A Green Life

“Green Working and Living” at Clark College

Next Thursday, Feb. 5, check out “Green Working and Living: Local Actions, Global Perspectives,” presented by the Clark County planning Commission. It’s in conjunction with the National Teach-in on Global Warming from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Clark College, Gaiser Hall, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver.

A panel will talk about ways that Clark County is already green, and tips for businesses and homeowners.

Panelists include Nicholas Phillips, city of Vancouver urban planner; Timothy Buckley, founder of Greenstone Architecture; Jill Sughrue, co-founder of the Lower Columbia Alliance for Living Sustainably; and Gary Bock, Vancouver Watersheds Council project manager.

Sounds power packed to me, don’t miss it.


Watershed training available

“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Free watershed stewardship training is being made available this spring through the WSU Clark County Extension in partnership with the Clark County Clean Water Program. Starting Feb. 10 and running Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. through April 14, volunteers can learn how to maintain healthy watersheds.

To apply or for more information, contact jenifer.naas@clark.wa.gov 360-397-6060 x 7703 or apply online.

The training uses community experts and environmental professionals to teach the basics of ecology, hydrology, geology, stream restoration, and the importance of native plants and fish.

After training, volunteers work on a variety of projects with the Watershed Steward Program and local environmental partners in public outreach and education, stream restoration, water-quality monitoring, classroom presentations, or community workshops.

What have you done for your environment lately?


Clark County ReStore to open

For those who haven’t heard, Habitat for Humanity is opening a Clark County ReStore, with a tentative open date of February 18. The ReStore is a recycled building materials re-sale center that financially supports Habitat for Humanity. The store will be located at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Clarkcountyrestore.org is down for maintenance at the moment, but check back soon.

Thanks to Karen at Formations Design for the reminder!


Meet the Farmers

Holy moly, it’s been a while. Well, I’m turning a new leaf. You are going to hear from me every single day that I am near a computer. There, I said it.

And here’s something great to know about:

The third annual annual Meet the Farmers event is coming up on January 21. Local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms are up to a whopping 18 in the Clark County area, and these events are a way for potential customers to find the farm that’s right for them.

The Vancouver Food Co-op and WSUV are sponsoring this one, and there will be a speaker from the WSUV Small Farms Team. It is from 7 to 8:30 p.m at the WSUV Firstenburg Student Commons, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. in Vancouver.

Another is coming up on Feb. 11 at Clark Public Utilities in DT Vancouver, sponsored by the Sierra Club.

Personally, I belong to Purple Rain Vineyard in Hockinson and it is exquisite.


Modern Organic Farming on Small Acreage

Fresh Earth Gardens and WSU Extension Service are presenting a ten-week series of classes called Modern Organic Farming on Small Acreage. The classes include all aspects of starting and maintaining a small farm, including choosing acreage and crops, building soil, curtailing bugs and pests and bringing goods to market. The classes are Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the WSU 78th St. Farm from Jan. 17 to March 21 for $450 or $50 a week. Class size is limited, so look into it now.

New Thanksgiving Traditions

On Thursday, Nov. 6, Urban Farm School will be hosting a garden-to-table dinner party in Ridgefield. Titled and themed “New Thanksgiving Traditions,” the three-course dinner will feature chef Anna Petruolo’s take on three fall vegetables: pumpkin, apple and kale.

Reservations are $25 and may be made by calling 360-852-3728 or emailing urbanfarmschool@gmail.com. Prepayment is required.

I hear these dinners are just lovely and sell out fast, so don’t wait.


Martin’s Hike and Bike

Outdoor enthusiast and steward Martin Hecht of Martin’s Hike and Bike has tasty fall tours planned that involve neither hiking nor biking.

Martin’s Hike and Bike’s Harvest Wine Tours will start October 4, offering wine tasting excursions on Saturdays and Sundays through November 23. Enjoy a scenic drive with stops at three premiere wineries of the Hood River Valley for just $85 per person, which includes tasting fees, snacks, water and transportation. Guests will be picked up at Skamania Lodge at 2 p.m. and will return at 6 p.m. Space is limited to 20 people, so register early by calling 877-290-8687 visit online. Groups of six or more will receive a 10% discount when booked in advance.

Happy trails!


Farm fresh feasts

I have been remiss to sooner blab about these two great events coming up.

Tomorrow, already, as you may have heard, is the Camas Farmer’s Market Farm to Table Gala with dinner prepared by chef Peter Echevario, using produce and ingredients from local farms. The event is Saturday, Sept. 6 at Farside Farms, 4510 NW McIntosh Rd, in Camas, and includes wine tasting and a multi-course dinner for $50. If you want to sneak in last minute on the goodness, email carrensennwalker@yahoo.com and visit http://www.camasfarmersmarket.org/ for details.

On Sept. 19, at EB Hamilton Hall on the Historic Reserve, is the second annual Vancouver Food Co-op fall fundraiser, the Local Harvest Dinner and Auction. Chefs Anna Petruolo and Jodell Hinojosa will prepare a dinner feature locally farmed ingredients. Tickets are $50 through Brown Paper Tickets. If you want to support this event by putting a poster in your window, download it and tape it up.

The feasts are on-


Turtle Place breaks ground

While there was a plan to finish downtown Vancouver’s temporary sustainable park by the end of summer, turns out Turtle Place is just breaking ground this Friday. The mural is well underway, and Greg Conyne and Wendy Armstrong are in a Ridgefield barn finishing a sculpture made of recycled metal and glass, according to lawnchair guy’s blog, which is actually quite well written and informative.

Nutter Underground came on board last month, and will be at the “hatching” of Turtle Place Sept. 5 at 10:15 a.m., along with some local dignitaries. Come back around during First Friday at 5 p.m. and check out the progress.


Brewing Justice

Just when I needed a little pick me up, some coffee news came in.
Daniel Jaffee, assistant professor of Sociology at Washington State University Vancouver, has been awarded the 2007 C. Wright Mills Book Award, from the Society for the Study of Social Problems for his book, Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival. Jaffee, a self proclaimed dedicated coffee drinker, said he was concerned about the social and environmental impacts of his choices. His book looks at the economic policies behind fair trade and how it can benefit those involved in the industry.
Drink it in,

New Mint Tea/Farm Direct Food

So anyone who reads this blog knows that my love for the wonderful Uptown Vancouver imports shop Mint Tea is eclipsed only by my love of food in general and farmer-direct food, specifically.

So my little mind was blown when I found out the new Mint Tea at 2014 Main Street is now the West Side host for Summer S.’s amazing farmer food share program. Basically Dee Creek Farm partners with other nearby farmers to drop food to folks who order it in advance. The best part is that often there is extra bonus food like blueberries, honey and feta cheese that you can impulse buy on the spot. I myself got 12 lovely eggs from Greyfields Farm on Puget Island. Aw yeah.

BTW, the new MT is absolutely gorgeous inside and should be open any minute, with drumming lessons and the monthly full moon drum circle this Saturday night starting the kick off. While still beautiful, proprietors Jenna and Abdul look positively exhausted, and I encourage folks to drop by and give them as many props as possible this weekend.


Tour d’Organics comes to Clark County

This year OrganicAthlete Portland — a vegan cycling organization — will bring the annual Tour d’Organics to Clark County. Registration is open for the Sept. 6 rides. There is NO day-of registration this year.

Rides will be 35, 65 and 100 miles and will start at the Natural Capital Center in Portland. The organization is currently working with local farms to set up rest stops. Contact Portland Ride Director Jim Stuck for more info.

Talk about veggie-fueled fun!


Local organic gardens

Woohoo! Thanks for sending along links to some great local and natural gardens. We got a couple responses from folks whose gardens were recently featured in the press.
Here are two from Rory Bowman’s great online step-by-step square foot gardening showcase. Go to Rory’s SFG page to see the whole process.

And here are a couple from a local unidentified garden, but I think it’s the garden in today’s Columbian Home and Garden section. These folks have a great garden journal that everyone can read. Below is a pic of one of their lasagna gardens, or sheet compost gardens. I have a few of those — and they really work! The pic below is just downright pretty.

Mmmm, lasagna….


So GreenFest is coming up on Saturday at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way. But the best part is a free nine-mile guided bicycle tour of some of downtown Vancouver’s “most celebrated trees.” The flat, easy ride begins and ends at Marine Park, winding along the Vancouver Waterfront and through downtown Vancouver, stopping at eight locations to admire historic trees. Urban Forestry staff will discuss the historical and arboricultural significance of each tree.

Registration is preferred, but not required, and riders will meet at the WREC parking lot, taking off at 2 p.m., helmets on.


Turtle Place

Holy deep green batman, Turtle Place sounds amazing.

Now commonly referred to as “icky,” the former downtown Vancouver Seventh Street Transit Center will soon be a model of sustainability, a temporary park called Turtle Place. A project of Vancouver’s Downtown Association in conjunction with the city and C-Tran, which still owns the land, Turtle Place will be a long term downtown plaza, and showplace of green design.

Some cool details: The first step in the process will be cutting through the concrete and tipping it up to create planter boxes and benches for seating. Discarded materials from Clark Public Utilities, C-Tran and city scrapyards will be incorporated into a sculptural water feature. This commissioned piece of artwork will be the plaza’s centerpiece, and will be a fountain that uses runoff from a neighboring building. A large-scale mural, designed by downtown design team Tribe 2 Studios, will be painted on the south wall of 704 Main. Clark Public Utilities is helping secure energy-efficient LED lighting. And the plaza’s water won’t just be recycled—it will also be filtered by the plaza’s rain gardens and native plants.

A blog documenting the project’s progress, which is slated to be finished up by the end of the summer can be found at lawnchairguy.wordpress.com, along with a video rendering of the new plaza.

And if you want tons more info, email me and I will send you the release.


Not exactly city news…

But I thought you might be interested to know that certified organic acreage farmed in Washington state increased by an estimated 27 percent between 2006 and 2007. Since 2004 the amount of certified acreage being farmed in the state has increased by 86 percent.

WSU sustainable agriculture specialist David Granatstein says the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources has been conservative with its analysis, so the annual report actually represents a low-end estimate of organically farmed land in the state.
The estimate of certified organic land statewide is 81,472 acres, up from 64,325 acres in 2006, a 27 percent increase. During 2007, 629 organic crop and livestock farms and 71 transitional farms in the state were certified.
Organic forage production showed the most growth again with an annual increase of 51 percent, now accounting for 35 percent of the state’s total organic acreage, which kind of surprised me. But considering the recent spike in demand for organic dairy, it makes sense that feed demands would be up.
Certified veggie acreage increased by 4,500 acres in both 2006 and 2007. Certified vegetable acreage now totals more than 20,000 acres with sweet corn, peas, potatoes, green beans and onions being the major crops grown. Washington is likely the leading U.S. producer of organic sweet corn and peas.
Always apple country, Washington leads the nation in organic apple, pear and cherry production. Apples are the state’s predominant organic tree fruit crop with apple orchards comprising 73 percent of the certified tree fruit acreage.
For a clearing house of info on local organic and sustainable agriculture, including this new profile, visit http://csanr.wsu.edu/Organic/OrganicStats.htm.
And, just for fun, the above photo is a peak at my fledgling organic square foot gardens, complete with heavy duty trellises made from electrical conduit and trellis netting. I call them my “industrial food chains.”
Heh, heh.

Summer solstice goodness

Good clean fun, I tell you. It’s what I love. Check out this great Summer Solstice event.
On Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., three farms between Battle Ground and Vancouver will be celebrating the season with the public: Garden Delights, Half Moon Farms and Scented Acres.

Scented Acres (13804 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver, 360-921-9737) with their lavender plants and products will have lavender lemonade, cookies and samples, as well as herbs and gifts for sale. Goats, baby chicks and full grown chickens are scheduled to wander through beautiful display gardens. A favorite of mine, Sweet Nectar Nursery specializing in hummingbird and butterfly attracting plants, will be there, along with Las Flores del Altipano Alpacas.

Half Moon Farm (14737 N.E. 159th St., Brush Prairie, 360-514-9223) will have honey and samples, fresh flower bouquets and flower gardens to walk through. A chicken tractor showcasing how people can have chickens in their backyards will be set up. Pick up art from the farm and Volcano Garden Art.

Garden Delights (15417 N.E. Parkinen Road, Brush Prairie, 360-892-4479) will showcase herbal pet products and treats, culinary herb blends and herbal gifts. Tours of the aerated compost system on the farm will be provided at 10:30, noon and 1:30. Chef Anna Petruolo of A Dinner Together will give out fresh samples of beef and veggies from the farm from 11 to 1.

The year’s longest day should be well spent, I say-


ReStore-ing Vancouver

As some of you may have heard, Habitat for Humanity ReStore is gathering support for a retail shop in Vancouver. ReStores resell donated, salvaged and overstocked building materials and items such as doors, fixtures, sinks and so on to support Habitat for Humanity building projects.

It appears a community involvement “capital campaign” is getting underway, and the public will be involved soon.

As an added bonus, leaders of the Vancouver Food Cooperative — of which I am an owner/member — have been working with the ReStore team. Similar missions and a joint search for a home could lead to landing them both in downtown Vancouver, which would be fantastic for folks here who want to shop locally and sustainably. Nothing’s set in stone by any means, but supporting both these enterprises, to me, means supporting our community.


Potty talk

I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about this great new store on Broadway in Vancouver’s Uptown Village. Elizabeth Hovde’s column in The Columbian today provides a great one. Her entertaining column talks about potty training her 2-year-old and how every time she changes a diaper, images of landfills flood her head.

Boomba Toomba, a shop that specializes in local mama-made clothing and used kids wear, also sells handmade diaper covers and cloth diapers from a wholesaler right here in Vancouver. In addition, owner and mama Mishalla DeGagne hosts “meet-ups” for folks interested in cloth diapers and provides instructions on how to use them. The second one was held on March 2. There’s even a Vancouver diapers Yahoo group for parents.

Sounds like Boomba Toomba has you covered, Elizabeth!


Foodie altert: Farmers market in downtown Camas

I know this blog is somewhat Camas heavy so far, but hey, there’s a lot going on downtown.

The Camas Downtown Vision Coalition is launching a farmer’s market on May 17 that will run every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between Birch and Cedar streets on Fifth Avenue until October. I don’t know much other that, except they expect to offer organic produce, plants, fresh flowers and prepared foods — standard farmer’s market fare.

I hope they do make good on the promise to use organic growers — that is one thing the otherwise lovely Vancouver Farmers Market is sorely lacking.

Farmers and foodmakers, check out Camas Farmer’s Market online to get a vendor application.
Kudos to the CDVC for this great step in the right direction.