Village Vancouver Newsletter December 2012

Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events 

December 2012

The Mayan calendar famously comes to an end on December 21st,
2012. End of the World, or an invitation to start something new?
Welcome to the December 2012 edition of the Village Vancouver monthly newsletter and Calendar of Events

Both calendars and events are very present in people's minds these days, not least because of the famed ending of the Mayan calendar on December 21st of this year, which has many people wondering what, if anything this portentious date will mean?

As of this writing, supermarket shelves are still stocked full and life seems to be going about its regular paces, so it is probably safe to conclude that the vast majority of Vancouverites to do not really believe that the world will come to an end within weeks, or even that anything mildly cataclysmic will take place. Nonetheless, December 21, 2012 has entered the popular consciousness as a date when maybe, just maybe, something will shift. Paradigm shift? If not the End of the World, perhaps the End of the World as We Know It?

What causes paradigm shift? One might reasonably say that paradigm shift occurs when a critical mass of people abandons an old story in favour of a new one.

Paradigm shift is already taking place in our time. As the film Occupy Love shows us, the large-scale abandonment of the old stories in favour of a new "love story" can be traced back at least two years, to the Arab Spring, the Indignados movement in Spain, the Occupy movement in fall 2011, and more recently, the Casseroles movement here in Canada. Recent events right here in Vancouver, such as the Living the New Economy week of events drawing more than a thousand people to learn and talk about changing the narrative of our economy, show that the time is ripe for new stories to emerge.

Is it conceivable that with the popularised ending of the Mayan calendar on December 21st, enough people will give themselves permission to finally let go of the old stories that have been holding us back, as a society, from the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible?

What a fantastic outcome that would be! Not the End of the World, but the Beginning of the World We Long For and Know Is Possible.

Wishing you much love this holiday season, and a joyful and prosperous New Year!

Your December newsletter team,

Jordan, Sharon and Ross

Love for all living things

If this doesn't make you feel like picking up a hoe and putting in a garden, we don't know what will! Vancouver singer/songwriter Buckman Coe has released this fun new music video for his song "Love for all living things", on the theme of urban agriculture. Strathconans, look out for some familiar scenery!

Become a member!

Have you joined the Village Vancouver community by joining our website? We hope you'll consider becoming a member of the Village Vancouver Transition Society as well, making our movement even stronger! It's easy to join - just click here!


Thanks for supporting Village Vancouver in this year's Aviva Community Fund Competition!                     

In November, Village Vancouver drove a campaign to win $50,000 towards our Kitsilano Demonstration Village project from the $1 million Aviva Community Fund. The competition depended on getting as many people as possible to vote for our project, as those projects that received the most votes would go on to win the funding they sought.

We came close - over 2200 votes and a 14th place finish out of 564 entries. We finished very strongly, but couldn't quite reach the 10th place finish we needed to move into the semi-finals.

We'd like to thank all of you for your fantastic support. Without it, we wouldn't have done nearly as well as we did. Thanks as well to our kindred organisation Be The Change Earth Alliance, which also ran a very strong campaign and encouraged their supporters to use any leftover votes they had to support Village Vancouver's campaign.

Even though we didn't move on, it's a very healthy sign for Village Vancouver that we were able to garner such a high level of enthusiasm for our Kits Village demonstration proposal. We continue to run primarily on people power, and this year has seen an amazing array of activities (over 250!) and new projects emerging in Village -- and 2013 promises more of the same. Getting involved does make a difference!

Once again, thanks for all you do!

Be well, celebrate, and persevere.

-- Ross and the rest of Village's Board of Directors -- Ann, Beth, Dana, Diane, Jacquie, Jason, Jordan, Randy, and Thomas

P.S. And thanks for tolerating all our emails during the voting!

Main Street Village Monthly Potlucks and Workshops

The Main St. Village meets the first Tuesday of every month for a potluck and workshop.

Come join us at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House every month between 6-8pm for a potluck with neighbours and skill sharing workshops.  Past workshops have included: bike maintenance, beer brewing, gardening 101, bee keeping, and chickens 101.  

Check out the Main St. VV website or "like" us on Facebook: 

Slow Food, Slow Everything Day with Village - Dec. 9

Celebrate Terra Madre Day and the holidays in a relaxing way! Join us for a slow food, slow everything day.

Drop by anytime. Potluck lunch around one, potluck dinner around six, movie later on - or sometime to this effect...

Any food you wish to bring for the potlucks or for other times of the day is most welcome. If you're so inclined,  please consider bringing some "slow food". For instance, this could be something you make using local ingredients. (Making pizza during the day might be fun too. If you're interested, let us know.)

In between, hang out, go for a walk at the beach, enjoy a conversation, read a book, visit the Kits Village Collaborative Garden, or relax and do nothing. And maybe board games, knitting, seed swapping, soup 'n share???...suggestions welcome or surprise us!

11 am until late.

For more details and to RSVP, visit the Event page here.

Village Vancouver Presents: Applied Ecological Economics 1001

Village Vancouver's Ecological Economics Study Group, active since early 2011, has relaunched with an exciting new initiative: Applied Ecological Economics 1001.

If you have come to the realisation that so much of our current social and ecological predicaments - and the potential solutions to them - have a lot to do with economics, but have felt underequipped to fully grapple with this beast, this 6-month applied course in Ecological Economics is for you! 

Ecological Economics is born out of the simple idea that our economy is a mere subsystem existing within the larger ecosystems of our planet and our societies, and that any economic model that fails to take the biophysical limits of the environment and the health of human society into account is ultimately doomed to fail, causing much destruction and suffering in its wake. This may sound like common sense to many of our members, and yet Ecological Economics continues to be shunned by mainstream economists whose models consider the environment and society to be mere subsets of the economy, which in turn is not subject to limits.

Our curriculum is based on Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications by Herman E. Daly and Joshua Farley (pictured). Beginning January 23rd, we will meet every 4th Wednesday of the month as a group to discuss readings from the textbook, with mutual guidance from peers and from our resident Ecological Economist Michael Barkusky.  

However, this is NOT a mere study circle. The "applied" part of the course will involve the formation of smaller working groups around particular interests, with each working group tackling specific issues in depth, making presentations to the larger group, and taking on a project to TRANSLATE ecological economics concepts into the real world - whether it be through the formulation of public policy proposals, campaigns to educate politicians and journalists, or by pursuing other projects to effect real change inspired by the insights gained through our study work. Our group represents many professions, skills and connections to policymakers, and we aim to leverage these assets to make a real impact. With upcoming provincial elections and a receptive city government, the time is right for the right ideas to come forth.

If you are interested in taking part in Applied Ecological Economics 1001, please write to for more information. No prior economic knowledge required - just bring your desire to learn, and by the end of these 6 months you will have a better understanding of economics than many of those who are today called "experts"!

Ecological Economics figures in Earthwalk

On October 7th, ecological economist Michael Barkusky led a fascinating and detailed tour of the False Creek seawall from Leg-in-Boot square to the Burrard Street bridge. It was the second last of the free Earthwalks tours that started in July.  A combination of bright sunshine and unusually warm temperatures encouraged a group of engaged water-lovers to spend their afternoon meandering the seawall while learning about False Creek’s transformation over the past two centuries. Read more on Spacing Vancouver...

A Studebaker called Clem: The truck that keeps on giving . . .

How's this for a neighbourhood project! Robert, Diane and Ana of the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for an unusual "green" project that is actually about the restoration of a 1946 Studebaker truck that Robert retrieved from an Alberta farm recently.

According to their Indiegogo crowdfunding page: "We believe in preserving things of value, both old and new, finding ways to give back and building resilient communities where people help each other out. And that's exactly what this truck will help us do. 

Everyone has ideas about how the truck can be used to help out around here- from urban agriculture to street party fundraisers, and we know "Clem" will become a beloved member of the Mount Pleasant family."

To learn more and add your support to this campaign, please visit the Indiegogo page at                                                                

The New Economy comes to Vancouver

Click on this picture to watch a beautiful 7-minute video
featuring  Charles Eisenstein on the subjet of
"Living without Economic Growth"
From November 19-25, Vancouver hosted an unprecedented convergence that brought together more than 1000 people (including many from out of town) for 27 different events spanning 7 days - all centred on the emerging New Economy. "New Economy", here, refers to a movement for a more sustainable, resilient, ecological, democratic and socially just economy that even now is beginning to emerge in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which revealed that the "old economy" fixated on endless growth, enclosure and monetisation of all aspects of life is breathing its last breaths. It is, as Sacred Economics author Charles Eisenstein would put it, a movement to create "the more beautiful world that our hearts tell us is possible".

Living the New Economy was hosted by the Healing Cities Institute and organised by Nicole Moen and Geoff Gosson of Animate Community, in partnership with a number of local organisations doing their part to help birth the New Economy into the world. This was an opportunity for some of the most creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, thought leaders and community organisers of our city and region to share their stories, forge new connections, celebrate the community of people devoted to positive change in our world, and hopefully, leave with new inspiration, ideas, and friends. 

Kicking off with a packed evening talk by Sacred Economics author Charles Eisenstein, followed by an Opportunity Fair featuring more than 30 local projects and organisations, attendees of Living the New Economy got to learn about community micolending, co-operative enterprises, community currencies (and even got to experience using one on Granville Island - the Seed Coin organised by Seedstock Community Currency), the local food economy, social media and the new economy, the future of finance, women and leadership in the new economy, the relationship between urban design and the new economy, marketing with integrity, finding one's purpose and much more.

If you're kicking yourself for having missed this great week of events, fear not! Due to popular demand plans are already being made for follow-up events both in Vancouver and in other cities in the region for 2013, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Village Vancouver Calendar of Events

Village Vancouver November 2012 Newsletter

Village Vancouver Newsletter and Calendar of Events 

November 2012

Neighbour Savour III at Heritage Hall exemplified what Village
Vancouver is all about: connecting neighbours for good,
sustainable fun - and lots of food!
Welcome to the November 2012 edition of the Village Vancouver monthly newsletter and Calendar of Events

What a busy and exciting month October was! Yes, the rain settled in, but there were plenty of bright spots too, such as Village Vancouver's Neighbour Savour III zero-waste potluck at Heritage Hall, which brought hundreds of neighbours together to share dozens of unique dishes, conversation and entertainment while producing zero waste!

Village Vancouver was also delighted to take part in the Sustenance Festival at the Roundhouse in October, bringing a large and beautifully decorated display celebrating the relationships between food and community, and playing a leading role in "Check out our Assets", an exercise by the newly formed Vancouver Food Assets Task Force to map food assets in Vancouver neighbourhoods.

November will be just as eventful, as you will see in this newsletter. From a talk on Green Spirituality by visiting UK author Chris Philpott to the Living the New Economy week of events later in the month, from clothing workshops to the creation of whole news urban farms and gardens, there is no shortage of opportunities to learn new perspectives, acquire new knowledge and skills, and meet new people.

Wishing you a cosy November,

Your November newsletter team,

Jordan, Sharon and Ross

Savouring our Neighbours

Neighbour Savour III at Heritage Hall - Photo by Randy Chatterjee
Neighbour Savour III, Vancouver's most epic potluck tradition organised by Village Vancouver and its Main Street Village, was another smashing success, bringing warmth and smiles to a slightly damp October evening. Neighbour Savour, which was made possible in part with the help of a Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation, packed Heritage Hall on Main Street with 200-300 gourmands and demonstrated that it is possible to gather hundreds of people together for an evening of great fun at low cost and without generating garbage bags full of waste. As a zero-waste potluck, not a disposable plate or cup was in sight, and the only waste created was a couple small buckets of compostables!

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who made this event happen, and made it a success: the organisers (led by Jason Mertz, Kaleen McNamara and Randy Chatterjee of the Main Street Village, as well as Village Vancouver Convenor Ross Moster), the many volunteers (including several UBC student volunteers, who were extremely helpful!), the musicians and spoken word poets who kept everyone entertained, the people who represented other great local organisations at the community tables, and everyone who contributed their own special home-cooked creations to this unprecedented spread!

Become a member!

Have you joined the Village Vancouver community by joining our website? We hope you'll consider becoming a member of the Village Vancouver Transition Society as well, making our movement even stronger! It's easy to join - just click here!


Whew, wasn’t the big one! Not here, not yet                     -By Ann Pacey and Malin Hansen

Free panel discussion on community earthquake preparedness Nov. 7th at St James Community Square

The end of October saw Vancouver flanked by 2 natural disasters, the 7.7 earthquake to our north in Haida Gwai and Sandy to the East.

Thankfully the earthquake, although big, didn’t cause major damage or injury. Not so lucky for the East coast, which looks to have been hit by $45 billion plus in damages, more than 50 fatalities and many more injured. As an aside, this global warming-amped storm drives home the need for preparation as we are forced to adapt to a world of crazy climate; hopefully the message won’t be completely lost on the election-centred political debate. 

Both events highlight the need for personal preparedness. But more than that, they point to the need to be prepared as neighbours. Disasters like these show all too clearly that emergency service providers quickly become overwhelmed and citizens are left to help themselves and each other. Read the entire article...

The Resilience Imperative

We find ourselves between a rock and a hot place compelled by the intertwining forces of peak oil and climate change to reinvent our economic life at a much more local and regional scale. The Resilience Imperative argues for a major SEE (Social, Ecological, Economic) Change as a prerequisite for replacing the paradigm of limitless economic growth with a more decentralized, cooperative, steady-state economy.

The authors (including Vancouver's own Michael Lewis!) present a comprehensive series of strategic questions within the broad areas of:

-Energy sufficiency
-Local food systems
-Low-cost financing
-Affordable housing and land reform
-Democratic ownership and sustainability.

Each section is complemented by case studies of pioneering community initiatives rounded out by a discussion of transition factors and resilience reflections.

With a focus on securing and sustaining change, this provocative book challenges deeply embedded cultural assumptions. Profoundly hopeful and inspiring, The Resilience Imperative affirms the possibilities of positive change as it is shaped by individuals, communities and institutions learning to live within our ecological limits.

Available from New Society Publishers. Order your copy via this link, and Village Vancouver will receive 15% of your purchase to support our programming!

Green Spirituality Talk by author Chris Philpott

Join Village Vancouver on November 8th, 2012 from 7-9pm for a free talk by Chris Philpott on Green Spirituality.

Chris is from Transition Lemington Spa in England and the author of Green Spirituality.

Location TBA. To RSVP and receive updated information about this event, please see the Village Vancouver event posting.

Prepare to vote for Village Vancouver's entry to the Aviva Community Fund Contest - starting Nov. 12!

The Aviva Community Fund is giving away $1 million in grants to help community groups realise their great ideas across Canada. The ideas that are selected will be eligible for as much as $150,000 in funding!

Village Vancouver has submitted a proposal for a project to establish a Demonstration Transition Village in Kitsilano, linking up, incubating and documenting sustainability and resilience-building initiatives in the neighbourhood like never before, and using the experiences  there to create a toolkit that any other neighbourhood could use to replicate the model. This can make a big difference in Vancouver and beyond!

The third and final round of voting on projects begins Nov. 12. You can help ensure that our idea becomes a finalist simply by clicking here and voting for our entry. If you have not voted for entries to the Aviva Community Fund before, you will be asked to choose a username and password prior to casting your vote. You will have 15 votes in total and can even vote for Village Vancouver more than once (although you are limited to one vote per day)! If a significant number of us cast our votes for Village Vancouver, we can win this one!

Transforming Old Clothes into New Fashion - Free Workshops                                                                             -With support from the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grant Fund

Have you ever thought of making your own fashion by changing your old clothes?

Just bring your old clothes, scarves and any kind of fabrics that you don’t know how to recycle or reuse.

Let’s get together, and using our imagination and creativity we will transform our old clothes into something fancy.

Date and Time: October 27 to November 10, Saturdays, 4pm-6pm
Place: Mount Pleasant Community Centre, 1 Kingsway, Vancouver

For more information or to RSVP please email:

Salon d'Elan Vital returns!

Salon d'Elan Vital ( "vital" or “life" force) was one of the predecessors to Village Vancouver. Running from 2006-09, my wife Laura Lee and I (and salon participants) organized monthly discussions on the arts, culture, science, ecology and the environment, peak oil, sustainability, community, technology, place making, music, traveling, the future, living in the city, growing food, the Downtown Eastside, spirituality, the banking system and the economy, and anything else that struck our collective fancy.

Sometimes we brought in outside speakers, sometimes participants facilitated topics, and other times there was no set subject and we just let it go where it wanted to go. (Some of our most satisfying dialogs fell in the latter category.) Read more here...

Help build a new urban farm at Hastings Community Centre!

Do you want to be part of something bigger than yourself? Help join in the action of a new garden being built at the Hastings Community Centre. Get to know your neighbours and learn about gardening from a sustainable perspective. Work parties organized by Grant Watson of Grant's Gourmet Gardens. Work parties will run on Fridays or every second Friday, starting November 2nd, until the garden is built!

For more information, contact Grant Watson at Once things get going we will send out a schedule for the next few work parties.

Hastings-Sunrise Community Food Network - Potluck and Formation of Steering Committee

Thanks to everyone who voted - our official name is Hastings-Sunrise Community Food Network. 

The working group decided we would like to have another potluck at Templeton Pool on Monday, Nov 26th, from 5-8 pm. The focus of this potluck is to give an opportunity for new people to get connected AND to see who would like to form a steering committee for the Community Food Network. A steering committee helps to guide where the network will go from here and what events would benefit our neighbourhood, etc. 

If childminding is an issue for you, contact Reanne Price at

Please RSVP and kindly bring a dish to share.

Mini Multipurpose Room (main floor, by the teach pool)
Templeton Park Pool, 700 Templeton Drive, Vancouver

Stacy Bestard, Food Program Coordinator, Kiwassa 

Hope to see you there!

East Van Community Garden Plots Now Available

Thanks to Cylia Wong for informing us about plots available to community gardeners in two locations, now and for 2013:

My Own Backyard (MOBY) garden created in 2006, with garden plots, a cobshed, playground and greenspace.  To contact the Membership Liaison, email for further info.

Cedar Cottage garden boasts over 90 garden plots and a lot of common space.  To check out their website, go to  To apply for membership, email

New Gardens Coming in Spring 2013
  • Village Vancouver is sponsoring the creation of a new community garden at Woodland Park, near Commercial Drive! Contact for more information.
  • Shifting Growth is establishing a new community garden at Commercial & 12th for next spring. Please contact to learn more.

Living the New Economy - Granville Island, Nov. 19-25

7 days of events - converging ideas, resources and people to help you thrive in the New Economy

If you have an idea, project or enterprise that benefits your community, human health or the environment, then Living the New Economy is where you want to be November 19-25. This week of events will energize, accelerate and celebrate the people, institutions and collaborations that are bringing the New Economy to life. Learn about marketing with integrity, the future of financing, the critical role of social media and the exciting future that awaits. The program is designed as a skill-building intensive with lots of opportunity for fun, creativity and expanding your network. Hosted by Healing Cities Institute in collaboration with a host of local organisations dedicated to effecting positive change in our economies and society.

Want to make the most of this exciting week of events but lack the cash for a full-access E-Pass? No problem - Living the New Economy has teamed up with Seedstock Community Currency to make this experience accessible to all! To learn more, please visit the Seedstock webpage here. If you are interested in being matched with a Seedstock-sponsored E-pass, please write to Seedstock Community Currency at  

Cohousing Fair - November 19th @ Heritage Hall

Join Village Vancouver at the BC Seeds Gathering 2012

From Nov. 9-11, The BC Seeds Gathering will bring together seed growers, community leaders, seed networks and young urban farmers from across BC at the Kwantlen University Campus in Richmond. 

Village Vancouver will be at the gathering and will be hosting a roundtable called
Community Access to Seeds: A Roundtable on Libraries, Banks, Seedy Saturdays. We hope to see you there!

Billets needed for the 2012 BC Seeds Gathering!

There will be people coming from all over BC to attend the 2012 Seed Gathering. If you can offer someone a place to stay for the 9th and 10th (or possibly the 9th, 10th, and 11th), please let us know. Contact Ross at

Vancouver's Weekly Affinity Circle

Our group provides participants with the opportunity to express emotions that might be coming up for you as you go through a process of separation or loss and through periods of inner growth in a safe and caring environment. The group guidelines have been developed to create safety from judgement and from attempts to analyse, rescue or fix one-another.  We meet weekly and invite you to join us and to see if this group is for you.

To learn more and find out about the next gathering, please visit the group's Meet-up page at

Village Vancouver Calendar of Events