Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SEPTEMBER 20th, 2014

Fall Equinox Potluck!

Our long running community vegan potluck series has altered course over the past year, but those on social media can follow our frequent foodie Facebook posts HERE and/or get in touch anytime about vegan get-togethers! We are hosting a public gathering in the Backhall once again on Saturday, September 20th, as part of the 2014 Sustainability Festival, and everyone is invited! For what to bring, please see details on the poster above. As mentioned in the Flagstone, this Fall Equinox event is also scheduled as a solidarity action with the hundreds of thousands of people who will be demonstrating in New York City (and around the world) to demand serious action on climate change from world leaders assembling there that week for the 2014 Climate Summit.

With apologies to those who were looking forward to the pre-advertised screening of "Mission Blue" -now available on Netflix- we are excited to be sharing instead, another documentary that also addresses water concerns (the theme of this year's festival) along with a host of other sustainability issues the potluck series has been dedicated to highlighting over the past 20 years. The importance of encouraging plant-based dietary choices, and a shift away from dependence upon animal agriculture rather than the prevalent farm animal-centric vision of life here on the west coast will only continue to grow as the global village shrinks and we are reminded by Mother Nature that island life is not itself sustainable in a vaccum. Scroll down the righthand side of this page (to below the apple!) for a list of links that highlight the importance of food choices vs. food miles.

Visit the trailer below for a sneak preview of "Cowspiracy", along with an indepth review by biologist George won't want to miss this film!

 HERE, please find Fireweed's recent article in the Island Word called "Water Wise", also related to Denman's 2014 Sustainability Festival theme.

And HERE, for Facebook users, find our activist/resource archive on topical coverage of the under-reported impacts of animal ag. Please refer to the 'About' section for membership info/group guidelines.

Hope to see you at the potluck!

 - Fireweed and Mike (potluck co-ordinators)

Monday, December 09, 2013


Come celebrate Winter Solstice with your fellow islanders at this season's Community Vegan Potluck scheduled for Saturday (NOT Sunday!), December 21st at 6:30 pm in the Back Hall. As always, food lovers of every persuasion are invited to join in on our delicious, turkey-free holiday smorgasbord. After dinner we gather round the blazing Yule-fire to celebrate both the nurturing darkness of winter’s respite and the promise of returning light with carols appropriate to the solstice season!

Any 100% plant-based dinner entrée, salad, dessert, or single item dish that all may share (excluding dairy, eggs, honey and gelatin, please) is a suitable contribution for this animal-friendly feast. Begun in the mid 90's, Denman's community vegan potluck series provides the delicious opportunity to pick up creative, and healthy new recipe ideas. However, nothing fancy is required unless you are so inspired!

Please include an ingredient list with your offering, and thankyou for attending 'scent-free' to help keep our inclusive community gatherings accessible for folks with chemical sensitivities. Admission is by donation (suggested $3-5 towards expenses). Peace to one and all!

Visiting family over the holidays and want to provide a ready-made vegan dish? 
I've been cooking tofu-turkeys for twenty years here on Denman. Sign up at 
Edible Island Organic Food Co-op in Courtenay asap, or call me:)! -Fireweed

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Sunday Potluck and Film - At the Edge of the Word

     You are invited to gather with friends and neighbours for a fabulous fall feast this Sunday, October 20th at 6:30 pm in the Denman Backhall! 

     After dinner we'll be screening the award-winning documentary “At the Edge of the World” - an adventure on the high seas with the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (Note: the film 'Blackfish' which we had originally planned to share is not currently available, so we have had to postpone that particular screening to a later date).

     The real-life David and Goliath adventure featuring Sea Shepherd's 3rd Antarctic Campaign involves tracking whalers with the intentions of preventing them from violating international conservation laws. A winner of numerous awards, 'At the Edge of the World' reveals the incredible courage, determination and at times utter recklessness of undertaking such a dangerous mission.

     Food lovers of every persuasion are always welcome at our community vegan potlucks, and nothing fancy is required! Any 100% plant-based salad, entree, dessert or single item dish is a suitable contribution (excluding flesh, dairy, eggs, honey or gelatin, thanks.) Please jot down an ingredient list so folks with food sensitivities can make informed choices. Our gatherings are also designated scent-free for inclusivity. Admission is by donation (suggested $3-5 towards expenses).

You can also find the Denman Community Vegan Potluck Series series on Facebook, or call 335-1209 for details.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Sustainability Festival Vegan Potluck- Saturday, Aug. 31st (6:00 pm)

As part of the 2013 DI Sustainability Festival, our Community Vegan Potluck Series invites food lovers of every persuasion to join in on a 100% plant-based feast that all may share!

Please note that our venue will be the Senior's Lounge (across the street from the Community Hall where our potlucks are usually held), and that dinner will commence a half hour earlier than our regular potluck schedule.
Any completely vegan dish is an appropriate contribution towards reducing our collective carbon footprint (free of eggs, honey, gelatin and dairy, please). Don’t forget to bring along an ingredient list to display with your food.

It just so happens that this summer also marks the 20th anniversary of the mass protests in Clayoquot Sound when people from around the world came together to try and protect Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests. Over 800 were willfully arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

Direct action for some activists opposing the power over dynamics responsible for reducing whole eco-systems to commodities, also includes refusing to collude with unnecessary harm to individual animals. A little known fact about Clayoquot Summer (1993) is that the Peace Camp kitchen in the clear cut known as 'the Black Hole', fueled many thousands of activists with healthy vegan meals all summer long.

Plan to stay on after dinner on Saturday the 31st for a screening of the highly acclaimed documentary, Fury for the Sound (1995), featuring the role of women in confronting the status quo in the woods of Vancouver Island and beyond. Today environmental and social justice activists who work to protect the land and the vulnerable of all species continue to struggle against tremendous odds. This herstorical film provides a look at how political activism can be joined with personal empowerment.

As we face an unprecedented collapse of earth's ecosystems and the potential for runaway global warming, it has never been more crucial to recognize that protecting what remains of our precious rainforests and curbing the GHG emmissions that animal agriculture unleashes on our fragile ozone layer are related tasks.

Admission is by donation (suggested $3 towards expenses). All potluck events are scent-free for inclusivity (in respect of those with chemical sensitivities)

NOTE: The regular vegan potluck series was originally set to reconvene with our quarterly seasonal schedule around the Fall Equinox in September, but because of the 'additional' August event we have decided it makes more sense to stagger the potlucks a bit and hold the next one in October instead. Please mark you calendar for SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20th. We'll be back to our normal time of 6:30 pm in the Back Hall across the street!

Regarding sustainability, click here for a presentation by Dr. Richard Oppenlander:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Along with the excellent documentary "Mad Cowboy", the story about Howard Lyman, former Texas cattle rancher turned vegan, we showed the following short Ted X youtube clip featuring conservationist Damien Mander at our Summer Solstice potluck, June 23rd, 2013. (For further details about the potluck, see below)
Mander is an ex-marine turned anti-poaching advocate and powerful spokesman for animals.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Summer Solstice Potluck Madness, June 23, 2013

Denman's Summer Solstice Community Vegan Potluck is scheduled for 6:30 pm, Sunday, June 23rd. Come on out and join in on a delicious 100% plant-based feast in the company of friends and neighbours, some of whom you may have yet to meet...everyone welcome!

     Just a week after Father's Day, our after dinner presentation for this now quarterly series will be a repeat screening of the documentary “Mad Cowboy”. Based on the best-selling book: “Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat”, the story of Howard Lyman's transition from fourth generation animal farmer to vegan and stock-free growing enthusiast is fascinating, informative and inspirational. Included among the various challenges Howard has navigated since deciding it was time to seriously re-evaluate his life, was a five year long battle with the Cattleman's Association in a defamation lawsuit. He won!

This is the second showing of this doc at one of our potlucks...we're bringing it back by popular demand! Howard and his wonderful wife Willow, who you will also see in the film, gifted Denman this fabulous documentary after a speaking engagement in the Comox Valley. Our first showing was seven years ago and it's still as timely as ever!)

 Time permitting- and in the spirit of honoring positive masculine role models during the month of Father's Day- we also hope to share one or two short audio-visual pieces featuring other courageous men who are inspiring a re-evaluation of traditional male privilege in favor of a more just and compassionate world.

     Any 100% plant-based soup, salad, entree or dessert (free of eggs, dairy, honey and gelatin, please) is a suitable contribution to our well-loved smorgasbord. You needn't be vegan or vegetarian to join in, and nothing fancy is required unless you are so inspired! Call for suggestions if you could use some supportive ideas, and please remember to bring an ingredient list. All plates and cutlery are supplied, and admission is by donation (suggested $3-$5 towards expenses).

     Thankyou for helping keep the potluck series 'scent-free' for the comfort of community members with chemical sensitivities. For further information call 5-1209, or visit the now quarterly series home page on line.

extra: Click HERE for my related article on the 'myth of meat' and it's association with masculinity... and for a delicious new recipe idea! -Fireweed

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


 Come welcome spring at Denman's next Community Vegan Potluck feast on Sunday, March 24th!

     The potluck series has been bringing islanders together to enjoy delicious smorgasbords that all may share- and celebrating animal-friendly dietary choices that help reduce one's ecological footprint- since the mid 90's. It's a great place to pick up new recipe ideas and to meet new islanders, too! Food lovers of every persuasion are always welcome. Any 100% plant-based salad, entree, dessert or single item dish (excluding eggs, dairy, honey and gelatin, please) is a suitable contribution.

     Our after dinner presentation this month will be a screening of Deborah Koons Garcia's fascinating documentary, 'Symphony of the Soil'. With gardening season right around the corner, what better time to appreciate both the wonder and complexity of the 'prima matera' that feeds us all?! This artfully crafted film draws from both ancient knowledge and cutting edge science. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the dynamic nature of this precious resource. Shot on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers, 'Symphony of the Soil' highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet."

     This movie covers a lot of ground, so to speak, and does present veganic (stock-free) agriculture techniques like green manure cover cropping for the building of soil fertility. But it doesn't expand upon the growing movement of farming without the incorporation of livestock for brown manure fertilization, and so a clarification is called for here. Comments made in the last issue of the Flagstone by another writer, advocating for the inclusion of livestock as necessary for soil fertility ("no matter how small your property"), were mistaken. "Animal-free" is not the same as "stock-free", and veganic growers and farmers do not need to be convinced of the importance of keeping levels of SOM (soil organic matter) high.

     In fact the goal of an organic stock-free growing operation is always to encourage biodiversity (both above and below the ground). A single teaspoon (1 gram) of rich garden soil can hold up to one billion bacteria, several yards of fungal filaments, several thousand protozoa, and scores of short, it is indeed already teaming with 'animal life'. But the organic matter needed to feed that life originates with plants (and photosynthesis) so need not first pass through the body of a domestic animal to benefit the soil. Seeded cover crops can feed arable land directly as well as help sequester carbon; plant compost and mulch encourage worms and beneficial insects, also avoiding the additional methane farm animals contribute to the atmosphere and potential damage to soil structure. It should be remembered that livestock require adequate food, water, space, shelter, protection from predators, veterinary care, humane handling from birth through death, and their remains properly disposed of. Readers can find indepth information on stock-free growing around the world through DIVA (  included on the Hornby/Denman Growers and Producers website.

     This Spring Equinox marks the 29th anniversary of International Meatout, the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Since it's inception in 1985 by FARM, a nonprofit public interest organization which advocates plant-based diets on behalf of animals, the environment, and human health, a growing number of mainstream health advocacy organizations have launched their own campaigns promoting plant-based dietary choices, and some meat consumption has been dropping. In the US, national beef and veal consumption have dropped by 25% and 70%  respectively.

     However the myth that optimum human health normally requires including animal products in the diet persists in many quarters (much the same way that people remain convinced that you'll have 'depleted' soil without domestic animal inputs). Meat in particular is still falsely associated with the patriarchal notion of strength, virility and power, leading to an increased desire for its consumption wherever economic growth in the world provides more people greater privilege of choice. This means even more factory farms, not less! The notion that occasional meat consumption for elite consumers in 2013 is a 'benign extravagance' should not be confused with any kind of real sustainability on a finite planet of seven billion people and an estimated two billion cows. Upholding the status quo is utterly counterproductive, given that the impact of animal agriculture on global climate change alone is now considered as great or greater than all transportation combined.

     One of the goal's of the Vegan Potluck Series over the last two decades has been to raise awareness about the consequences of our collective food choices.To that end this potluck blog is a local resource with extensive references for islanders and others interested in researching information about the many merits of foregoing meat and other animal products. Included on the righthand side of this page are links to scientific peer-reviewed nutrition studies that help separate fact from fiction when it comes to anti-vegetarian backlash, and popular animal product-heavy dietary fads like the Blood-Type diet, Atkins diet, Weston A Price Foundation diet, related Paleo diets, and other variations on this theme. 

     Another link list provides more food for thought concerning animal agriculture's impact on global warming, and the need to move away from unsustainable dependence on meat-centric dietary norms much more rapidly if we want to help address global hunger and the consequences of increasing numbers of environmental refugees. Some of these articles call into question the shortcomings of the locavore movement by highlighting the greater importance of eating low on the food chain than sourcing an all local diet when it comes to reducing our ecological footprints, thinking globally and acting locally.

     You'll also find a list of films shown previously at the Potluck Series now available for loan by donation to anyone interested in private viewing. Included is Deborah Koons Garcia's last documentary, 'The Future of Food' (2004)- an excellent expose on the history and technology of genetic engineering.

     Sunday, March 24th, dinner gets underway at 6:30 pm in the back hall, with the fabulous 'Symphony of Soil' to follow. Our now quarterly potluck events are designated  'scent-free' for the comfort of members of our community with chemical sensitivities, and admission is by donation (suggested $3-5). For further information call 1209.