More love for East Van-style DIY

Deposit Work underway... neighbours stop buy to buy the product...
The team cranks it up work

Now in its third year of growth and development, the Garibaldi School Community Garden just came off of a landmark weekend, with a manure sale that raised money to finish the tool shed/play area, greatly enriched the soil at the garden, and distributed tonnes of hormone and antibiotic-free steer manure to neighborhood gardens.

The non-stop shoveling also was a formidable full-day, full-body workout for me. And yes, I did lose count of the wags on Twitter who observed that slinging vast piles of cow dung is indistinguishable from what I do in a typical working day at UBC.

Racking the ale

In other food and booze security news… I’m happy to report we have graduated from beer brewing learning parties to a fairly regular home brew production schedule, with Keira and Rob showing particular initiative. The Strathcona Pale Ale was completed and ecstatically consumed, the Shirley’s Nutbrown Ale is bottled and aging, the Grapefruit Bitter fermenting in the carboy ready to rack. Absolutely blown away by how tasty the ale turned out – and it’s been great fun.

I’m not in the habit of endorsements here, but we couldn’t ask for a better supplier than Dan’s Homebrew Supplies (located in the historic Heatley Block, next to the volunteer-run anarchist Spartacus Books), serving up great ingredients and ample heaps of punk attitude. This video they made sums up so much of what I love about East Van, and why I find it hard to imagine living anywhere else:

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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11 Responses to More love for East Van-style DIY

  1. Nicole Ronan says:

    How stinky does the area where you’re storing the brew get? I’ve been long wanting to get into homebrewing but don’t want to stink up the joint, as I have neighbours who share the storage space I’d use to stash the carboys.

  2. blamb says:

    I might be the wrong person to ask, as I can condition myself to ignore the smell of fermenting sauerkraut in an open crock. But I honestly don’t think there is any smell from the carboys at all… they are more or less sealed, with an airlock that slowly releases air through a water valve. We keep the carboys in the kitchen.

    There is some smell during the cooking, and maybe a little during the racking, but nothing too vile.

    You’re welcome to drop by the place and watch the process sometime (we’ll be drinking beer), or just do a quick drop-in to see if you can smell the carboys…

  3. Nicole Ronan says:

    Cool, thanks! I had that Hanson Brothers VHS a while ago that got me stoked to try it, but haven’t gotten around to it. Next time you guys do a batch, I’d love to watch…

  4. blamb says:

    Not only did I not know that Hanson Brothers VHS, I can’t seem to find it on the web. Bummer.

    Then again, the search did prompt me to watch one of my favorite cinematic hockey sequences ever:

  5. Nicole Ronan says:

    Nice! I think my favourite is this one:

    I’m listening to the fuckin’ SONG!

    Too bad I gave away that tape. Grrrr.

  6. blamb says:

    Oh yes…

    I bet the guys at Dan’s would be able to help with that VHS…

  7. Jim says:


    Taking it to the streets, and showing the love for the hood. I love your neighborhood too, and I don;t even live there. In fact, I’m pissed I don;t live there, an it kinda makes me pissed at you. But when I can finally cut through the bullshit, all I want it a homemade beer in East Van—is that too much to ask? Damn it!!!!

  8. cindyu says:

    Hey Brian,

    Love the Heatley Block – treasured part of our ‘hood here on Hawks! Did you know that it was slated to be redeveloped by the Van Public Library? Vociferous neighborhood opposition convinced the Library to sell the property to the City and find a new location – which they did – just down the street. That’s why I love east van – the whole community rallies to fight for what’s important!

  9. blamb says:


    I had been following the story, and given that a library is usually seen as an obvious good thing (justifiably so), it says a lot about the community there to recognise the value of the Heatley Block and do what it did to preserve it.

    Whenever I spend time in Strathcona I’m blown away by the commitment the people have to their neighbourhood, and it results in one of the most unique urban areas I’ve ever seen. East Van at its best.

  10. Grant says:

    In keeping with both Hansons and brew’in:

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