Skookum Members’ Autumn Social: Potluck on October 19 at Sycamore Commons

Members are invited to gather at the upcoming Skookum social on Sunday, October 19 from 4:00 – 6:00.

Held in conjunction with the Sycamore Commons Project, the social will be at:

Sycamore Commons Gardens
on the grounds of St. David and St. Paul Anglican church
6310 Sycamore Avenue, Townsite.

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Get involved with Skookum Gleaners

To everyone in and around Powell River,

Take your pick! Pick your battles!

Skookum is getting the Skookum Gleaners project up and running again for the summer of 2014. The purpose of this project is to pick, preserve, and share as much fruit (and nuts) as we can manage, in order to reduce food waste & bear incidents, to help monitor the threat of spotted-wing drosophila, to spread skills and knowledge about fruit-tree care & food preservation, and to get together and have fun.

We’re happy to announce that the Anglican Church of St. David & St. Paul in Townsite, home of the Sycamore Commons permaculture project, has given us permission to install The Big Dehydrator in their kitchen and do some processing there. We plan to do a lot of dehydrating, as well as some workshops in canning, cider-pressing, making vinegar, and whatever else our members are interested in. This project is all about bringing people together, sharing the bounty, transferring skills, and many other good things.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. If you’re not a member of Skookum but would like to participate, please join (here’s how). It’s easy and affordable: only $20 to become a member, and that $20 actually buys you a share in our cooperative. We have no annual membership dues, and if you ever choose to withdraw from membership, we will refund your $20. What a deal!
  2. If you would like to be on the list of pickers and have opportunities to go out picking fruit, please fill out the form here.
  3. If you have fruit or nut trees (or berry bushes; but no blackberries, please!) that need picking, please fill out the form here.
  4. If you have skills you’d like to offer, please let us know. Maybe you’re a whiz at making fancy fruit leathers; maybe you know all there is to know about making plum wine… or apple butter… or pear brandy… we want to hear from you and so do your fellow members! Get in touch with us.
  5. In order to keep costs as low as possible, we’re on the lookout for some equipment to help us pick and process fruit. So if you have any (three-legged) orchard ladders in good condition, picking bags, garbage cans with lids, cutting boards, chopping/paring knives, aprons, etc., or anything else you are willing to loan or donate, please contact us.

You’ll be hearing more from us as the season progresses. But if you want to get involved, now is the time!

Skookum Gleaners is back!

Our lovely logo, designed by rabideye (AKA Giovanni Spezzacatena)

Back in 2010 and 2011, the newly-formed Skookum took on management and support of the Skookum Gleaners project, which had formerly been known as the Powell River Fruit Tree Project. Member Anne Michaels was the coordinator, and we put together a team to support her and get some picks and other fruit-tree activities going. In the end, it became difficult to give Anne the support she needed, and regretfully the Skookum board decided to shelve the project after the 2011 fruit season.

The good news is that this project is back. David Parkinson has decided to take on management of the picking activities and is also working on coordinating some fruit-processing activities involving Skookum members.

Plans are evolving, but the general idea is to make picking opportunities available to Skookum members, and to plan some group processing activities using one or more church kitchens in the region (to keep costs down for participants). David is hoping to generate some revenue through sales of processed fruit so that the project can become more self-sustaining. But the main idea is as always: to save more food from going to waste; to reduce bear incidents; and to share food-preservation skills and food.

You’ll be hearing more as time goes on, but for now here are some ways that Skookum members can help:

  • By donating picking equipment (ladders, baskets, etc.);
  • By offering up fruit from your trees or from your neighbours’ trees, if it looks as though they won’t be using all of their fruit;
  • By making a vehicle available for picks;
  • By sending us your great ideas and suggestions;
  • By volunteering to help process fruit.

Saving fruit that would otherwise go to waste, processing it for longer-term storage, and distributing it into the community is the kind of project that a cooperative is perfect for. Eventually it would be nice to see this summertime project evolve into a year-round series of opportunities for our members to produce, preserve, and share more food amongst themselves.

Stay tuned for more news and more opportunities to pick fruit and get together with others to preserve the fruit.

Out with the old board and in with the new one

The wonderful buffet prepared by Jacqueline Huddleston.
The wonderful buffet prepared by Jacqueline Huddleston (at right).

On May 13, 2014, Skookum held its Annual General Meeting in Trinity Hall at the Powell River United Church. Once again, we started with a potluck accompanied by a couple of fabulous main courses prepared by member Jacqueline Huddleston.

As always, we heard from our Treasurer Laura Berezan about the year in finances; President Pete Tebbutt talked about some of the accomplishments of the past year, singling out the work done by such stalwart members as Melissa Leigh (volunteer bookkeeper) and the duo of Wendy Pelton & Barry Bookout, who have done so much to get The Abundant Pantry up and running and keep it going.

Sadly, the board said goodbye to Jan Burnikell and Giovanni Spezzacatena, two directors who had been serving since before the cooperative incorporated. We also said adieu to Rosemary Bjorknas and Julia Downs. Then we moved on to the happier task of finding new directors to fill the gaps. Luckily, we had expressions of interest from several members: Tara Chernoff, Dan Glover, Chris Matheson, & Edward Sanderson. With Pete, David, & Laura staying on, these four new directors will bring all kinds of new energy and ideas to your board. So please join us in welcoming these new directors and thanking them for their generosity in taking on the work of helping to guide our cooperative as we move into our fifth year of operations!