From farm to forest

Two Lower Mainland farms are growing their food and delivering it to Lynn Valley giving true farm to table options for local families. One Argyle grad is working the soil near Pemberton, while a lawyer-turned-farmer is guiding three generations on a farm on the Sumas Prairie.


What’s a CSA?


Both small farms offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program delivering a box of fresh seasonal fruits and veggies each week or biweekly. The goal is to bring the public and farmers closer together. Members of the CSA program pay in advance for their share which helps farms with start up costs and in-season income fluctuations.  

A Crisp Organics CSA box.

What you need to know

  1. You don’t get to choose what goes in your box – you never know what will be delivered each week. It also means you don’t get a choice. Some CSA programs allow you to pass on a particular item because of allergies or you just don’t like something but if you are picky – this might not be for you. Often the farm will send an email detailing the box which can help identify products you aren’t familiar with.
  2. Expand your palate – Farmers plant what goes best locally, not what big box stores ask for so you won’t get a red pepper in June, but you might in late August. You will also likely get some fruit and veggies you haven’t prepared before, like Jerusalem artichokes or a heritage variety of squash. It is a great way to try something new.
  3. The season’s best – You will be eating the freshest food, not grown in your backyard. You will get fruits and veggies that were picked that morning or the afternoon before. You will find some of the sweetest strawberries and tomatoes of your life in these boxes.

There are two great programs servicing Lynn Valley. CSA programs typically sell out each year,  so if you want to sign up get it done early. Even if the websites aren’t quite ready for the summer 2019 season, sign up for their email lists and get notified of their program kick off.


Four Beat Farm


Argyle grad Naomi Martz has leased 10 acres of land near Pemberton on the traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation. Four Beat Farm grows 35 different products for its CSA box. Four Beat Farm is Certified Organic, which means no GMOs or synthetic fertilizers are present on the farm and its methods are third-party verified.  They are certified by the Biodynamic Agricultural Society of BC (BDASBC 10*500-40), and use biodynamic growing practices that focus on soil health and creating regenerative farm systems.

A unique feature of Four Beat Farm are its “solar tractors” – their draft horses. The farm uses horses rather than vehicles to work the fields reducing its use of fossil fuels and providing essential compost.

Four Beat Farm delivers biweekly to Lynn Valley on Wednesdays. As a member of the CSA you (or someone you ask) must pick up your box from 3-5:30 p.m. They send out a reminder each week. Last year the season was scheduled from August 15 to October 24 for  a total harvest season of 12 weeks and an extra-large “double share” of storage crops planned to enjoy late into the fall at the final pickup.


Crisp Organics


In 2010 newly minted lawyer Andrew Arkenstyn-Vogler hung up his robes and started a new dream with his parents – an 11 acre farm in Abbotsford.  They have been working the land focusing on sustainability and organic certification. The home farm is certified by the Pacific Agricultural Certification Society, while their extended land is organic transitional.

Crisp Organics runs a large CSA program and serves many farmer’s markets. They grow an array of seasonal vegetables with a focus on greens. They also partner with other organic growers at times to add diversity to their offerings.

The farm’s summer CSA program runs from May 3 to October 25. They deliver once a week to a location near Argyle Secondary. Unique to Crisp Organics – it offers an option to add SPCA certified eggs to your weekly box. If you sign up before the end of February with the code EARLYBIRD you will get a box weekly box free!


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Green thumbs and others needed to help local seniors

There was a curious post circulating a North Shore Facebook group: someone was searching for people who love to garden.


Calling green thumbs


“We have people who in the past have enjoyed gardening, and would still love to do it,” said Eunice Kruse, volunteer coordinator of the Lynn Valley Care Centre. “We have a rooftop garden with raised beds that the residents can use.”

But that can’t happen on their own.

The Lynn Valley Care Centre is looking for a volunteer or two who can share an hour of gardening with residents once or twice a week. The volunteer would take them up to the garden and plant seeds, help weed and visit with the senior, said Kruse.

“We would be looking for someone who loves gardening and can help one or two of our residents at a time,” said Kruse. “It means so much – it gives good mental and physical stimulation. There is also a sense of purpose of being able to do something they used to be able to do.”

The Lynn Valley Care Centre offers intermediate care, extended (complex care), palliative care, and end-of-life care. It has a combination of government subsidized beds and private pay rooms and suites.


Have a passion – share it


If gardening isn’t your thing there are many other opportunities to interact and support the residents, said Kruse. Some volunteers visit with pets, some help organize tea time, one helps seniors get to their appointments with the in-house hairdresser, while others help with arts and crafts. Volunteers also read aloud and host music afternoons and sing-alongs.

 

There is another project Kruse needs volunteers to get started: a social group for senior men.

“I would like to find two-three men who would meet with our elderly men,” she said. “To talk about things that are important to men.”

Research shows that social interaction is immensely beneficial to seniors – or anyone who is feeling isolated, but recent research shows men are less likely to seek out that interaction, said Kruse. She hopes to find enough interest to run the group once a week and give residents a chance to chat about past and current hobbies, interests and adventures.

The reward for volunteers is tangible.

“You see what these visits mean to the residents,” said Kruse. “In just an hour or two you can see someone come to life. It’s a two-way street you give your time and they will give back.”


How to help


To learn more about the volunteer opportunities at the Lynn Valley Care Centre please call Eunice Kruse at 604-982-3709 (she is in Mondays or please leave a message) or visit the volunteer page of its website.

Helping hands sought for Princess Park project

Can you help revitalize part of Princess Park on April 28? Many hands make light work. Here is the press release sent to us with all the news you need to know:

The Lynn Valley Community Association and the Lynn Valley Seniors Association are working together on the 2018 Lynn Valley Annual Park Project.

The location this year is an area of Princess Park near the bridge and dog play area. Park in the parking lot off Princess Avenue. Meet at the Lynn Valley LINK Kiosk which is a short walk down the main paved trail in to the park.

The Park Project will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (come for all or part).

The focus of this community event will be on restoring a section of the park just west of the bridge. District crews will do some preliminary work ahead of time leaving us to restore the natural vegetation and lay down mulch. We will be doing basic gardening work, removing invasive plants, planting natural vegetation, cleaning litter and anything else that needs to be done with the direction and support of the DNV Parks Department.

Do join us for this fun and productive day. We have work for every level of physical ability but we won’t let anyone overdo it. Dress for the weather, as this is a rain-or- shine event! Sturdy boots or shoes, working clothes and gloves are recommended, as it could be muddy! Coffee and snacks will be provided but please bring your own water bottle.

For more information email: info@lvca.ca

Got a great idea for your neighbourhood? Funds available to make it real

The deadline for the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants is fast approaching. You have until April 9 to take advantage of this growing program. Each year many locals take advantage of the $50 – $500 grants given to fund community initiatives.

Kathy Rothnie at an Evelyn Park Canada 150 celebration last summer

“The goal is about connecting and engaging the community,” said Tricia Alsop, of the North Shore Neighbourhood House which oversees the program in North Vancouver. “Community doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. It doesn’t need to be a project with your neighbours. Last year we gave out about 80 grants.”

Since 2011 the North Shore has been apart of the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program. The grants are given to projects that bring people together, share skills and knowledge, build a sense of belonging, responsibility, and respect and celebrate diversity, according to the Foundation.

“We had hosted a block party – a potluck kind of party the first year we moved here,” said Lynn Valley’s Shannon Samler, a recipient of a 2017 grant. “Someone told us about these grants so we thought – why not [apply]? It was very easy to do.”

Easy access

“The goal is to make it available to everyone,” said Tricia Alsop. “The application is online but we also have paper applications. If people need help, we can help them work through it. It is supposed to be easy.”

For most projects the most labour-intensive piece is creating a budget.

“It’s a simple process,” said Samler. “Putting together the budget help me think about what I wanted to do. We wanted to take on the responsibility of the main course part of the food and provide a few extras – like face painting.”

The Samlers’ block party was one of a handful in Lynn Valley last year funded by the grants and is a typical project that the Foundation funds.

Other projects on the North Shore included gardening, food, beekeeping, emergency preparedness and craft workshops, invasive weed pulls, intergenerational programs, Little Free Libraries and others.

“It was a great way to meet people,” said Samler. “We learned the names of people we see – not just families with kids that same age as ours. We were able to set up a neighbourhood email list to connect and share concerns.”

Lasting impacts

Samler says the – now annual – event has fostered a more open neighbourhood. Sometimes the grants are what give legs to an idea, said Alsop.

“The grants can help give people the initiative to get started on an idea they have always had,” she said. “We see lasting relationships grow out of the projects – sometimes they can be a help with conflict resolution by bringing people together.”

Organizers welcome more applicants

“We would like to see some new people with new ideas,” said Alsop. “If it fits, there is a good chance they will get the grant.”

The deadline for applications is April 9th. For more information or help with applications contact the North Shore Neighbourhood House at 604-987-8138.

An ancient antidote to the modern rush

Looking to be an antidote for the rushed, the busy and the overwhelmed Lynn Valley United Church has turned to the ancient labyrinth to offer locals a space to look inward, reflect and spiritually connect.


New building, historic idea


Lynn Valley United Church walkers

On the floor of the new contemporary church building is a very old tradition. Marked on the new floor is a labyrinth based on one of the world’s most famous in Chartres, France. The design in that cathedral is thought to have been built in the early 1200s. The four-quadrant design holds a path leading meditative walkers into the centre and back out.

Lynn Valley United Church invites anyone to come an used the peaceful walk to slow down and reflect. It is open to walk anytime the office is open (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) and during several special sessions throughout the month.

“We live in a culture where so much is coming at you – that is driven by ego. Anytime you can put aside the ego and listen to the inner you – I would say it is a spiritual moment,” said Kimiko Karpoff, Minister for Faith Formation at LVUC.

“The labyrinth is where you can bring your deeper questions and longings to the inner wisdom that exists in in each person. Walking a labyrinth is a spiritual practice – it can take you into deeper conversation. For some people it resonates with, that can be a deeper conversation with God. If that doesn’t resonate with you – a deeper conversation with our essential self,” she said.

“You can come and walk it as you are and approach it as you need to.”


Old traditions


Labyrinths exist in the history of just about every culture across the world. Just about as universally they are used for reflection and connection. Despite their wide symbolic appeal they are relatively rare in the Lower Mainland. A small handful exist in other churches and while there is an outdoor labyrinth at The Bridge Church in Deep Cove, there is no other indoor labyrinth on the North Shore.

Lynn Valley United Church finger board“One of things about a labyrinth is that people often mistake it for a maze,” said Karpoff. “A maze is designed to trick and fool. Whereas a labyrinth is actually a singular path where you can’t get lost. It is one single path that takes you into the centre. When you look at the pattern it switches back and forth, so when you are walking you don’t know where you are but the labyrinth knows where you are.”

She says that this is liberating because your mind must be occupied enough to follow the path and but still allows focus on other things.

“It is contemplative, so some people meditate,” said Karpoff. “You are paying attention, but it’s so simple you don’t have to think about it. Your body is doing something but your brain is given space to be creative.”  

LVUC has more information on the history of the practice and how one can meditate in the labyrinth on their website. Traditionally, the labyrinth is walked slowly at the pace you need in order to be reflective. Mentally it is approached in four steps:

  • Remembering – Acknowledge the people and things you are thankful for; be grateful to yourself for taking this time out, and your feet for getting you to the labyrinth.
  • Releasing – Let go of the negative, and the chatter that busies our minds, open yourself
  • Receiving – During the walk open yourself to the guidance, interior silence, peace, or a creative idea; whatever it is your soul chooses to nourish itself, however unexpected this may be.
  • Return – as you exit the labyrinth honour your insights and try to find space for them in world.

“I would love to see people have that time for peace,” said Karpoff. “It doesn’t necessary take a lot of time to do a spiritual practice. It is a simple as sitting and being or walking and being. If all you have is 20 minutes you can walk the labyrinth.”

There is more information on hand at the church on the labyrinth and how it is used and staff are happy to answer any questions labyrinth walkers may have.

“At Lynn Valley United Church we want people feel comfortable to come and be,” said Karpoff. “Some come and walk the labyrinth and go. Others come and connect and talk – that can be simple chit chat or deeper conversation.”


Special walks throughout the month:


LabyrinthFirst Wednesday – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Walk with hymns and sacred music played on the piano.

Second Wednesday – 9 a.m. – Parents are encouraged to stop by for self-care after dropping children off at school.

Third Wednesday – 7 to 9 p.m. – Walk with contemplative music.

Fourth Wednesday – 4:45 p.m. onwards – Walk the labyrinth during Mid-Week Moments, an event for families of all shapes and sizes that integrates a shared meal, gathering for all-ages community worship and activities to stimulate spiritual connection, reflection and curiosity… which includes a playful and exuberant exploration of the labyrinth!

For more information reach out to Lynn Valley United Church at 604-987-2114.