Sustainable Garden Fair

Last Saturday, June 8th, a fair was held at the Strathcona Community Centre, dedicated to bringing awareness to the sustainable local food sources. And what better way to do that than to grow your own food? Free homesteading workshops were held throughout the day, teaching how to grow food, manage a garden, or preserve a harvest.

I was interested in the beekeeping workshops, which took place in the morning.

Master beekeeper Lianne Shyry of Two Bees Apiary gave an intro to keeping honey bees. Bees are fascinating creatures! I learned so much from her talk, I never knew about, like the hive structure, the life cycle of the bee, what honey really is, what bees do with propolis, and other interesting things.

Did you know honey is bee spit mixed with pollen....yeah. Oh well! Still tastes good! Honey is the bees source of food for the winter and also acts as insulation for the hive. So if you are a beekeeper, make sure to leave some of the honey for the bees! Don't be a "greedy" beekeeper!

SO INTERESTING! Don't know if I am ready to keep bees but it's a good start! For now I'll probably just continue planting bee friendly plants in my garden! =)

The Home Bokashi composting workshop was at the same time as the Intro to Beekeeping but many wanted to attend both so Dylan Rawlyk agreed to give the short version of this presentation to those who attended the beekeeping workshop. The Bokashi method of composting involves adding selected microorganisms to food waste to anaerobically ferment organic waste.

It is mostly odor free (except for the pickling smell, which can only be smelled when the container is open). This method can also break down meat, fish and cheese. The process is very fast and usually takes less than two weeks. The liquid that comes out of it is the best plant fertilizer in the world! Also makes a great drain cleaner!

After that, Brian Campbell of Blessed Bee Farm will lead a bee safari through the garden outside.

But before coming, Brian stopped to rescue some bumblebees from a garage, so we got close up looks at a bumblebee colony!

Bumblebees are important for plants that are buzz pollinated, which means they have to "buzz" at a certain pitch to get the plants to release their pollen. That note is middle C! Tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, and eggplants are all buzz pollinated! This is something honeybees can't do so bumblebees are very important!

 Bees are hard to photograph. They keep moving about! "Busy as a bee"!

After our "safari" in the garden, I visited Hives for Humanity to taste some honey! The company's mission is to enhance communities by bringing bees into the urban spaces, to bring a general sense of well-being to neighbourhoods and create opportunities for meaningful, sustainable and therapeutic programming.

I tried Alpine, dandelion, buckwheat, Hunters Mountain honey. Buckwheat has a strong taste but apparently it's pretty good when paired with the right beer! I liked Alpine and dandelion the best! Alpine is very thick and so delicious. Pollen from dandelions is one of the to be harvested by the bees early in the season. Now I don't feel so bad about the dandelions in my yard. LOL 

Here is Judy Kenzie's son, Ethan being taught to use the smoker. He was really getting into it! The smoker is used to calm bees down so that you can steal their honey. lol

Judy Kenzie of Truck Farm and Strathcona 1890 and the Urban Seed Project and she is the owner and driver of the only Truck Farm in Canada!

The point of the truck farm is to inspire and educate people about growing food in small urban spaces. It lets people know about the unconventional ways we can grow food for sustainable living!

There is a general disconnect between the food people eat and where it comes from and what better way to know where it comes from than to grow it yourself? Judy wants people know that it's very easy to get hands on and grow your own food. Start with some microgreens, which can grow anywhere - even in LEGO planters, or a tomato plant! Judy gave a presentation about growing nutritious microgreens. I unfortunately missed the demo but these are very cool looking log planters!    

Judy is passionate about what she does and is currently raising money to use Truck Farm spread the word about GMOs and demonstrate how easy it is to grow food in small urban spaces. Help her out by donating! 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay the entire day and talk to everyone, here were the rest of the booths at the fair:

Urban Weaver Project

Composting station put on by Homesteader's Emporium

Duncan's Backyard Henhouses

 The Fruit Tree Project

Frisch Farms

Village Vancouver Seed Library
Rick Havlak (above left), founder of Homesteaders Emporium, and with the help of donors, made the Sustainable Garden Fair possible. It was great to meet all the people there and learn about stuff I didn't know about!

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