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