Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's Happening.....

Saturday August 2nd

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Avenue South
9:00am - 1:00pm

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park, Cranbrook
11:00am - 2:00pm
Billy Manzik

Dancing in the Park
Rotary Park
Live music
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Lights, fog machine
Family event

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Teddy Bear Hide and Seek ongoing
Clue sheets available at The Gallery
24 well-dressed bears to be found

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Open Art Exhibit August 5th - 29th
Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Friday 11:ooam - 5:00pm Saturday 10;00am to 2:00pm
Reception Friday August 8th 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Kimberley celebrates its Arts on the Edge, First Saturday and Kaleidoscope fest. the week of August 2nd to August 10th.  Workshops and receptions and concerts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Local Food in the Kitchen Workshops Teach Food Preservation

Jenny's Red Currant jelly
This summer and fall, the Local Food in the Kitchen workshops series will show locals how to preserve seasonal food from the peak of the harvest for the long Kootenay winter.

“There is plenty of local food available in the East Kootenay” said Cranbrook Food Action Committee’s Shannon Duncan, ”but it can be hard to eat local over the winter without the knowledge to turn seasonal food into preserved food.”
“And no one wants to eat the same thing all winter” added Wildsight’s Jessica Windle, “but with traditional techniques like fermentation, you can make a huge variety of tasty and nutritious preserved foods from simple ingredients.”

Local Food in the Kitchen workshops will cover six areas of food preservation: dehydrating, canning, pickling, making drinks, fermentation, and meat preservation, plus foraging in the wild for local ingredients. The series, put on by Wildsight and CFAC, runs on six evenings from August 5th to October 22nd, with sessions in both Kimberley and Cranbrook.

“The workshop series is an exploration of traditional and modern techniques to transform seasonal, local food into nourishing foods for the pantry.” said Windle. “Preserved foods - the only way that our ancestors could feed themselves consistently - are such an important part of many cultures. So many of the flavours from around the world that we love come from preserved foods and we are starting to rediscover the health benefits of traditionally fermented foods.”
“But preserving food doesn’t have to be complex” added Duncan, “and our workshops will give people hands-on experience so they can start preserving at home.”

The workshop series follows the seasons, with each workshop focusing on preserving local food that’s in season at the time of the workshop, so participants can leave inspired to start preserving immediately. The series runs on Tuesday evenings in Kimberley and on Wednesday evenings in Cranbrook, from 6-8pm. The workshops schedule is broken into summer and fall sessions:

1. Foraging & Dehydrating: Respectfully foraging for berries and herbs. Dehydrated backpacking meals.
Aug 5/6
2. Canning the Sweet Stuff: Canning fruit and jam.
Aug 12/13
3. Pickling: Beyond Cucumbers. Garden veggies you can pickle.
Aug 19/20
4. Homemade Vinegars & Drinks: Apple cider vinegar, herb-infused vinegars. Teas, decoctions, and infusions.
Sep 30 / Oct 1
5. Gourmet Fermentation: Fermented condiments: gourmet relish, chutney, and sauces
Oct 7/8
6. Meat Preservation: Jerky and pressure canning. Local sources of meat.
Oct 21/22

Workshop details and registration are online at or by phone at 250 427 2535 x223. The workshop cost is $20 per workshop or the full series of six for $100. The workshop cost includes supplies, so participants will take something preserved home from each workshop. Participants are asked to register by the Friday before each workshop to help the organizers plan ahead to buy ingredients.
“With the success of the Kimberley and Cranbrook Farmers’ Markets and the growing interest in backyard food gardening, the next step for many is preserving local food so that they can enjoy the harvest all winter” said Duncan.

Funding for this project has been provided by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Community Food Action Initiative, in cooperation with Interior Health.

Monday, July 28, 2014

BC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released

From The Tyee:

BC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released

By Bob Makin

British Columbia's debt reached a new record high $60.693 billion on March 31 and contractual obligations are nearing $100 billion.
That is according to the July 15-released Public Accounts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
The debt increased $4.877 billion during the year. The total includes $41.068 billion taxpayer-supported debt for government operations, education, health and transportation infrastructure and $19.625 billion self-supported debt from Crown corporations and agencies. The largest Crown corporation debt is $15.559 billion for BC Hydro.
By comparison, the accumulated provincial net debt was $45.154 billion as of March 31, 2011, just over two weeks after Christy Clark was sworn-in as premier. Clark earned derision from the NDP and BC Conservatives when she campaigned in a bus last year emblazoned with "Debt Free B.C." to promote her vision of a liquefied natural gas industry. The Office of the Premier did trim its purchasing card spending, from $402,848.38 to $395,220.26 in the past year. It is substantially less than the $475,015.19 spent in 2011.
- See more at:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flora after the flood of Elizabeth Lake

Allegheny Monkey Flower
 An unusual phenomenon with the high water at Elizabeth Lake has been the lifting of whole areas of cattails forming floating islands that have drifted with the winds.  Most days they can be found at the north end of the lake impeding visibility of the water and giving the appearance of solid ground. 

 In the last couple of days however, they moved off to another area of the lake taking flora and fauna within with them.  On one of these Dr Doolittle type islands the other day I spotted this plant.

 Its appearance suggested that it is a member of  the the Scrophulariaceae or Figwort Family but its accurate identification has eluded me.  If anyone out there knows for sure what species this is please let me know. My tentative identification labels it as Allegheny Monkey Flower or Mimulus ringens.  What is really important is that this pretty pink flowered plant grows and can be easily seen on our doorstep in the wet environment provided by the floating islands of Elizabeth Lake. 

Dalmation Toadflax in far from its normal form as it struggles to keep going
In contrast to this interesting little find is the invasive Dalmation Toadflax or Linaria vulgaris which still manages to push through the flooded paths and force out a bloom.  It's appearance is a far cry from normal in this photo as it emerges from the mud.  This plant normally thrives in dry wastelands but its existence here demonstrates why it can be so invasive.

The Ribes odoratum or Clove Currant that I have written about before has now been drained of high water.  As predicted oxygen starvation whilst in the water has taken its toll.  It does not look good but despite that, the shrub has managed to form some berries which will hopefully be viable next spring and germinate to replace this long standing cluster of the sweet scented flowering shrub.
Berries of Ribes odoratum or Buffalo Currant

dead stems and leaves of shrubs, (including Ribes odoratum)  and trees that have been under water for three months

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Activity at Elizabeth lake

From 'Wind In the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame


All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,

Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth

Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!

WE like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!
High in the blue above

Swifts whirl and call--
WE are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

photos - Jenny Humphrey

Friday, July 25, 2014

Michael's Musings

 Mayor Wayne Stetski seeks citizen priorities in re-election bid

By Michael J  Morris
Wayne Stetski who announced in July that he would seek re-election for a second term as Cranbook mayor in the November 15  municipal election is asking citizens to assist him in finalizing his priorities for the election campaign, and presumably another term.
What a novel idea for a politician! Actually ask the people you are want to represent for their priorities so that "Together we can make an even better Cranbrook."
Forgive me for being a bit cynical, but Mr. Stetski's post on his Facebook page caught me off guard, give the dismal state of politics being practiced in Canada these days at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Granted, Mr. Stetski has shown a willingness to meet with folks at his 'Coffee with the Mayor' sessions on a regular basis at various restaurants in the city, but now he is taking it a step further. He has also invited citizens to go along on walks.
Here is the post from Facebook on July 17:
"Over the next two months I will be finalizing my priorities for the next four years so that I can commit to them in my upcoming campaign. I'd like to hear from you. What have you seen over the last 2+ years that you would like to see continued in this great little city that we all call Home? What new initiatives would you like to see? Together we can make an even better Cranbrook!"

On June 11, he announced that he would seek re-election, and here is the Facebook post:

"By announcing now it will give the people of Cranbrook five months to tell me what they feel the priorities should be for the next four years. There are a number of important initiatives underway ranging from removing barriers to business to ensuring Cranbrook is Youth Friendly to making Cranbrook more accessible for people with mobility challenges to encouraging the arts and multiculturalism, to name just a few.
TOGETHER, we will keep Cranbrook moving forward!!"
In his announcement, he gave a very clear indication that he wants input from the citizens. He reinforces it in his most recent post, so folks, if you have not contacted Mayor Stetski with your priorities for the city of Cranbrook, I suggest you do so.
Just imagine how great a city, province and country we would be if politicians started listening to the people, and acting in their best interests, not those of a select few  --- the so called base that seemingly dominates 21st Century politics.
My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery

What's Happening...

Friday July 25th

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Photography Exhibit Reception
The Gallery
135, Tenth Avenue South
Also Teddy Bear Hide and Seek Clue Sheets available
A few Teddy bears left for purchase

Saturday July 26th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
9:00am - 1:00pm
Tenth Avenue South

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park
11:00am - 4:00pm

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Energy and BC, An Essay by Roger Gibbins

The discussion  about LNG and BC resources is repetitive and does not go away. This article from Alberta Oil Magazine is from February of this year.  As we experience and assess more and more weather events due to climate change, our collective conscience surely must ask if we really should continue to 'say yes' to massive resource developments as Premier Clark emphatically stated in her address to the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce.  What is so wrong with 'no' and a commitment to consume less, be more self-sufficient and hold growth to something more sustainable as much of the world is doing?  We are players too.

Like her or loathe her, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is possibly Canada's most influential energy player.

An Essay from the former president of the Canada West Foundation by Roger Gibbins
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark embodies the tension Canadians feel between energy development and environmental protection. The fate of her political career depends on finding the right balance.
This conclusion stems only in part from B.C.’s vast, if hardly unique, natural gas reserves. Of greater significance is that the most pressing energy challenges we face – access to Asian markets and investment, First Nation participation in rather than opposition to energy projects, strident environmental campaigns against any form of resource development, community deference to the National Energy Board, and public concerns about tanker traffic along B.C.’s iconic coast – are all coming to a boil on Premier Clark’s watch.

To read the whole essay, go to the link above.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding beauty as the backed-up water recedes at Elizabeth Lake

The  green slippery slime on the bridge deck is not pretty.  Neither is the sludge and mess of weeds on what was once a network of trails loved by visitors and residents alike.  The clever opportunists of the plant world however are there, including this beautiful Polygonum amphibian, Water Smartweed in other words.  This pretty pink blooming plant likes to grow where water is drying out.

Thanks Stewart for the great photo

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today is Canada Parks Day

Thank You John Bergenske and Art Twomey

From Wildsight:

Emerald Basin
Yoho National Park
photo - Jenny Humphrey
This Saturday, July 19th, is Canada’s Parks Day. All across the country, Canadians will celebrate the important role parks play in maintaining healthy ecosystems, protecting habitat and contributing to human happiness. This year, however, many of our favourite BC parks are facing an uncertain future.
With the passing of the Park Amendment Act (Bill 4) this spring, consultation-free park boundary adjustments and industrial activities that were formerly prohibited in our parks are now permitted.

This Parks Day, we in the Kootenay region are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. At 200,000 hectares, it is the largest protected wilderness in Southern BC, thanks in part to the efforts of a group of wilderness activists including Wildsight Executive Director John Bergenske and filmmaker Art Twomey. 

The group, alarmed at the pace and scale of the industrial activity around their homes in the upper St. Mary’s Valley, made movies and slideshows about the Purcells and began to tour around the province drumming up support for protection of their beloved mountains. John Bergenske remembers, “It came down to those old questions: if not now, when? If not us, who?”  In 1974, their efforts were rewarded with the creation of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park.

On Saturday, as we celebrate the importance of humans’ relationship with nature by honouring Canada’s parks, we need to remember that it’s up to us to protect these places for generations to come. To say yes to a future with wilderness and wild places.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's Happening....

Saturday July 20th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Avenue South
9:00am - 1:00pm

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park
11:30am - 4:00pm
This Saturdays line-up: 11am-12noon Clayton Parsons & Dan Unger Folk Music 12noon-2pm Jamie Neve Solo Acoustic Performance 2pm-4pm DJ in the Afternoon Before or After checking out the market, head over to Rotary Park and stay for the music.....Please share this with your Friends

Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
Members photography exhibit AND Victorine Kierstead held over


This poorly little chap
 is waiting for visitors
Cranbrook and District Arts Council and Cranbrook Businesses 
Teddy Bear Hide and Seek now on
Get your clue book at The Gallery
24 bears waiting to be found

Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
135 Tenth Av S.
Tues to Sat. 11;00am - 5:00pm Sat. 10:00am - 2:00pm

Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
Members photography exhibit AND Victorine Kierstead held over

Sunday July 20th 
Kimberley Nature Park Hike
3 hour hike
Meet at Riverside Campground at 9:30am

Michael's Musings

Opening doors as "the last refuge for the scoundrel"
By Michael J Morris

Some years ago now I was walking along Burrard Street in Vancouver in the early morning hours when I saw across across the street from me on one of the churches a huge banner proclaiming, "God is alive in the heart of the city."

I had no problem with the words on the banner, but I immediately thought of the homeless who would be unable to seek refuge there because the doors were locked. Some were sleeping on the steps in front of the church.
Churches have generally kept their doors locked for years now except when open for Sunday services and other stipulated times ostensibly to keep the "bad" people out, whoever they may be.
Perhaps I watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame too many times and looked at the church -- no matter the denomination -- as the last refuge for the scoundrel. At times in my less than perfect life, I have been so grateful when I have found the church door open and I could enter, rest and pray other than on a Sunday..
Shortly after I was elected as the faculty representative to the Board of Governors at College of the Rockies, I convinced Dr Wm Berry Calder, the president, to let me go to Vancouver and look at outreach education programs in the Downtown Lower East Side.
I visited the Carnegie Centre and First United Church right in the heart of the area. I walked from my hotel despite warnings that I should take a cab. It was an overwhelming experience but in the midst of the misery, I met many dedicated people working to make each day a little better for those who had fallen through society's cracks. And yes, the doors of the church were open and some homeless people were resting on the pews. And students were learning too.
I also visited the Gathering Place, a living room for those who need it in downtown Vancouver. There people can get a shower, wash their clothes, have a meal, read, shoot pool, work out it in the fitness centre and get advice and counselling, and of course, just visit and be among people. I have also seen some of the poetry written and art work created by folks at the Gathering Place. Amazing!
The college did not introduce any new programs but to his credit Dr Calder did have a report prepared.

So, you ask, what's my point?

Well, I am really delighted that Street Angel was launched here in Cranbrook. Ktunaxa Nation deserves credit and support.

I wouldn't likely have known about a weekly breakfast served at the Cranbrook United Church, shared by three churches, but I have friends who help with it. Great stuff!

There are other grass roots and "church roots" projects too even if the main doors are not open as much as I would like to see.

Now, lately I have seen more "words chasing words" about the project for the homeless here, but nothing much concrete seems to happen. How about it folks?

Whatever our circumstances today -- whether we relate best to the citizens of the Downtown Lower East Side in an otherwise beautiful city or are facing the prospect of job loss and foreclosure on a mortgage or are still sitting in a comfortable pew, I am sure there are times when we felt homeless even when we had a place to live.

In these challenging times I believe it is time to throw the doors of the community open so that such banner rings true, "God is alive in the heart of our city" or if you prefer a non religious reference, "We are alive in the heart of our city" -- no matter where we live!

My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Smoke in Area

Another message from Loree Duzcek, RDEK

Good afternoon everyone,

Just a quick update on the smoke in the air around the region.  To make a long story short: we are surrounded! 

The smoke across the East Kootenay is from a variety of fires. In the Columbia Valley, some of the smoke is from Alberta, some from fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre region.  In the rest of the region, the smoke is primarily coming from the Apex Mountain fire west of Penticton.  The smoke is expected to blow out of much of the region in the next couple of days; however, there are several large fires in Eastern Washington and the smoke from those fires will arrive in the coming days. So, we will likely have smoky conditions for the foreseeable future.

There are a few very small fires being actioned in the East Kootenay; however, so far there are no large fires. 

and from the City of Cranbrook:

Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services ask that if you see smoke or fire, please do not assume others have reported it. 
Call the Southeast Fire Centre toll free at 1-800-663-5555 or call *5555 on most cellular networks.
For current fire danger ratings, maps and news on active fires in the Southeast Fire Centre please visit

Caution please for we are tinder dry

This message is from Loree Duczek at the RDEK:

While there have been a few forest fires in the East Kootenay region, so far we have not had any wide scale fires of note; however, it is dry out there and we need to use caution. You only need to look around the Province and into Alberta at the number of forest fires popping up to see how quickly things can change. Please use caution if you are out in the woods, camping, or recreating in our beautiful outdoors.

Currently, campfires are permitted in our region; however on July 2nd , all open fire was banned throughout the entire Southeast Fire Centre (which covers the East Kootenay).  Prohibited activities include:
·         the use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or description
·         the burning of any waste, slash or other materials
·         stubble or grass fires of any size over any area

Campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquette are still allowed at this time.

The RDEK follows the Provincial Wildfire Management Branch fire prohibitions.  To learn more about fire bans and current fires, visit the BC Wildfire Management Branch website at:

Another resource I use often that is one you might be interested in bookmarking is . It’s a great site for current alerts and bulletins, but also includes some prevention and preparation materials.

As I speak, there is a fire threatening an entire community (Hudson’s Hope) in the Interior and it serves as a good reminder of the power of mother nature.  Please do what you can to prevent fires – from ensuring campfires are fully extinguished and cool to keeping cigarette butts in the car instead of throwing them out the window – small actions make a big difference in tinder dry conditions.


Useful Links:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Potholes in your neighbourhood?

It was reported in the Administration update at Monday evening's Council meeting that this year's budget for pothole repair is all but spent.  It has been brought to our attention that Council may possibly consider, at the next August Council meeting, augmenting this budget to complete more pothole repair.  Mayor Stetski acknowledged to those present at the Brown Bag Lunch on July 16th, that roads have deteriorated considerably after this last winter.  A majority of Council will make the decision as to whether more funds will be added to the budget.  Mayor Stetski also acknowledged the need to complete pothole repair in areas where a major fix has occurred but a single pothole was left untouched just meters away.

Phone: 250-489-0218 (Public Works) to register unfixed and seriously bad potholes.  They will be put on to a priority list.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Damselflies and Dragonflies

The Odonates
Rather like moths and butterflies the wings resting position is one clue for identification.  Damselflies wings are in a closed position when resting. Dragonflies wings are open when in a resting position. Watch for them while cooling off at water's edge.

photos courtesy Stewart Wilson

Monday, July 14, 2014

City Council Meeting tonight July 14th 2014 6:00pm

The whole agenda and package can be read at;

Little Brick Building item 7.1
Administration updates
• Potholes & budget status
Public Works advises that this budget has $9,733 remaining, out of an operational
budget of $123,000. The $9,733 will be utilized primarily on pothole patching. Due to
the limited budget, only the major road concerns will be addressed at this time. A
request for additional funds may be required.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Feed Your Soil: Edible Gardening Workshop Series Continues

Summer is in full swing in the Kootenays and gardens are growing taller every day.
Have you ever wondered what garden plants are eating to fuel that growth? The next Edible Gardening series workshop, running July 15th in Kimberley and July 16th in Cranbrook, looks at soil and all the ways it feeds the plants that we eat. Feed Your Soil, the second workshop in the series from Wildsight and the Cranbrook Food Action Committee, will give gardeners a ground-up tour of their soil and help them feed the growth by creating healthy soil.
“There is compelling evidence that high-quality, balanced soil leads to more nutrient-dense food - something most gardeners are striving for,” said Wildsight’s Jessica Windle, “and there’s no doubt that veggies grown in healthy soil taste better.”

The one and a half hour workshops will cover soil composition and nutrition. Starting from the basics of soil chemistry and plant needs, the workshops will cover feeding your soil in detail, including which soil amendments to use, where to get them, and when to apply them. The workshops will also cover how to test soils and how to interpret soil test results, plus other signs of soil health to look for, so that gardeners can do check-ups of their own soil and make a tailored plan for great soil health.
“It’s all about feeding the soil which leads to happy plants; that’s really the heart of the organic fertilizer philosophy. Happy plants are strong and healthy plants with higher resistance to disease, pests, and extreme weather,” said CFAC’s Shannon Duncan.

Gardeners will leave the workshops ready to get to work with information on local sources of soil amendments and on local contamination hazards to watch out for.
“We’ll also cover some mid-season plant maintenance tips, like pruning and staking tomatoes,” said Windle, “and if you don’t have a garden yet or want to expand, it’s not too late, so we’ll be sharing some tips for starting seeds to enjoy a fall harvest.”

The workshops run from 6:30-8pm on July 15th in Kimberley at Wildsight’s Open Gate Garden on Rotary Drive and in Cranbrook on July 16th from 6:30-8pm at CFAC’s Public Produce Garden on 18th Avenue North between 6th and 8th Streets. The workshop cost is $10 with a work trade option available. Registration is online at or by calling 250 427 2535 x 223.

The Feed Your Soil workshop is the second in a three part series giving local gardeners a tour of the local growing season. Extending the Harvest, the final workshop in the series, will follow in the fall with tips and techniques to keep harvesting fresh food into the early winter.

What's Happening.....

Saturday July 12th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Ave S.
9:00am 1:00pm

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park
11:30am - 4:00pm

Tuesday July 15th 

Photography Exhibit
begins at the Gallery
135, Tenth Ave S.

Tuesday July 15th to Friday July 18th

Childrens' Art workshop series
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
See poster to right

Wednesday July 16th

Feed Your Soil Workshop
(see following article)
Cranbrook on July 16th from 6:30-8:00pm
at CFAC’s Public Produce Garden on 18th Avenue North 

Cranbrook and District Arts Council Teddy Bear Hide and Seek
Go on a Teddy Bear Hunt
Clue books (free)at the Gallery
135 Tenth Avenue South

Teddy Bear Dress Up
Creatively dress a Teddy bear for the Teddy Bear Picnic
August 23rd, Rotary Park, 11:30 am
Cash prizes
bears available at The Gallery 135 Tenth Ave S.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Urban Agriculture in Andernach

Andernach,  Germany (photo from Germany Sustainable Communities)
By Bunny Guinness, The Telegraph:

Urban agriculture has been ingrained in the German psyche since before the First World War. Andernach, known as the Edible City, was set up in 2010 and is probably the best example of this. It now attracts many tourists who come to see their streets of carrots and cornflowers.
I asked Heike Heike Boomgaarden, a “garden engineer”, who is one of the brains behind the project and runs it (along with Lutz Kosack, the city ecologist) what is surprising her most about the scheme, now that it has reached its fourth year.

For more on Urban Agriculture:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thank the Irish and Are We a Good Country?

and From Business Insider:

Public Produce Garden, Message from Shannon

Hope you are all enjoying this sunny start to summer! The Garden sure is lovin' it!!! We are starting to feel the summer bounty. 
Ready to harvest now: 
kale, greens, herbs, strawberries, peas, beets
Regular group work bees are Wednesday mornings, 9-11 AM, in an effort to beat the heat. Come down to share some time together, while giving back to the Garden that feeds us :) The whiteboard is updated weekly, with ideas of priority tasks to be done. There is space for you to add your thoughts as well! 
The gate is always open, and benches will be installed under our pergola any day now...making it an even better place to be.

The second in our 3-part Edible Garden Workshops is coming up next week - Wednesday, July 16, 6-8pm. FEED YOUR SOIL. This workshop is $10. Volunteer bursaries are available, please contact me if this interests you. (Poster attached)
Some of what we'll be exploring:

Soil testing (soil composition, nutrition, contamination, PH)
Weeds as soil indicators
Feed the soil vs. feed the plant (organic vs. synthetic fertilizers)
Timing & local sources for soil amendments
Relationship between soil nutrition/nutritional content of food
Mid-season plant maintenance

To Register: or call: (250)427-2535 ext 223

We also have a Local Food in the Kitchen workshop series starting in August. More information to come...but here's a sneak peak:
Aug. 6 - Foraging (this is a nature walk)
Aug. 13 - Sweet Canning
Aug. 20 - Sour Canning
Oct. 1 - Vinegars/Drinks
Oct. 8 - Fermented Condiments
Oct. 22 - Curing Meats

Hope to see you in the Garden soon!

Shannon Grey Duncan

Cranbrook Food Action

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Biophilia is a great thing and so are green cities

Many of us instinctively know this.  The medical profession certainly knows this when they prescribe light and exercise for depression and anxiety.  Even living in a City of only 20,000 set in the wonderful Rocky Mountain trench it is easy to think you get your dose of 'outside' but do we?

From the Globe and Mail comes this article by Erin Anderssen:

How green cities are better for us physically and psychologically 

If Canadian city-dwellers don’t notice nature in their midst, maybe it’s because they have been conditioned not to. Cities are about concrete, pollution and traffic jams, not kayaking and ducks. You go to the cottage for a bit of fresh air on the weekend, then brace for another week on the urban island, spending too many hours in a fluorescent-lit cubicle in a forest of other cubicles.

But a growing body of research suggests the cost: Cities are the main human ecosystem – 60 per cent of us now live in metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people – but they also make us sick, depressed and anxious. By contrast, being around blue water, green trees and space makes us healthier, more productive, even more generous – a positive effect known as “biophilia.”

Monday, July 7, 2014

Elizabeth Lake Update

Congratulations to the crew from Hebditch Contracting Ltd for getting the job done in the period of a few hours.

Let's hope the level continues to steadily drop alleviating the three month back up of water in Elizabeth Lake, without further incident.

From the City Website:
Cranbrook, BC (July 7, 2014) – Crews contracted by the City of Cranbrook successfully installed a valve pipe Monday across Wattsville Road to help move water from Elizabeth Lake.  The 12 inch pipe is now open and is moving water taking over from the siphon system put in place last week.
The valve pipe will be left at a minimum flow overnight Monday so not to overwhelm the drainage system and cause any downstream flooding.  City staff will spend the next few days modifying pipe output and downstream drainage levels to an acceptable level.
Residents and drivers are advised Wattsville Road will remain closed to all traffic for another day.   Crews will finish backfilling and repairing the road and conduct clean up through the day Tuesday.

Cranbrook's Eighteenth Open Garden Day

Annie Schweitzer welcoming guests to her forest garden. The natural rock wall
cascades with strawberries
It doesn’t matter the size or composition of any of the gardens on Open Garden Days, there is always something to be learned and admired.  This years’ tour was no exception. I admit that this is one of my favourite days of the year as being a plant lover and gardener, I don’t think there is any better way to revel in what you love and to give those other hard working gardeners the appreciation they deserve. 

Gardening is an art form kept behind fences and rarely shared by homeowners.  This is its day to shine.

A special garden tool shed hidden in the Schweitzer garden
Two themes emerged from the gardens on this tour – the use of our beautiful and abundantly occurring rocks and the use of the natural landscape.

One of the first tenets of garden design is the term ‘genius loci’.  When looking at the blank canvas of a bare piece of land and trying to decide what to do with it, it helps to ask, “What is the genius of this place?”  For all of us, living in the Rocky Mountains, well, it is rather obvious; so to see a garden exquisitely landscaped with local rocks, native poplars, native shrubs and an under planting or groundcover of strawberries was a joy. 

Camp fire in the forest

This beautiful garden of Rick and Annie Schweitzer had all the elements of great garden design, flow, surprise, beautiful plant selection and function.  With the exception of a separate vegetable garden and some cultivated fruit trees, much of the planting in this garden was native to the area. Poplars, Douglas Fir, Saskatoon, Soopolallie or Canadian Buffalo Berry were featured in a natural forest setting all bundled into a large city lot. This garden was a stunner.

healthy veggie garden

Who says you can't get Wisteria to bloom in Cranbrook?!
Tim Benson and Eric Fisher’s garden contained a magnificent naturally occurring boulder! It was genius that when this home was originally built this natural feature was left in place and not blasted away.  The native Ferns, Heuchera and mosses that grew in this location did not require further embellishment although a few pots added colour and interest.
Tim and Eric chat with Snap representative

Vibrant simplicity of Oxalis in a pot, Granville Martin garden
Flagstone paths were featured in several gardens including that of the Granville-Martins where they surrounded a very pretty pond. 

In the 'Mass' garden, the ground cover of rocks with a southern exposure against the white wall of the house provided the perfect micro desert climate for a magnificently blooming Yucca and a collection of blooming Prickly Pear cactus.

The magnificent Yucca in bloom
All the gardens on this year’s tour had interest and ideas for those new to gardening in this area as well as for those of us whose gardens continually evolve. 

The work of local artists was featured in several gardens.  Below, a Jeanette Oostalander's painting of Echinacea is on display as, en plein air, she painted away and chatted to those on the tour.
'Echinacea' on display against the backdrop of the Granville Martin's well tended vegetable garden
Thank you to all those brave garden hosts who were willing to have hundreds of people walking through their garden retreats.  We know you spent the last few weeks, bending, kneeling and questioning yourselves about what you agreed to but you and your gardens are truly appreciated.  You provide inspiration and an understanding of the natural environment that we all need in order to appreciate the land on which we depend.  

Thank you also to the Cranbrook Garden Club for continuing to organise this very enjoyable day.