Good morning! And what a lovely one it is. I can’t help remembering that silly little poem from childhood:
Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The birdies is.
Probably not a great classic but it comes to mind every spring nonetheless. This newsletter has been painful to put together and I apologize for it in advance. However, I had to write it so you have to read it. Don’t make me have to twist any arms. (just kidding, I hate reading financial updates, too)
Throughout the history of Plan B folks have been encouraged to check our books and to feel free to ask questions about our finances but it rarely happened. As we spread our wings a bit, we feel it is even more important for everyone to really be aware of how we spend money. As a community organization we are accountable to the community. Remember we are a vagabond group doing our best with little or no training in accounting. We accept pointers!
Two points of interest to share. The Table CFC is starting a new gardening project to help folks start or improve their gardens at home. They have all kinds of supports available and if you are interested Contact Joanna at the Table: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613 267 6428×28
The other is that the income tax clinic is still running for lower income households. (under 35,000 annually for an individual) A very painless, smooth operation. Contact 257-7619 x 3200 or 3104
I am looking for a volunteer interested in doing some varathaneing on trim in our new kitchen and another to get the herb garden ready. We hope to have the greenhouse together within the next few days, however we are assembling it with supplies we have rather than making more purchases. Anyone with expertise or construction materials to donate-now’s the time!
We had a real taste of spring these last few days and I’ll wager many of you did what I did. Basked in the sun like a lizard on a rock. I could feel the vitamin D seeping into the corners of every blood vessel. (that makes an interesting picture, blood vessels with corners?!?)
Today is the day we launch the gardening project at Sacred Heart school where the kids are participating in community gardening by starting seeds for us. I would like to invite any children in the community who would like to participate to let us know. We provide everything needed right down to the soil. There is information explaining what the child is growing and why. It’s a really fun project. There is no cost and heaps and bushels of benefits.
The project has been loosely designed for elementary school aged kids but can certainly be modified up or down to fit most age groups.
Questions have been asked about income tax receipts for donations to Plan B. We are still negotiating with CRA so for the time being the North Lanark Health Clinic has been graciously stepping in to help us out. Sometimes the process gets complicated so we have engineered a smoother one.
Let me know (Melanie) that you would like to make a donation to Plan B and require a tax receipt. I will take it to the Health Centre (which has changed it’s name to ConnectWell) And give it to a specific person who will follow it’s trajectory through the channels.
This makes it easier for us as we work on a shoestring budget. Like some of you I have become very adept at working at a low or non existent bank balance and it is helpful to know how much money might be coming in. It also gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude in person. These donations make what we do possible.
It also makes things easier for Connect Well as they have a big budget (yes, I’m jealous sometimes!!) and it can get complicated for them to keep track of donations and receipts for another organization. It is generous of them to do this at all so we want to streamline the process as much as possible.
This whole process is a wonderful example of how community, and the organizations within it, work together to make possible what is needed. A big thanks to everyone involved.
This new wave of Covid-19 has put a fatigue in voices that seems to continue to escalate. We are tired. The news doesn’t seem to have anything good to say. All of us want to get back to our real lives. This “hug drought” is driving me crazy. My dog is going to leave home if I continue to hug her so much, I need people back!
We are getting there. Please reach out. On Tuesdays from 11 to 1 p.m. we have an online women’s group. Women can also phone in. I love chatting on the phone and I know there are others who do as well. Keep connected. It is the strength of our community and the individuals within it that will get us through.
Just because it might seem that we are all alone, people care. Sometimes people don’t seem to care simply because they don’t know. It’s up to all of us to tell each other what is going on, what is happening. No one can be supportive if no one knows the need. My home phone is 613-259-5495 and I’m home all the time.
Picking the right food box for you and your family can be a bit complicated so we have broken it down and used pictures with the actual food boxes that were distributed on March 10/2021. The real challenge of course is that they vary from week to week. It depends on what is in season, what is available, and we all like variety so we mix it up a bit. Each box will be described with the price listed but any of these can be subsidized, either in whole or in part. For anyone who has difficulty picking it up, we deliver to most addresses.
Occasionally finances allow for a bit extra. Depending on donations we are sometimes able to add a bit extra to the boxes. When this happens we try to spread it out as evenly as we can. Any donations made to the Good Food Box go only to the Good Food Box and are not applied to any other project.
When filling the boxes the volunteers are filling a specified number of boxes with no names or any indication of who they go to. Another volunteer grabs the first box as folks come to pick them up. Sometimes there might be something missing or something extra. Sometimes we might miss a bruise or two. But we are absolutely doing our best and probably just need more coffee.
This is an example of the Small Box. Anyone who ordered a small on March 10 would have received 5 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of onions, 2 pounds of carrots, green onion, iceberg lettuce, 2 pounds of bananas, 2 apples, 2 oranges, and a dozen eggs. These items rarely change. The celery, cucumber and 2 tomatoes are occasionally substituted for something else and the romaine is this week’s extra.
This is an example of the Large Box. Anyone who ordered a large box on March 10 would have received 5 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of onions, 2 pounds of carrots, green onion, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, 2 pounds of bananas, 4 apples, 4 oranges rarely change and the celery, asparagus, pineapple, 4 pears, broccoli, 2 tomatoes are occasionally for something else substituted. Cauliflower and romaine lettuce were added as extras.
This shows the difference between the Large and Small boxes. The small box has everything the large does but is missing cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green onion, pineapple, 2 apples, 2 oranges and 4 pears.
This is an example of the Fruit Bag. Anyone who ordered a fruit bag on March 10 would have received 3 red apples, 3 pears, 3 oranges, 2 pounds of bananas and a pineapple. The fruit bag always consists of 5 different fruits and is largely dependent on what is in the larger boxes.
This is an example of the Vegetable Bag. Anyone who ordered a vegetable bag on March 10 would have received 2 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of onions, lettuce, 2 tomatoes, and broccoli. The vegetable bag always consists of 5 different vegetables and is largely dependent on what is in the larger boxes.
To learn more about The Good Food Box, please see this page.
…one more inch towards spring and according to the weather prediction-today is the day to go outside and get a taste of what is to come! Just ignore next week.
Let’s dive right in and talk about the exciting things going on, because there’s a few. The very first really great item is that a new volunteer has taken over sending out the newsletters. This means that, in all likelihood, everyone will start getting it regularly. Crystal is ever so much better at these things than I am. Thanks Crystal!!
We’ve gotten several seed starting volunteers. Thank you so much. The community gardeners are a little bit anxious about getting things happening. This happens to them every year, it’s hard to wait! All are welcome to join in. I’m never quite sure if it’s the gardening that’s so popular or the socializing. Maybe a bit of both. As we get closer there will be more info available but in the meantime check out the Facebook page for Lanark highlands community garden.
On a similar note the schools in the area were all approached to participate in a new seed starting venture but unfortunately only Sacred Heart was able to accommodate us this year. It is a bit of an undertaking but we want to invite any other children who would like to participate to join in as well.
Plan B is providing everything needed at no cost. This includes everything required for starting the seeds, growing them, and information geared to children about the process that is happening. The point is to introduce kids both to gardening and community sustainability. Both topics are covered in the information provided. When the plants are mature enough to plant outside (and the weather is co-operating) the plants will be moved to one of our gardening sites. It might be the community garden on highway 511 or one of the smaller sites maintained in a home garden. (We call these the Rhubarb Gardens) Kids will be growing 2-3 plants each. To participate contact us at the info at the end of this newsletter.
Our new community kitchen is a “hold on to your hats” situation completely. What started as a room little more than a shed has been transformed into something beautiful. This has been a community effort and it has been amazing. No Plan B money whatsoever has been used as the kitchen is on my property. There have been no grants of any kind and everyone has been completely open about what the project is and where it is located. However there has been a donation of $3000 towards labour (and this guy is incredible) and I have donated the space. The community has donated the cupboards (beautiful cupboards) counters, sink, fridge, new patio door, a range hood, 2 stoves, 2 gallons of paint, handwashing sink, wood stove. and I hope I’m not missing anything. The man hired to do the work has also volunteered many extra hours, and a qualified technician has donated his time and expertise to install, inspect and certify the stove.
The costs have been more than expected and I have paid for everything else. There is no complete total yet as it is still in progress but we are over $5000. If you listen very carefully at my place you can hear my line of credit softly sobbing! Because of this we will be putting together a “go fund me” account to hopefully recoup some of the costs. If it ends up that I am holding the bill, that is as it should be and there is no issue at all.
When the kitchen is finished it will be available for anyone to use. Obviously, it was built because Plan B is always expanding and we need the room, but it is not for the exclusive use of Plan B. There will not be a charge to use it, it will be a community space. Just outside the door we have a green house in process. Again for community use.
Living in the Lanark Highlands is living in a community with a very strong social conscience and I am so proud to be a part of that.
Today as we were distributing The Good Food Box boxes, we discussed the value of what is included in the box. As a group, we can use our buying power to purchase at wholesale prices and we pass the savings onto you. That’s why you can get so much more bang for you buck from the box than at the grocery store.
I filled my cart with the contents of March 10, 2021’s large box, small box, and fruit bag from a local grocery store. You can see just how far your savings go by comparing their prices with ours.
To summarize these images, the large box contains $66.42 worth of produce and we charge $25.00. You save $41.42! The small box contains $36.09 worth of produce and we charge $20.00. You save $16.09! The fruit bag contains $18.10 worth of produce (minimum – we often toss in extra loose fruit) and we charge $15.00. You save $3.10! These prices can change from week to week depending on what we get to distribute.
That’s not to mention all the little (and big!) extras that we receive as donations from time to time. And of course, getting out to see people in the community is a priceless value in and of itself.
Our Produce Versus Theirs
The above photo shows two cucumbers. The one on the left came from a big name grocery store whereas the one on the right came from our distributor for the Good Food Box. Wow!
If you want to know more about The Good Food Box program or to order, check out this page.
Another wonderful day in the Lanark Highlands and I am celebrating the birth of my grandson Oliver who was born on Feb 17 in Sudbury. Should COVID ever end I might get to meet him. Thank goodness for Zoom.
An exciting project is underway. Construction of the Plan B community kitchen has begun. For several years the Jamborees were held in my kitchen, as was a great deal of the cooking for the community dinners. Unfortunately (fortunately?) we are outgrowing just a regular kitchen. Although there are other community kitchens in the area, we always ran into hiccups using them. Often these hiccups grew to be hurdles.
One of the most complicating features for us is the “no notice” we can give. Understandably kitchens are booked up and reserved. We often suddenly find ourselves with a great deal of produce and little time to prepare. The other complicating feature is the amount of equipment we have to move with us whenever we go somewhere. At the end of the day our products sometimes need to sit overnight. A process like fermenting can take weeks. So we decided on building our own, but still for community use.
Plan B owns no property, and realistically our mandate doesn’t allow us to invest in the maintenance of structures (as it stands right now) and so the properties we use are at the discretion of the owners. This can make things complicated but for the most part anything that is not portable or used up (perishable) is paid for by the owner.
My house, at 61 Owen St in Lanark Village, has been the hub of many activities for as long as Plan B has existed. Many modifications have been made mostly at my expense. Any financial support has been with the complete understanding of the donors that the money is being used for a private dwelling. However, it is pretty obvious living alone I don’t particularly want or need a huge root cellar in my basement!
The community kitchen is being built a great deal on faith. We plan on the kitchen meeting the criteria of all health standards. To date I have received a generous donation of labour. A door needs replacing and that has been donated. There will be 2 stoves, we have had both donated. A fridge and a freezer, which we have. Both of these have been donated, the fridge just yesterday. We also need two range hoods, 7 feet of counter with upper and lower cupboards and 64” of cupboard. The 64” does not have to be continuous as it will be on the wall with the appliances. We are also looking for a 3 compartment sink. We have the handwashing sink. I’m so excited I could just bust!! The best thing is that it is accessible without having to go into the house itself. Free for community use whether or not I am home, sliding doors opening onto one of our smaller gardens.
Please come and check it out when we’re done. I think it is going to be incredible.
The first batch of seeds has arrived-so yes, that smell in the air is most definitely the very first whiffs of spring. We have some seed starters just twitching to get started, however we always have room for more. A big thanks and welcome to those who have come forward to help!
The women’s group is meeting again, right now on zoom. We meet on Tuesdays from 11 – 1 and will meet in person when it is safe to do so. These are strange and awkward times, sometimes pretty difficult to get through. We have all had to struggle in our own ways and found our own ways to get by, one day at a time. Although right ahead of us there is light at the end of the tunnel it does seem pretty dim sometimes. That is when it is more important than ever to reach out and let someone know.
Sometimes asking for a little extra help can be hard. It was certainly hard for me at first, until I realized the joy others got in lending a hand. Now I find it pretty easy and I need help all the time. A trick I learned to get the ball rolling was simply to start the conversation. And maybe the first time don’t even mention your concern. Find someone you can really trust, someone able to help or knows where to go for help, and someone you can feel comfortable with. The important part is to get the support you need knowing that each and every person in this world needs support at one time or another. You are not unusual! You are one of us!! And we love having you around sharing in what we do.
Remember the Good Food Box is available. Fresh produce at wholesale prices. A large box, suitable for a family of 4 is $25, a smaller box $20. Fruit or vegetable bags only are $15. Subsidies are available as is delivery, just let us know. Order using contact info below.
Our family has lived in and around Lanark for 40 years. My husband was born in Watsons Corners . He was a young man at the time of big fire and remembers it vividly. We raised our children here. I helped out at nursery, elementary and Sunday school plus Scouts and Brownies. The children enjoyed the beach here that the volunteers helped to groom and maintain, which remains in good shape. I still take a dip there.
I was a volunteer as well as a staff member at the library when, in the 80s, we held a referendum to decide to add the new library on top of the town hall. It was a big job to move the 1 room collection across the road to Miss Baird’s house then back again when the new premises were complete.
My husband and I helped to complete the new ball field and volunteered at the provincial ball games. I was so disappointed when we had to cancel the 200th town anniversary as we have enjoyed the other anniversary celebrations over the years.
I try to attend everything in Lanark; fundraisers, dinners, craft /bake sales, bazaars, special events at all four churches, classes and get togethers at the Adult Learning and Youth Centers, the Legion for Remembrance Day/ July 1st commemoration plus thrift store sales, Museum and arena events. There are many others I have missed mentioning .
When I walk down the street I always meet a few fellow volunteers. I think Lanark is the Volunteer Capital of the province. It is a wonderful community to be a part of. Congratulations and thanks to every person who gives their time freely.
My husband and I attended the Aruma Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning and purchased our produce, eggs, sticky buns, bread and just enjoyed the atmosphere and fun.
One Sunday I was visiting the Plan B booth and Melanie was chatting about canning, etc. I explained that although I’m an avid cook/baker I didn’t know how to can or preserve. She informed me that Plan B was getting together the following Tuesday, and that I was welcome to join them. I went home and thought about it and on Tuesday I arrived at “the factory” at 9 am, full of excitement and nerves. The ladies were welcoming, helpful and patient. By the end of 7 hours, I was hooked! I went back twice more that week and have been going ever since.
Joining Plan B was one of the best things I’ve done for myself! I’ve developed friendships that I would never have made, learned skills that benefit my family and most of all I feel that am contributing to the mental and physical wellbeing of my Community.
If you are interested in learning, growing and feeling good about yourself, come and join us!