Strawberry – Everbearing
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. In the future we will have native varieties of this delicious berry, but for now we have loads of these everbearing cultivated plants!
Physical properties: Perrenial small bush (20cm diameter) with large, juicy, red strawberries. Will send runners and establish a patch if left alone.
Preferred conditions: Dry heads, wet feet. Prefferably no more than one plant per sq. foot. Mulch will prevent fruit rot. Sunny loaction is best. Will die back in winter, but come up again in spring.
Edibility: YEAH! (but don’t tell the kids…)
For best results, replace every 4th year with new runners as old plants are less productive.
Large Leaf Lupine – Lupinus Poliphyllus
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. This one is just too beautiful not to spread around!
Physical properties: Perennial, upright, up to 1.5m high
Preferred conditions: Moist to wet open habitats (sea shores, streamside, meadows, disturbed sites). Low elevations. Likes sun, will die back in fall and come right back in spring!
Edibility: Wild lupin contain toxins – Not edible
First Nation Uses: Unknown
Beautiful purple flower heads, fixes nitrogen, self seeding.
Kinnikinnick; Bearberry, Coastal; Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. This amazing ground cover is not just beautiful, but has been used in many ways by First Nations all throughout the area.
Physical properties: Perennial, trailing groundcover, evergreen, 20cm tall, bright red fruit
Preferred conditions: Sandy and well drained exposed sites, dry rocky slopes, dry forest and clearings, from low elevation to alpine tundra. Does not need much of anythig but sun and space, will tolerate our winters no problem!
Edibility: Edible but mealy and rather flavourless, leaves were used for medicine (see below)
First Nation Uses: Dried leaves smoked as a part of a smoking mix. The leaves were chewed on to suppress thirst. Kinnikinnick fruit berries were also mashed to create a sealant on baskets.
In terms of medicinal use, the leaves were infused (by steeping them in water just above the boiling point to make tea) and drink it as tonic. This infusion could also be used as mouthwash for canker sores or weak gums. It was also made into a decoction (made by boiling the plant material in water) and drunk for colds and Tuberculosis. This decoction could also be used as wash for broken bones. Moreover, decoction of Kinnikinnick was used as eye medicine for sore eyes. Amongst the Haida, the leaves were used as a diuretic in kidney diseases and infections of the urinary passages.
Salal – Gaultheria Shallon
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. One of our favorites, this one has an incredible fruit!
Physical properties: Bushy perennial, 0.2-5 m tall (layering and suckering) – will grow into the space it has available.
Preferred conditions: Sunny edges of coniferous forests, rocky bluffs, to the seashore. Does not require watering once established. Winter hardy, just plant and forget till fruit is ready! Low to medium elevations.
Edibility: Berries are edible and delicious! Great for Jam, ripen in August
First Nation Uses: One of the most plentiful and important fruits for the northwest coast first nations people. Eaten both fresh and dried into cakes. The Kwakwaka’wakw ate the ripe berries dipped in oolichan grease at large feasts. For trading or selling, the salal berries were mixed with currants, elderberries, or unripe salal berries. The berries were also used to sweeten other foods and the Haida used salal berries to thicken salmon eggs. The young leaves were chewed as a hunger suppressant by the Ditidaht. The leafy branches were used in pit-cooking, and cooked as a flavouring in fish soup.
Please enjoy our vegetable song!
Fresh Roots is on the radio!
Check out Siamo Vancouver – an incredible radio program from the Italian Cultural Centre that explores Italian heritage, culture, and the integration with Vancouver life.
DJ Lorenzo interviews Fresh Roots’ Farm Manager Christine Weston.
Click here to download the interview
Are you interested in starting or using a school garden as a year-round learning ground, but don’t know how to get started? Do you need tips for working with groundskeepers and administrators? Would you like to meet like-minded teachers with whom to network and share ideas? Join us for the first of a series of courses connecting you to the soil and to one another.
Spend a delightful day at UBC’s Botanical Gardens:
We’ll spend the morning reviewing the VSB’s new garden education guide, Rooted in Place, that details how to establish and use school gardens as year-round learning grounds to cultivate inquiry. You’ll learn the basics of garden care, connect garden learning to curriculum standards, consider seasonal rhythms of the school garden, and connect to helpful resources and local experts.
After enjoying a long-table lunch together, we’ll spend the afternoon immersed in an active experience in Vancouver’s oldest demonstration Food Garden and Greenheart TreeWalk canopy walkway. Our Sustainable Field School experience promotes teamwork, creativity and fun through activities such as exploring the aerial trail system perched in the canopy of the temperate rainforest and tasting food fresh from the garden. We will explore important themes such as interconnection, communication, collaboration, leadership, innovation and mindfulness through:
• Connecting and networking with like-minded educators
• Experiential learning in our 80 acre outdoor classroom
• Enhancing capacity and skillsets for food garden education with experts
To enrol in the course: http://www2.vsb.bc.ca/vsbprograms/Prod/register.htm?page=workshopdetails&workshopid=2872
Check out what BC Business has to say about Executive Director Marc Schutzbank. (Photo Credit Evaan Kheraj)
Marc Schutzbank, 29
by Marcie Good
Life Story: Marc Schutzbank completed two bachelor’s degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, one in politics and philosophy and one in finance, before he won a Fulbright scholarship to UBC in 2011. The American was studying the economics of urban farming as part of his graduate work in the university’s land and food systems program when he connected with Ilana Labow, a member of a group called Fresh Roots, which grew food in backyards. After an elementary-school principal invited Fresh Roots to start a garden, the project expanded to other schools. Putting his knowledge of finance to work, Schutzbank helped turn Fresh Roots into a non-profit.
In 2013, after completing his M.Sc., he negotiated a working agreement with the Vancouver School Board to establish and manage educational farms at two schools. Food grown is sold to school cafeterias and to local families that sign up for a weekly box of produce. In the summer, Fresh Roots employs high-school students to garden, sell the food at farmers’ markets, and prepare and sell jams and chutneys. “It’s a ridiculous miracle that this tiny little seed can grow into this gigantic plant,” says Schutzbank, now a permanent resident of Canada. “What the students see is that from small actions come significant change.”
The Bottom Line: With an annual budget of $280,000 (which includes grants and revenue), Fresh Roots grows 3,600 kilograms of food and employs 30 students. About 3,340 students visit its gardens annually.
Read the online version here.
at van tech 2016
The Pineapple Express breezes through Vancouver, bringing a day full of sunshine and a tease of spring weather.
After spending lunch with the Aboriginal Youth Program at Van Tech, I was feeling very soft and charmed by the warm air. So I went outside to our Fresh Roots farms to just notice. To notice what activity, small or large, was taking place on the farm. The Kale was upright and loving the sunshine. The hoop houses looked secure. The remnants of garlic planting were visible.
Unseasonably warm, I was able to be in my t-shirt. Charlotte, our head farmer rolled up in the Fresh Roots truck, I was excited to see her because it meant I could help on the farm a little and also because I was hoping to have some company on such a warming day. And little did I know, my favourite task was the garden task of the afternoon- mulching the garlic beds.
From the truck, we unloaded free barrels of straw collected from Halloween houses (thank the spirits for craigslist!). Charlotte saw my excitement and let me have the honour of tucking the garlic babies into bed for the winter. A thick layer of straw blanketing over, in my opinion, one of the most rewarding plants. The warm golden sun illuminated the straw blanket. Charlotte and I looked at how far the straw stretched as a blanket over the garden beds, and visually estimated how many more Halloween houses we needed to contact. As we observed quietly, the aspen tree just south of the garden shed its leaves as the warm breeze blew in. A shower of amber confetti aspen leaves bumbled over the garden through the golden sun. The earth bringing us in for a warm embrace. We couldn’t help but laugh at the magic we were witnessing.
Taking time to be present, to receive the gifts the natural world is constantly offering us, to just feel the changes, can lead to pure magic.