(Early) Spring Update: Vernal Equinox Ahoy!

March Calendar

 *  Sat. March 1 – Town Hall Meeting on Liquified Fracked Gas, Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, 3 p.m. Join the Wilderness Committee, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition and Council of Canadians for a town hall discussion about BC’s rush to extract and export fracked gas. https://wildernesscommittee.org/fracking


* Sunday, March 2 – Transition Café with the Sooke Volunteer Centre’s Marlene Barry, Reading Room Café, 2 to 4 p.m.:  Sooke is proud of its unofficial status as one of Canada’s “volunteer capitals,” and all due credit goes to Marlene Barry (pictured here at Transition’s 2012 Sooke Slow Food Cycle) for her central role in coordinating and promoting  a remarkable 180-plus non-profit organizations in the region. Join Marlene at this month’s café as she tells us about volunteer opportunities in the region and then joins the lively conversation about subjects near and dear to the hearts of Transition Townies. Learn more here: http://www.sookeregionresources.com. Thanks again to the Reading Room’s Kathe Drover and her staff.

* Mon. March 10th and 24th – District of Sooke Council meetings. There’s approx. 80 seats in the council chambers reserved for the public, most of them empty on nights that don’t feature a hot-topic issue. The action can be replayed on the District’s website 24 hours later, yet it’s a worthwhile process to watch the interplay of councillors, staff, media, a handful of dedicated souls who attend nearly every meeting, and the various interested parties awaiting their turn at the mic. Certainly  attending a meeting is a fast-track education about the realpolitik of municipal politics in this election year and an opportunity to develop respect, understanding and empathy for those involved. Two council meetings are scheduled in March along with committees and the ongoing Mayor’s Advisory Panels: http://www.sooke.ca/EN/main/documents/public_meetings.html.

* Wed. March 12 – Awareness Film Night Farming & Gardening Gala, EMCS, 7 p.m. Guest speakers Mary Alice Johnson and Mary Coll from the Sooke Farmland Trust Society, the Farmland Protection Coalition’s Natalie Chambers and Kimi and Kareno from Steveston’s Sweet Digz Farm (the latter two are featured in Hands in the Dirt, one of the evening’s three short films). Arrive early to shop for local food and artisan products in the foyer. Admission, as ever, is by donation. http://awarenessfilmnight.ca.

* Sat. March 15 – Sooke Food CHI workshop, Sooke Harbour House, 1 to 4 p.m.  Cowichan Green Community shares its food action plans, market research and other initiatives at the second of Food CHI’s spring 2014 workshops. $10 http://sookefoodchi.ca/events/strengthening-local-farms-workshop/

– Transition Video Night @ the Little Vienna Bakery, 7 p.m. Stephen Hindrichs will host his third night of short educational/inspirational videos at Susan and Michael Nyikes’ café – this one focused on permaculture and other smart approaches to gardening and farming.

* March 15-23 – School’s out for spring break

 * Sun. March 16 – Market gardening workshop with Jean Martin Fortier, Fernwood Community Centre, Victoria. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Young Agrarians present a daylong intensive with this celebrated micro-farm specialist from Quebec’s Eastern Townships. http://youngagrarians.org/jean-martin-fortier-victoria.

* Thurs. March 20 – Vernal Equinox at 9:57 a.m. PST.

* Sat. March 22 – “Can We Feed the World,” a presentation by American food activist Joel Salatin, Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria. 7 p.m. http://www.pacificrimcollege.ca/joel_salatin.html

* Tues., March 25 – District of Sooke Spring Open House @ the Community Hall, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Random Notes from our email newsletter … 


1506998_645825065483714_214113619_n-1* Drastic Plastic: Like everyone who saw Awareness Film Night‘s screening of the documentary Trashed late last year, our fears about plastic use and misuse are back to red-alert levels. What can be done locally? It begins at home (as ever) with personal choices that dramatically reduce our individual contributions to the waste stream. Transition’s Blake Barton produced educational display boards for our Seedy Saturday table, and he along with our reps Yves Boudreau, Carolyn Bateman, Dave Court and Bev England were busy all day talking about alternates and possible solutions (a retail levy of at least .10 cents per bag has proven to be an effective way to remind shoppers to carry their own canvas bags). Thanks to our volunteers, especially Yvonne Court, whose handmade reusable shopping and veggie bags were a great conversation starter at our table. And congratulations to Sooke Food CHI for another sweet soul-and-seed-stirring day that drew a full house despite the snowfall.

* Streetbank: A reminder about the Sooke chapter of this share-and-share-alike collaborative consumption network – a great way to save money and get to know a few more Sookies in the bargain. There are currently 49 “neighbours” (within a 15km radius) sharing 56 items – power drill, books, DVDs, an electric sander, bottles and wine labels, dog-walking  services and (the newest addition) a handy gizmo that makes quick work of invasive scotch broom. The service is free and the registration process a breeze. http://www.streetbank.com.

* Permablitz: Transition’s Stephen Hindrichs is taking the lead role in organizing Sooke’s first “Permablitz,” which is effectively an old-fashioned community work party dedicated to a single, day-long project. The idea is to take a fallow front yard and transform it into an organic food garden utilizing perennial trees, shrubs and herbs. Stephen’s scouting a suitable location for our first such makeover, and we’ll be issuing a call for volunteers later this year. In the meantime you can learn more about the concept here: http://svipermablitz.com.


* Peak Moment TV: January’s visit to town by videographers Robin Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson has generated several Sooke items in their online magazine/video channel. Check out this item on the food forest growing in a Sooke backyard (http://peakmoment.tv/journal/gardening-in-a-small-space-go-vertical) and this profile of our local sustainable food heroes who “got it” decades ago! (http://peakmoment.tv/journal/serving-local-seasonal-food-for-decades-sooke-harbour-house).

Selections from last month’s Transition Sooke social media postings …

– Salish Sea Marine Sanctuary  – North America’s first international marine sanctuary: http://salishsea.org

– Vancouver Aquarium swoops in to save an ailing Whiffen Spit otter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBwthoy80ew#t=65

– Free, widely touted 72-hour online course in permaculture principles for home, garden and community: http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com

– Save Our Salmon! A petition to the B.C. premier – http://www.change.org/petitions/restore-wild-salmon-ban-salmon-feedlots-in-bc

– Launch of the international Metta Center for Nonviolence: http://mettacenter.org

– World’s largest solar energy plant: http://gizmodo.com/the-worlds-largest-solar-plant-started-creating-electr-1521998493

– What If Winston Churchill was leading the fight against climate change? http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/how-to-eat-like-our-lives-depend-on-it/winston-churchill-leading-fight-climate-change

– “Certified organic” are the words you’re looking for in B.C. http://www.upworthy.com/a-funny-video-that-makes-you-never-want-to-fall-for-this-natural-lie-again?g=2&c=upw1

– Urban homesteading: http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/homesteading-skills/self-reliance-in-la-radical-home-ec.html

– Robins and first rhodos everywhere … Spring is right around the corner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bOWtkV39Kg

For regularly updated news and items of interest, please join us online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Transition-Sooke/149407388458820

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SookeTransition

Happy trails,

Transition Sooke

April Calendar: Spring Showers, May Markets

calendar_april2013Sunday, April 7: Transition Town Café, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Reading Room Café. Transition Sooke founder Michael Tacon will host our monthly mixer on what’s forecast to be a wet weekend – come in from the rain for great conversation and java! (Note: If you’re from Shirley or Otter Point, your time will likely be best spent at the OPSRRA Annual General Meeting, 2 p.m. onwards at the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department.)

Monday, April 8: District of Sooke Council meeting, 7 p.m. at Municipal Hall. Public input is sought on the town’s Corporate Strategic Plan for 2013/14, the latest draft of which can be read here + Please come out and support Jo Phillips as she asks council (during the early stages of the meeting, i.e. you can make some noise, then get home early) to endorse GE Watch Comox Valley’s campaign to “ban the import, export and growing of plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA on Vancouver Island.”

Wednesday, April 10: Awareness Film Night screens Salmon Confidential in the EMCS Theatre, 7 p.m. Special guest: Wild salmon crusader Alexandra Morton … Also that night: Mayor’s Public Advisory Panel on Community Health & Social Issues, 7 p.m. @ the Prestige (all welcome, chaired by Nicky Logins, director of the Sooke Family Resource Society).

Weekend of April 13/14: Rally in support of GE Watch Comox Valley’s campaign to ban GMOs on Vancouver Island as the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities holds its AGM at the Prestige. Stay tuned for details on day and hour.

Thursday, April 18: Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Economic Development, 7 p.m. at the Prestige, chaired by Royal Roads University’s Steve Grundy, all welcome. Learn more about the upcoming Mountain Bike Tourism Symposium in Sooke (May 26-28), the Mayor’s “Promote Sooke” task force & more.

Thursday, April 25: Sooke Transition Townies are warmly invited to participate in an essential “Open Space” priority setting and planning session at the Reading Room, 7 p.m. Help shape the future of your local Transition Town and participate in a lively “dotmocracy” process led by core team members Andrew Moore and Michael Tacon … also that same night @ the Prestige, 7 p.m., the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Arts & Beautification chaired by Brenda Parkinson. It will likely focus on spirited plans for an educational arts centre in the former Mulligans Bar & Grill at the edge of John Philips Memorial Park.

Saturday, April 27: Expect a few early-bird vendors to be setting up tables at the Sooke Country Market, which doesn’t open officially until the second Saturday in May.

And while you’ve got the daytimer out …

Saturday, May 4: Sooke Rotary Club’s 23rd annual Auction & Spring Fair at Seaparc Arena, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  + Sooke District Lioness Club‘s annual 32km Galloping Goose Walk in support of Camp Shawnigan.

Sunday, June 2: The 5th annual Sooke Secret Garden Tour, a fundraiser for the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sunday, August 18: The return of Sooke Food CHI’s delightful Farm Tour

PS For more, regularly check out the Sooke Voice News events board – the definitive article when it comes to what’s happening here in town week in, week out. [Oh, and as Britt Santowski points out, the one in the Sooke News Mirror is pretty fantastic too! ;-)]

Saturday Nov 24: Help keep Sooke’s economy vibrant with the Forum on the Local Economy!

Update: Attached please find a  summary of the day’s discussion … STTS Forum on the Local Economy_final

Imagine a country where the only tool is the hammer. That’s what reliance on a single national currency is like. Please join us to learn how ordinary people can add other tools to our toolkit. On Saturday, November 24th, we’re talking about ways we can all keep Sooke’s economy vibrant. Everyone is invited! (And you don’t need to be an economics expert to participate.) Admission is FREE to the morning talks.  A few spots are still available for the lunch and afternoon workshop but you must pre-register ($15) – contact Mark Ziegler <markziegler@shaw.ca> Get advice on starting small businesses, learn to make our local economy more resilient, make the 10% shift, and explore possibilities for local currency (led by the founder of the Chemainus dollar) – we’ll be talking about all of this and more. A full agenda is available below and please feel welcome to share this PDF with everyone you think might be interested: Sooke’s economy matters to everyone!

The Forum on the Local Economy is on Saturday November 24th and open to everyone – please share widely! (You don’t have to be an economics expert to go!)

Agenda – Forum on the Local Economy Saturday, November 24, 2012 – 9:30 am to 3:30 pm Potlatch Room, Sooke Harbour House, 1528 Whiffen Spit Road, Sooke, BC 9:30-9:40        Welcome, Introductions, Purpose of Forum – Mark Ziegler 9:40-10:00             10% Switch – Kari Osselton, Executive Director, Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce 10:00-10:20          Supporting Small Businesses – Ken Stratford, Chief Executive Officer – Business Victoria 10:20-10:40          Sooke Transition Town Initiative – Michael Tacon, Chair, Sooke Transition Town Society 10:40-11:00          Refreshment Break 11:00-12:00          Local Currency – Chemainus Dollar – Dr. Karl Schutz,         Chemainus Monetary Foundation 12:00-1:00             Lunch 1:00- 2:30               Breakout Groups – Facilitator: Michael Tacon 2:30- 2:45               Refreshment Break 2:45 -3:15               Reports from Breakout Groups 3:15-3:30                Wrap-Up – Michael Tacon 3:30                           Adjournment

What’s Next for Sooke Transition Town?

Friday, May 27th at 7 p.m.
Reading Room Café (next to Western Foods)

It is almost a year since 40 Sooke residents met to explore how to make our community more resilient and sustainable in a grassroots way using the Transition Town model developed in the U.K. Since that time, the Sooke Transition Town Initiative has been created and now has official status, joining 360 other communities of all kinds worldwide including Victoria, Saltspring Island, Cowichan and Nelson in B.C. Now it is time to gather again and to talk together about what we want to actually get under way to take us forward. Please join us to hear what the Core Team has been doing on your behalf and to figure out what kinds of activities and projects we wish to get going. We welcome your ideas and input. See you then.

Your Core Team: Margaret Critchlow, Andrew Moore, Yvonne Court, Michael Tacon