Spring Gillard

Quelling the Violence Within

nitobeThis thought for the day comes from Eknath Easwaran, Sept 7th entry. He describes the only real route to peace.

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.  – Martin Luther King

All of us can play an important part in the conquest of violence. We can do this by throwing our full weight behind peaceful, effective programs for eliminating the situations from which violence arises. But just as importantly, we need to do everything we can to remove every trace of hostility in ourselves.

The violence that is flaring up on our streets and in many corners of the world is the inevitable expression of the hostility in our hearts. Hostility is like an infectious disease. Whenever we indulge in a violent act or even in hostile words, we are passing this disease on to those around us. When we quarrel at home, it is not just a domestic problem; we are contributing to turmoil everywhere.

A teacher of meditation in ancient India, Patanjali, wrote that in the presence of a man or woman in whom all hostility has died, others cannot be hostile. In the presence of a man or woman in whom all fear has died, no one can be afraid. This is the power released in true nonviolence, as we can see in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Because all hostility had died in his heart, he was a profound force for peace. – Eknath Easwaran

Park It



Love this annual event that transforms parking spaces into parklets. The one day happening takes place all over the world. This local temporary park initiative is put on by the Vancouver Public Space Network (VSPN). Details below.

Park(ing) Day is an annual celebration that takes place around the globe. It invites participants to creatively re-imagine metered parking spaces as… parks, mini gathering places, theatres, dance floors, landscape installations, art stations, you name it! It’s a challenge that’s been producing some excellent results since it was first started (in good ‘ol San Fran) back in 2005.

2014 will mark the 7th year that the VPSN has held a Park(ing) Day event in Vancouver, and this year, as always, we’re looking for volunteer assistance to make it a success.

The event takes place on Friday, Sept. 19. For more information contact Aateka Shashank at aateka [at] vancouverpublicspace [dot] ca.

Make Change

The United Way is sponsoring an innovative changemaker training program for non-profit groups. Deadline to apply is October 10th. Info below.

Are you a changemaker and want to help strengthen your organization’s capacity to advance social change? Organizations applying to attend this training program must be from the non-profit sector, active in the areas of social or health-related services and interested in affecting public policy change in those areas. Enrollment is open to organizations from all regions of the province.

This program is specifically designed to help non-profit leaders and their organizations increase their knowledge of the public policy process and their capacity to influence it. Monthly two-day sessions will be delivered over a six month period; from January to June 2015. A dedicated and very experienced cohort, the opportunity for shared learning as part of a small cohort of 25 sector leaders and an applied learning approach with a manageable course calendar make this a unique capacity building opportunity.

United Way starts accepting applications on Aug 13, 2014 and the deadline to apply is Oct 10, 2014. For more information please visit the program webpage. To obtain an application form, please contact Yves Trudel at:

Apple Ganza

appleposterSpotted this nice local apple festival in the Grandview Woodlands newsletter this week. There’s a wonderful line-up of fall events, this one included. If you live near Callister Park, go pick some apples next weekend.

Air $upply



I guess sucking the life out of the earth wasn’t lucrative enough, now gas companies have turned to selling air. Yup, local gas stations that used to offer air to cyclists and car owners alike, now charge for the privilege of serving themselves to the compressed air pumps and tire gauges. In an article in the Globe and Mail, the company that services the often broken machines, defends the companies, claiming repairs are a real cost. And besides, they say, the gas conglomerates give some of the money to charity. I guess the shareholders get the rest. Fortunately, many bike shops share their pumps with cyclists – no-holds-barred.

Berry Suspect

strawberriesI went to pick up some local blueberries from New Apple Farm the other day, my local green grocer. I want to freeze some berries so that I have plenty for fruit cobblers through the winter. I could only see the California berries, so I just picked up a few other items. When I went to cash out, I asked about local blueberries. The cashier told me the ones in the plastic Driscoll containers were the local ones, they had just recycled the containers. The California strawberries that had been in the plastic boxes were now in green paper boxes in the display outside; those boxes are usually for the local fruit. Although Driscoll’s was written on the sign above the strawberries, I’m sure many people thought they were a late local crop. Sure, local strawberries look different, but not everyone would be aware, neither would they necessarily know that Driscoll’s = California. There was also a tiny sign above the blueberries indicating that they were local, and if you really looked, you would see that there was a “strawberries” label on the package. When I examined the blueberries closely, I could see they were starting to go. It’s harder to see the rotting fruit when it’s encased in plastic. The cashier kept insisting it was all because they wanted to recycle. I wasn’t convinced the reasons were environmental. What do you think?

Groovy Granola

granolaI know, two recipes in a row. It’s a sure sign of my busy-ness when that starts happening. I’m adjusting to working full time, writing my MA thesis on weekends, and keeping up with household chores. This great time-saving and delicious recipe comes from my good friend Megan. I make a big batch of her groovy granola every couple of weeks. I have some in the oven right now. Smells so good. At first I laughed at the small serving size, but Megan was right, it’s enough. I have mine with soy milk, and sometimes add a banana. Or sprinkle over fresh fruit and yogurt.

4 cups large flake, old-fashioned oats

1 ¼ cups nuts or same amount mixed nuts and coconut (I use cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds & coconut)

½ cup brown sugar (could reduce to 1/4 c)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup oil – Crisco, coconut or grapeseed

¼ cup sweet – honey, maple syrup or agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine first five ingredients in large bowl. Combine final three ingredients in small bowl and mix well. Add wet to dry and mix well. Spread on two rimmed baking sheets. No need to grease them.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring and rotating pans every 10 minutes, until golden.

Add raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit once granola has finished baking.

Store in tightly sealed container. You can also freeze it.

Serving size is ½ cup.

Chili Weather



We had a potluck today at work to send off some wonderful co-op students who are heading back to school. One of my colleagues brought this amazing veggie chili. He found it on a blog called Food Wishes. With the weather turning, it is starting to feel like chili time. Roasting the sweet potatoes beforehand deepens the flavours.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

2 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, sliced

1 tbsp cumin

2 or 3 tbsp Ancho chili powder, or other chili powders, or to taste

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 can (28-oz) diced or crushed tomatoes

1 cup water, more as needed

1 tbsp corn meal

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa

2 cans (15-oz) black beans, drained, rinsed

cayenne to taste

sour cream and cilantro to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, chipotle pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Roast sweet potatoes in the preheated oven until the outside is crunchy and inside is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Cook and stir remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, ancho chile powder, cumin, and dried oregano together in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook and stir until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour tomatoes and water into the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Add cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Stir black beans and cooled sweet potatoes into the onion-tomato mixture. Add more water if mixture is too thick. Simmer until heated through, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.

Park This Policy?

I had lunch in the park near work one afternoon and spotted this man having a snooze on the bench. Then I noticed the sign right in front of us. I wonder why it’s okay to sleep on a bench during the day, but not at night. Anyone?

Pirate Ship?

pirateLooks like the Dread Pirate Roberts is docked at the Vancouver Maritime Museum near the dog beach in Kitsilano. I am intrigued by this contraption which appears to have some “green” features. Perhaps some water collection capacity? A compost toilet? Would love to know more if anyone has details.

Just got this update from the Vancouver Maritime Museum – it’s art!

The barge in the waters outside of the Museum is called “Deadhead.” DEADHEAD is a large-scale sculptural installation mounted to a barge and towed by tug to different locations along Vancouver’s waterways. For more information, please check out their website;