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November 2015 Newsletter
Community Food Resources

Dear Readers,

As the harvest season slows down, and as we prepare to enter the cooler months, we thought this might be a good time to highlight some of the community food resources available in the Cowichan region. From emergency food providers, community meals, cooking or food literacy training, to information on where to source local food, we thought we'd dedicate this newsletter to the breadth of services available in the region and to the helping hands who make these services possible.

One food resource, that CGC created, is an online list of local Community Food Resources. First published in 2008, we're happy to report that we have just updated the list. There, you can find information on which service providers in the area offer food hampers around the holiday season, the location of community meals, and information on how to engage with a number of community food programs, such as the Good Food Box Program. As well, you'll find information on how to donate either resources or time to these services. If you know of a food resource that is not mentioned on this list, feel free to be in touch.

Lastly, we'd like to take a second to feature the work of the Cowichan Food Security Coalition. A group of regional food security stakeholders, the Coalition is hosted by the Cowichan Green Community and works on projects that seek to increase local dialogue on food issues and that tackle the root causes of food insecurity. Membership is free and open to the public. Their most recent work consists of a Food Security Report Card (the second edition will be available in the spring of 2016), an assessment of food security in the Cowichan region. They are also working with regional partners to address residential and commercial food waste in the Cowichan region. For more information on this Coalition, just click here for more details.

We wish you a fabulous month ahead.

In Gratitude,
The CGC Team
FruitSave: That's a Wrap!
Wow, what an amazing season! Many new volunteers registered to pick with FruitSave and many more people registered to have their trees picked. The bounty of fruit harvested in the Cowichan region was outstanding. From Mill Bay to Ladysmith volunteers harvested 11,200 pounds of apples, pears, plums, quince and grapes. This is nearly double the amount of fruit that was gleaned last year. An additional 2,720 pounds were salvaged for pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens. Read more...
Cowichan Agriculture Training Program: Growing Our Local Food Resources

When I sat back to contemplate the theme of this month’s newsletter, at first I struggled around whether the Cowichan Agriculture Training (CAT) program would fit.  How does it connect to things like emergency food resources and such? But the more I thought about it, the more it became clear that a program like CAT is in fact another way of growing and connecting our local food resources. Read more...
Garden Pantry Store: Great Gifts from the Garden Pantry Store

If you have a home chef or gardener on your list, we just might have the perfect solution in our newly re-fashioned Garden Pantry Store. We are supporting local artisans and producers with a new retail option called “Showcases”. The vendor receives 100% of their sales and we only charge a nominal monthly rental fee. We support our vendors with all the space, merchandising and inventory control they need. This allows the vendors to do their creating while we look after the store! Read more...
KinPark Family Drop-In Centre: Cooking, and learning, and farming. Oh my!

Cooking class baby enjoying pumpkin for the very first time!

October was busy with KinPark Family Drop-In's cooking classes, fun farm activities, Halloween movies, and the Duncan Spooktacular event; all of which featured a variety of local ingredients from the Cowichan region and, of course, CGC’s very own KinPark Youth Urban Farm. Now it is time to get ready for November Drop-In fun!

The cooking classes are a great way to meet people, become acquainted with local produce, and, of course, learn some valuable cooking skills. Read more...

Ceres Edible Landscaping

Many of us now have put our gardens to bed under a good layer of mulch, and contemplating what we’ll expand on next year. Fruit trees are a great investment as they will produce for many years, providing you with fresh food as well as a wonderful structural element in your garden.

First, think about the fruit you most enjoy eating. A favourite for many is the Italian Prune Plum. Read more... Online Marketplace: Is Live and Ready for Orders!

The, Cowichan’s first online Farmers’ Market, has been live since August 2015. We have been very busy at the getting more farmers and producers listed on the site! We currently have 15 diverse farms & producers with products available for sale, with more being added each week. Thanks to the fine folks at Shaw TV, we have a lovely piece about the Read more...
Producer Profile: Mobette Herbs
Long-time Vancouver Island resident Pablo Plenti is the farmer behind Cowichan Bay’s Mobetta Herbs. On this small acreage, you’ll find greenhouses and raised beds packed with a bounty of mixed fresh greens, herbs, and peppers. Pablo moved to Vancouver Island in 1969 while travelling, picking fruit, and planting trees. Agriculture was clearly a passion for him from an early age. Read more...
Save the Date

Cowichan Green Community Events & Workshops
Compost Can Save the World - 3 part series

Research has shown that living soils produce higher yields and healthier food–that just plain tastes better. Living soil does this all while at the same time capturing and sequestering carbon. The first step to living soil is good compost. Yes folks, compost can save the world! 

Join Jesse Frank, CGC's resident compost nut for this 3 part series on compost. Take one or all three of these workshops. Workshops will be held at CGC's meeting room, located at 360 Duncan Street. Pre-registration is required. Cost is $25/class or $60 for all three (10% discount for CGC members). Register today at the Garden Pantry Store.

For more information, contact Jesse at or 250-748-8506

Session 1: Saving the world one compost pile at a time!

Date: Saturday, November 7
Time: 9am-1pm
Location: CGC's Board Room, 360 Duncan Street

In this session, we learn the basics, talk about the pros and cons of different bins and look a little deeper at the basic backyard composting system. We will start the morning inside with some info sharing, some presentations, and maybe even a video or two. Don’t fear though, we will spend most of our time poking into compost and building a compost pile. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, or bring gloves.

Session 2: Vermicomposting - Let worms do the work for you!

Date: Saturday, November 14
Time: 9am-1pm

Meeting Location: CGC's Board Room, 360 Duncan Street

Vermicomposting is a fancy term for composting with worms. In this session we will dig into the life cycle and needs of the red wriggler. We will look at different bins and systems, from homemade bins to fancy worm hotels. Participants will learn how to leverage the power of worms to compost kitchen scraps in their backyard, on their porch or even in their kitchen. Who doesn’t like to play with worms!

Session 3: Compost happens!

Date: Saturday, November 21
Time: 9am-1pm

Meeting Location: CGC's Board Room, 360 Duncan Street

In this session, we build on our previous knowledge to look at the many options for composting in place. We will learn about sheet composting­–sometimes called lasagna gardening. We will explore the ever popular hugelkultur, and we will talk about the simplest of compost systems–trench composting. Participants will learn how easy it is to use the hard work of bacteria, fungi, worms, and other critters to create beautiful garden soil. 

Community Announcements
Diversity is the stronghold of a resilient community. Like-mindedness doesn't always mean we agree with each other about everything. CGC shares events that are submitted to us by our community that we feel may be of interest to our members. However, we do not necessarily endorse or actively support the events posted on the Community Events Calendar.

Community Events

A Conversation on Climate Change with Marc Lee & Cara Pike
Date: Wednesday, November 4th
Time: 7pm
Location: VIU Cowichan Campus, Lecture Hall Room #140, 2011 University Way, Duncan
Cost: By Donation
Host: Social Planning Cowichan / Cowichan Climate Change Collaborative
More info:

Ready to Rent Workshop Series
Date: Mondays, November 9 - December 14
Time: 6pm-8pm
Location: Cowichan Neighbourhood House, 9806 Willow Street, Chemainus
Cost: Free
Registration: Please call the Cowichan Neighbourhood House at 250-246-3203 or email

Askew Creek's Ivy Pull
Date: Saturday, November 14, 28 & December 12
Time: 3pm-4:30pm
Location: Meet in Chemainus at the Oak Street Askew Creek Park entrance near the mailboxes and across the street from Creek Side Village apartments.
Contact: Heather Taylor at

This Changes Everything - Film Night
Date: Sunday, November 8
Time: 2pm
Location: Heritage Hall, Island Savings Centre, 2687 James Street, Duncan
Cost: By donation
Host: Council of Canadians
More information: Donna Cameron at 250-748-2444 or 

Crafted Cheese Making Workshop @ OUR EcoVillage
Date: Saturday, November 21
Time: 9:45am-3:30pm
Location: OUR EcoVillage, 565 Baldy Mountain Rd, Shawnigan Lake
Cost: $85
Register online:

Biotengineering Workshop with David Polster
Date: Monday, November 23 & Tuesday, November 24
Location: TBA
Cost: Free Cost: FREE, $45 for the optional manual. Pre-registration required
Information/ Registration: 250 746-0227 or email:

For Rent

Commercial Kitchen Space - Renting CGC's commercial kitchen is a viable way for community groups, caterers, farmers, and small-scale food businesses to access an Island Health certified commercial kitchen without the worry of kitchen overhead. Whether you are in need of cold storage, space for producing value added goods, or wanting to run food skills workshops, our kitchen is outfitted to suit a variety of cooking needs.

The kitchen is available to rent seven days a week and comes equipped with a 6 burner gas stove and oven, a convection oven, walk-in cooler and freezer, tables and seating for workshop facilitation, and a complement of basic cooking utensils and equipment. For inquiries, please contact Dayne at 250-748-8506 or

Volunteer Opportunities

Work Party Tuesdays@ the Urban Food Forest

CGC is looking for volunteers to join us for Work Party Tuesdays at the Community Urban Food Forest. If you are new to food forests or gardening, this is a great opportunity to learn lots about plants and ecosystems! When there is a substantial harvest, all food forest volunteers are offered a free bag of fresh produce.

Volunteers can anticipate weeding, mulching, planting, seeding, cover cropping, harvesting, adding soil amendments, and pathway maintenance. Tools and gloves are provided. 

Date: Every Tuesday
Location: Urban Food Forest behind CGC's office @ 360 Duncan Street, Duncan
Time: 2:30pm-4:30pm
Contact: Jesse Frank at or 250-748-8506

KinFarmin' Fun Weekly Work Party

Release some stress by pulling weeds and planting seeds at our KinFarm Family Drop-in! Families and youth are welcome to check-out the farm and get their hands dirty. It is a great opportunity for people to gather, relax, have fun, and learn about growing food.

Gloves and tools are supplied.

Date: Every Thursday
Location: KinPark Youth Urban Farm, Alderlea Street, Duncan
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm
Contact Alyssa Loucks at or 250-748-8506

Thank you

CGC would like to send out a special thank you to the following individuals and businesses for their support during the month of October:
  • The Cowichan Agricultural Training Program would like to thank the following contributors: Tim Pope, ARCSA, Ken Nentwig, CANARM, Jason Greenwood, St.John Ambulance, Cowichan Valley Branch, Jen Cody, and Craig Evans.
  • CGC would like to thank all of our FruitSave volunteers and tree owners for making the 2015 FruitSave season our best on record. 
  • We'd also like to send a special shout out to the YO (Youth Outreach) team for their contribution to the Family Drop-In Centre. 
Copyright © 2015 Cowichan Green Community | All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
360 Duncan Street
Duncan, BC  V9L 3W4

Phone/Fax: 1-250-748-8506

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