Spring Gillard

Midnight in the Garden

One from the archives. This essay first appeared in the Globe and Mail, Facts & Arguments page (October 30, 2001) with a beautiful illustration from Steve Murray. A slightly longer version then appeared in my book, the Diary. Happy Halloween!

Illustration by Steven Murray

This Halloween story begins in a late summer […]

Higher Ground

I don’t own a cell phone, which makes me a bit of a freak in this day and age. I remember travelling on a bus in Guatemala and saw a peasant woman pull a cell phone out of the band of her skirt. It’s not just because I don’t want brain cancer, but also I […]

Taking the Tofitian Waters

When I was in Tofino recently, I wanted to find out how they had resolved their water storage problem. Back in 2006, they famously ran out of water at the height of tourist season. The town of around 1,600 Tofitians swells to about 6,000 during the summer months, a time when water demand is highest […]

Something’s Rotten in Compost City

I just published my latest book on-line with Smashwords: Something’s Rotten in Compost City, A Primer on the Politics of Food. It’s been a long time coming. In some ways this book picks up where my last book left off. It’s an account of my life after leaving City Farmer, a non-profit urban agriculture group […]

Fire Breathing Dragons

I’ve been exploring composting options for the Kits Community Centre commercial kitchen. We checked out the White Dragon in action at Trafalgar’s Bistro. It was impressive! This automated system cooks organic matter in twelve to twenty-four hours. I was skeptical, but when I saw the finished product, I was amazed. It was dry and it […]

Middle Beach Moment

I suppose it is fitting that in the year I choose Middle Path as my theme, that I find myself at Middle Beach Lodge on a very middle-aged birthday. I am at a crossroads, it feels more like a whole new book, than a new chapter. And so here I am in Tofino, contemplating my […]

As the Worm Turns in Tofino

Many years ago I delivered a worm bin to a cousin of mine who lives in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I don’t think the worms survived the first winter. I’m heading there this week and will be blogging about the community’s sustainability efforts. I have already been snooping around on a […]

Twin Meadows Organics

The first time I called Garry and Wendy Lowe at the appointed interview hour, there was no answer. That’s because cell phone service was down – the only phone service they have. In fact, there are no wires anywhere near their home, they are way off the grid in the fertile Robson Valley, between Prince […]

Botch in the Batch

I did a large batch of fermented pickles this year – large for me. In the twenty jars, I had only one botch. Thankfully it was the smallest jar. You can tell by the gunk at the top, when I open it, it will smell throw-uppy.

Since I’ve been taking some canning classes, I have […]

It Takes a Village

We have been touring the Olympic Village with design manager Roger Bayley for four years now in the SFU Applications course, part of a certificate in Sustainable Community Development. We were crawling around in the bellies of buildings looking at the green infrastructure long before the athletes moved in.

Last year, post Olympics, the Village […]