Miners Discovered a Tasty Superfood

Miner's lettuce

Miner’s lettuce grows in cool, moist places in early spring along the west coast.

Imagine, a nutritious, yummy green that you don’t need to water or care for, that reseeds itself and is native to this area. It shows up in profusion this time of year when we are desperate for something to add to our salad bowls that hasn’t traveled a thousand miles to get here. It’s non-invasive, easy to pull when it’s done, and makes great mulch or compost. And chickens who are lucky enough to have it around produce eggs with a deep orange yolk.

It’s miner’s lettuce, also know as winter purslane, or Claytonia perfoliata. It tastes like lettuce only earthier, and has a slightly thicker leaf, more like spinach. Some call it a superfood: vitamin C, omega fatty acids and chlorophyll assist with detoxification and blood purification, but I like it because it’s green, available and tastes fresh when most other things don’t this time of year.

Miner’s lettuce got its name from the miners of the California gold rush who used it to prevent scurvy. It grows in profusion in moist, shady spots along the west coast right down into California. It doesn’t last long unless the spring is cool and moist, so grab some while you can if you see some!

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You won’t recognize the new Oceanic Market

Oceanic Market Before 2017

Oceanic Market, as we know it now.

If you’ve visited the Market Garden in the last couple of summers you’ll have seen the glorious rows of exuberant greens, the edible jungle that is the growing plot, and the greenhouse packed with neat rows of heritage tomatoes. And then there’s that airy shed stocked with racks of seeds for things both common and obscure. It was easy to miss, though, tucked away on Bella Street, in spite of the beautiful sign.

Tucked away no more, the Market Garden man has taken over the lease to the Oceanic Market on Catherine Street.

The face of the Oceanic is about to change, newly designed and introducing new dry products like flour, nuts, and edible seeds, produce and local planting seeds. You’ll be able to walk through the Oceanic to the Market Garden in the back. Plans for a community gathering hub are in the works, as is a demonstration kitchen for canning and take-away foods.

“You won’t recognize it,” says Ryan.

summer at Market Garden

Summer in the Market Garden

Ryan, who runs the market, is quietly bursting with enthusiasm for his new venture, which he’ll be sharing with long-time Oceanic employee, Ian. While his eye is on organic, local products, in practice he includes farmers who grow organically but aren’t certified. Fair trade products, like avocados from Mexico, will also stock the shelves.

But not everything will change. The Oceanic will continue to sell products the community has relied on for decades, such as cigarettes and lotto tickets. How does that fit with the program? you may ask, but it makes sense given Ryan’s sensitivity to the needs of the community. He wants to build on the success of the former owner, not destroy it, and he values the current customers.

summer bounty

More summer bounty

Food security to Ryan includes selling local Vic Westers’ produce and finding a system that’s fair to sellers, customers and him as a buyer, and is also keen to hear our ideas for products. He is open to offering vegetable waste to local chicken owners, and has agreed to sell a home-made line of soaps for a local.

Excessive waste from packaging is a gremlin Ryan is wrestling with, so we may see some colourful incentives to be spare with our bags. Selling products with returnable containers, like Avalon Dairies milk, is one solution.

As more of us appreciate what food security really means, having an (mostly) organic market in the ‘hood is great news. We can support it by letting Ryan know what we would like to see, then actually buying it if he brings it in. Don’t forget to bring your bags!

Louise Wood

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Those Weeds of the Email World

dandelionsRecently a number of the Vic West Food Security blog members received a bogus email, no subject line, encouraging them to click on a link. It was semi-convincing, from an email address that looked something like the food security email might look.
But it was spam, those invasive weeds of the tech world.
The Victoria West Food Security Collective does not send out mass emails showing everyone’s address. We use Mailchimp for newsletters, and those signed up on the blog receive new posts via email. We also send notices with actual information in them, about events, gardening tips, photos of luscious vegetables and nice composted soil. We won’t simply invite you to click a link.
With any of your incoming email, if it doesn’t look quite right, don’t open it!

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Wassail 2017

Banfield Park Community Orchard Wassail

Saturday January 14th 2:30pm

wassail-poster2017-bigWassail – Waes Hael – “be of good health” – Olde English tradition of wassailing, dating back to the 1500s, is a ceremony to wake fruit trees from their winter slumber and scare away evil spirits, ensuring a good harvest. 

A family outdoor celebration. Bring a lantern to light the orchard. 
 2:30pm – Crowning the Wassail King and Queen
3 pm – Morris Dancers 
3:30pm Wassail Ceremony – bring a mug for mulled cider
4pm – Feast – Soup and bread will be served.
Hosted by the Vic West Food Security Collective, a project of the Victoria West Community Association.

 

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Winter Solstice 2016 Potluck Dinner

winter-solstice-2016 potluck dinner at Victoria West Community Centre

Please come and join us for our winter community potluck dinner. Bring your appetite and a dish to share, bring children, friends and neighbours!

 

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Autumn Harvest Potluck

autumn-harvestEveryone is invited:

Vic West Community Potluck Dinner

Saturday, October 15th at 6:00pm

Victoria West Community Centre

521 Craigflower Road

 

 

Please bring a dish of food to share. Our theme is “Harvest” so something from your garden would be great. No garden? No worries. Any food item is appreciated.

Hosted by the Vic West Food Security Collective, a Vision Project of the Victoria West Community Association.
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Community Gathering in Vic West Park

Gathering posterOn Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm, the Vic West Food Security Collective is hosting a community information gathering on the site of the recently proposed Community Garden in Vic West Park.  The City of Victoria is redeveloping the park and has designated an area of the park for a large community garden. Everyone is welcome to attend. We will be sharing the City’s plan for the site as well as a design by UVic’s Permaculture Design students.  The Permaculture students developed a plan for the site which is intended as a model only.  As part of their coursework, the plan includes information about the physical site such as prevailing winds, soil conditions, water flows and drainage. Their proposed plan includes (but is not limited to) allotment garden plots, a food forest, gathering spaces, quiet alcoves, composting systems, tool sheds, and outdoor cooking facilities.  The students have graciously allowed the Food Security Collective to share their findings and their design and we, in turn, are offering it to the public as an example of how the space might be used. We will share both sample site plans at the information gathering on Saturday. Hope to see you there.

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Proposed Vic West Park Community Garden

proposed new garden site

The City of Victoria has committed to redeveloping Vic West Park and has designated a section of the Park for a large community garden. The Vic West Food Security Collective (VWFSC) has agreed to starting the process. We invite you to join us.

The first step in developing the Vic West Park Community Garden is to build a “Garden Planning Team” who will, together with our community of  neighbours, partners, and community organizations, bring the garden from concept to celebratory completion.

Before we turn the earth, we need to identify uses for the space, host place-making events, and develop key roles. The Garden Planning Team needs gardeners, planners, designers, carpenters, artists, organizers, and any others who have time, energy, skills and interest to bring this project into being.

The Garden Planning Team is looking for people who know the history of the land and indigenous plants; who can gather information, attend meetings, liaise with agencies; who are interested in having a plot in this new garden; who want to build community through growing and sharing food; who can visualize the proposed site for the good of the whole community; who have planning, fundraising, or project management skills; and who are educators and program facilitators. Contributions large and small are welcome.

It will take a community to create this garden and we’d love it if you’d join us now by becoming a member of the Garden Planning Team.

Sign up to receive web updates at https://vicwestfoodsecurity.org  Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vwfsc  Contact us at vicwestparkgarden@gmail.com

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Summer Potluck Dinner

Summer Potluck-2Vic West in the Summer

It’s summertime in Vic West. Gardens are growing, flowers are out, the days are long and warm.

Come out and have dinner with your friends and neighbours on Saturday, June 18th at the Victoria West Community Centre.  Bring a dish of food to share, some flowers for the tables, and your lovely selves. Invite a new neighbour to join you, or bring along your house guests. We look forward to sharing a delicious meal and delightful conversation with you.

 

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BIG Plant Sale Saturday

DSC_0391Saturday, May 14th, 11:00am to 3:00pm at Vic West Fest in Banfield Park.

Annual Plant Sale, hosted by the Vic West Food Security Collective. We sowed seeds in March, tended the wee shoots all spring, fed them organic compost, sang love songs to them and gently potted them up for you. They are ready for your garden. We have tomatoes, basil, squash, tomatillos, perilla, a large variety of herbs, raspberry and thornless blackberry bushes, cabbages, kale and more.

The Plant Sale is an annual fundraiser, supporting Banfield Park Orchard, Banfield Commons, Evan Street Orchard, and the Rayn or Shine Community Garden.

These are some of my starts in the greenhouse this morning. Tomorrow they’ll be yours.

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