This idea has been rattling around in my life for more than 20 years. I'm seeing the changes happening that have to happen before this concept could be manifested in our world. Combining mainstream support services with community members and homeless and at-risk along with children and elders and gardening and kitchens and computers and education and ... etc... Well, I took it to a couple of City Council members and they were encouraging, though it was too complex. Environments are changing, people are changing, needs are escalating... Active outreach to government and other agencies has been set aside while knowledge is sought and other avenues investigated. 

To know more about me, Shannon McArthur, please click About Us above. See you there. Before you go...

The Elements

Each of us are formed of the elements that also form our world - Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. In an effort to organize much diverse information in an organized but organic way, details of making the dream come true will be gathered (hopefully by others!) under those categories below. It's fun to think this may inform the filing practices of our children's children, happily gathering good data in a healthy place in a vibrant environment, and I know that the best system is one we all agree on, so this is simply offered as a possibility. I invite your ideas: 

Earth is the hardscape - the buildings, the shelves, the tables and chairs, the soil and the seeds, but not how we water them! It is also money so we can pay for them (until/unless we can trade for them!)

Air is the thoughts, meetings and agreements that are part of creating these new facilities. Scheduling of meetings and To-Do and Ta-Done lists will be maintained in this section. This would also be the place for knowledge, links to concepts that support development of new facilities and affiliations.

Water includes how water is obtained and distributed, and other things that come in cycles - Crops and Mass Transit, for exampleculture and .

Fire has two qualities - Energy and Light. Energy is the power needed, used and created within Our Heart Gardens. Light is inspiration. Here will be found some of what has inspired Our Heart Gardens and links to similar or supporting dreams, possibilities, and successes of others.

Spirit is philosophy, culture and celebration!

Earth - the buildings, the shelves, the tables, chairs, soil and seeds, but not how we water them! Funding and money matters will also be gathered here.

Kamloops Food Policy Council - This organization of stakeholders and passionate people that focus on providing food security (sovereignty) for our city meets in an old United Church for a potluck and monthly meeting to update each other and coordinate some of their efforts. Their membership includes staff of the City, provincial public health agency (IHS), various farmers and people like me - and TRU, the local university that provides research services. Imagine what they could accomplish if they could make Our Heart Gardens their centre of operations!

The FarmLand Connection Conference was a brilliant idea born in one of the members of the KFPC, an annual event, where wanna-be farmers and landowners find each other, as well as inspiration. 

The Interior Indian Friendship Society, (previously Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society) has a facility (NO LONGER AVAILABLE) close to where I live, in a residential neighbourhood. It used to have a large garden that community members tended but wasn't planted this year (2015) because it's up for sale, so their staff can join their other facility where they are needed. The space would be ideal, even has a round room for sharing circles! I believe it's time to talk to Venture Kamloops again, and find funding. Team-members with financial and legal skills will be needed to go forward - do you know someone that can help?

Air - Where the breeze began, what now and what's next... philosophies and concepts that fanned the flames of imagination that gave rise to each facility, and meetings, agreements, plans for creating new OH-Gs

16 Guiding Principles & Sharing Circles (both shared on the blog); ancient and recent prophesies for the times; daily news stories of hunger and poverty; 

Links to documents and websites that have fanned the flame, in no particular order...

Community organizations: KFPC, The Stop Community Food Centre; Community organic garden: GardenGate Horticulture Program, Open Door Group; the Shift Network online courses: Rising Women, Rising World with Scilla Elworthy and Indigenous Wisdom for Compassionate Living & United Action by Chief Phil Lane of the Four Worlds International Institute; Phoenix Society Sweat Lodge, Surrey BC; Manitonquat; Dirt has Medicine; The Great Unification; Water has MemoryThe Egg, a video I saw when I was in highschool that made a big impact; 

Will be looking into possibilities for the facility mentioned in Earth. Having had the experience of planting a 6000 sq ft communal community garden, and volunteering at the Garden Gate, I can no longer say "I'm not a gardener!" The business plan is as complete as I can make it; just have to give it the once over and I'm ready to present once more to Venture Kamloops. Maybe it's time for a fresh breeze...

Water - includes how water is obtained and distributed, and other things that come in cycles, Crops and Transit

Hydro - automatic watering by gravity feed, connected to City water and down-spouts connected to rain barrels

Crops - leaf lettuce, parsley, green onions, bulrushes... I spoke to David Tombs of Terra Restaurant, also of Farm 2 Chefs, about bulrushes and possible collaboration between indigenous cooks and chefs and competition on TV show. Hot idea. Also see note above in Earth re grant possibility. 

Fire - Energy and Light

Energy is the power needed, used and created. Solar power and POP (Power of People) and gravity wherever possible. Current methods of generating energy from human exertion is under-developed. We can do better than a bicycle! (Thompson River University?)

Light - knowledge shared: links to others' similar or supporting dreams, possibilities, and successes

The Stop is a similar smaller facility in Ontario based around a food bank with a separate greenhouse. They have a great video 

Theaster Gates is from Chicago and has a TED talk in which he speaks about what he has done in his neighbourhood to beautify and, basically, save it. When he talked about linking the buildings he's rehabilitated with green space, I realized a part of my original idea had been dropped! Originally, the idea was to grow the crops outdoors under the SkyTrain, or in parking lots or roofs of parking lots. So, that has to be highlighted - indoor planting, transplanting and growing, and outdoor growing.  I couldn't contact him through TED so I've sent a comment on his Talk hoping he will make contact. (no response)

Spirit - philosophy, culture and celebration!

This is where we keep our history, our philosophy and our culture. Is this where we keep the Council? I think so... What do you think?