July 2008 Journal

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July, 2008

Summertime is upon us and the Otesha staff  have reunited in Ottawa after spending three weeks out west preparing the West Coast teams for the adventure of a lifetime…

In this month's journal:

1. Otesha on the little screen
2. West coast teams hit the road
3. Farewell shout-out to our Spring Teams
4. Website of the Month
5. Postcard of the Month

1. Otesha on the little screen
Back in January, the Otesha office and was visited by a Youth Action Net film crew, intent on capturing a bit of the Otesha magic on tape. The end result is a great two minute video that highlights Jess Lax (Otesha co-founder), shows one of our Triple H teams in action and gives you a sneak peak into the Manor of Marvelous Mayhem out of which Otesha's office is based! Check it out:


2. West coast teams hit the road
For the first week of July, 24 incredible new Oteshaites met at UBC Farm in Vancouver to prepare for their summer cycling journeys. Some highlights from training week included sightings of a family of Northern Spotted owls who were nesting at the farm, the launch of a brand new Otesha play, a field trip to see City Farmer's urban agriculture demonstration gardens, and lots of hope-filled workshops: from bike maintenance to food mandates and everything in between. While tears were shed as our newest bikers cycled off into the sunrise, we know that they're off changing the world, spreading the Otesha message, and being the change.

We want to send out a special thanks to all of the wonderful folks who made our Summer 2008 Training Week a success:

  • Christine Boyle, Jill Dalton, Shoshanah Waxman, and Mark Leigh for cooking up a storm and keeping our hungry bellies full.
  • Margo Lee for her beautiful facilitation and food-logistics-masterminding.
  • Laen Hershler for being a director and playwright extraordinaire, not to mention an incredible sous-chef, facilitator and friend.
  • Andrew, Erika, Christopher, Hannah, Ayla and all of the amazing folks at UBC Farm for allowing us to use their incredible facility and helping us out along the way.
  • The Fraser and Mabee Families for the use of their house.
  • The Animal Welfare and Land and Food Systems Departments for office and indoor training space, especially Anna Drake, Chris McGill and Dave Fraser.
  • Choices, Terra Breads, Mainly Organics for their generous food donations.

If you'd like to follow the teams' travels through BC and beyond, sign up to receive the "Notes from the Road" journal entries by clicking here for the Sunshine Coast Tour and herefor the Kootenay Mountain Tour.

3. Farewell shout-out to our Spring Teams
What goes up must come down, it's true. And when one tour begins, that means another tour must be come to an end. It seems like only yesterday that we watched the orange vests worn by the Great Lakes and Algonquin teams fade into the distance as they pedaled out of Ottawa to take on Ontario. And what a trip they've had! We here at the Otesha office are so proud of what these two amazing teams accomplished and are thankful to all participants who dedicated two months of their lives to spreading Otesha's message of hope across the province.

If you signed up for the spring teams' Notes from the Road then you surely heard stories of treehouses, sailing on Lake Ontario and hiking the Bruce Penninsula. Here's a fun overview of what the spring teams accomplished:

Algonquin Tour 2008
Kilometers pedaled: 2000km
Number of performances and workshops: 27
Communities visited: 25
Total audience members: 2301 people
Pounds of honey consumed: approx. 25 lbs.

Great Lakes Tour 2008
Kilometers pedaled: 2140km
Number of performances and workshops: 24
Communities visited: 27
Total audience members: 2259
Buckets of cherries consumed: 9

These teams were made up of amazing dedicated volunteers who rode rain or shine and didn't let any challenges stand in their way. So it's no surprise that the teams were an inspiration to those they met along the way. Here's what people had to say:

"As a teacher, it really opened my eyes as well to some of the issues discussed in your presentation.  I am making an effort to buy local produce, and our cafeteria is making the effort as well."

"We really enjoyed the performance a lot.  We even had a grade 4/5 class who rushed back to their classrooms to check out where their t-shirts were made and they were shocked!"

"They were a group of very fine individuals and I am proud to know that they are the future of Canada."

4. Website of the month
Having spent a training week full of fun and sun at the UBC farm, we may be a bit biased for this website of the month. But really, what could be more inspiring than a working farm right beside the city that allows students, volunteers and farmers to come together to learn and grow organic food, and has a farmer's market on Saturday with so many community supporters that dozens of people line up before it opens?

The farm has a blog that allows you to keep up with the harvest and latest events. If you're interested in learning more about the farm's struggle to stay on their land, check out the 'friends of the farm' petition page.

Website: http://www.landfood.ubc.ca/ubcfarm/

Blog: http://www.landfood.ubc.ca/ubcfarm/farmblog/

Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-ubc-farm

5. Postcard of the month
"This week I chose to take staggered showers. I now feel good about taking showers, and do not feel guilty like I used to when I would waste tones of water. I will continue with these staggered showers my whole lifetime."

-Julia, age 14