Haiku Winners Announced!

Haiku winner gift basket
The Skookum basket! Thanks to the cooperative members who donated parts of this amazing prize!

Another Fall Fair and 50-Mile eat Local Challenge period has gone by, already. Add to that, the end of another gardening season, as the tomatoes and whatnots waved ‘ciao-ciao’ this past weekend, as the weather turned blustery.

This year, Skookum’s contribution to the 50-Mile Challenge was the ’50-Mile Haiku’ contest. The two winners were announced on Sunday, September 26 at the Powell River Fall Fair.

Skookum’s own jury selected the five best entries plus one Jury Prize winner from the dozens of excellent and inspired haiku. Then, Skookum members and the public at large were asked to vote on the best of the five superb poems, using an online survey tool. The results showed that Tania Jalbert won the coveted People’s Choice Skookum Gift Basket (pictured above) full of goodies ranging from a bottle of local Plum wine, to local dried fruit, a gift certificate, locally-made soap, several food-related books, a hand-knitted scarf, teas, natural cosmetics, and a piece of art, mostly donated by Skookum Cooperative members (thank you!).

Here is Tania Jalbert’s great Haiku:

Purple stained faces

razor vines give forth sweet gifts

juicy berry bliss

-Tania Jalbert

Tania is currently in Barcelona, Spain but writes:

Tania Jalbert

“Wow. I sign on to my hotmail today and I am so pleased and tickled to see that I have won first prize in the 50 mile diet haiku contest. Thank you so much Powell River. I do miss you, as I am in Barcelona for an undetermined amount of time. Love from Spain. “-Tania Jalbert

The Grand Prix Spécial du Jury goes to Roberta Meehan for her fantastic Haiku. Roberta wins  a gift certificate from Kingfisher Used Books! Thanks to all participants whether you entered a Haiku, or donated a prize, or voted on the winner!

Deer eating apples

Stand erect on hindquarters

Cervidae evolves

-Roberta Meehan

Time to Vote on Powell River’s 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge’s Best Haiku!

Skookum got all artsy and decided to host a 50-Mile Challenge-themed Haiku contest. Many poets responded, and from these (read them all here: http://pr50.wordpress.com/haiku), we selected the five best and now it’s time for you to VOTE on who gets to win the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative gift basket full of great stuff donated by Skookum members and The Powell River Literacy Council! It is one of our awareness-raising activities planned this autumn.

The deadline for voting is this Thurs, Sept 23 at 5 pm. Please click here and rate each haiku along the scale shown there on the site.

The highest scorer will win the prize. You can only vote once and you cannot re-vote once you click the “done” button at the bottom.

The Haiku and your votes are anonymous.

Enjoy. And thank you for participating!

Skookum September! (A snapshot of what we’re up to)

Just before the harvest: Skookum’s Experimental Oat Patch.
Oats ready for transport
Makeshift oat drying area.

It has been a pretty busy September for Skookum, and it’s not letting up. The BPA-free canning lid order is complete, and a dozen or so members have some of the tools we need to get canning! If anyone has extra canning rings, please consider donating them, as the new lids don’t come with these metal rings. Skookum collected an extra $25 from members donating to the cider press fund.

Stay tuned for the new Cider Press Rules to be published on this blog any day now, detailing the fees, conditions, and tips on members’ use of our cider press.

We are still collecting prizes for the Skookum 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge Haiku contest (read the amazing entries (and submit one yourself!) at: http://pr50.wordpress.com/haiku) Please contact Giovanni Spezzacatena at  Giovanni@skookumfood.ca if you want to donate a gift! Thanks!

Three of our Board members (Sharon, David, and Giovanni) managed to get together — despite the rainy weather we’ve been having — to pick our oats from the borrowed patch of land in Wildwood. We used scissors and a scythe to collect what we could, and we’re drying them for a few weeks in another borrowed space. Then, we’ll figure out what’s next. We figure we will use the harvest as seed for next year’s larger plot. If you have a patch of land available (especially in town), let us know! (skookum@skookumfood.ca or call us at 604.485.7940.)

But there’s more! This Sunday, Nicole Narbonne and Will Langlands will host a Skookum members-only Tomato-Can-A-Thon work party!

We are also planning some exciting activities for Co-op week (Oct. 17-23), which will involve community access to the cider press!

And even more! We’re hoping to make a bulk purchase of nuts from Rancho Vignola!

Calling all Skookum members!
Does this early fall weather have you squirreling away food for winter?
If so, you might want to get in on a once a year opportunity to bulk order fruit and nut products from Rancho Vignola.
Each September, the BC-based, family-run Rancho Vignola offers bulk purchases of dried fruit and nuts at wholesale prices.
We thought we’d put this out to the membership, and see if there was interest in doing an order. If we put our orders together, it should be easy to exceed the $500 minimum order limit.
But … there is a catch, we have to act FAST. All orders HAVE TO be submitted to Rancho by September 27, no exceptions. And what that means for us is that all orders have to be submitted to me ABSOLUTELY NO LATER THAN NOON ON SEPTEMBER 26.
Interested? Read on… Here’s how it will work:
HOW TO ORDER:
View the attached Product Description form and Wholesale Price List from Rancho Vignola. Select the items you want (by case or 5lb bag only), and let me know via email (nolapoirier@gmail.com) the items you would like to order. Please write the name just like it appears on the order form (or email me a filled out form), so there is no confusion. I will reply with a confirmation email.
Important! When working out your costs, you need to add 15% to each price.
  • 5% of this will go to Skookum,
  • 5% to the community (this is part of Skookum’s mandate),
  • 5% to me (Nola), as an incentive to members and Board members to coordinate efforts like this.
For example: A 5lb bag of raw, organic almonds (second item on the list) is $51.50 on the price list. So your cost is:
$51.50 +  15%, which is: $51.50 + ($51.50 X 0.15) = $51.50 + 7.73 = $59.23
But, Rancho Vignola will ship our order to Powell River for Free! So you don’t need to worry about an added shipping charge. Remember to get your order in to me on, or ideally before, noon on Sept 26.
If we don’t get to the $500 minimum, we won’t be able to do an order. I’ll let you know if this is the case, ASAP.
HOW TO PAY:
Our order must be prepaid, so please drop payment off at Kingfisher Books at 4468 Marine Ave. no later than noon on September 26. Please pay with cheques or cash (no credit card payments, sorry). Make cheques out to Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative or just SFPC). Ensure your name is together with the payment (i.e., in an envelope or paperclip).
Don’t forget to add 15% to the listed price of each item.
Any questions about the process? – send them my way: nolapoirier@gmail.com
Any questions about the products that aren’t answered on the product description attached? Contact Rancho Vignola @ info@ranchovignola.com (note they don’t answer their phone).
PRICE LIST (again, add 15% to these prices) (158 KB): CLICK HERE

ITEM DESCRIPTIONS: CLICK HERE (740 KB)
Nola Poirier
604 487 0807

Members-Only Tomato Canning Bash Sept 19, 2010

Tomato canning bashCalling all Skookum members!

As I mentioned a while ago, we’re planning a day to get some folks together in the Four Square Gospel Church’s kitchen to can tomatoes. The wonderful Nicole Narbonne and Will Langlands are going to be the chefs de cuisine for the day, since they are old hands at canning tomatoes.

The purpose is partly to learn how to safely can tomatoes, but also to do it together, have fun, and really blast through a lot of tomatoes for winter storage.

Details are being worked out, but it goes something like this:

  • We get going in the morning, around 9:00 or so;
  • We work together to can as many quarts of tomatoes as we can do, all working together;
  • Everyone pays equally for a share of the final product (payment covers cost of ingredients: tomatoes, salt, lemon juice);
  • Will & Nicole get some kind of extra share or payment for their time and expertise;
  • The Four Square Gospel Church also gets a share of the final product as payment for the use of their kitchen;
  • Everyone who participates gets to go home with their share: we’re hoping that this share will be at least a dozen quarts, but that depends on tomatoes, time, equipment, etc.

If you would like to participate, please reply to us as soon as you can (email: skookum@skookumfood.ca ). If there are more participants than we can accommodate, we will choose by lottery (fair & square). If there is a lot of interest, we might try to schedule another similar canning bash before the good tomatoes disappear.

We’re hoping that participants can help us get enough jars, lids, funnels, canners, cutting boards, knives, and so on. Stay tuned for more info about that.

If you know of a reliable local source of good canning-type tomatoes, please let us know right away!! Thanks.

When Harry Came to Pow!Town

Harry talks apples.

Harry Burtonpartner Debbie from Salt Spring Island’s Apple Luscious Organic Orchards visited Powell River for a Skookum-sponsored two-day fundraiser for our new community apple press.

The Zen of apple pruning.

It was about apples, and a lot more. Harry talked about pruning, apple varieties, permaculture and much more, both at the Tuesday night presentation at the Unitarian Hall and the next morning at Little Wing Farm in Lund. We’re hoping to get Harry and Debbie back here again for some more in-depth workshops and hands-on skill-building in grafting, pruning, disease and distress management, and more. Stay tuned for more details.

The new community cider press is unveiled.

If you did not get the chance to attend and would still like to donate to help us pay for the community cider press, please check out our new PayPal  ‘Donate’ button at the top right of this page. Thank you! If you would like to see more events like this (or different ones), please add your voice by using the comment box below, and together we’ll make it happen.

Our Values and Principles

At the board meeting of May 28, 2010, the directors of Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative passed a resolution to adopt the following statement of values and principles as an official document of the cooperative. You can download this statement in PDF form by clicking here.

We relied heavily on the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity as a basis for creating our statement of values and principles. The values are exactly the same, and we adapted the the principles slightly to take our situation and goals into account.

Values tend to be very general statements of the sorts of outcomes we want to promote through our activities, as we work towards our goals (which are stated in the Statement of Purpose clause of our Memorandum of Association). They are valuable reference points for the sort of organization we hope to build. But they don’t do much to tell us how we are supposed to achieve those outcomes. Merely saying that you believe in the value of democracy does not produce democracy in the world.

Principles come closer to spelling out how we want to realize our values. They don’t st in a one-to-one relationship to values, but each value should figure in one or more principles, so that the set of principles is like a more concrete statement of our value and show we see them playing out in the world. If values are the atoms of our organizational culture, principles are like the molecules.

But even principles aren’t specific and detailed enough. Take for example the statement “Elected representatives are accountable to the membership,” which appears in the principle of Democratic Member Control. We need to know exactly what we mean by that: monthly newsletters? Annual elections? A committee of members which evaluates the performance of directors on a regular basis?

Here is where policies enter the picture. The directors of Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative are working on formalizing our policies, but this is a big job and will never be fully complete. The best we can do is to identify when a question that comes before the board deserves to have a more formal and long-lasting answer. In the case of a question such as “Where should we hold our AGM this year?”, there is no need to make a policy. When we answer the question, we can move on and not have to think about this until next year. But once we start thinking about questions such as whether we must hold our AGMs in a room and facility which is accessible to people with physical disabilities, then we’re entering into the territory of policy. And we can attach this policy to the principle of Voluntary and Open Membership to the values of equality, equity, and solidarity.

For the principle of Concern for Community and Environment, there are endless numbers of policies we might enunciate. Do we want to go 100% plastic-free? Is that even feasible? How do we balance our desire to reduce plastic (and other) waste against our need to steward the financial shares of our members? Getting the tradeoffs ‘right’ — or if not ‘right’ then good enough to satisfy the greatest number of members — is a tremendous challenge. But the important thing is to answer these questions out in the open, letting our members know how the board sees the tradeoffs, presenting the pros an cons of all positions as fairly and honestly as we can. And we are committed to that, not least because we have formally adopted the values of honesty and openness and the related principle of Education, Training and Information.

So what exactly is the point of having a statement of values and principles? For one thing, they serve to remind our membership who we are and what we stand  for. When things get confusing or turbulent, they should help bring us back to our original vision and help us remember why we are doing what we’re doing.

These are always works in progress. New situations and new challenges provoke thinking about new values, principles, and policies to put some teeth into values and principles. For now, here is our first statement of values and principles:

Our values

We endorse and adopt the values enshrined in the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity:

  • Self-help;
  • Self-responsibility;
  • Democracy;
  • Equality;
  • Equity;
  • Solidarity;
  • Honesty;
  • Openness;
  • Social responsibility;
  • Caring for others.

Our principles

We endorse and adopt the seven principles enshrined in the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity, adapting them to our unique situation as follows.

Voluntary Open Membership

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is a voluntary organization, open to all persons able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

Democratic Member Control

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is a democratic organization controlled by its members, who actively participate in setting its policies and making decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative. That capital is our common property. Because we are a not-for-profit cooperative, we will use all surpluses for further developing the cooperative, for setting up reserves against future needs, and for supporting other community projects as our members see fit.

Autonomy and Independence

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is an independent self-help organization controlled by its members. If we enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, we will do so on terms that ensure democratic control by our members, maintain our cooperative autonomy, and do not compromise our vision, values, or principles.

Education, Training and Information

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative provides education and training for all of its members, so that they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative and to the general well-being of the surrounding community. We inform the general public — particularly young people opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

We believe that shared knowledge and skills are the lifeblood of the local food economy, and we actively create opportunities for people to exchange knowledge skills. We engage people of all ages all backgrounds, and we work to preserve traditional knowledge skills and help pass them from elders to younger members of the community.

Cooperation among Cooperatives

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative serves its members most effectively and strengthens the cooperative movement by working together with other cooperatives through local, national, regional and international structures.

Concern for Community and Environment

We work for the sustainable development of our community through policies approved by our members. We work within the framework of the triple bottom line, seeking at all times to produce economic, environmental, and social benefits without sacrificing any one of these.

We also adopt the following principles…

Individual Self-empowerment

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is committed to increasing its members’ ability to provide for themselves and for their families, friends, and neighbourhoods. We believe in giving our members opportunities to educate themselves, to mentor and be mentored, and to have hands-on experience producing, preserving, and preparing food. We encourage our members to create and manage projects which will give them experience in small business creation. And we actively help our members acquire the skills and confidence to assume positions of responsibility in the cooperative.

Community Self-reliance

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative works towards the development of a strong local food economy, by encouraging the production of new crops and value-added processing, by helping to build a network of sharing and mutual trading, by supporting markets for existing goods and services and creating markets for new ones.

Fairness and transparency

We believe that people can should share power fairly and responsibly. We spread decision-making powers as widely as possible, using term limits and other policies which will give all of our members the opportunity to hold positions of responsibility. We let everyone know what we are doing by freely publishing information on our goals and projects, using plain language.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is holding its first Annual General Meeting on Wednesday June 23, starting at 7:00 PM. The meeting will take place in room 150 of Vancouver Isl University, located at 3960 Selkirk Avenue, Powell River, BC. Refreshments will be served.

At this meeting, the board of directors will report on progress to date. Members will elect a new board of seven directors to take over from the first appointed board, which has served since our incorporation was granted on April 6, 2010. We will have your membership share certificate. We will set aside time for a Q/A sessiondiscussion of the cooperative’s currentfuture projects.

The directors will also bring forward a special resolution. See below for the textexplanation of this resolution.

We hope that all our members will be able to attendparticipate in this first Annual General Meeting. We allow proxy voting for any member who would have to travel by air or water to attend this meeting. If you need to fill out a proxy form, please download one from here or pick up a hard copy at our registered address (4486 Marine Avenue, Powell River, BC, CANADA V8A 2K2).

We look forward to seeing you there!

On behalf of the board of directors,

David Parkinson, President

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Special resolution

Be it resolved that Rules 157, 158,159 of the Rules of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative (“the Association”) be amended as follows:

  • to permit notice to be given by email to a director, member, or any other person (addition of Rule 157 (e));
  • to permit notice to be given to the Association by email (addition of Rule 158 (d));
  • to stipulate that a notice given by email is deemed receipt at the time the notice is sent by email (addition of Rule 159 (4)).

Notice to directors, members,other persons

157 Unless otherwise specified in the Act or these Rules, any notice required to be given to a director, member, or any other person must be in writingis sufficiently given if it is
(a) delivered personally,
(b) delivered to the person’s last known address, as recorded in the Association’s register of members or other record of the Association,
(c) mailed by prepaid mail to the person’s last known address, as recorded in the Association’s register of members or other record of the Association,
(d) sent to the person by facsimile transmission to a telephone number provided for that purpose, or
(e) sent to the person by email to an email address provided for that purpose, or
(f) served in accordance with Rule 164 or 165.

Notice to Association

158 Unless otherwise specified in the Act or these Rules, any notice required to be given to the Association must be in writingis sufficiently given if it is
(a) delivered to the registered office of the Association,
(b) mailed to the registered office of the Association by prepaid mail,
(c) sent by facsimile transmission to a telephone number provided for that purpose, or
(d) sent by email to an email address provided for that purpose, or
(e) served in accordance with the Act.

Deemed receipt

159 (1) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (b) or 158 (a) is deemed received when it is delivered.
(2) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (c) or 158 (b) is deemed received on the second day, not including Saturdayholidays, after the date of mailing.
(3) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (d) or 158 (c) is deemed to be received at the time the notice is sent by facsimile.
(4) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (e) or 158 (d) is deemed to be received at the time the notice is sent by email.

From a small patch in Wildwood…

Cross-posted at SlowCoast.

Oats in the furrow, ready to be covered

One of the main purposes for the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is to get us thinking more about sharing solutions, as opposed to the current model, which often has us all off on our own trying to solve the same problems by learning the same skills and using the same resources. If we expect that we’re all going to need to become much handier at producing, preserving, and sharing food, then it makes sense for us to work better together: to share tools, ideas, space, time, and labour.

Our fast-paced and hyper-individualized culture has steered us away from collaborative projects; it’s become possible for almost everyone to do for themselves one way or another, thanks to abundant cheap goods. And we seem to have lost some of the appetite for group projects that characterized earlier generations, with their many service clubs, church groups,all the other pieces of a thriving community. To be fair, not everyone has punched their cards and checked out of the common effort, but we’re all going to have to get a lot smarter about how we work together to get the things we need.

Skookum was founded on the assumption that we all will need to become better equipped to understand how our food gets to our tables —that the work of getting the food to the table is going to become more widespread and more local. Although sometimes it seems that our efforts in this direction are puny and never enough, the only thing worse than not doing enough is doing nothing at all. (Or maybe doing something poorly.)

While we run around trying to get the gleaning project ready for prime time, while we prepare for our first general meeting of our members, we are trying to get a few little projects up off the ground. Something that particularly interested a couple of us was the idea of producing some of the grains we eat as part of our diet. A number of people hereabouts have been experimenting with Red Fife wheat and kamut, as well as other more exotic grains such as quinoa and amaranth. (And as my fellow Slow-Coaster Tom reports, buckwheat is another grain that people are growing here, if only as a cover crop.)

One grain I eat a lot of is oats, since I have a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast most days. And, conveniently, Dan Jason at Salt Spring Seeds sells a variety of hull-less oats suitable for our coastal growing conditions. Sharon Deane, another director of the cooperative and an avid food gardener, was interested in working together to grow a pilot patch of oats, if only to see how well they grow, how much they yield, and what the process is for getting from field to cereal bowl.

And so, scrambling right up to the last minute, we managed to find a little patch of shared soil up in Wildwood where we can plant and tend our experimental crop for 2010, in the hopes that we will learn enough to expand the project for next year. This past Saturday we took our five packets of Salt Spring Oats, suitable for sowing approximately five hundred square feet of ground, and spent some time turning the soil, scraping furrows, planting and covering the oats. We’ll continue to visit our little grain patch —I’ll continue to blog about the progress up there — until the end of the season, at which time we hope to have enough oats to share around, roll into flakes, and make into a delicious bowl of local breakfast. (With local fruit, milk, and honey…)

Eventually it would be wonderful to see more people getting together for the purpose of sharing land and labour to grow ever-larger patches of grains, beans, and other storage crops. There is a project running our of Vancouver, Urban Grains, which shortens the distance between grain consumers and farmers by getting city folks to sign up for a share of the grain produced from a farm in Agassiz. This is a classic Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, and these are starting to catch on all over the place, as regular people decide that they want to become more involved in the production of the food they eat. Passive consumption of foods coming from an opaque and mysterious system of production is looking more and more like a strange aberration, only possible during a time of extremely cheap fossil fuels and a style of imaginary economics that assigns no negative value to environmental destruction and social inequities so long as they are kept well out of sight.

For the three-and-a-half years that I have been living in Powell River, I have seen more people getting more involved with growing their own food and resuscitating the traditional skills of canning, preserving, and storing food. There is a real appetite here for self-reliance at the level of the individual and of the community. It’s one of the very positive and heartening aspects of living here. We need to start taking that energy and focusing it on shared projects which will spread skills, knowledge, and (especially) food amongst as many members of the community as possible. I’d love to see our cooperative work its way up to the point where our members can sign up at the beginning of the growing season for shared grains, beans, oil, vinegar, fruit, winter storage vegetables, and all the other aspects of a food-secure household.

So, even though this humble little patch of oats may not produce any great amount of food, what it will do is get us started on one project among many to bring people together to share land and crops. We will start to learn about the economics and the practical details of small-scale grain production. And we hope that people will be attracted to the idea of experimenting with self-reliance in staple crops.

Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses!