September 18, 2016
Teesha Sharma, Youth Services Director at the CEED Centre Neighbourhood House, is mentioned as a community change maker in a Global News at Noon Weekend interview of Anuschka Naidoo, YMCA Manager of Mental Wellness Programs and co-founder of the YMCA Mindfulness Groups. Both Naidoo and Sharma are featured speakers at the first Y Talks event, which highlights community impact stories from some of Vancouver's change-makers.
by Phil Melnychuk - Maple Ridge News (Image Credit: Phil Melnychuk)
Jul 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM— updated Jul 15, 2016 at 9:02 AM
Maple Ridge farm hub proposal needs land
An idea for an agri-food and farming hub that sprouted a few years ago is taking root as the North Fraser Centre, which Christian Cowley would like to get growing as soon as possible.
And he thinks the old Jackson Farm in Albion, on 102nd Avenue, would be an ideal place for a centre that would put a focus on farming.
The centre could occupy about half of the farm’s 39 acres and offer hands-on and business courses in farming, in partnership with B.C. universities.
A community garden, farmer’s market, and crops grown for restaurants and kitchens could be part of the operation, which would start small, then gradually build.
Cowley is with the Community Education on Environment and Development Centre, which is leading the proposal.
The centre doesn’t have to go in that location, but for Cowley, it makes sense, although it would require lots of explaining to show how it would fit in a location that’s intended to be a park.
“It’s really a matter of communicating that well, and helping people understand, this was a farm, it was a working farm.”
“It would be true to its actual history.”
A community effort in resulted in the city saving Jackson Farm from development in 2011 with plans to turn it into a park.
Stuart Pledge, with the Friends of Jackson Farm, hasn’t heard about the CEED Centre proposal.
“My understanding is that Jackson Farm is designated as future park land.”
Parks staff have said that before any decisions are made about Jackson Farm, a public process will take place.
“Our goal is to have the farm developed as a passive park. It’s a proposal that would cost very little,” and be accessible to everyone, Pledge added.
Maple Ridge council heard the presentation from the CEED Centre last fall, when it asked for the city’s general support for the concept of a farm centre and for permission to use the True North Fraser branding program that was announced in 2013.
But the key part of the request to the city is for it to provide about 20 acres for the centre, at no charge, for five years, after which the centre should turn a profit and lease payments could be made.
So far, the city hasn’t responded.
Other locations for the farm centre could be Albion flats, near 105th Avenue and Lougheed Highway, Cowley told council on Tuesday.
The Agricultural Land Commission has said that land on the west side of 105th Avenue must remain in the reserve.
However, the land has poor drainage and also would require measures to protect fish-rearing habitat in Spencer Creek, which flows through the Albion flats.
“It does provide some extra challenges that you wouldn’t find on Jackson Farm,” Cowley said.
“There may be other properties in Maple Ridge that are already publicly owned that may be more advantageous. It’s really not tied to any one site.”
The idea of a farm centre isn’t a new one and was first considered as part of the B.C. Jobs Plan discussions from four years ago.
“This concept directly draws from all of these plans. That’s because it’s something that’s been stated that the community desires.”
A key part of the farm centre is creating an agri-food hub, where small-scale farmers could bring their crops and pool them with other farmers for better and cheaper distribution.
“The upside for Maple Ridge as a city is to actually put into agricultural production, its small-lot farms,” Cowley.
“We would run it as a social enterprise and we would actually be generating income from it and selling to local restaurants.”
With universities becoming involved, it could begin the process of bringing post-secondary education to Maple Ridge, which has been the goal of the North Fraser Education Task force.
Cowley said features for the public such as community gardens, a farmer’s market, interpretive programs, public harvesting or courses on grafting, gardening, would fit well within Jackson Farm.
“There would have to be a very good communication plan. Some people have their hearts set on it being an amphitheatre park. And if they were to see greenhouses … they would possibly have a reaction to that.”
Cowley said the idea goes back to previous councils adding that farm centres are common in the U.S.
He said the Metro Vancouver market for produce is $5 billion a year. He said it’s still unrealistic to expect to grow large volumes of food indoors under computerized systems. “Are we riding around in flying cars right now?”
“You’re not seeing them for good reason. They’re not practical.”
Apr 16, 2016
Service groups come together to discuss issues— Kevin Mills/Mission City Record
Coming Together, a day-long symposium on the issues of homelessness, mental health and addiction, took place in Mission on Wednesday.
After a full morning of seminars and presentations, representatives from four Fraser Valley service groups – Scott Guitard of the Mission Youth (MY) House, Paul Keller from Hope’s Thunderbird Motel Project, Teesha Sharma from Blue Door in Maple Ridge, and Sharon Forbes of Raven’s Moon in Abbotsford – answered queries from more than 85 service workers and politicians who came from across the Lower Mainland.
According to Michael Boronowski, Mission’s manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives, staff worked to “find service providers who were having success because of something novel.”
He said by bringing these people together, ideas could be shared on new models of partnerships and new ways of working together to discuss homelessness and addiction issues.
“The point of this is to bring the people tackling this issue, whether it’s the municipalities or the service providers on the ground, and talk about the partnerships that are working.”
He said some municipalities are “ahead of the game” in some areas, while work needs to be done in others.
‘There are models out there that we can build on to work in our community.”
Apr 7, 2016
Book worms — Michael Hall/THE NEWS
Volunteers sort through boxes at the CEED Centre on Wednesday as the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie Community Literacy Committee received close to 8,000 free children’s books to distribute within the community.
The new books are donated by publishers for children of lower income families who often do not have their own at home, as part of the annual First Book Canada Vancouver distribution. This is the fourth year the local literacy committee is coordinating the book distribution. Recipients will include the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Fraser Health, Family Education and Support Centre, Community Services, Friends in Need Food Bank, Ridge Meadows Association of Community Living, PLEA and Nurse Family Partnership Program.
February 24, 2016
Seed sowing in Maple Ridge on Sunday by Torin Slik
Gardeners Nick Osmond, Michael Sawyer, and Elaine Cormier held raspberry canes donated by Vash Ramsoondar for the Seedy Sunday seed exchange happening this weekend at the CEED Centre Organic Community Garden.
— Image Credit: Special To The TIMES
The Community Education on Environmental and Development (CEED) Centre Society is holding the free event to give an opportunity for agricultural enthusiasts to exchange seeds and learn more about seed saving.
Seed saving is taking the seeds from flowers, vegetables, fruits, berries, grain, or herbs and saving them for future use.
Christian Cowley, executive director of the CEED Centre Society, said this event is part of a worldwide movement encouraging seed saving.
“Usually when you buy seeds, you buy more than you need,” Cowley said. “So, it’s a way for people to buy some and then exchange them, or to exchange ones they’ve grown themselves.”
In addition to exchanging seeds, there will be a presentation on the introduction of seed saving. Cowley said it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“It’s different for each species,” he said. “It’s not difficult, but there are tricks.”
Cowley said one of the CEED Centre’s goals is to improve the local food system, and he wants to create a large community garden.
“There are no large community gardens in Maple Ridge,” Cowley said.
He defined a large community garden as one that can accommodate 20 or more people.
In order to create this garden, Cowley said he has asked Maple Ridge City council for land to build a complex on, and he’s currently waiting for a reply.
In addition to the garden, Cowley wants to build a farm school to be run by one of the post secondary institutions.
The event runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m Sunday, Feb. 28, at the CEED Centre, located at 11739 223 St. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Jan 15, 2016
Here’s to getting it right in ’16
Along the Fraser
by Jack Emberly--Maple Ridge News
Cindy Bouleau has a tree farm on Thornhill. This year, she sent $820 from Christmas tree sales to Blue Door Youth Outreach, a new group formed under the CEED Centre banner.
“I wanted to do something for youth this year,” Bouleau explained. “Teesha Sharma is a lovely girl with a great cause.”
“I was overwhelmed,” said Sharma, a Blue Door founder.
Homeless once, she knows what it’s like to feel hopeless, with nowhere to sleep.
A local doctor, she says, has offered her workspace for the peer counselor program she envisions. [Actually, for a rapid access youth psychiatric clinic, the CEED Center hosts the youth-led support group]
Blue Door also hopes to provide troubled youngsters a shelter to replace the one in Maple Ridge that the former federal government stopped funding last year.
Sharma’s hoping to get it right for local youth.
Getting it right in 2016 also means having more respect for local wildlife.
“In December,” hiker Joe Jurcich told me, “I found three carcasses--one large, and two small bears, sticking out from under a tarp near Pitt Lake. The fur, feet, and head had been removed.”
Jurcich dialed 1-800-465-4336, the government hotline for environment. A receptionist promised to relay details to a conservation officer.
“But, after two weeks, nobody had phoned me back,” Jurcich said.
He took me to the spot. The carcasses were gone.
Was this an illegal harvest of body parts, or a hunter dumping offal?
Conservation should tell us.
“If you call the hotline, Joe” I advised, “ask for a file number, and a call back.”
That assures the ministry’s follow up.
Marian Schwaiger, of Maple Ridge, was walking the dike recently when she noticed an oil slick on the North Alouette River, along Neaves Road.
“Blobs of blue floating downstream. I checked the next day and there were more.”
Schwaiger called the Pitt Meadows fire department. It sent an officer to look.
“He thought it was an algae bloom,” said fire chief Brad Perrie. “Didn’t find any origin point a fuel spill could provide.”
Ross Davies of KEEPS thinks it’s been too cold for an algae bloom.
“My guess is iron oxide. People mistake it for oil. But, one of my wishes for 2016,” he adds, “is all residents consider fish habitat before sending stuff down storm drains.”
At least the fire department responded, and quickly.
However, it had to assume the role of investigator for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans since its Habitat Protection Branch was replaced with an 800-number.
DFO’s trained pollution control staff have been sacrificed along with the will to protect our streams.
Pitt Meadows is planning to hire its own environmental protection officer.
“That’s what I want to see in 2016,” Coun. Mike Stark said.
Scott Magri, of the Katzie Slough Restoration Project, wants one, too.
He fished for trout in the slough as a teenager. An abused drainage ditch now, it’s a source of grief for Magri.
He’d like council to restore water flow so other kids can catch in it fish again.
Jurcich supports that dream.
“Restoring the slough seems a perfect project for Pitt Meadows,” says the volunteer who counts spawners with Doug Stanger of ARMS each fall.
Both also pick up trash others throw away.
“My wish in 2016,” Stanger told me, “is people stop leaving it in Golden Ears park.”
We’ll all get it right this time if our government shows respect for local streams again.
DFO monitored them, and counted spawners back to 1949. But, it’s abandoned the practice.
And last year, Stephen Harper eliminated Section 35 of the Fisheries Act, which protected habitat, while leaving 100 species of wildlife on a waiting list under the Species at Risk Act.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau–getting it right this time–has directed Environment Minster Catherine McKenna “to enhance protection of Canada’s endangered species.”
Jack Emberly is a retired teacher, local author and environmentalist.
April 9, 2014
Eco-gala moves to South Bonson
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
photo by Stacy Mulcahy
March 12, 2014
Books arrive for kids and families in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows
photo by Troy Landreville, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
January 22, 2014
Vancity helps people learn to read
photo by Maple Ridge Pitt Meadow Times
November 21, 2013
Where, why nobody is paid to work
photo by Maple Ridge News
March 19, 2013
Garden brings generations together
photo by Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
March 20, 2013
Street Ministry Moving on - Maple Ridge News
Photo Maple Ridge News
April 25, 2013
Community suppers find new home
photo Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
August 6, 2013
Master Gardner shares wisdom
photo Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
September 5, 2013
Port Haney party planned
photo Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
September 6, 2012
New ramp for CEED Centre
photo by Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times
September 8, 2013
Historic Haney VIllage celebrating revitalization
May 6, 2013
Some students learn from mistakes - Maple Ridge News
March 22. 2013
News Views - A good meal - Maple Ridge News
Getting word out about local food
April 12, 2013
Along the Fraser: I read it in the FIsh and Flies News - Maple Ridge News
May 3, 2012
Being a community is about caring - Maple Ridge News
April 17, 2012
Start off Earth Day with River Run - Maple Ridge News
February 1, 2011
Cyclists could cart off kitchen waste - Maple Ridge News
September 4, 2013
Port Haney day marks history and future - Maple Ridge News
September 20, 2012
Where people work, live and play - Maple Ridge News
March 17, 2011
Help for those lacking green thumbs - Maple Ridge News
Photo Maple Ridge News
June 30, 2011
Pitt Meadows finally considering ban on pesticides
Photo Maple Ridge News