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Posted in Informational | 2 Comments

10 Ways To Celebrate the 1st Day of Spring


The 2023 Spring Equinox happened today, March 20th, at 2:24pm PST in Vancouver. What this actually means is 2:24pm PST marked the moment that the sun crossed the Celestial Equator (an extension of the Earth’s equator) and begins to move north. You can’t see this invisible line, but if you look up at the sky you can almost feel that Spring has definitely sprung! Here are 10 ways you can celebrate the 1st day of Spring. 🌸

  1. Go for a walk. – Walking is always good for the heart, health and soul. The only thing that makes a walk better is going with someone you love, like friends, family or fur babies! 🐾🐕🐾
  2. Get dirt to start a garden. – Whether you are planting flowers or starting your very first herb or vegetable garden, prepping your garden and supporting a great growing season always starts with great dirt. 👩🏽‍🌾🥕🌻
  3. Go bird watching. – This is a great past time. Especially if you are already out taking the dog for a walk. Birds abound all over the neighbourhood and all you need are your own two eyes! Tip: Early mornings are the best time to catch the larks and robins catching the worms 🐦
  4. Do some spring cleaning or a house cleanse. – Starting of the season with a fresh slate feels super good! It sets the tone for good vibes and happiness for the season to come. ✨🧹🫧✨
  5. Enjoy dinner by the fire. – It might be too cold for a picnic, but it’s the perfect time to relax outside by the fire while you eat dinner with your family and/or friends. So grab a blanket and some after dinner marshmallows and enjoy! 🔥🍽️🍲🔥
  6. Watch the sunset. – Spanish Banks is my favorite place to watch the sunset, but you don’t have to go that far! You can step outside your door with a nice hot cup of cocoa and watch the sun go down. 🌇☕
  7. Buy a houseplant. – Bamboo, orchids or a bouquet of tulips make great gifts for friends, but when is the last time you bought a fresh bouquet of flowers for yourself? 🪴🎕🎕🎕🪴
  8. Start working out. – Movement is life. You don’t need to lift weights or go running. Start a yoga journey, take up swimming or go for bike rides. Just get moving and do your body good! 💪🧘🏽‍♀️🚴
  9. Begin composting. – Most likely you do this already, but if you don’t, it’s so easy to do. I like to use a small garbage can with a secure closing lid. I put it right under my kitchen sink. To empty it I lift out the bucket that’s inside and take it out to compost! Tip: Reserve some peelings and egg shells to add to your dirt for gardening.🌱🌱🌱
  10. Meditate. – Light a stick of incense, a candle or enjoy some aromatherapy and close your eyes and breathe. This is the perfect time to reflect on seasons past, restore your thoughts and renew your intentions and release what no longer serves you. Give gratitude and embrace the new beginnings to come!🪷🙏🪷🙏🪷

*Photo Credit: Kyra Dawson: Take a walk in your neighbourhood and find the 1st buds of spring! 🌷

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Press Send

Frog Hollow Food Security Program Impact Story “Just Press Send” By Eva Aboud

2022 October This is a story about a Frog Hollow’s neighbour who wanted to reach out for food support but was reluctant to ask. Once she did, a connection was made and her life turned for the better. The story goes like this, via email:

“Dear Eva, Greetings! I live in the near Frog Hollow. I’m a new university graduate and I am trying to find a permanent job. While I have a part-time job, the living cost (rent, phone bill, groceries, etc.) puts my earnings in a tight budget. I try to look out for discounts and coupons in local grocery stores, but there is only so much I can do to reduce the grocery spending without sacrificing my health. I wonder if I can get some support from your Emergency Food Bags program. And if yes, how should I proceed with the application? Thank you very much! Signed “your neighbour”

Hi Neighbour! I totally understand your food needs. I can help you with an emergency food bag, it consists of a little of everything. Can you come by on Tuesday? If that day does not work out, we can figure another time that does. Please confirm. Best, eva

“Hi Eva, Honestly, I was hesitant at first. My initial email has sat in the draft box for three weeks before I finally gained the courage to press the sent button. Thank you very much for being very responsive and kind!  See you then!

Hi Neighbour, Perfect! Never be shy nor reluctant or hesitant to ask for food, everybody, absolutely everybody has the right to secure food. Good for you for reaching out to me. See you Tuesday! Eva

“ Dear Eva, Thank you very much for the help! Not only for the food, but also for your accepting me gently. I just finished my studies three months ago. Currently I am doing part-time jobs to support myself. My priority is to find a permanent job and firmly stand on my own feet. I feel fortunate that I reached out to you and the Frog Hollow. Now I feel re-energized to continue on the job-hunting journey. Please keep me posted of the community events and/or what I can help in the Frog Hollow. Have a great evening? Warm regards.“

This neighbour continued to write to let me know that she is doing well and that she is now working at a local institute as an instructor!

She was thankful to be connected to Frog Hollow through our monthly electronic newsletters and other resources and be connected to the community. She then offered her services to volunteer to help to Follow Hollow at different events & programs.

This story has an impact on so many levels.

It shows me that everyone is on their way to somewhere and just need a little support no matter what walks of life they come from.

Connections in the community foster a web of support when we need it and creates a ripple effect throughout the neighbourhood and city.

As an outreach worker I am impacted by this neighbour’s bravery and honesty and opens my heart for more connections. 💜

Posted in Family Stories of Compassion, Food and Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garlic Planting Workshop

I love the group of participants that came together to share their stories on garlic recipes or and experiences planting garlic. We talked about the difference with hard neck and soft neck garlic: Did you know most gardeners believe that hard neck garlic is much tastier and tends to have bigger garlic cloves growth. Where is, the soft neck garlic is not necessarily as tasty but the leaves can be braided and easier to store. Hardneck garlic have bigger cloves, So in other words the bigger the clove the bigger the garlic!

The best time to plant, in our weather here in Vancouver, is in October and harvest in July. If you live in a cold climate you might want to consider planting garlic in spring and harvest in the fall to avoid frost. Planting 2-3 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart seems to be standard. Use a good fertilizer when planting, it helps the growth of your garlic, and then mulching 2 to 4 inches on top is ideal for the soil and to protect your garlic. Expect to see some growth before the spring and then it’ll go dormant. Once spring does occur you can remove the mulch and add bone meal or other super soil to your garden bed and watch it continue growing.

I anticipate the growth of the scape, I love the way it comes up and curls. The scape is tender when cutting it off at an early stage and makes a great pesto or stir fry, in addition, it’s good for the garlic so that the nutrients can go back to the garlic. You can leave a couple to grow- it’s fun to observe the flower it makes!

Love that curl
My July’s harvest
Getting ready for participants
Preparing the garden plot
My favourite nutrient and mulch soil
Busy volunteers at work- I’m so thankful!
We counted 96 cloves were planted of two varieties: Spanish and Peruvian seeds.
My hard neck garlic harvested in July
We mulched some more with leaves from the nearby trees. Watch it grow but Don’t rush to harvest, wait for the leaves to turn brown.
Some resources

Did you know there are many health benefits to eating garlic, such as: it helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, it’s great for clearing up acne, it’s supports the immune system, and detox the body. Read more here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic

Want to learn more? Watch Jordans video here, he is so helpful! https://youtu.be/o4XT6dDvoy8

Happy planting! love eva aboud , food security coordinator.

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Three sister soup

Delicious three sisters soup was made on September 29th on our Orange Shirt Day https://www.froghollow.bc.ca/blog/2022/09/13/frog-hollow-orange-shirt-day-commemoration-event-2022/ respectfully in collaboration with food week. Thank you volunteers for your support, we love you! We gave out approximately 200 soups along with Bannock made by Teresa Mark and indigenous chef and in addition to the food distribution we gave out the recipe and seeds to grow your own ingredients to make your own soup. Thank you Greater Vancouver Food Bank for your generous donation of corn, a key ingredient in the soup https://foodbank.bc.ca/ , If you want some seeds come on down I have lots left over!

Volunteers supporting Phuong our facilitator from our Yes Chef Youth Program https://www.froghollow.bc.ca/programs-services/settlement/settlement-youth-yes-chef/
Fresh carrots and butternut squash was fun chopping it up! Love those Colours!
Beans are so good for you! Full of protien and fibre!
Distribution of soup, bannock and kale smoothies!
Just couldn’t get enough of it, absolutely delicious!
Beans, Squash, and Corn seeds included.
It’s Not too late to plant the beans!

In addition to the soup and seeds, I added the West Coast seed chart so you can learn when is the best time to plant your seeds and information on planting, maintenance, and harvesting your produce such as beans, corn and squash. Here you will find some information.http://westcoast.seeds a great chart to follow. And here you will find information on best practices: Complete Guide to Vegetables Fruits and Herbs https://a.co/d/0PreCmV

If you like, I can mail you the package: 
Send me a self-addressed envelope to: Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, Attention Eva Aboud
2131 Renfrew St.,
V5M 4M5

Next week it’s Garlic Planting time!

Bye for now, 
Eva Aboud, Food Security Coordinator eva@froghollow.bc.ca

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Harvest Festival! Veggie Contest!

Two more days to the harvest festival!
Save your proudest veggies from your garden and enter it in the Famous Veggie Contest for a prize!
We will have a greens market and a craft market, our local artists have been busy producing soaps, creams, bags from recycled materials and beautiful knitted flowers and more!
Soca and Folk music and of course the famous Carnival Band at noon!
Art table for children, food for our visitors, door prizes veggie and seed exchange and many local food sovereignty agencies including family resources setting up and sharing their resources and program info! And so much more! So much to learn!
Looking forward to seeing you all at the 16th annual Harvest Festival!
Clinton Park 2690 Grant Street, Vancouver
Thursday September 1st 10:00am to 1:00pm

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Canning preservation workshop

Learn how to preserve your harvest! Canning is a wonderful way to save your produce when you have too much in your kitchen and just can’t eat it fast enough! Save it by pickling your veggies or jamming your berries! Delicious!

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Ready to Grow!

It was such a great gardeners hangout session today! I couldn’t believe how the sun stuck around and shined on us all morning. It was Glorious! Two amazing volunteers showed up to help me finish up the last two plots, I’m so grateful for their support! We weeded and turned the soil and added new soil, a combination of the coconut compost sea soil and the regular sea soil- lots of nutrients! So far the kale is doing really good! We did plant a couple of zucchini seeds and now we wait for the families to return to plant the seeds of their choice next week. Below is a capture of todays connection in the garden.

Fascinating worm named Charlie, back he goes in the garden. “Hopefully he will visit us next week?” asks a child…
Thank you for your volunteer help! It made the morning go by so smoothly!
Such rich soil!

We added about 2 bags of each to top up

Fascinated little scientists discovering worms
Posted in Food and Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garden Helpers with Love

Resource table set up for gardening tips and information.

Today we managed to get two ground plots prepared for planting. One of the two plots is reserved for kale seedlings plus a cauliflower seedling …I think ? It’s funny, but I can’t remember what it is but it looks like cauliflower. ..can’t wait to be surprised. The other plot is reserved for sweet grass and edible flowers.

Many families that showed up today with so many little children, especially an adorable daycare which were so glad to see the garden in action. The children helped me transplant the seedlings and the caregiver said, “Wednesday is a great day for the garden and kids! “ Well, when they come back next Wednesday I will be there!

The plans are to plant sunflower seeds, zucchini, cucumber and carrots with the children. More work to do and prepare! Next week I will be giving away seeds🌱 and maybe some tea from the garden. See you then!

Transplanting a kale plant that went to seed into another plot. Those flowers are great for bees!
Weeded, turned the soil, added sea soil and now it’s ready for planting.
Children inquiring about the sweet grass, it’s many uses to smudge with and weave baskets
Busy busy
Little helpers
Blue curl kale one of my favourites
More seedlings to grow and transplant! Stay tuned!

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Garden Work Party

Rain or Shine, Today is a good start to the garden now that my soil has been delivered. I will be weeding and folding in compost sea soil for added nutrition. We will make some plans as to where to plant kale, tomatoes, bush beans, carrots and cucumbers! Come on down!

Would love to see you!

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Black Bean Wrap

This story is inspired by a man who reached out for some help for food support in April 2021. When he looked through the emergency food hamper bag, he noticed a can of black beans and gave it back to me because he didn’t know how to cook it.

In the Frog Hollow Community Kitchen, I quickly showed him how to prepare it in a simple way and he was totally surprised! He was super happy because he knows canned beans are inexpensive to purchase and filling, nutritious , high in fiber and proteins but just didn’t know how to eat them.

This interaction led me to develop the Black Bean Wrap & Recipe Kit which consisted of a can of black turtle beans, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, green onion, garlic, sliced tomatoes, tomatoes sauce and a bag of fresh pita bread.

The intention to preparing these kits is to demonstrate to families that one can make a healthy nutritious meal with beans as a protein supplement at low cost and it is so much cheaper than meat! Pita is chosen over wraps because they cost less as well. However, as the covid19 pandemic persisted and we were not able to run a food skills workshop in person, 65 kits were compiled, along with a recipe card and link to a short video .  The 65 families were delighted to receive all the contents in a bag and the step by step recipe to making their wraps, especially the children learning along with their parents.

One parent said ‘’I didn’t know what to do with black beans before, now I know! Thank you! We had a good meal-actually a few good meals with the package!”  This is a photo of her son eagerly helping with dinner.

Another parent was delighted observing her children unwrap the bean wrap kit (no pun intended) as they sat at the table for dinner and had fun assembling their meal.

Mom said, “We received our kit last night and what a success!  The girls made our dinner!!  It was so much fun. Thank you.” She shared these following 4 photos documenting the family’s experience.

Mom said, “We received our kit last night and what a success!  The girls made our dinner!!  It was so much fun. Thank you.” She shared these following 4 photos documenting the family’s experience.

Not everyone has the knowledge or skills to plan a meal from the food bank pantry items or on their limited income, so hands-on food skills learning is essential to empowerment and builds confidence. Feeding a family for under $10 is a challenge, but when you get creative and learn about nutritious food, it’s possible!

Not only do families learn when given the chance to experiment with new foods, but they share with others and wanting more, seeking new ways to save on their tight budget and are open to participating in future food skill gatherings, sharing their own tips and make connections in the community at the same time.

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