semi-final goal so that Chief Tony Hunt would return to the carving shed at Government House and I could continue the longest interview in history (about 25 years).
by Linda Rogers, August 2010
The inaugural Victoria Emerging Art Awards promises emerging artists a helping hand and the rest of us a good time.
I often wonder, given exponential population increases in the arts community and dwindling public resources, how hard it is for young voices to be heard over the din of established painters and writers. Performers like dancers and actors have a predictable shelf life, but not painters, musicians and writers who, unlike waged Canadians with pension plans, remain standing so long as they can remember where they put the tools of their trades.
by trudy duivenvoorden mitic, august 2010
An elder shows the way to go the distance.
This month, a heart-warming story, perfect for telling on a balmy summer day and the first-year anniversary of my sister’s death. That day last August changed everything for my mom since she and my sister had shared a cozy home for more than 15 years.
My mom is no slouch, even now at age 85. She tends her home and garden and finds time to help others. She’s never stood out in a crowd because she finds the attention discomfiting but, like her mother before her, she’s always had a quick wit, gallons of optimism and the self-discipline of a 16th century monk. That’s probably why she managed to raise a gaggle of kids on a farm that had almost as many pets as dairy animals—a true menagerie if there ever was one. It likely also explains her determination to have us survive the hardships that befell our family, including my dad’s passing almost two decades ago.
by Danda Humphreys, August 2010
A project to boost the profits of Craigflower Farm led to the name of Admirals Road.
With all the excitement around this year’s 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, it’s fun to figure out the origin of a few of Victoria’s navy-connected street names. Fisgard, Pandora, Herald, Pembroke, Discovery and Chatham are just a few that remind us of British Navy ships that sailed here in the early days. But who named Admirals Road? And why?
Today, Admirals Road crosses the Gorge, passes through the Songhees Indian Reserve, and ends just north of Saxe Point. Yesterday, it was just a simple trail leading from Kenneth McKenzie’s Craigflower Farm to the house he had built for the Royal Navy’s most important local personage.
by Katherine Palmer Gordon. July 2010
Three controversial infrastructure projects highlight the need for a better way to decide what projects are most important to residents of the region—and which get funding.
February, 2008: Dozens of RCMP, some armed with assault rifles, swarm a campsite in Langford and arrest six unarmed citizens, charging them with mischief. As many as 300 police officers surround a nearby neighbourhood for several days afterwards, questioning local residents as they travel to and from their homes.
by Aaren Madden. Photo by Tony Bounsall. July 2010
Bringing people together to create positive change for youth at risk, and others, is the practical, ethical path for Helen Hughes.
By Amy Reiswig. Photo by Rob Skelly. July 2010
Melanie Siebert’s new book navigates the idea of place, both wild and urban.
Carrying a book in a Ziploc bag is a sure sign that you are very used to getting wet. It is also a sign of wanting to protect what is important to you. It’s appropriate, then, that writer and former river guide Melanie Siebert has brought her new book of poems, Deepwater Vee, so bagged, since the collection is all about honouring and protecting what she loves.
By Gene Miller, July 2010
This edited version of a speech given recently to Heritage BC points to the link between heritage preservation and ecology.
Hello, Friends of Yesterday. Your warm response to that line reminds me of a presentation I gave to a stony audience at a public transit association conference a number of years ago entitled—“Life’s a Bus and Then You Die.”
By Danda Humphreys, July 2010
A therapeutic community sows seeds of hope on farmland “pre-empted” by a Scottish settler.
One year since the Creating Homefulness Society took over Woodwynn Farm, it’s my guess that Angus McPhail, that area’s first white settler, would approve of the modern-day venture playing out on his former property.
Story by Brian Grison. Photo by Tony Bounsall. July 2010
When the Garry oak meadows of Langford were threatened, naturalist Fran Benton turned to art and politics.
By Briony Penn, July 2010
Caribou and conservation need to be part of the conversation around the Site C dam.
It’s 2005. Award-winning aboriginal musician/TV host and researcher Art Napoleon is standing on top of the WAC Bennett dam. I’ve joined him in Peace country to work on a documentary film proposal. Called Disturbing the Peace, it will raise awareness about the potential impacts of the proposed Site C dam on the Peace and the other energy projects that riddle the northeast corner of BC.
by Rob Wipond, July 2010
Is the world becoming greener, or does it just seem that way?
You’ve heard of “green-washing,” where companies make their products sound more ecologically friendly than they are. Well, I keep seeing something more insidious: green-tinted glasses.
Green-washing is propaganda; it’s easy to spot and dispel. Like ads BP runs about its commitment to environmental responsibility, while the largest, most unprepared-for oil spill in North American history spreads from their Gulf of Mexico well.
Story by Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic. Illustration by April Caverhill. July 2010
It’s time to return to patient-centred care that includes fresh air, sunlight, plants…life!
In this halcyon summer day the wind is tousling the treetops and the early tomatoes are beginning to swell on the vine. I wander around my little sanctuary and think of places that offer no such solace. I think of the Victoria General Hospital. My friend—I’ll call her Rose—has been living there since Christmas.
Story by Linda Rogers. Photo by Tony Bounsall. July 2010
Just into year number two on the job at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Jon Tupper discusses his challenges and the new Carr exhibit.
When I heard the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria was mounting On the Edge of Nowhere, a major Carr installation, I called Executive Director Jon Tupper and asked if we could have lunch at JJ’s Wonton House, a short walk from the gallery.
by Leslie Campbell, July 2010
A few weeks ago David and I found ourselves in Alert Bay, a community of about 1200 people on Cormorant Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from Port McNeill. The Kwakwaka’wakw culture flourishes in Alert Bay, despite many insults, past and present, to their way of life.
I plan to write about our visit at greater length in the future. But I think I am meant to share one of the stories I heard sooner rather than later.