HAWAII: An Adventure in SuperForesting

“My life will be one of work, poverty, bad food… living in a grass hut surrounded by filth and savages” – Misguided dude from the movie Hawaii

I had the pleasure of visiting the magical wonderland known as Zero One in Kauai, Hawaii where I got to meet SuperForest Jackson and experience all kinds of beautiful and lovely things. If you haven’t done so please visit the SuperForest site, I guarantee smiles and inspiration will ensue. In short Zero One is an evolving permaculture teaching centre in Kauai. You can see all my photos here!

The sky on my first night in Kauai

Night A

The sound scape here is so rich and full of life. Even at night, the crickets chirp, the roosters crow (If the roosters crow do the crows rooster?), the rain pours (and when I say pours not like northern downpours but like HARDCORE Hawiian Downpours), a strange creature makes a buzzing noise… I had an abundance of crazy dreams that I have forgotten not because they vanished as dreams often do, but because of the sheer volume I had to process.


Day, The First

The grass here is so different. It has such a complex texture of things. I enjoy skipping on it.

Today we:

  • Had a tour of Zero One
  • Ate a fresh raw coconut
  • Gathered water from the spring
  • Harvested bamboo from the bamboo forest
  • Saw beautiful sights on the island
  • Had “coconut sashimi”
  • Climbed a tree
  • Tightrope walked
  • Went to the ocean
  • Swam in the ocean
  • Walked to the store to buy food
  • Saw Felicia from Akamai Backyard
  • Stir fried
  • Listened to stories from random guests about travel adventures

Even here it hard not to feel a little out of place. Some girls came by and needed to vent so they talked about how “crazy” and strict this raw vegan lady is where they are staying. This woman won’t give her kids white sugar or anything. I can see how extreme that can be but on the other hand, if you made a baby, I personally would want to do as much as possible to ensure that no poisons enter its body. Why would you want to give bad things to something so small and innocent? I guess it was a gentle reminder to stay fun loving and light hearted, not letting beliefs and rules consume your life. Today I wrote a song.

Everything breaks… down eventually.

There is no permanence in history.

The surf can splash

And plates: they crash

That’s that way it is means to be.

Breaks, the dawn

breaks, the tide

breaks, the heart

breaks, the dish


What does it take?

What it all takes…

Everything breaks… down eventually.

There is no permanence in history.

But for everything that can break

There’s something we make

a new spray

a new wave

a new day

Day, The Second

The day began with a cup of tea (one of three hehe). We observed the Zero One landscape. So much is going on but yet nothing at all. I had a quality conversation with Mr.Jackson and learned about this CRAZY magician Derren Brown. HOLY %$#&. Check it out. Later I was introduced to the compost toilet and we made friends. New friend Melanie came by and took us on an adventure. She took us to a mysterious man named Henriques’s beautiful property. He makes his own fertilizer and has some awesome plans for his little parcel of paradise. We went walking and saw a waterfall and ate so many different fruits. I tried starfruit and mangosteen (which turned my fingers and teeth yellow… baking soda to the rescue!). It was pleasurable for all of my senses. On the way back we went to the post office and also the healthy hut. While Melanie shopped Jackson and I scavenged a truckload of cardboard from the recycling for future use.

The Zero One Compost Bin

All Fixed Up!

Project AM was to repaired the Zero One compost bin. First I put a layer of mulch on top of the cardboard and food waste inside the bin. Then we nailed some wood to the sides or rather I attempted to nail and in the end Jackson screwed (haha). One day manual labour and I will be friends. Then I learned to chop a coconut with a machete (WAAAA!) (mmmmm). It is hard work! I found that pretending to be a ninja and keeping that knee-bent-pre-jump stance is helpful. Jackson has so much patience, it was pretty sad how long it took, but it can only go up from here : D

Jackson saw this stray dog that was REALLY skinny and obviously recently pregnant. He gave her food and water and named her Yogurt. When he was feeding yogurt to Yogurt it reminded me so much of that scene in AirBud when the boy gives the dog pudding from his backpack. Jackson tried to have a nap but it failed because the dog was vocalizing. Jackson made Avocado sandwiches.They were delicious. Then we began the process of digging a hole in regular permaculture style… by waiting until tomorrow. The dog became Houdini and disappeared (oh nose!) but she was quickly found. Jackson started splitting bamboo chopping for an improved chicken coupe we are going to build. Then the dog got really loud so we changed locations and went inside to eat purple sweet potato (with Braggs, my new condiment BFF). Some people Jackson sort of knew named Nate and Tim showed up at the door with this crazy adventure story. A friend of their’s disappeared in a kayak, didn’t meet back up at the planned time… they met a dude who was on the wrong path from Germany. He drove them to Zero One and they asked to borrow Jackson’s car to go search for their friend and his kayak. They traded our new German friend for the car. The German ended up leaving to start his hike at night (less sun equals less hot equals less sweat equals more water for later) but not until after we introduced him to DOUBLE RAINBOW. So now the car is gone… and the German is gone. and the dog is quiet… for now.

“Everything in life is only for now” – Avenue Q

Pun of the day (intended for Sheamus): “Are you bamboozled?” (via Jenni to Jackson as he split bamboo)

Day, The Third

Yogurt, The DogWe got up so early today. Before 7:00AM. Jackson started making tea and we took the dog outside to eat and sit. After some observation of the environment and Jackson remembering the tea, we went to the pile of cardboard we scavenged yesterday. We made a table out of a cardboard box (complete with pizza box “Lazy Susan”) and listened to a 97 year old version of “Moonlight Bay” and also the song “Soulfire” by Lee Perry (iPhone FTW) while drinking tea. Then we came in and played Chess, which was very challenging I might add. Jackson made a tropical green smoothie (Banana + Pineapple + Coconut Water + Kale + Cucumber). In an effort to use all of the pineapple we boiled the rind and core which produced a sweet liquid. We entertained the dog and then Jackson made us Oatmeal with the pineapple water + banana + pineapple flesh + raisins + cinnamon. We took the dog for a walk in the abandoned Jungle region across the street (“the agland”). In the 70’s the land was set aside for a community garden but in 40 years nothing has happened to it. I think Zero One has plans to make use of this territory in the future. We started digging the hole for the Lychee tree which needs to be three feet deep to allow for optimal Lychee living. Then the humane society showed up and took the dog away. We took a well appreciated nap on the back porch as the sun moved and the wind blew.

The dudes who took the truck came back after having located their missing friend. The whole dynamic and situation reminded me so much of the Hawaiian version of “The Hangover”. They started washing the car and that became the next project of the day. Jackson wanted to make (and I wanted to eat) avocado sandwiches so we went looking for an avocado outside and managed to find one on the ground in the back ally. Only in Hawaii. After we ate we took the nice clean truck across the street to that huge abandoned area, the agland. Someone had left some plastic pallet type things and we went to grab them for future use. While we were getting them we saw this big ass fish head. It was HUGE. I thought it was a wooden sculpture at first but then I saw the vertebrae in the soil. In this wilderness there was also a spot with a ton of dead computer monitors and parts. Talk about nature meets technology. We kept going and found this old dead truck with broken windows just sitting there. I think we are going to go back for the hood in the future, a big metal sheet could be really useful for something. Then we went for dinner at Jackson’s Mom’s house where I met his brother’s girlfriend… and her brother… and his girlfriend. Wow. Confusing in words but simple in life. It was a really cool experience, they have a very creative family. It has inspired me to experiment more with making things. I kept reading “Food Not Lawns” when we came home and then we to sleep. So tired.

I had this dream that I feel is continued from another dream where I took out my heart (the organ) and dissected it. SO WEIRD. I think it stemmed from a conversation we had about composting after death hahaha.

Movies to see: Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil

Book to read: Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

Day, The Fourth

Today I woke up from that strange dream very confused. I took a shower outside (so nice! and fast! wonderful!) and then kept working on our lychee tree hole.

Pre Planting of the Lychee Tree

Pre Planting of the Lychee Tree

Shannon, her bother Sean and his girlfriend Jessica from last night came by to see Zero One and go on an adventure. We finished planting the lychee tree (named Gus or Sug depending on if it is backwards or forwards) and then had some coconut (which I enjoyed putting soy sauce on).

The Lychee Tree

Then the five of us set out to see Kilawea Falls, the waterfall that is super close to Zero One. GORGEOUS. We swam across to the waterfall and then rubbed red mud all over ourselves, which we in turn washed off IN THE WATERFALL. So amazing! When I came out at the base of the waterfall all I could see was this huge rainbow clouding my vision. On of those moments you need to just be there to experience.

After the seeing the magical waterfall we walked back to Zero One. Jackson’s mom was distressed about their dog not feeling well so we quickly got lunch and then people went to various places to try and remedy the situation. We stayed and waited at Zero One, eating our HUGE sandwich (this thing had a whole avocado in it) and waited for this play group of 2 – 3 year old to arrive. They didn’t show but friend Chelsea did (who was going to assist with the kids). We sat and talked for a while but the kids did not show up. Jackson went to help with the dog situation and I stayed behind and got some small projects done. Then we went to go pick up Maya and Augustine from the airport, who also live at Zero One. We went out for dinner to this Thai restaurant. So. much. food. When we got back Jackson created some mint grapefruit tea. We talked for a while then I went outside with Jackson to look at things in the dark. It started to get cold and windy so we moved the chicks from their “Wizard Hat” back to their bucket inside for the night.

Day, The Fifth

Chicken House

I woke up feeling really sick but that didn’t stop us from transplanting some pigeon peas and spreading sweet potato love all over the garden patches. We had purple sweet potato oatmeal and I continued reading “Food Not Lawns”. I am determined to finish that book before leaving. We improved the covering on the chick house with some canvas that Jackson found at the thrift shop. I took a nap on the porch and was really immersed in the environment around me. Jackson made a “Jenni Burger” with a sweet potato patty and several other yummy things (avocado, balsamic vinegar, mustard, peanut butter, cucumber, tomato, thai basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and spouts that we spouted ourselves).

We went into “The Agland” to try and retrieve the hood of this abandoned car but it wouldn’t come off with the tools we brought. A few mosquito bites later we returned to Zero One for a snack and to get ready to go to the Ocean. Maya, Augustine, Jackson and I went to Rock Quarry beach and I had my first surfing experience. The salt water fills you up and cleanses everything! When I came out there were so many fluids coming out of my head it was amazing haha! Of my attempt Jackson said it was, “Highly encouraging. You took to it like a proverbial duck to water.” I went to sit in the river where the water is warm to rest and then Chelsea, who I met yesterday walked by. Small world. We came home and Jackson baked a pumpkin squash which was delicious. Augustine put on this peaceful japanese music and it started to rain. Jackson checked the chickens. They were okay. I went to bed and had really intense sensory overload while trying to fall asleep. I was still surfing : )

The Monday Night

The glow of a lamp

just an orb of light

silhouette of someone

saying goodnight

the chirp of crickets

warm summer breeze

right where you should be

Sky so bright

night like tonight


you could tell me anything

and i’d believe you


You gots to go through the icy icy

to get right into the nicy nicy

but when the water is cold

how do you know

till the temperature gets real hot?

Day, The Sixth

Pick Up Line: On google, you’d be my number one result.

In the morning we went to the dump to find treasure. We got a bunch of rocks, some sheet metal, old bicycles, and all kinds of strange stuff. We brought everything back to Zero One and unloaded it. Jackson made oatmeal with the baked pumpkin from last night. Yum.

Path to the Main HouseI made a path out of the rocks we got from the dump earlier, or rather, I grew the path up to the house that was already in existence. Jackson wanted to know what I eat as I hadn’t cooked anything yet on the trip. I made a raw eggplant lasagna. We went to town to get groceries and so I could see the Akamai Backyard. Felicia wasn’t home but we still got to look around the yard and see everything. One of her chicks was missing an eye which was quite disturbing. Her son Matthew was just heading out but I got to meet him. You know when different people with the same name look and act the same? Definitely got that feeling here. We continued on to the healthy hut for food. They didn’t have any ripe avocados but on the way back we passed a house selling perfectly ripe avocados for 50 cents. Wonderful how life unfolds. When we got back I finished making the eggplant lasagna and some whipped up some avocado chocolate. I then learned that Maya and Augustine are exploring raw eating which was very exciting. I may be the only 18 year old I know with an interest in raw food but I am finding friends. Yayyyy! We packed up the food and went to a place called “Secrets Beach” to watch the sunset. It was a bit of a hike down but totally worth it. I felt like I was in Inception. The beach was so massive and expansive compared to us. We found a spot and made a fire to sit around. The lasagna was really good, no more failed cooked lasagna for me, this is the way to go! We didn’t get to the avocado chocolate, the lasagna was really filling. It started to rain and so we put the towel over our heads. I had such good conversation and imagery. It was a night out with the full moon. Before we left everyone started toning (sound making) kind of centered around the baby. It was really cool and also disorientating. What a magical night. When we got home Jackson went to check on the chickens. He saw this big black shape dart away, which he thinks is a cat, and I am calling “the beast”. One of the chicks disappeared and another one had been horribly mashed. RIP Cleopatra. Jackson put her in the compost. We brought the others inside for safety for the night.

Vegan Blog Post:

Today I had the always imminent discussion about being vegan with Jackson. No matter where I am it is always bound to come up. I guess that comes with the territory. I welcome these opportunities to debate and open my mind to new ideas. He shared some quote with me from some wise figure about how greatest held beliefs are gone in an instant or something (worded much more eloquently). He told me about how he likes to live with no rules and restrictions. I can totally see how positivity is always the better path. Rules and restrictions are negative. Maybe instead of listing things I don’t eat I should be promoting how I eat a “plant based diet” but that misses a big part of veganism. In North American culture a large part of being vegan is negative. Saying a big &$%# you to factory farming and cruelty is huge. And not positive, but neither is eating dead flesh and killing. Personally I think sometimes you need to raise your voice. Say no to cruelty. In doing so, focusing on the positive would certainly help though. I think the way I came to chose this path and the way others will is to get them thinking and open minds, which doesn’t happen through anger or negativity. Jackson was asking me about eating meat if I was stuck on a dessert island. The need to survive… I don’t think I’d do it. I think in life the only rule is treat others as you want to be treated. Treat plants and animals and people as you would have them treat you. Be respectful and kind to them. Just as I wouldn’t want anything to kill me I should not kill. Sure, sometimes cruelty is unavoidable. Stepping on blades of grass could be considered cruelty. I think as long as your intentions are good and pure all will be forgiven. I don’t consciously want to hurt anything so I feel all things will treat me the same way. No one is prefect, people make mistakes. Lightening strikes. People die. I think I would be accepting and forgiving of any accidents that were to happen upon me. At least, i would do my best. When you live in balance and harmony with everything there is no need for “survival of the fittest”. Treat everything as you wish to be treated and it will do the same. I feel like that methodology is at the core of my being. The thought of suffering really hurts me to consider and I would never want to consciously encourage it. In times of trouble or panic there is always a choice and a lesson to be learned. The fact remains that I do not live on a desert island. I live in a world of abundance with so many choices and options that veganism has allowed me to see. Why worry? The earth has everything we need to be nourished and happy : )

Day, The Last

Jackson made us tea and we sat on the lanai (Hawaiian for porch/veranda) and talked. I interviewed him for my little Zero One documentary. Then Felicia from Akamai Backyard came over with her dogs and son Ian to talk with Jackson about Zero One and practicality on the island. I helped Augustine shred cardboard for his compost pile and then we took this big tree cutting tool and collected a bunch of avocados and limes. Then I went with Jackson and Felicia and Ian. We walked down to this gigantic 13 acre property that is for sale nearby. When we got back I went to make a piña colada, but like a real one from a fresh coconut and pineapple. It took me so much time and was really messy but totally worth it. It gave me something to focus my energy at. Right as I started attempting to open the coconut I was really upset about leaving and coming back to a world that makes trash, and watches lots of TV and has lots of pain and suffering to sustain an unhealthy lifestyle. Here I am on the brink of tears trying to open this @$#%ing coconut hahah. What a moment. We went into town and I got my Mom a REALLY expensive shirt. I don’t think i’m meant to make people happy by buying things. I spend too much or not enough and everything goes wrong. I’m at a point in life where I don’t want things. I don’t want to buy them or own them. That doesn’t sound too positive… gah. Anyway… on the way back Jackson stopped at the hardware store and then SuperForester Jesse called him on the phone. I think during this trip I’ve learned how much of an eavesdropper I have been in my life. I went to the opposite side of the store so they could talk without me listening. While I was wandering the aisles “Children will listen” from Into The Woods started playing. WEIRD. I don’t know what sort of a sign it is but something on my mind has been deciding weather or not to be in Into The Woods with Theatrix next year. Doing the show would be fun but there is also stress and interpersonal drama that seems to come with being involved. I was left pleasantly confused, as I often am. What are the odds of a really obscure old musical song playing in a local hardware store in Hawaii?

We came back to Zero One and I heated up some oatmeal and ate it with avocado and peanut butter the way Jackson had recommended when I first arrived. Chelsea came over to help with the toddler playgroup. When I found them there was a little boy sitting inside the chicken coop. TOO CUTE. Ian from the Akamai Backyard came by to see what the tykes were up to. Later on the little boy helped me water the garden. He didn’t really understand the part about getting the water on the plants but he is learning! Yayyyy! When the boy and his family left, Jackson took me to Rock Quarry Beach for one last try at surfing. I stood up once! Mind you the board plowed into the ground and Jackson was pretty much pushing me out and positioning me but hey, i’m not picky haha. We found this cool barrel in the river just sitting there and grabbed it.

When we got back from surfing I took a walk around the property and sort of said a goodbye to the land. I sat on the swing and hugged the tree we climbed on my first day here. I kind of had a little moment where I realized coming back here might not be the best idea. Living here is living in someone else’s paradise. Someone else’s dream. I don’t really know where my path is yet. I am so young and have so much I want to learn about. I think I need to rethink my course choices for the fall. I think I need to make a trip to Oregon. I think I need to explore California. I want to learn about Permaculture and raw food and nutrition and cognitive thinking and sacred geometry and astrology and all these wonderful alternative things. I think I am but a tiny tadpole in the big sea of goodness with a whole future to explore.

When I came inside Augustine shared a cucumber with me for dinner. Then I ate some avocado chocolate dipped with baked pumpkin, papaya and pineapple. I sat with Jackson, Maya and Augustine and we all “talked story”. Augustine put some of his amazing music on a flash drive for me. Maya went to bed and the remaining three musketeers did set one of the “Feldenkrais exercises”. It was really interesting and I look forward to exploring this training cool program further. Then Jackson and Augustine started toning (making sounds) and it evolved into this inspiring creative jam with a guitar and a bongo. Then we heard the chicks peeping and Jackson booked it outside. The silence that followed was filled with melancholy. One of the remaining three chicks had been attacked. Maybe it’s the vegan in me but I can’t help but think keeping them caged up wasn’t right. Think of how much work and food went into raising them, just to make some eggs. Is it really worth all those resources (food and time) to make some “protein”? And what of the chicks? It was a sad moment.

Later I had a kind of final conversation with Jackson. I decided to stay up as I had the energy to and I got to work editing my Zero One experience into an internet ready video. I packed up my stuff. I peed outside one last time. I set my alarm (for the first time on this trip) for  5:00AM, the same time I got up when this whole adventure began last Wednesday. Full circle. I went to go try to use the composting toilet for the last time and then this really intense downpour began. I went inside. Jackson made us tea, but togo this time and we drove to the airport.

Lessons from Zero One:

  • Make your job to serve the people around you.
  • Maybe the key to finding the right partner is finding someone that you have a mutual and shared happiness with.
  • The world doesn’t revolve around you.
  • Don’t be judgmental. Be open to what other have to teach you.
  • Everything in the past is fantasy. Everything in the future is fantasy. Be here. All we have is now.
  • This is the most important place you’ll ever be. Your whole life has led up to this moment. All the people you’ve know and the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons learned and the challenges overcome and the friends and the enemies and the tears and the joy. Embrace it. Love it. Don’t take it for granted for a second.
  • Everything is always in balance, even if it isn’t apparent to you.

    If I was able to kill other beings to make horcruxes i’d leave a part of my soul in Kauai. But i’m not that badass. So what have I left behind?

    • A bar of soap
    • Q Tips
    • Baking Soda
    • A Navy Sports Bra. Oops.
    • A planted Lychee Tree named “Sug”
    • A semi effective chicken coop with a nice cover
    • Some old eclectic records
    • Maple Syrup
    • An expansion to the rock pathway
    • And hopefully something non physical. A positive presence. I hope. I guess time will tell.

    Movie to see: Alive

    Listen to: Dancer with bruised knees by Kate & Anna McGarrigle

    The Journey Continues

    I was sad about leaving yesterday. I wanted to grow roots and become a part of the earth. Today, however I think it feels right to go. It’s like a magnet is pulling me forward through life and taking me to everywhere I go. All I have to do is let it guide me. When I got up the Spice Girls song “Viva Forever” was playing in my head. A suitable goodbye. Jackson drove me to the airport and we had tea on the way. I am uncomfortable caffeinated and pleasantly peaceful. The man sitting next to me at the gate was listening to handlebars by Flobots. Funny. I laughed. Out loud. And off I go to keep riding the wave… away from Hawaii and onward. To infinity and beyond.



    somewhere over the rainbow

    somewhere over the rainbow

    The Garden Diet

    I just finished doing a 21 day raw cleanse with my Mom called “The Garden Diet“. It cost some money but they sent us all the recipes to follow and there were a bunch of other people doing it at the same time as us.It was created by this really cool raw family that is super healthy looking and fun having (the website talks all about them). I started it the same day I started working at summer camps so it was really nice to not have to make decision about what to eat… you just follow the recipes! A few of them were kinda gross but from the most part they were delicious and helped me to try new things and learn which flavours I prefer, This cleanse was completely raw and didn’t use a dehydrator at all. I was amazed there were so many recipes using just nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies.

    I stuck to it pretty religiously except for the last few days…

    I did it because I wanted to support my Mom doing it, anything that puts more vegan food in our house is a good thing, and I am also very interested in raw eating.

    The first few days I was EXHAUSTED and this could have just been from starting a new job and not being used to working with kids all day. Wednesday the energy started coming and I felt unstoppable. Everything was great until Thursday of week two, “Water Day”. On thursday itself I was fine not eating and just drinking water. I went to rehearsal and had a full day without really being hungry at all. The next morning however I woke up and was too weak to move, my Mom had to drive me to work and make me some juice and almond milk. I felt like Mimi in RENT when she’s been “doing lots of drugs and not eating any food for three weeks”. Apart from that is was really good though, I’m glad I experienced it and it was a fun/tasty adventure.

    If you don’t know what raw food is it basically entails not cooking anything and eating lots of fresh juice, soaked nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits. YUM! Of course this is gluten free and vegan (some recipes used honey but I substituted fruit and dates in those cases).


    Vegan Pizza Party

    Pizza Party Menu @ The Loving Hut

    MMMMMM! So on Wednesday I went to the Vancouver Vegetarian Meetup for the first time. It was so full of deliciousness and awesomeness. The meetup was a Vegan Pizza Party hosted by The Loving Hut, this great little Vancouver restaurant. I got there a bit early but some folks had already showed up. Everyone was really friendly and super cool. I love how at these things you can have a great conversation with pretty much anyone. Everyone comes from such different places and has such unique stories to share. You can learn so much from other people. We got to try all four of The Loving Hut Pizza’s and also sample their poutine and royal caesar salad. It all tasted really good, my favourites were the vegan poutine, Island Bliss Pizza and the Ocean Love Pizza. They all used Daiya Vegan Cheese which is the one i’ve been most impressed with as far as cheese alternatives go. This way of eating vegan isn’t the healthiest (compared to say a raw diet… more on that soon) but every once in a while it’s nice to try something new and good : )

    They had pictures of famous vegatarians on the wall and a bunch of happy writing painted on about nourishment, respect and joy. The minute I went inside it was like : D

    That should be one of the awesome things, liking a place just based on the atmosphere and vibe it puts out. I suppose that could apply to people too.

    I also got to try this drink called Oogave which was really delicious. It’s only available in the US but i’d definitely pick some up next time i’m across the border (maybe on my trip to HAWAII??? details to follow…). Someone was nice enough to share so with everyone so I got to try the watermelon creme flavour and I’m not a huge fan of super fizzy drinks but this was a pleasant level of carbonation.

    I didn’t stay for the fireworks because I had some trip planning to do but I definitely would have. Everyone was super nice and I had a really good time. Looking forward to future meet ups!

    The Grand BC Adventure Part IV

    Before we left Glade I made Steve and Randy take me to their backyard to see their massive compost operation and their backyard garden setup.

    Steve compared making compost to baking a cake. His strategy is to put a layer of hay, a layer of grass clipping or leaves or yard waste and a layer of food waste (if I recall correctly). The hay helps to create heat which helps the food waste to break down. He also recommended peeing on your compost. Pee has nitrogen which speeds decomposition and helps to create heat. They keep a thermometer in the compost to see if it is getting hot enough.

    They have several bins going and once the compost is done they move it around into a bin for compost which is ready to go into the garden. They also showed me some of their growing techniques.

    These tomato plants grow upwards on the strings which guide them.

    I love Steve and Randy, they are beautiful people living a beautiful life.

    On the drive back a lightening storm started. It was so amazing to be surrounded by the awesome power of nature. We passed two mountain deer (slightly different than the “city deer” in Grand Forks hehe).

    Happy Plants and Sad Plants

    a happy plant : )

    Last week I had the pleasure of attending a container gardening workshop at SFU Burnaby hosted by the SFU Local Food Project. It was by donation and I walked away with a few lovely plants (tomato, mustard [which is very tasty] and something else that I can’t identify). It was a bit of an adventure getting there (I was in the wrong building oopse! You know you are a Surrey Student when… haha, but that explained why I room I was looking for didn’t exist).

    It was hosted by Matthew Kemshaw of the Environmental Youth Alliance. He was very knowledgeable and answered many of my silly beginner questions (ie: what is a good starter plant that I would be likely to not kill?).

    One thing that surprised me is that gardening can have the potential to be non-vegan. He had one soil enhancing product made from fish remains from a factory fish farm. Gross! The good news is you can avoid this product by using your own properly made compost. Much more fun.One thing that I found confusing was all the talk of “happy plants” and “sad plants”. As someone with little gardening background it can be confusing to tell the difference between the two. In my limited study of permarculture I have also had this issue. It can be difficult to partake in observation if you don’t know what to look for. I asked some people for their advice and made this list of thing that contribute to plant-itude (that’s plant + attitude).

    a sad plant : (

    • Colour: Happy plants look alive and bright with their leaves and growth
    • Posture: Slouchy, droopy plants are often unhappy
    • Decay: Are the leaves being nibbled at by bugs or are they full and lush?
    • Odor: Bad, rotting smells can be signs of an unhappy plant

    Insects: Do you see bugs attacking your plant?Some other resources that were recommended include pfaf.org and the books Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway and Growing vegetables west of the cascades : the complete guide to organic gardening by Steve Solomon.

    Review: Vegan Freak

    The last book read was Vegan Freak by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres (yes they are a couple and yes I think it’s adorable). I love the cover and carrying the book around was a great conversation starter (I was sad to return it to the library). As someone who has been vegan for a while (a little over a year now) most of the information was not new to me. After a while you get used to dealing with common questions and you learn how to find things you can eat. I expected the book would deal more with social ethics, something I am struggling with. For example, what to do when someone gives you a non-vegan gift and similar situations. I also disagreed with some of their advice. I do not think you should get rid of all your non-vegan things. I still have shoes with leather and will wear them until they wear out. Waste is a huge problem in North America and throwing things out only contributes to this. Also, when you give things away to people it tells people that it’s okay for them to continue to be non-vegan. I am a huge advocate for up-cycling and reuse. I would love for the world to stop abusing animals but I don’t think we should waste all the animal products currently in existence.

    For new vegans this book may be very helpful and I enjoyed the comical and entertaining voice they write with. Read this book with a grain of (sea?) salt and form your own opinions. Reading vegan books if a great way to open dialogue (skytrain conversation anyone?) and promote the cause.

    Main: Take 1

    Today I met up with a friend and went downtown to do some exploring on Main Street! I was recently reading about all the cool stuff there on Granville Online. A few months ago I came across Pulp Fiction Used Bookstore online and i’ve wanted to make a trip ever since. I was a bit disappointed they only purchased one book from the offerings I brought to rid myself of (previous read Michael Moore collection, some paperback novels, “Planet Simpson” non fiction, and a few books from the Twilight series). I walked away with my sack of publications and one addition, “Change of Heart” by Jodi Picoult (author of “My Sister’s Keeper” and “Nineteen Minutes”, both of which were very good). Someone, who for the life of me I can’t place, recommended it to me. After that excursion ended we stopped in at The Wallflower for lunch! I was pretty excited because they have a menu of vegan and gluten-free options (though there is little overlap).

    I ordered the “Hummus Melt” which includes:  hummus, spinach, onion, mushroom, vegan mozza, green salad on some sort of gluten-free flatbread. It was quite tasty but difficult to eat and a little on the oily side. I liked the chill vibe of the place and the decor was very appealing. I’ll have to stop by again to try their Thunder Fries and specialty pizza! Yay for alternative dietary restrictions!