Posted by: David Parkinson | February 11, 2010

Robin Returns, HomeGrown (the film) and more!

Robin Wheeler conjures up a garden plan: She visits Texada Is and Powell River next weekend

Well, we’re certainly getting into the busy time of the year. Next weekend is a triple-whammy, with two wonderful opportunities to learn from Robin Wheeler (Saturday on Texada and Sunday in Powell River). Also, there is a film showing on Saturday at the Film Festival all about some wild-eyed urban farmers in Pasadena, California. Besides that, all sorts of things are popping up.

Also, don’t forget: the fifth annual Seedy Saturday is coming up on Saturday March 13, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Powell River Recreation Complex. More space! More workshops! More tables! More fun for kids and everyone else!! Don’t miss the big kickoff of the growing season.

By the way, this year at Seedy Saturday we are going to be making a handout that everyone can take with them which will list the upcoming workshops, plant sales, and all other activities (after March 13) which help us promote regional food security, increased production, seed-saving, and all those good goals. So if you know of a church plant sale or workshops on growing or canning or what-have you, please get the info to me and I will make sure it goes out on that info sheet. It’s a great way to get your group’s information into the hands of the people most likely to be interested!!

Now read on…

Robin Wheeler visit: Texada Microfarm Workshop & workshop in Powell River

Robin Wheeler, the author of Food Security for the Faint of Heart, will be paying another visit up our way for a couple of really exciting workshops next weekend.

Saturday February 20:

Robin will be leading Texada Island’s first-ever Microfarm Workshop. This event will be running from 9:30 AM until 3:00 PM at the Texada Island Community Hall in Gillies Bay and is open to anyone who is interested, whether or not you live on Texada. Robin will be presenting various topics of interest to the would-be, the newbie, and the established food grower:

  • understanding your land’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • how to use ‘calendar mapping’;
  • tricks for extending your growing season;
  • preservation and storage methods;
  • how to share tools, land, and processing equipment;
  • the pros and cons of value-added food products;
  • and much more.

It’ll be a day to remember, and participants will leave the workshop ready to create their own realistic action plan for year-round food production, perhaps leading to a small-scale food-based business.

Anyone interested in more information about the Microfarm Workshop can call Tom Read at (604) 486-6766. The cost is $10 and includes a light lunch by donation.

Sunday February 21:

From 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM, Robin will present a two-hour workshop titled “Get Going, Get Growing!”, at the Community Resource Centre (4752 Joyce Ave.) in Powell River. The growing season is coming up fast, and Robin has all kinds of tips for those of us who are thinking about how we can grow more, grow smarter, and grow for a longer season this year. She’ll be leading participants through the basics of:

  • small-scale sustenance gardening;
  • how to use the micro-climate zones and different soil and light conditions in your growing space;
  • garden mapping;
  • mulching and other low-effort time-savers;
  • and much more.

If you’ve ever wanted to get started on the growing season with some real plans under your belt, this is the workshop for you! (Download the poster here.)

No need to RSVP, but please show up a few minutes early in case we exceed the capacity of the CRC.

Anyone interested in more information call email me or phone me (David Parkinson) at (604) 485-2004. The cost is $5.

“HomeGrown” at the Powell River Film Festival Saturday February 20

If you’re unable to make it to Texada for the Microfarm Workshop, you might want to come out and see this fascinating film.

“Homegrown” follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While “living off the grid”, they harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels, and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day. The film is an intimate human portrait of what it’s like to live like “Little House on the Prairie” in the 21st Century.

Homegrown is showing at 10:00 AM at the Evergreen Theatre in the Powell River Recreation Complex. Tickets are $8; students pay $6.

For more information on the Powell River Film Festival, check out

Food Skills for Families on a Smart Budget (starting Feb. 15)

If you or someone you know is struggling with eating well on limited resources, please consider this series of workshops!!

Stretching your food budget is not always easy.  Come and learn how to cook simple healthy meals within your budget.

Food Skills for Families on a Smart Budget will help you:

  • gain hands-on cooking experience, each week you’ll learn while cooking;
  • have fun trying out simple recipes and dining with others;
  • learn about nutrition, making healthy food choices, safe food handling and storage, meal planning, healthy snacks, shopping and much more;
  • learn how to find and prepare healthy foods that meet your food budget.

FREE!! Six sessions, 3 hours each (starting Monday, February 15, 2010):

Feb 15: Introduction to Healthy Eating
Feb 22: Eating For Good Health
March 1: Meat Alternatives, Milk Alternatives and Healthy Fats
March 8: Planning Healthy Meals, Snacks and Beverages
March 15: Supermarket Tour
March 22: Celebrating Canadian Classics

Where:  Community Resource Center; 4752 Joyce Ave  Powell River

TO REGISTER: call 604-485-0992

2010 Permaculture Design Certification and Food Cycles Program in Roberts Creek

Due to great interest in our new permaculture and food cycles course we are going to offer a second course starting in March. This will run on Mondays.

If you are interested we are starting registration now. Step one is to send in a letter of intention. This can be emailed or mailed, a casual statement of your intentions and interest in taking the course. Step two is a $300 deposit. Payment plans are available.

Join Delvin Solkinson and Robin Wheeler for a dynamic year round adventure in education. We offer a full Permaculture Design Certificate with a complete Food Cycles Program to create an integrated system of both design concepts and functional living skills.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to conscious living. It promotes an awareness of the world with a focus on sustainability, low impact living and healthy community development.

The Food Cycles course promotes seasonal awareness with practical activities to do at every time of year.


  • the role of native plants;
  • tips for organic gardening;
  • growth cycles;
  • propagation & seed saving;
  • harvesting;
  • food preservation;
  • water wisdom;
  • medicine making;
  • integrated composting;
  • and so much more as part of practical and relevant Timely Actions in the Garden.

Other course topics include design methods, patterns in nature, climatic factors, water, soils, earthworks, design strategies for urban and rural applications, practical living for all climates on the planet, trees, aquaculture, waste management, sustainable architecture, ethical business practices and economics, bio-regional organization, and effective aid.

From dormant earth to finished season, the Food Cycles program will occur in conjunction with the Permaculture Design classes to round out and ground in the new permaculture practitioner’s certificate.

13 spaces only! Register now to hold your space.

Class will begin this winter and last for 15 months.

Robin Wheeler: (604) 885-4505
or Delvin Solkinson : for more details

Someone looking for help/advice with trees needing pruning

Someone writes me:

Just a thought, since the weather here has been so balmy I’m rather concerned about tree pruning, have noticed that trees in parks as well as some fruit trees have already been done, have I missed something? I would dearly like to get some help with mine  this year, my trees are rather old just like me, and right now I don’t want to be climbing up ladders,do you have any suggestions that are not going to cost an arm and a leg!!

If someone out there has thoughts about a competent pruner who might help out, let us know. Thanks!

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