Demand more than nothing.

(reposted from

What can you build over three years with 1.5 million dollars?

  • 18 metres of the 23 Ave interchange
  • 34 kilometres of shared use and on-street bike lanes

What can you build over three years with 0 dollars?

  • Nothing.

Edmonton has already built 76 km of its 489 km bicycle transportation network, with minimal investment. Let Council know that the $0 proposed for active transportation in the 2012-2014 capital budget isn’t enough.

Remind City Hall of its commitments. Speak out for active transportation funding at the public hearing on Wednesday, November 23 at 9:30am at City Hall. It can be as simple and powerful as stating, “Active transportation is a priority for me, and it’s a priority in the City’s vision and strategy documents. Council needs to find a way to fund active transportation.” They’ll appreciate your brevity, and you’ll get your message across.

Can’t make the hearing? Send council a letter today letting them know that active transportation is important to you. It can simply be the two sentences above: Council just needs to hear from citizens that we care about active transportation.

Sharecropping. Or, Potato, Staff of Life

A good friend of mine has been building a house single-handedly for seven or eight years now, and it occurred to me this spring that his front yard would make a great potato patch.

In what was admittedly a great gardening year in terms of rain, I only visited the potatoes four times: once to plant, twice to weed, and a final time to harvest the taters. Our efforts were rewarded with about 100 pounds of beautiful Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold potatoes.


the patch, late September



there is potato scab, a harmless toughening of the skin in some places, in the soil at this location



our kids know where their food comes from

Much maligned in our overfed times, the potato is a miracle food. The potato is the Edmonton gardener's only chance to really make a dent in how much of his food comes from his backyard, since one cannot grow more calories worth of food in a smaller space than with this nutritious vegetable.

Granted, the latest research does show that, if you are inactive and eat a lot of them, the simple carbohydrates in which their energy is contained will encourage weight gain. Still, I believe that potatoes can be "part of this nutritious breakfast".

Did you know that 100 grams of potatoes contain 24% of a day's vitamin C? And 14% of a day's iron? (source)

I celebrate the homegrown potato as a delicious, nutritious, near-zero-carbon super food. I add them to soups and stews, fry grated potatoes into hashed browns, add them to coconut curries, and bake them with cheese and leeks into scalloped potatoes.

But the best part is the harvesting. Digging up potatoes in the Fall is one of the great pleasures of being an urban farmer in Edmonton.

A Net Zero Energy Year : Summer

Times were good this summer, as our 6 Kilowatt PV system churned out the juice like crazy.

During the months of May, June, July and August we only imported power, on a net basis, on eight different days. Not bad, not bad at all.

Here is what the data looked like:


May 2011: 600 kWh exported.


June 2011: 500 kWh exported.  read more... »

Congratulations to Peter Amerongen and Habitat Studio & Workshop Ltd.

Congratulations to Peter Amerongen on winning "Net-Zero Energy Home Champion of the Year" and to the team at Habitat Studio & Workshop Ltd on winning "Net-Zero Energy Home Product of the Year" for their PV Awning.  I believe this is the very awning that is on Conrads house.

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