About ingrid

Ingrid has been the owner and editor of The East Shore Mainstreet newspaper for more than twelve years now. She lives in Gray Creek, BC, with her husband Juergen and children Zoe and Luka.

Pressing Matter: Creston & District Farmers Line Up Behind the Community’s New Mobile Fruit and Vegetable Press

May 11, 2017, Creston Valley – Food security in the Kootenays is getting an exciting boost. Starting this cherry season, the Creston-based Mobile Press Project will give farmers, food processors, and community groups access to a game-changing piece of infrastructure. When it pulls up at an orchard or alongside a root vegetable field, the Kreuzmayr press might not look like much. The unassuming unit is pulled behind a pick-up truck and fits on a 20 x 8 foot canvas-walled trailer. But when the walls fold out to reveal premium stainless steel equipment and the Austrian-made press starts running, the results are impressive. The press can clean, juice, pasteurize, and package all varieties of fruits and vegetables grown in the province. It is able to process more than 20,000 pounds of produce a day, producing more than 10,000 litres of juice.

With millions of pounds of non-marketable produce being landfilled each growing season, the project promises to cut food waste and add to the region’s food supply. In the Creston Valley alone, an estimated 40,000 tonnes of cherries go to the landfill each year. Much of this fruit is good to eat fresh and certainly good to process, but farms have simply been without good local infrastructure for keeping it from going to waste. With the Mobile Press Project in place, an alternative is finally available.

The project started as one young farmer’s vision, but the success belongs to a network of people and organizations. Last winter, the Creston & District Fields Forward partnership was launched as an experiment in connecting food security partners to take on practical projects. A paid coordinator was hired to help participants find common ground and seize shared opportunities. An Opportunity Fund was set up by local government to provide seed money for getting projects off the ground. Only 16 months later the Mobile Press Project is evidence of what focused cooperation can accomplish.

The inspiration behind the project came from David Mutch, a Fields Forward volunteer and owner-operator of JRD Farms and William Tell Family Estate. He is a friendly face at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market where he is known for his specialty vinegars, ciders, chutneys, jellies, fruit spreads, and warm laughter.

“I suggested the project because I saw the potential to grow my operation and to help other farms and businesses in the community thrive. I wanted Kootenay farmers like me to have the chance to process what they grow in time with the harvest, instead of saving it up for trips to use equipment in the Okanagan. I wanted us to have a way to make better products with fresher fruit at lower costs. I couldn’t make that happen on my own.”

Within days of Dave putting his idea forward, the Fields Forward Coordinator was able to tap into Opportunity Fund seed money to hire an expert to test the concept. A feasibility assessment was followed by comprehensive project planning. Now, new possibilities are on the horizon for Dave, other Kootenay orchardists, and the region.

“What we are achieving through the Mobile Press Project shows what is starting to happen in the Creston area thanks to Fields Forward,” says Mutch. “People are getting the support they need to contribute what they can to get things done. Since I shared my idea, all kinds of people – from local government officials to school teachers to staff at our local First Nation band – have helped in their own way to make the idea a reality.”

Almost $350,000 has been raised, with most of the funding coming from local sources, including the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the Town of Creston, and Creston & District Community Directed Funds. Other funders include the BC Rural Dividend Fund and Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. Fundraising for the project was driven by Fields Forward volunteer and RDCK Area B Director, Tanya Wall. “It was easy for me to champion this project,” smiles Wall. “As a politician, a lot of what you do makes the kind of difference that is hard to see. With this project we will all be able to literally taste the difference. I know that this will make it easier for farmers and food producers to earn a decent living and will put more nutritious local food on tables in my Area.”

Bringing a Mobile Press to the region will produce measurable social, economic, and environmental benefits. In its first year, the project is expected to:

  • Create six new jobs;
  • Enable at least five farms to produce juice-based products locally;
  • Process over 450,000 pounds of fruit, yielding more than 120,000 litres of juice;
  • Divert 252,000 pounds of non-marketable cherries from the Creston landfill;
  • Directly contribute 25,000+ litres of juice to the emergency food supply; and,
  • Cause a $425,000+ multiplier effect on the Creston & District economy.

Hiring for the project is underway. A five-person crew is being hired to operate the press. Job posts for an Operations Manager, two Operators, and two Summer Students can be found on the Kootenay Employment Services job board and at www.kes.bc.ca. A dynamic and hardworking team, with mechanical expertise and backgrounds in agriculture will be needed to get the project up and running.

Booking the press is also happening now. Anyone in the Columbia Basin with interest in using the press can contact Kootenay Employment Services. Farms or businesses with large volumes are encouraged to book juicing days. “Open Juicing Days” will be announced throughout the season to give homesteaders and smaller operations the chance to press their cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, pears and root vegetables. “Community Press Fests” will be public celebrations where juice will be pressed for the region’s food banks and for local school lunch programs.

The Mobile Press is part of a local movement that is all about building community wealth using local ingenuity and resources. “This project and others, like the new Creston & District Community Investment Co-op, prove that we can create local solutions to the challenges that face our area,” says Creston & District Economic Action Partnership lead, Laura Francis. “As a community, we are getting better at turning our bold visions into concrete actions that actually work for us. I hope that Dave’s story will inspire someone else to come forward with another game-changer.”

For more about the Mobile Press Project, Fields Forward, or the Creston & District Economic Action Partnership contact Laura Francis at lf@kes.bc.ca or 250-428-5655 ext. 425.

 

 

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Visiting Nelson/Creston This Month

press release by Greens of BC

Image result for elizabeth may green party

NELSON B.C. – Hot on the heels of BC Green Party Leader, Andrew Weaver, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, will tour Nelson-Creston with MLA candidate, Kim Charlesworth, on Thursday, April 20.

“Elizabeth is visiting to support and inspire the Green Wave that we’re seeing in BC.”,
Charlesworth said. “The people of Nelson-Creston need to know that the Greens present a real option for reclaiming our democracy and solving problems that affect individuals, communities, our environment, and our climate. ”

Elizabeth can be booked to meet with the media for half an hour after her events in Creston and Nelson.

CRESTON: Apr 20, 12:30- 2:30pm – The Green Groundswell continues with Elizabeth May. Speeches by Kim Charlesworth & Elizabeth May. Discussion with citizens. Cookies & drinks. Creston & District Community Complex , 312 19 Ave N

NELSON: Apr 20, 7-9pm  – The Green Groundswell continues with Elizabeth May
Keynote Speaker – Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May, Speech by Kim Charlesworth, Questions & Answers with citizens, silent auction, music, snacks & drinks.
Rod and Gun Club, 801 Railway Street.

Legalizing the Recreational Use of Cannabis

Wayne’s World – A Monthly Submission by Kootenay-Columbia MP, Wayne Stetski

Legalizing the Recreational Use of Cannabis

There was not a room in Kootenay-Columbia big enough to accommodate the 3000+ people that took part in the Town Hall I hosted on Marijuana Legalization in Canada.  Conveniently most of the participants were sitting comfortably in their own living rooms taking part over the phone!

Since being elected in 2015, I have received hundreds of questions and comments about Justin Trudeau’s election commitment to Legalize Marijuana.  Since the Prime Minister’s cynical retreat from his promise of democratic reform, it is difficult to know how many more promises the Liberal government might break.  With that being said, we know that the issue of Marijuana Legalization is a complex one; it will undoubtedly have effects on our health, our local economies, and our law enforcement.   The current state of limbo has created chaos for municipalities, police forces, businesses and recreational cannabis users.   In November 2016, a government taskforce released A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada, but until we see legislation a very problematic grey area remains.

On March 14 I hosted a telephone town hall; the intent of the town hall was to bring people together from all corners of Kootenay-Columbia to share their questions, concerns, knowledge and opinions about the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.  I also wanted to prepare myself to represent the diverse views of the riding when the government brings forward legislation, which could happen as early as this spring.  I assembled a panel consisting of the Mayor of Nelson, a drug and alcohol addictions expert, and a Kimberley marijuana retailer. I also invited the RCMP to take part, but they respectfully declined.   3,378 people from across Kootenay-Columbia joined us on the call to listen, ask questions and share their opinions.

We heard concerns about the effects of second hand smoke and impaired driving.  There were questions about possible effects on life insurance and the age limit for legal use.  There were a number of comments and ideas about how the tax revenue could and should be used.  Questions and comments also touched on about how people who have gotten criminal records for simple possession would be pardoned and whether or not cannabis is a gateway drug.  Another of the themes focused on who could and should grow and sell recreational cannabis. The panelists were able to respond to most of the concerns, and referencing the task force report provided insight on some of the other questions.

Since the town hall I have heard from many constituents who were grateful for the opportunity to hear from their neighbours and other communities across the riding; many have spoken on the value of having broad community conversations.   I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of the participants. Even though this is an issue that can be divisive, all participants engaged in the conversation in a respectful and productive matter.  Many folks who were not comfortable with or able to share their thoughts on the phone have since emailed them to me, so I can take them forward to Ottawa.

If you were not able to take part in the town hall, it was recorded and can be found on my website and youtube channel for your reference.  As with all federal issues, please contact me with any feedback.

We will have to wait and see what the federal government’s next steps are when it comes to Marijuana Legalization.  Many questions will remain unanswered until we see legislation come forward.  The input I have received will inform my advocacy on behalf of the residents of Kootenay-Columbia when we see that legislation in Parliament.  Remember that the Liberal Justice Minister continues to say that until the law is changed, it is illegal to be in possession of cannabis and you can end up with a criminal record for using it recreationally.

 

Mentorship Opportunities

Be A Mentor!

by Matthew Winger, Mentorships Coordina­tor, CBESS

youthmentoring
For six years the in­novative Crawford Bay School Mentorship Program has been mat­ching secondary stud­ents with community members to provide personalized learning experiences.  We have been very fortunate to be able to coor­dinate the myriad ac­tivities and to witn­ess the wonderful in­teractions between the students and their mentors.  Students have summed up their experiences with statements as profound as “I have a new best friend” and many mentors have found a “renewed interest and inspiration” sha­ring their interests and expertise with students.  It’s said that “it takes a vi­llage to raise a chi­ld”.  The mentorship program contributes to a stronger commu­nity through these shared experiences and connections.
We will again be see­king mentors for this year’s program sch­eduled to begin in early May through to early June.  Please feel free to contact me if your talents and skills align with the following list of student interests and to refer commu­nity members to the program at 250-227-9218  or cbessmentorships@gma­il.com
Student Interest Top Picks:
  • computer repair
  • rock climbing
  • video game coding
  • vet assistant
  • photography
  • sewing
  • creative writing
  • automotive repair
  • trail building
  • piano
  • ESIS
  • sound mixing
  • massage Therapy
  • archery
  • welding
  • tanning
  • sailing
  • candy making
I thank you once aga­in for your enthusiastic support of this pro­gram.  Other schools in our district and the province are ea­ger to replicate our results so we may be proud of what we have accomplished tog­ether.  For those of you who have been mentors, thank you for caring and sharing your time, effort and sometimes patience to support a stude­nt’s learning.  For those of you who have not yet had the re­warding opportunity to be a mentor, I ho­pe you will soon.

Ooops! So Sorry…

sorry

The back page of the March Mainstreet listed the MV Osprey as being out of service in March, when in fact it isn’t until April that the servicing occurs. We are sincerely sorry for any confusion this mis-print may have caused.