Garden Gnomad is out there!


Yesterday I took GG out on the first garden visit to meet Ruth Tschannen in her Camphill Community’s beautiful Cascadia Garden. She was very generous to show me all of their well tended gardens and work spaces (including a barrel for ritual stirring of organic water to be distributed out into the community and carefully tended compost piles and containers). Ruth is really like a homeopath for gardens and for the community of disabled adults and their families who work and live at Cascadia. Besides tending the beautiful surroundings they work on theatre (plays, puppetry) and music and probably a lot more.

Ruth mentioned how she has noticed that when gardeners get together in conversation they begin to make communities. Gardeners have a lot to say to each other and a lot of ideas and materials to share.

Inspired by the Cascadia garden, I spent the afternoon preparing a little bed with snap peas, swiss chard and nasturtiums in the back lane. I put a little willow-woven fence around it.

I have started an album for the GG photo-postcards here:
Garden Gnomad Postcard album

Photos of Garden Gnomad in action this week at the Means of Production Community Garden and other sites are here:
Garden Gnomad in Action album

Saturday, April 18 (1-3pm) – Garden Gnomad will be at the Earth Day Celebration at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre (16th & Ontario, Vancouver, BC) as part of the MOPARRC meet & greet. Mt Pleasant CC is one of the supporters of MOPARRC Events & Activities. Lori Weidenhammer as Madame Beespeaker will be there eco-tagging the site from 11-2. Sharon Kallis, another MOPARRC artist will be at the Means of Production Community Garden (6th & St Catherines) hosting a garden work party.

Sunday, April 26 (1-4pm) – Earth Day Artists Tea Party at Means of Production Community Garden. This is the first of three public celebrations resulting from three artists in residence at MOP. On-site performances from a number of local performers combine with garden-brew teas and other goodies.

Keet tract of MOPARRC events here .

Saturday, May 9 (12-5) – Garden Gnomad will be at the Stone Soup Festival at Britannia Centre (Napier & Commercial) where issues of urban agriculture is combined with artworks of all kinds.

At all of these events, I am hoping to pick up some dates for visits to gardens and farms… and give away a lot of gorgeous garden postcards!


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Getting Closer

Garden Gnomad is getting ready to visit some gardensGarden Gnomad packed up for travel

Garden Gnomad is getting closer to being road worthy. I hope to take it on a garden visit this week and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre’s Earth Day on Saturday, April 18 (I will be there from 1-3). It will also appear at the Britannia Centre’s Stone Soup Festival on May 9.

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Great Farm Trek at UBC!

The Great Farm Trek to save UBC Farm was more than Great – it was Fabulous! The weather was the warmest and brightest that it has been in this city since fall and people came out in Great numbers to support that very special site for learning, research and community development. I don’t know how crowd numbers are measured, but I do know that the crowd stretch out at least 2 blocks behind us. I enjoyed the walk with the Queen Bee (Lori Weidenhammer) and Ullie (a juvenile drone?). The Queen has a long history of volunteer support for UBC Farm and her performance attracted a lot of interest amongst visitors and the press. [But where was the major press? – I didn’t see any press units from CBC or any of the others… ] I took the Garden Gnomad sandwich board, with photos from the Banff Centre gardens and a removable text for the cause: FARM UBC!! (why not farm it all!)

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Vancouver – Farm Town

Today I am preparing for the Great Farm Trek 09 to Save UBC Farm… sod hat; sandwich boards… photos to come. Come out to UBC to support the FARM! APRIL 7, 3:30! farm-trek-email

As for other farms inside Vancouver, on Saturday morning Carl, Sarah & I met with Ward Teulon of City Farm Boy who spent a couple of hours showing us around his backyard (and front yard and side yard) gardens. We heard about ways to intensify food production in small spaces. His knowledge of chemical inputs in agriculture and ways to reduce or mitigate them in small scale but intensive food production is awesome. What a resource he is for this city!  He operates a CSA grocery service, sells at farmers’ markets, adopts backyard gardens and rooftop gardens, and has all kinds of great ideas for local food production. Here is one of his early spinach crops:


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Fond Farewell

sunflowersproutsThe BNMI Liminal Screen Residency officially ended 5 days ago… but here in Vancouver it was extended by visits to the city this week by Kate, Mary and Dick. It was a huge pleasure to meet, talk with, walk with, eat & drink with… sing along with, gaze vistas alongside … all of these participants & advisors:

Veronique Chance (London) | Nina Czegledy (Toronto) | Kristine Diekman (San Jose) | Dick Van Dijk (Amsterdam) | Ruth Gibson (London) | Bruce Gottlieb (Berlin) | Ed Jordon (Montreal) | Scott Kildall (LA) | Erika Lincoln (Winnipeg) | Willy Le Maitre (TO) | Bruno Martelli (London) | Mary Oliver (Manchester) | Kate Rich (Bristol) | Jesse Scott (Vancouver then TO) | Dana Shukster (Medicine Hat) | Greg Staats (Ontario)

Thank you everyone for your good questions and inspiring ideas. The vey best wishes for your projects. KEEP IN TOUCH!

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Open Studio – text & image

For the BNMI Open Studio Event, I prepared this handout about Garden Gnomad. It includes a list of related art and garden actions that have influenced and inspired me during the residency: Open Studio Garden Gnomad Handout

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Ending the Residency

BNMI Open studios & plant give-away

The end of this residency at the Banff New Media Institute is clearly in sight. Like the others, I am scrambling to get ready for the open studios that will happen tomorrow. The plants from this garden for distraction will, I hope go home with some of the visitors.


Dana Machovec’s workshop about sprouting as a means to produce food indoors was a big treat over at JPL. The lounge was very warm with the early spring sun beating into the atrium lounge. And, Dana, an expert at hospitality, provided iced wheat grass juice, a sprout salad, soup that incorporated the rinses from the sprouting process as well a complex blend of sprouts, miso, seaweed, sprout-topped guacamole nacho chips and many other types of sprouts to try. Dana’s talk demonstrated both the interest, skill and will that is a requirement for integration of indoor food production into one’s lifestyle. Since then, I have been enjoying the sunflower sprouts that Dana left for me in my studio -the gift that began our conversations. Dana Machovec is willing to engage in questions about sprouting or food production or nutrition while living in Banff or ?:  danamach[at]

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