radicle beets

The Purple Thistle Garden/ers Want to Thank You! by radiclebeets


Hey everyone!

We wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has supported us in the past couple of days. It is incredible how many emails of support, and offerings we have received from folks in the community. We haven’t had time to respond to all of them, so we wanted to make a big shout out to you all. Because of you, our story has reached tens of thousands of people, just over social media! It is incredible.

As an update, the city is working to have us meet with David as soon as that is possible. Because of public pressure, it also sounds like David is willing to cooperate in a way that will be good for all of us. We want to garden collectively and with community. As much as it was a disgusting act of violence against our gardens, we recognize we don’t always have the privilege of choosing our communities, and so we do have to figure out a way to strengthen this particular relationship as he is part of our community. That is something that we hope can lead to something really positive, and we are willing to work for it.

The Food Forest has been our hearts for a really long time. For some of us, being able to connect, and learn to grow here has completely changed the direction of our lives. Many of us weren’t able to identify more than five plants coming into these gardens, and now most of us can rant for an easy hour about anything from how awesome mycelium is, to permaculture in all its principles, to beekeeping, to compost tea, to what it means to be growing food in the urban jungles, and to what it means to build community around our natural source of life that is food. We are fortunate to have had these experiences with a safe space to stick our hands in the dirt. We were grateful to have this land to come to when our lives felt as hectic as the pace of the city; when we needed to get away and plant ourselves somewhere. Even as our garden was destroyed, we are still learning, and thinking of how we can take away from this experience and apply it to how we grow in the future.

So, again, thank you all so much for supporting our project. It has been an emotional journey, and an incredible one nonetheless. We hope to have our gardens back, with trees in the soil again, and if/when this happens, we hope to see a  lot of you there!

For those interested in making donations, thank you so much! You can visit the Purple Thistle site here: http://purplethistle.ca/get-involved/donations/ .

Mulch Love and Peas,

the garden crew.

for contact info:

youth garden coordinator, kelsey: ki2freedom@gmail.com

director of Purple Thistle, carla: rainzine@gmail.com


Youth Community Food Forest Illegally Destroyed by Business Owner by radiclebeets
November 28, 2013, 11:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,


The Purple Thistle Food Forest, a 2-year-old youth collective permaculture garden in East Vancouver, has been illegally destroyed by neighbouring building owner David Hollands. The food forest is predominantly located on city land, with a small section on Hollands property. In the fall, Hollands demanded that the young gardeners evict his property by November 1st. The gardeners complied, removing approximately a dozen trees from along the wall of his building, and followed up by sending him a confirmation email and also asking that he respect the rest of the food forest, located on city property, and allow it to grow in peace.

Last week Purple Thistle gardeners visited the site and found the entire food forest destroyed, with irrigation chopped up, all the plants removed, and trees uprooted and left in buckets. All this without notification. They know this to be the actions of Hollands, as several weeks prior they intercepted a work crew employed by him who had been tasked to clear the entire site, which is not on his property.


The site that the food forest is on was originally used as an illegal dumping ground. In 2010, the young gardeners pulled out 250kg of garbage, conducted soil tests to check for contamination, brought in organic matter and compost, and planted over 50 fruit trees, plus medicinal and edible plants.  The young gardeners were also working to restore a small wetland on the site. The food forest has served as an educational lab and a community hub, and has been home to several youth garden and beekeeping programs for children as young as 9 years old, all in the heart of an industrial wasteland.


Heartbroken but not defeated, the young gardeners will be seeking justice. “Learning to grow food collectively at the Food Forest has taught us many lessons that go beyond urban agricultural practices. We’ve learned what it means to work together, work with nature and work within a community. We truly believed that if we could grow food next to the train tracks in this industrial wasteland, folks could learn to clean up the land and grow food anywhere.” That was “the goal”, says Kelsey Corbett, youth garden coordinator for the Purple Thistle.  ”And it is really interesting, as a young person, to recognize that the biggest barriers we have faced this year have been the attacks to our gardens from big business owners. We complied with Hollands requests and it’s really disheartening that despite that, he chose to go beyond the law and destroy a community project on city land.”

“It’s terrible to see all the broken pieces of the irrigation pipes laying on uprooted soil. The gardeners who set up the forest put so many hours of planning and hard labor into the system,” says LeyAnn, one of the recent members of the group, “and it was all illegally ripped out of the ground and destroyed. It’s disheartening, but is also a powerful motivator, and these actions have brought the gardeners and their supporters closer together, and made us stronger.”


The gardeners will be pursuing further action by contacting the city and also requesting that Hollands reimburses them for the damages. They hope in the future that property owners like Hollands choose to communicate and work respectfully with them about their concerns instead of destroying these community projects.

 If you would like to help the gardeners out, as some of you have offered, you can donate to the Purple Thistle.


For more information, contact:

For more information, contact:

Kelsey Corbett: ki2freedom@gmail.com

or Carla Bergman (Director of the Purple Thistle)


Toxic Realities and Radical Remedies: A Grassroots Bioremediation Intensive by radiclebeets
ImageRegistration is up for the first Bioremediation Course happening in Vancouver! Check it out, and if you feel like it’s a good idea, please spread the word! http://earthrepair.ca/radicalremedies-vancouver/
Toxic Realities & Radical Responses: A Grassroots Bioremediation Intensive
ImageRoot. Respond. Regenerate. Rewild. Join us for this unique hands-on course to explore and experiment with a diversity of  grassroots bioremediation tools in the urban jungles of East Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories. 
This 3 month intensive  will share grassroots bioremediation skills with youth and passionate community members of all ages who are interested in working with the land, growing and gathering healthy food and medicine, and getting involved in the healing of damaged and contaminated sites in their communities.  From fence lines to frontlines, at the heart of this course lies the fierce desire to support environmental justice struggles, to decolonize space and selves, and to care for and heal the lands and waters that sustain us all.
Bioremediation is the art and science of working with living systems and our fungal, bacterial and plant allies to detox and regenerate the health of contaminated lands and waters. There are different techniques used in bioremediation:
Microbial remediation: using microorganisms to breakdown and bind contaminants.
Phytoremediation: using plants to extract, bind, and transform contaminants.
Mycoremediation: working with fungi to clean up contaminated soil and water.
Many of us may be unfamiliar with grassroots bioremediation. Maybe we’ve heard stories or been to a workshop where we’ve learned that certain mushrooms can clean up oil spills and some plants can suck up heavy metals. But when faced with contaminated places or environmental disasters, we often struggle to translate the myths and promises of regenerative solutions into living realities. Though we don’t have all the answers, we’ve got lots to learn and its time to skill-up and start practicing! 
Topics covered in the course include:
· Grassroots Bioremediation 101
· Contaminants 101 (heavy metals and chemicals)
· Soil Testing

· Uncovering and Mapping the Ecologies of Ruin, Broken Landscapes, and Hidden Stories of Vancouver

· Site Assessment/Reading the Land.
· Radical Mycology and Mycoremediation Installations
· Grassroots Mushroom Cultivation Intensive
· Phytoremediation
· Microbial Remediation, thermophyllic composting, actively aerated compost tea preparation, efficient microorganisms, and biochar.
· Designing grassroots bioremediation projects
· Applications for water contamination, filtration, and watershed restoration
· Oil Spills 101 (conventional and grassroots bioremediation responses)
· Radiation
· Self-Care for Grassroots Remediators (personal protective gear, plant and mushroom allies for supporting detox and good health)
·  And many more…
Course Details:
When: January 16th to March 20th, 2014.
 A total of 14 classes will be offered, with 10 weeknight classroom sessions and 3  weekend day long work parties, field trips, or hands-on intensives. 
Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 7pm-9pm, as well as weekend day long work parties or lab skill seminars (Feb 1st to 2nd, March 1st, March 15th).

Where: The Purple Thistle Centre (975 Vernon Dr, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories)
Cost: Sliding Scale from $100-$300.
Grassroots bioremediation has to be affordable and accessible at the community level so we are working hard to offer the course at the lowest cost possible and also to make sure that everyone who has the heart and passion to learn these rad skills and to do this work can attend!  As a result, the course cost is already heavily discounted. We ask that If you have the ability to pay the full cost of the course, please do so that we are able to run the course. 
If you cannot afford the course fee, please let us know and we can figure out another arrangement – there are scholarships and work trades available and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. 
Instructor:  Leila Darwish + guest teachers

Registration Deadline: There are only 30 spots available for this course, so apply ASAP! Registration deadline is December 12th. Please fill out the registration form at http://earthrepair.ca/radicalremediesregistration/
For more information about the course, check out http://earthrepair.ca/radicalremedies-vancouver/ 

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