P is for Portland (bet you thought I was going to say ‘piglets’)

Technically, the day isn’t over, so there is still a chance Olivia will deliver, but when I was down at the hog hut a little while ago, she seemed uninterested in going into labour. Even without playing midwife to a recalcitrant sow, it has been a busy day. With the help of current volunteers ME (Austria) and LS (Berlin) we flew through the morning rounds and then headed up to OUR Ecovillage to attend the Mark Lakeman talk titled, Re-becoming Villagers.

ME having a look at the Sanctuary at OUR Ecovillage

ME having a look at the Sanctuary at OUR Ecovillage

Here’s a quick video, if you are interested in some of Lakeman’s ideas about re-imagining our urban spaces.

I love the solar-powered cat palace! In today’s talk he also showed slides of the coolest Chicken Coop on the planet! If I had known about it before Dani and I went to Portland a couple of years ago I would have made a pilgrimage! Of course, the City Repair Project and Urban Permaculture Design is not all about making life comfortable for chickens and cats. At its heart, this way of thinking is all about making our grid-organized urban centres into spaces where people can once again find community. The ideas are so simple and yet we seem to collectively have forgotten that we need places to gather, to sit, to stroll to – places where we can share gardens and water holes. Transforming a section of suburbia can start with the simple addition of a bench or two, planting food-bearing trees and vines, and adding personal/artistic touches designed and then created by neighbourhood residents.

Portland has been leading a revolution in terms of such community-led initiatives and the work being done there has inspired similar projects all over North America.

I was a tad bummed that I had to leave after the morning’s talk and before I had a chance to connect with everyone over lunch and then participate in the afternoon’s hands-on session.

Many thanks to LS who took a few photos of the goings on…

dcf lakeman design

How would you redesign the intersection closest to your house?

lakeman draws photo by LC

Sigh. However, I had to race back to Victoria to take part in a Food Swap, leaving ME and LS behind.

The Food Swap was pretty cool (literally – it was pouring – we were all very glad to be under cover of a tent as the event was held outside). The concept is simplicity itself – take food of which you have lots (I, for example, currently have lots of eggs as all the girls are laying and the CSA and markets don’t start up for another few weeks) and trade for goodies you fancy. I came home with a nifty assortment of unique items like flavoured salts, macaroons, lemon squares, homemade BBQ sauce, fancy tea, beef jerky, and fresh rosemary and bay leaves. The items available to swap and the quantities people were willing to swap for was all up for negotiation. It was a lot of fun to see what everyone brought and to bring home some very tasty treats to share with everyone here back at the homestead.

Victoria Food Swap

If you are in the Greater Victoria area, check out the Victoria Food Swap Facebook Page or blog  for more information. The location will change each month to make the event convenient for as many people as possible.

5 responses to “P is for Portland (bet you thought I was going to say ‘piglets’)

  1. I love the idea of a food swap! Sounds like you did well in your trades.


  2. It looks like you had an inspiring day. The downtown of Iowa City reclaimed a large T-intersection of blocks and converted it into a pedestrian mall. There are trees, play area, water fountain, seats, friday concerts, etc. Not on the scale as in the video, but in the right direction.

    Have you ever watched the show Portlandia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portlandia_(TV_series)


    • I saw a couple of early Portlandia episodes – I think around the time Dani and I spent a few days there. It sounds like the place has become even more Portlandic since our visit… time to go back!


  3. Sounds like an interesting day!


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