See you at Seedy Saturday on March 8!

seed_savers_logo_largeHey there Skookies-

Powell River’s ninth annual Seedy Saturday is coming up this Saturday (March 8, 2014). Please note the new earlier hours: doors open at 9:30 AM and the event goes until 2:30 PM.  Admission is $2 and the Farmers’ Institute is happy to accept Powell River Dollars. Kids 12 and under get in for free, so bring the whole family! This is the annual event that kicks off the growing season in the region, and anyone who’s been there in the past knows that it’s both fun and educational. Inside, approximately six seed vendors and 20 community groups are participating.

Skookum will be there with an info table and Tattler BPA-free, indefinitely reusable home canning lids for sale:

Price List ( remember that your purchase also supports Skookum… for more info on the lids visit http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/ )

Our prices cannot be beaten– do some research and see for yourself.

  • 50 wide lids and rings ….. $40 each
  • 50 regular lids and rings ….. $35 each
  • 24 regular lids and rings …. $17 each
  • 24 wide mouth lids and rings.. $20 each
  • Regular lid+ring sampler pack.. (6 lids+rings) $4 each
  • Wide mouth lid+ring sampler.. pack (6 lids+rings) $5 each
  • Regular rings (8 per pack) ….. $2 each
  • Wide mouth rings (8 per pack). $2 each

More on the Seedy Saturday event this weekend… there will be lots to do for kids as well!

Workshop schedule:

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

  • Kevin Wilson:Three ways to start seeds
  • Margaret Cooper & Jo-Ann Canning: Surviving the invasion of the Spotted-Wing Drosophila (you will recall we had a blog post on this here)

11:00 AM to 11:45 PM

  • Julia Adam & Rob Hughes: Soil Health: The foundation for thriving plants
  • Leonie Croy: Saving seeds that sustain us

12:00 PM to 12:45 PM

  • Rosie Fleury: Gardening with poultry
  • Doug Brown: Should or shouldn’t I keep bees?

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (BIG EVENT!!)

  • Carolyn Herriot (Evergreen Theatre): At 1 p.m. best-selling author Carolyn Herriot will be presenting on “How to Save Seeds to Grow Local Food” in the Evergreen Theatre at the Recreation Complex. Her talk is to help energize everyone into growing more food, saving seed and getting involved in the Farmers’ Institute Seed Bank . For more information about the event, please contact Wendy Devlin at (604) 483-9268 or visit http://prfarmers.ca/pr-seedysat/.

 

 

 

Skookum Co-op Week Event

We had around 50 people come out on a foggy night in Powell River BC’s Cranberry neighbourhood for our guest speaker Tom Shandel’s film screening and discussion. We were very lucky to have Tom’s experience and insights into the co-op/credit union world.

We thank First Credit Union and their representative Tara Chernoff for their support on what was Credit Union Day (Oct 17), and all our participating members, especially Aaron Mazurek and family for hosting Tom Shandel and his partner, as well as to Jacqueline Huddleston for putting out an appie extravaganza and for her general tireless work for our cooperative.

Many thanks also to Jan Burnikell who is also always there as a constant support. Kudos also to our Skookum guest speakers/co-organizers David Parkinson (Secretary, Past-President), Laura Berezan (Treasurer), and to all those who showed up with equipment and assistance in setting up/tearing down, and driving us around to get this event happening.

We do have an audio recording of the event, that needs to be edited. Skookum has a copy of the film we viewed, plus 2 other versions that relate directly to Social Co-ops (elder care, drug rehab co-ops, especially), and to the Emilia-Romagna, Italy model. This DVD and another title by Tom Shandel will be made available to members through our Skookum Bookshelf (our lending library that you should really check out and even contribute to…) at Kingfisher Books on Marine Ave., shortly.

If you missed it… here is the dynamic slideshow that preceded the event, click here.

Tara Chernoff ‘s very relevant and timely reference to a Tyee article on 5 Things we Don’t Know About Co-ops, and you can read it right here.

And here is a version of the film (but not exactly the one that played last night) here in two parts:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/0UtRO24C_IA

Part 2: http://youtu.be/ThmIy0aqRBQ

Thurs. Oct 17: Coop Week Film/Discussion with Tom Shandel

Skookum_CreditUnion_event
Click image for larger version pdf. Please feel free to print a copy and put one up somewhere. OPEN TO ALL. We are asking for $5 donation at the door.

Please join us at the Cranberry Seniors’ Centre on Thursday, Oct 17 at 6:30 PM (show at 7:00 PM) for an evening with Tom Shandel, visiting film-maker, producer, writer, and board member of Duncan BC’s Cowichan Co-operative Connections, for a screening of his short documentary film Civilizing the Economy (read on below) and clips from some of his other work, plus a discussion on building and maintaining cooperatives in our region and beyond.

This event is co-sponsored by Skookum and First Credit Union to celebrate Co-op Week (Oct 13-19) and Credit Union Day (Oct 17). Everyone is welcome to attend; arrive early as seating is limited, plus we will have some delicious snacks conjured up by Chef Jacqueline Huddleston. A $5 donation at the door is much appreciated, as this is a fund-raiser for future Skookum projects.

Click image to view trailer

“Civilizing the Economy

The Corporation documentary showed us how bad they really are. But there is an alternative way to organize enterprise better than no-public-liability en-corporations. And it’s been around for years…and built a lot of western Canada. How come we stopped? 

 

Produced for British Columbia Cooperative Association and directed by Tom Shandel, written by John Restakis with strong support by Robert Williams, CIVILIZING THE ECONOMY, narrated by Patrick Watson, shows there’s another way to do business in a more or less free market: COOPERATIVES!
CIVILIZING THE ECONOMY explores one of Europe’s most successful economies, featuring three interdependent sectors, private, public/state and cooperatives. ” From: http://shandel.ca/?page=Civilizing%20the%20Economy

 

Time to Can? Tattler Lids and Rings Available to Skookum Members

Tattler Time.

Tattler Time.

This post is an excerpt from a permanent page on our site. Find it here.

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative has Tatter Canning Lids and Rings for sale to members only.

Why Use Tattler Lids, and why buy them from Skookum?

  • Tattler lids are reusable up to and beyond 20 times over (those conventional rubber-coated metal lids are only recommended for single use; the rubber rings are reusable up to 5 or so times– you can buy they separately from Skookum as well)
  • They are therefore cheaper to use in the long run (and even ‘medium’ run)
  • Unlike most canned foods (in metal cans, and those in jars or in plastic most of which contain the chemical Bisphenol-A), Tattler lids do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), a very controversial chemical used in plastics industry and banned by some countries using these on baby products. 
  • Unlike single-use lids, Tattler lids are recyclable (they contain only one material: BPA-free plastic and as such can be recycled)
  • Tattler lids are also excellent for canning high-acid foods that can corrode through to metal lids and throw the flavours off.
  • Tattler lids are different from conventional canning lids and follow a different procedure for canning. There are instructions on their website and included on paper with each purchase of lids you make from Skookum. Failure to follow their specifications may lead to troubles using the lids.
  • Tattler lids are not recommended for pressure canning.
  • Tattler lids can be used for dry food storage as well!

You can buy Tattler lids via Skookum for the best price possible (about half of what you’d pay via Amazon.ca, for example… and no shipping costs! See for yourself here). More information on the lids at the company’s website: http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

Our prices are as follows; to order, use our contact page and tell us what you’d like, then you can pick them up by arrangement from our Westview neighbourhood location (sorry, we cannot ship the lids, and this is for members only– you can become a member here for just $20 for a lifetime membership).

Remember also that 15% of your purchase price goes to fund Skookum projects, too! It’s a win-win-win situation: you get to buy a product that is not widely available in Canada, you’re encouraged to can local and in-season food, you get to help Skookum fund projects, and you save c. 45% off what you would normally have to pay for the lids!

Here are your choices:

  • Regular sized lids
    • 24-packs of regular lids + rubber rings .60 ea ($14.50)
    • 50-packs of same ($30);
  • Wide-mouth lids
    • 24-pack wide mouth lids + rubber rings  .70 ea ($17.00)
    • 50-packs of same ($35);
  • Individual extra rubber rings (wide and regular) .22 each in packs of 5  ($1.10 per pack).

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We also have more cover crop seeds available so plant sow them as soon as you harvest a crop (like for e.g. garlic), to increase soil health and to keep weeds down.

William Dam seeds: 547 Peas 4010 and Oats 50/50 Mix Organic ($3 for a half-pound bag; shipping and tax, plus 10% going to support Skookum,  included in price.)

Best green manure for spring seeding. Very effective Nitrogen and biomass builder. 4010 peas are the best leafy forage peas for plowdown, producing over 40″ of green mass in 10 weeks. Oats will utilize available nitrogen, building soil structure, suppress weeds and provide quick growth while the peas fix nitrogen for following crop. Well suited for late summer/ fall seedlings as well. It is best practice to allow three weeks before seeding following crops. Mow down and work into soil at flowering. Seeding Rate: 2-3lb per 1000 sq. ft, 80-100lbs/acre drilled, 100-120lbs/acre broadcast.

Aside from adding organic matter to the soil, cover crops have many other purposes:

          • They reduce soil loss from water erosion.
          • They maintain soil surface infiltration, so it does not compact.
          • Cover crops improve soil tilth (structure).
          • They scavenge nutrients that might otherwise leach from the field.
          • They feed and provide shelter for birds, wildlife, and beneficial insects.
          • They fix nitrogen in the soil.

To purchase ($3 for 1/2 lb bag), contact us here or email giovanni (at) rabideye (dot) com.

Survey Results

surveyTop 5 Interests indicated by our members from our Skookum Members’ Skills Survey held in late 2012/early 2013

5. (TIE!) Seed-Saving and Cider/Wine-Making
4. (TIE!) Bulk Food Buying and Public Outreach + Facilitation
3. Food Preparation (cooking/baking)
2. Food Preserving (canning, smoking, dehydrating, pickling, lacto-fermentation, cheese-making, salting/ packing in sugar)
1. Gardening!

32 members responded to our recent survey (feel free to respond anytime as well), and we already have some positive action from several members, including:

  • A generous offer to fix and maintain our cider press, along with a backup option
  • An offer to host a summertime Skookum picnic on a member’s seaside property (more on this soon!)
  • And several members said they would keep an eye out for the materials we need to complete the Skookum Cider Press kit (see here for what we need; you can also donate money to the project via PayPal (accepting credit and debit card donations as well, and cheques too– click the PayPal link for more info).

Remember that a big ongoing Skookum project, The Abundant Pantry Bulk Food Buying Club (TAP), is taking orders until Sunday, May 12 at 11 pm. Make sure you get your orders in before this. The next order after this will be in July. For more information, contact the coordinator Wendy Pelton at bulkbuying@skokoumfood.ca.

We’re a-puttin’ on up!

Ant collecting food for tougher times

‘Putting up’ is a colloquial term referring to the process of canning : preserving foods by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars to kill the organisms that would create spoilage. But along with canning, other food preserving methods such as dehydrating, pickling in salt, vinegar, sugar or alcohol, smoking food to preserve it, lacto-/wild fermentation and (of course) freezing it are all ways to extend the ’50-mile eat local’ goal year-round.

Growing it yourself is one great way to ensure your own food security and the quality of the produce you eat. And as you learn about your own yard’s microclimate (see here for Powell River details) and develop your gardening skills, you will see what grows best for you, and adapt what you eat to what grows well, or at least to set up a bartering system where you can trade your zucchini for your neighbour’s carrots. Exercise, fresh air, sunshine and the joy and satisfaction from growing your own add to the value of turning ‘sod to salad’.

Aug 5-Sept 23, 2012: The 50-day Powell River 50 Mile Eat Local Challenge! It all starts with the Edible Garden Tour on Sun. Aug. 5 Click on the snail for more info…

Once again, this year, the 4th Annual Edible Garden Tour (Sunday, August 5; get the guide here) allows you to visit a dozen or so local food gardens to see how others are doing it. Don’t miss this opportunity!

But what about food you can’t easily grow or source locally? Well, that’s when Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative’s The Abundant Pantry project (TAP) comes in. Every two months (the next deadline is September 9, 2012) our hard-working TAP coordinator Wendy Pelton collects Skookum members’ orders of bulk food and two or three days later, she (with some help from members) divides and provide us with our bundles of food we ordered.

French Green Lentils soaking

The benefits of buying in bulk are many, including:

  • Increasing your own (and your local community’s) food security in case of any disruption or lack of certain foods throughout the year. For example, the many drought-striken areas in the US will reduce availability and increase costs at the supermarket— like the ant at the top, think ahead!
  • Buying in bulk can dramatically reduce your costs: the more you buy, the more you save! This means that that you can often buy Organic and better quality food for the same price (or less than) you would pay in stores for conventionally-grown food. Plus, with our co-op structure, you can split orders, and get to meet other members, setting up a network of foodie friends to split orders in the future as well. As Pete Tebbutt recently put it:

“Some of the items I purchased I balked at, at first…..why do I need 12 bottles of Tamari?, for instance.  Well, who knew one could turn Tamari into balsamic vinegar or maple syrup into chocolate, which I did by trading with other members.”

  • With the recent focus on reducing packaging and trash as promoted by our friends at Let’s Talk Trash, buying a larger amount of dry staple foods like salt, flour, sugar, grains and legumes at one time will reduce your use of unnecessary packaging like plastic bags and tubs, tin cans, glass and cardboard boxes. Remember that even if the packaging is recycled, there are serious environmental impacts in the production, transportation and recycling these materials. Find out more on reducing your plastic use here.
  • Having a store of bulk staples foods means your family will eat healthier by avoiding the temptation of buying pre-cooked frozen or processed foods from the supermarket because of sheer convenience. If you have a bucket of dried beans right there in your home, you will use them. We all know how bad that extra salt, sugar/corn syrup, extra fat and preservatives hidden away in processed foods are for us; it feels good to actually take action and get into the habit of eating better
  • Having a store of food also reduces your trips to the supermarkets, which is good for the environment and for your own fuel consumption (and the cost of this in various ways including time, gas, vehicle wear-and-tear, etc.)
  • Buying via our Abundant Pantry project is easy, there is a wide and ever-growing array of foods available (including some local providers of soap and rabbits, and more) and a very small portion of each order goes to help Skookum fund other projects. It’s a win-win-win situation, so try it out! Follow the image (and habits) of Skooky the Squirrel. click here.
Click above to get the acorn rolling…

Home Tanning Workshop: Part Deux

Home Tanning Workshop Part 2: Saturday July 28, 2012 11:00AM-3:00PM FREE! (Donations to Skookum  always graciously accepted)

Home Tanning Workshop: Part 2

(Click here for the lovely poster 262kB pdf)

With Hana Turtle Granny and Jacqueline Huddleston

For hunters, homesteaders, craftsmen, seamstresses and those with a serious intent to learn the basics of home tanning leathers and furs

This second workshop will focus on the techniques used to “break” the tanned hide. We will also introduce you to working with larger hides, including: deer, goat and sheep. If you missed the first workshop “green” hides (untanned) will be available to practice fleshing, with instruction.

  • What: Part 2 of a 3 workshop series on tanning local hides
  • When: Saturday July 28th 2012
  • Where: 5905 Fraser Street, Powell River BC
  • Time: 11:00AM to 3:00PM
  • Fee: Free of charge*

(*donations to Skookum always graciously accepted)

We recommend: Tan Your Hide, by Phyllis Hobson (IBSN # 0-88266-101-9) if you want to preview some of the techniques we will be using.

Important: Bring your own tanning kit including:

  • 2 old towels
  • Rubber gloves and apron
  • 1 pair of utility scissors
  • 1 skinning or fleshing knife or other tool i.e.
  • Ulu
  • spoon, shell or something with a rounded edge
  • 1 piece of plywood 3/4 ” thick 2 X 2
  • Your tanned rabbit hide from workshop 1 (if you attended this)
  • Participants should also bring lunch and a thermos

To register please email jaxhuddleston@me.com or call 604 483-9902!

Skookum’s Celebratory Social

A look at the Skookum Social (Jan 31, 2012)

The members of Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative gathered at Trinity Hall in Powell River on January 31 2012 to celebrate our first public gathering for 2012, the United Nations International Year of the Cooperative. The salad/dessert pot-luck event attracted over 30 of our 101 members. The meal was centred around Jacqueline Huddleston’s delicious risotto and quiche dishes, and graciously emceed by member Alison Taplay. A special gift basket was awarded in absentia to Nansi McKay and Nancy Tyler (members #100 and 101), and presentations by Wendy Pelton, coordinator of The Abundant Pantry Bulk-Buying Project and by directors David Parkinson and Giovanni Spezzacatena provided lots of news about what’s going on with our cooperative.

Here is some of what we talked about:

    • Alison talked about 2012 Year of the Cooperative, and set up an informal agenda for the evening, ending with a call for ideas on new projects and for helping hands to organize and implement existing ones;
    • Wendy Pelton gave us a major update on The Abundant Pantry Bulk-Buying Club, which is about to be launched;
    • Giovanni Spezzacatena talked briefly about the Bulk Seed Project (deadline Feb 14, 2012), and on Skookum Members’ Survey Results;
    • The Skookum Community Bookshelf was introduced: this is a Skookum Cooperative initiative by Director Sharon Deane and Melissa Leigh where members may donate books that they feel would be appropriate to cooperative member use to this project housed in Kingfisher Used Books. A dedicated bookshelf will be set up letting only Skookum members borrow these materials. Contact Sharon at the store for more information;
    • David Parkinson reported on the Skookum Gleaners project. The upshot is that key Skookum members have devoted a lot of time and effort to this community project, to little benefit to the cooperative, while other projects more in tune with our purposes have suffered. The board of Skookum has voted to let this project go, but encourage members to reach out to us if they want to pursue this project outside of the cooperative;
    • David also briefly introduced the concept of a Community Orchard that may prove to be the evolution of Gleaners. Please reach him if you have an interest in this up-coming project.

A couple of items that got a little lost in the fray, but we’ll pick up on these in future posts and gatherings:

    •  Skookum co-presents the feature documentary film How to Make a Farm) at Powell River Film Festival;
    • Skookum’s board wants to set up a Project Selection and Development Team to help in selecting viable projects from member proposals, and guide the process;
    • We want to set up a crack team that will be focused on Fundraising Events, to help fund Skookum projects, and to engage members; contact Giovanni if you are interested.

Skookum co-presents the film “To Make A Farm”

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is happy to co-sponsor (with Transition Town Powell River) the feature documentary, To Make a Farm (Canada, 2011) On Saturday February 18, 2012 at the Powell River Film Festival. See below for details, and a clip from the film.

Sat. Feb 18 at 12:30PM, PR Recreation Complex. Click to see large version

Synopsis: Starting a farm from scratch takes more than just imagination, but it’s a good place to start. Often considered a way of life from the past, today there is a movement of young people without farming backgrounds taking up this challenging profession. To Make A Farm follows the lives of five such young people through their first seasons on the land, as the joys and disappointments of bringing life from the earth become a quiet manifesto for social change. Documentary filmmaker Steve Suderman searches his own family history in farming to wonder if the mistakes of the past can be avoided this time through.

To Make A Farm – preview 1 from Steve Suderman on Vimeo.