Sunday, 29 January 2017

Intro to School Gardens Workshop #2 of 8 (1/14/2017)

Finally, a return to the garden after a lot of snowfall. It was amazing to see that some kale and herbs such as rosemary and sage had survived the winter.

Kale in snow
The Schedule for the day:

10-10:15 Welcome, introductions and tea and starting soup-making
10:15-11:15 Workshop: Practical advice on setting up or activating a learning
garden at your school: school support, funding, curricular connections and starting small (led by Toni Lazarova)
11:15-12:15 Walk to Orchard Garden and back to harvest produce for lunch
12:15-1 Workshop: Practical learning about gardening: soil, compost,
crop rotation, planting schedules and more (led by Julian Yeo).
Preview of upcoming workshops; evaluation forms
1–2 Making and eating lunch together


The two workshops were so  informative today. We saw how Toni started a school garden from square one. We learned about where to set up a school garden, the importance of grants to fund the project as well as the support of fellow teachers, parents or community members to maintain the garden. The workshop on soil was very in depth and tied in nicely with the seasonal planting chart.


Favourite recipes of the day

Egyptian Lentil Soup (double recipe) Soup:

5 tbs olive oil
2 large onions, minced
4 carrots, diced
3 c red lentils
2 large potato, diced
12 c vegetable (or chicken or beef) stock
salt and pepper

2 tbs chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin
(Optional: toasted crusty bread croutons)
(Optional: yogurt)
(Optional: crispy sage leaf topping –below)

• In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions and carrots in 3 tablespoons olive
oil till soft. Add lentils and broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 min.
• Add potatoes and cook 30 min more until lentils are very soft.
• Puree with a blender or food processor. Stir salt and pepper into the soup and return
to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 min.

• Fry onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add cumin. Serve with croutons and/or
• (Optional: Sauté a good handful of large fresh sage leaves in a pan of hot olive oil for
1 -2 minutes until crispy, then remove from heat).
• Add toppings and serve!

Kale Chips
Rinse kale leaves, dry well and tear leaves away from tough stems. Spread out on a baking
sheet oiled with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees F until crispy.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Woad Dyeing Workshop (12/10/16)

It was an informal dyeing day with students 
dropping in help with the process.

First, the woad plant was stripped of its leaves and then left to soak for an hour in hot water.

While we waited for the woad, we began designing our cotton tablecloth and UBC Orchard Garden banner.

Next we applied the beeswax on the fabric before dyeing it in the woad/chemical solution.

After that, the fabric was left to dry.... 


Intro to School Gardens Workshop #1 of 8 (11/26/2016)

    Despite the dismal weather, everyone gathered to have morning tea and to share ideas of garden as learning spaces. We even had a chance to learn a folk song with Susan playing accordion live.

    A Group Sing-a-long

    This was the schedule for the day-presentation, a walk to gather kale and herbs (sage and rosemary) from the garden, another presentation on sustainability and zero waste management followed by cooking and eating our healthy garden soup.

    10-10:30 Welcome, introductions, and tea
    10:30-11 Workshop: Exploring school gardens as spaces of teaching and learning (Latika Raisinghani)
    11-12:15 Walk to Orchard Garden and back to harvest produce for lunch
    12:15-12:45 Workshop: Reduce waste and connect to your food! (led by Ina Tessnow-von Wysocki:)
    12:45-1 Preview of upcoming workshops; evaluation forms
    1 – 2 Making and eating lunch together

    In the Garden 

    Some important takeaways -
  • Start small, even little plants or seeds in a plastic cup can generate student talk. 
  • Pick up to a 1/2 or 2/3 of kale so it can grow back 
  • Breaking bread and sharing tasks is a part of community building. 
  • Lupii Cafe - a zero waste restaurant dedicated to sustainability. 
  • Zero Waste Market - bring your own containers for this market.
Garden in a Cup

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Woad Song

For three days in December, a group of us engaged in a natural dyeing experimental workshop with fresh woad plants grown in the Orchard Garden last summer (and rescued by Julian, Phil and me just before the first big snowfall).

Woad is a traditional source in temperate climates of a blue dye related to indigo. It is a complicated dye to use, with many time-consuming steps, and no guarantee of the outcome!

Rescuing the woad Dec. 4, just before the snow
It is also the dye that the ancient Pictish warriors in northern Scotland are supposed to have used to paint themselves blue in preparation for battles with Roman soldiers. Woad is very smelly, as we found out, and apparently is was the stench of the woad as well as the appearance of ferocious blue-painted nearly-naked warriors that was meant to scare off the Romans.

When I mentioned our workshop to some of my Morris dancing-British folk music friends, I learned about the Woad Song, AKA 'National Anthem of the Ancient Britons'. It's a comic song written in 1914 by William Hope-Jones, and it's all about WOAD!!

(to the tune of the Welsh anthem, Men of Harlech)

1.What's the good of wearing braces,
Vests and pants and boots with laces,
Spats or hats you buy in places
Down in Brompton Road?
What's the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten?
These affairs are simply rotten:
Better far is woad.

Woad's the stuff to show, men.
Woad to scare your foemen:
Boil it to a brilliant hue
And rub it on your back and your abdomen.
Ancient Briton never did hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck, or knees, or where you sit on.
Tailors, you be blowed.

2. Romans came across the Channel
All wrapped up in tin and flannel:
Half a pint of woad per man'll
Dress us more than these.
Saxon, you can waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in breeches:
We have woad to clothe us, which is
Not a nest for fleas.

Romans keep your armours;
Saxons your pyjamas:
Hairy coats were meant for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas.
Tramp up Snowdon with our woad on:
Never mind if we get rained or blowed on.
Never want a button sewed on.
Go it, Ancient B's.

2016-17 Orchard Garden workshops

We have just finished our first two workshops of the year plus our experimental woad dyeing workshop in December. The workshops continue to be very exciting, and we have a large and terrific  group of teacher candidates and other interested participants taking part.

We will be posting photos and write-ups of the first few workshops this week. Many thanks to Shirley Soo who has been taking great photos and has generously offered to help get our social media postings up to date!

Here is the schedule for the Saturday workshops this year. Please mark them on your calendar, and plan to come to four or more to qualify for an informal certificate of garden-based learning next July. Workshop fees are $10 (please bring cash as we can't handle debit, credit or cheques), and this covers a delicious lunch made with garden ingredients and workshop materials.