notes from the Food Security Hui held Jan 19th 2019

Big thanks to everyone who came out to the hui!  We had a great turnout and some good discussion.  Here's some of what came up:

 

Land Share:

It was noted that there is alot of agricultural land that isn't being used and many folks who don't have a garden established yet or don't have a good spot for a garden - living on a rock, not enough water etc., so we could get more food growing simply by connecting these folks.

Land owners would need to think about what they do and don't want to happen (privacy, aesthetics, tool and water usage etc etc) and clear agreements would need to be made.  It was mentioned that longer term agreements make it worth investing in soil building, amendments etc.

A close by/convenient location is probably the main matching criteria, so if you would like to be gardening but don't have a suitable space at your place, or if you have garden space you aren't using and wouldn't mind someone else using it, talk with your neighbours and/or let me (Hilary) know.  I'll keep 2 lists and try to connect folks that might be a suitable match and they can sort out the details themselves.

 

Sharing Excess:

-'Provide' under construction at Provisions will be a spot where growers can bring their extra produce.

- Folks are encouraged to sell any excess produce they have at the Saturday market, even if they don't have much to sell. JennyV has said in past she is willing to add your stuff to her table if you don't have enough to warrant having your own table. Hilary also has documents from an organization in the states that runs a community exchange market table that sells for multiple producers if there starts to be lots of interest in this.  

Camino is also always looking to buy local produce, and Mark Young also buys local produce for his contact dance workshops.  There is lots of demand for local food and folks willing to buy it, so if you've got extra, offer it up!

- A 'Gleaner's Society'  was suggested as a way to mobilize to waste less food. Julia offered to coordinate pickers for productive fruit trees etc – let her know if you have excess and/or if you'd like to be informed about gleaning opportunities.  Folks are also encouraged to (continue to) post to email list etc when they have more than they can use of something, have a tree dripping with fruit that they're not going to get to etc.

 

Preserving and Storing the Harvest:

There seemed to be agreement that when community hall is renovated the kitchen should be upgraded to support community canning sessions and workshops – Judy Peternard is available to provide info, help with design/food safety considerations.  A community canning kitchen could get used by gleaners society above too!

There is potential for collective food storage space – freezers, root cellar (where? How big? Who runs it? could we use excess power at school in summer?)

It would be great if someone could someone give a workshop on long term food storage/root cellaring.

 

Seed Bank/Co-op:

It would be great to be saving more locally adapted seed ourselves. There are several things that are quite easy to save quality seed from, others are harder (isolation distances, # of plants required etc). Having a community seed bank would be a great resource, but best to be growing things out regularly, not just storing seed until it's not viable any more. Could encourage folks to adopt a variety that they commit to save seed for that year, best if at least 2 seed savers/variety in case of crop failure etc. And then seed could be shared with the community.

Maybe just squash and tomatoes to start? Hilary is willing to organize. Contact her if you are interested in adopting a variety

 

Resources currently on island:

Karl Darwin has built a number of machines for larger scale food processing that can be made available to the community--

Nut buster – can be operated by 1 person, portable, fits on a tote, will crack 10lbs of nuts in a hour, adjustable size - hazelnuts to walnuts. Noisy! Shell still has to be separated from nut meats after, has new bearings, runs really well, currently at Gail's. Maybe this could be set up at the Christmas Craft Fair next year (Fall Fair too early)

giant apple press – can juice a heaping pickup truck load of apples in an hour (plus another hour for clean up)

sausage grinder/stuffer – sized to process several animals (like a pig, 2 deer and 3 sheep.... or a horse) at once and make a bunch of sausage for numerous parties (big “meatings” at Karl's)

Combine – minimum size 1 acre field, can also operate stationary to thresh. For wheat, works for buckwheat too, though buckwheat doesn't ripen all at once. Self contained, no tractor needed, and self mobile

grain grinders – Karl has 2, there are many others on island as well

grain flakers – a few are on island

Also Passive Solar Dryers are relatively easy to build. Maybe we could distribute plans, have a handy carpenter help with construction, a workshop? Food can also be dried on screens suspended up high near woodstove

Knowledgeable gardeners willing to share knowledge--

Arne, Marti and Wendy all agreed to be available for consultation if you want help with garden or irrigation design, how to grow different veggies etc etc.

 

Food Notice Board

a notice board specifically for food security related things was suggested – help needed, land available, resources to share, workshops, etc etc. Camino agreed to host at Provisions, Dave offered to help build

also great to use lasqueti.ca / email list for postings + phone tree to accommodate folks who aren't online

 

Labour

One of the biggest limitations to growing more food on island is the labour required to grow, harvest, process and distribute the food.

Possible solutions -

1-Workparties – rotate between various hosts, everyone gets a turn to have everybody at their place. Would be especially useful for helping people get gardens fenced.

2-Attracting more young people to Lasqueti –> affordable housing/land

3-Wwoofers? A Farm apprenticeship program shared amongst the community  (lots of competition for farm interns now....)

I think we will need to talk about this more.  I'm sure it will come up at the community stewardship OCP forum (probably after this next one in Feb)......

 

Sheep

Of course this abundant island resource was mentioned.  I don't want to upset any of the vegetarians/sheep lovers on island or get anyone riled up but I've been out walking more lately and the landscape is pretty grim down in our neck of the woods - no understory, hardly any ferns, young trees or shrubs unless they've somehow made it above sheep height, so I'm making a point here of including this.  It's cool enough now that you can hang a sheep for weeks, at which point they are nice and aged and pretty yummy. (Eat More Sheep!) 

So a good start to the discussion.  We used an open space format and broke into smaller groups to discuss different ideas but I'm not sure I got notes from all the smaller discussions.  If anyone who made it out was part of a discussion I missed, please post here.  There's more to talk about with most of these points, let's keep talking about this!  Chat with your friends and neighbours, step up to organize something, let's grow more food here! 

 

--Hilary

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