URBAN GARDENER: A month of bus riding reduces my carbon footprint

That personal pledge at the April Earth Day event, when I acquired the card, was a serious undertaking

There Are Plusses For Taking The Busses. Winning a BCTransit bus pass for a 30-day trial period created a doorway to a brave new world.

That personal pledge at the April Earth Day event, when I acquired the card, was a serious undertaking. Firstly, how was I to lug home groceries? That was quickly solved by discovering that most markets do home deliveries. What about heavy bags of my beloved chicken manure and ocean soil?  That was a set back as the stores don’t load manures into the same trucks that haul food. Relying on a friend that was going downtown quickly solved that problem. Attending my many meetings, especially evening events,  was tricky as the last busses depart the Community Centre at 9:15 p.m. My appreciation for the trials of a Quadra Islander deepened. My fall-back position was to use the car for meetings.

The plusses outweigh the strategic planning that goes into taking a simple bus ride.  The frustrations that are a daily part of using  public transportation are the same things that make taking the bus actually pleasant. The act of sharing space with a stranger,  maybe having a bit of a chat with passengers or the driver, connects us to our community in a broader way.

Despite having to use my car several times during the month when my “strategic” plans collapsed, I still contributed greatly to the carbon footprint reduction. $130 which equates to two tanks of gas  was saved by not having to fill up. The monthly bus pass, at $35 for seniors is a bonus.  I just can’t pass up a good pass so I’m renewing my card for the month of June!

A Group of Food Garden Fanatics including agricultural plan supporters and city hall staffers visited a most unusual farm last week.

Hans Rhenisch and his wife Dorothy moved from the Okanagan to land near the old UBC farm and have spent the last four years transforming it into a model site. Essentially they practice a form of agriculture which is comparable to the permaculture system. After the surface weeds are cleared and the top soil gently loosened  seeds are sown on the surface and covered over with a topping of finely ground bark mulch, sand and aged animal manure.

The land is not deeply cultivated and as Rhenisch, a retired plant pathologist, explained to us, “Digging down into the soil disturbs the micro organisms. They become disconnected from each other. It is like a symphony orchestra. It does not work in harmony when you change the players around.”

Standing there surrounded by strong, healthy insect free vegetables and fruit trees was certainly a confirmation  of his system. Rhenisch’s farm is an adaptation of the ancient Asian farming system and  is a most inspiring place to visit.