photo by jessica swanson
A niche that does well in larger markets all over the country has only been in Vancouver about a month – upscale resale clothing.
B. Divine, a newly opened shop on 88th St. in Hazel Dell, is another jewel in the Divine crown, Vancouver’s ever-diversifying nonprofit operation. The best way to shop green is to shop second hand, and B. Divine offers a full range of dress, business and some casual wear for women, including clothing, accessories and shoes. The store is tastefully appointed and decorated with inspirational quotes attributed to various sources, including one by the dressing rooms from God himself: Thou shalt not steal.
For now, the shop accepts all donations in all seasons and keeps those for the 3,500-square-foot floor that fit B. Divine’s demographic – the rest are given away to other charity organizations.
Therese Mills, the store’s manager, shared a larger vision for the shop, which is to mentor young women in retail management and merchandising. Mills spent two decades with Nordstrom as a manager, merchandiser and national buyer, and she would be pleased to send women into the job market with their first reference and letter of recommendation.
“I have 20 years of retail experience, and can give back to the community in that way,” said Mills. The program, which is still in the drawing board is envisioned to be about six months, with graduates walking about with skills and expertise in the sales trade.
Mills is the only paid staff member, and hopes to be managing about 25 volunteers with twice monthly commitments, along with future mentorship participants.
Linda Glover is executive director at Gifts for our Community, which has run Divine Consign on Main Street in Vancouver since 2005, and before that the successful holiday shop fundraisers. She said the boutique “fits right in with what we do here” and is happy to be taking entering the fastest growing sector sector in retail – resale clothing.
GfoC grants dollars to arts, education and human services organizations using sales from its four retail operations, furniture store Divine Consign, B. Divine, Divine Bites (cupcakes) and Divine Again, an upholstery service.
County’s oldest CSA still strong and sustainable
photos by jessica swanson
Hunters’ Greens appears to be the oldest CSA in Clark County. A community supported agriculture farm is one that allows membership in the form of a lump payment in order to sustain the whole growing season. Hunters’ Greens has continuously evolved since its inception as a CSA in 2001.
Jim and Diane Hunter live a simple life in Brush Prairie, where Jim does nearly all of the farming, until Diane is called in to manage the weeds when they get wicked in high season. They do not have any staff or interns. For $500 per season, which runs from June to October, customers get a variety of more than 20 vegetables and several tree fruits. Shareholders can pick up their produce at the farm, or opt for a drop off spot near Uptown Village in Vancouver.
Years ago, Jim encountered his first CSA on the East Coast, when he visited his brother who belonged to one. A few years later, Diane purchased a plot of land and Jim started his first farm on it, after having worked on farms during college, as well as the Pomeroy Living History Farm, where he and Diane met. Selling to the public started with a crop of carrots that went to HP workers who were looking to pool their money for fresh local produce. The farm, which was officially started in 1996, took about five years to get up and running and at its peak has had about 40 shareholders.
Diane’s passions are rescuing historic buildings and abandoned pets, so the couple’s acreage is dotted with both. Jim considers himself an activist, and uses farming as “a way to change the world.” His methods are truly sustainable, using as little nonorganic material as possible – the couple won’t put up a big plastic hoop house, for example, instead choosing to grow all their produce in the fresh air. The farm does not use any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
No longer the only game in town, today Hunters’ Greens is competing (and cooperating) with many other entities, such as the dozen or so CSAs now well established in Clark County, several chain and independent retailers, and numerous farmers markets. But their produce can be found in Neighbor’s Market and Dulin’s Cafe on Main Street, and in the hands of some two dozen loyal customers. Hunters’ Greens has added a winter share for $125, an all-you-can-carry/preserve one-time pick-up of winter veggies.
A green life
This CSA farm accepts donations to subsidize shares for those who can’t afford one.
Clark County Food Bank needs volunteers to take advantage of farm programs
Clark County Food Bank is working hard to get fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables into the hands of the most needy citizens in our region. While most foods come from supermarkets and distribution centers, that food is canned, dried or otherwise processed and does not provide the same nutrients as fresh and frozen produce. The food bank’s farm and garden projects are expanding by the year, and are in deep need of volunteers on the ground (literally) to help plant, weed and harvest. To keep the food organically grown, a huge amount of people-power is needed.
John and Helen Pachl are entering their fifth season of offering food grown on their personal acreage to the food bank. A retired contractor, John Pachl is not a farmer by trade, but saw the need in the county and started growing what he could, using his own money and resources. This year, Fields of Plenty, as the food bank had dubbed the project, produced 36,000 pounds of produce for needy folks in the county. Seven acres of corn, zucchini, beans, peas, apples, peppers, grapes and plums were grown. Two to three tons of tomatoes alone were offered. Pachl has another 15 acres that could be farmed for the food bank, if only enough volunteers were available to take on the planting, harvesting and weeding necessary to take advantage of the offering.
Pachl also said he “might start asking for a little bit of help,” as the funds to make this food available are topping $10,000 a year for necessities such as fertilizer, lime, sprinkler heads, diesel fuel, and of course plants and seeds. Pachl bought a greenhouse, but got hundreds of starts donated from Chapman’s Greenhouse, a family-owned nursery in Orchards.
In fiscal year 2012, Clark County Food Bank distributed more than 3.9 million pounds of food products, resulting in over 121,055 emergency food boxes for distribution by partner agencies to their clients. Approximately 39 percent of those helped were children. Fresh food offerings, said Executive Director Alan Hamilton, helps the food bank accomplish its mission of “alleviating hunger and its root causes.” Kitchen volunteers are helping families learn how to cook simple recipes with inexpensive, easy-to-grow seasonal foods and enabling them to think differently about feeding their families.
Another fresh food initiative, the popular 78th Street Carrot Patch is heading into its fourth season. To help the Clark County Food Bank take full advantage of these offerings, email email@example.com, call the number above or visit the website.
Clark County Food Bank
6502 N.E. 47th Ave., Vancouver
Fava Beans (Broad bean, Windsor bean)
Vicia faba, variety major
Plant late winter, early spring
1-2 inches deep, 8” apart.
Used for centuries in the Middle East and Europe, this early season vegetable is gaining fans among health-conscious gardeners and eaters in the U.S. Harvested green, favas are shelled, boiled and served as a vegetable or roasted for a nutritious snack. Harvested after beans have dried, favas can be ground into a flour to make falafel.
Like peas, fava beans prefer cool, mild weather. Sow between February and March, when soil temp is at least 40 degrees. Windsor is an excellent variety with 5-6” pods containing three to five large, green shell beans. Planting in double rows will help support the large leafy plants. Harvest pods about 80 days after germination.
Many varieties of fava are used as an excellent cover crop for pulling nitrogen from the air and fixing it into the soil, adding biomass, etc.
One cup cooked fava beans contains 187 calories, 13g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 1g fat.
Plant This is provided courtesy of Anne Lawrence at Storytree Farm.
2416 Main St., Vancouver
Ever wondered what those nifty transports are next to the Starbucks sidewalk seating in Uptown Village? They are EcoMopeds, an alternative for commuters that is essentially a battery-powered bicycle. Two new models are available, and the bikes start at $699. They charge like a laptop – just plug into the wall and leave it alone for six to eight hours if it is completely depleted. The bikes do have pedals, so no license or insurance is required. A battery charge can last up to 62 miles, and a battery can last up to 350 charge cycles. All profits from sales of the bikes benefit Arnada Abbey, a local interfaith community.