Plant Walks with Amber Westfall

Written by Denise Deby.

Dandelion by Fir0002, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Dandelion by Fir0002, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Amber Westfall is a local herbalist and wild gardener who’s known to many of us through her inspiring blog Unstuffed as well as the edible plant walks she’s led.

I’m happy to see that she’s started a new blog, the Wild Garden. She’s also creating a real-life Wild Garden, as part of Just Food’s Start-up Farm Program.

As well, Amber has organized a new series of plant walks to introduce people to the health and medicinal benefits of some of the wild plants that grow right around us in the city. During these Weed Walks, she’ll explain how to recognize, harvest and prepare wild edibles (sample wild snack included!)

The first Weed Walk is on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Windsor Park, Old Ottawa South, with another on Wednesday, April 24, and walks continuing through the rest of spring, summer and fall. The walks are $20 each (with discount for registering for three or more). You can find out more and sign up at

You can follow Amber’s journey towards establishing a community-supported wild food and herb garden via her website. (Check out her plantable business cards that you can grow wildflowers from!)

Greenpeace Ottawa-Gatineau

Guest post written by Brett Hodnett.

Arctic sea ice by Nasa Goddard Photo and Video, Creative Commons
Arctic sea ice by Nasa Goddard Photo and Video, Creative Commons

Get Involved With Your Local Ottawa Greenpeace Group

There is now an Ottawa Local Group of Greenpeace! With decisions made in our city every day that imperil a sustainable future, there is an urgent need to build a grassroots movement here in the Nation’s Capital.

For our next action we will be joining thousands of people around the world who will be coming together on April 20 to form human banners spelling out I ♥ Arctic. Together we will call on our political leaders to protect the Arctic from activities that put this fragile environment at risk, such as oil drilling and industrial fishing. Have a look at the video [below].

Become a part of this global mobilization in cities from Buenos Aires to Bangkok and from Berlin to Bangalore: join our human banner event here in Ottawa! What happens in the Arctic affects us all -that’s why we are coming together on April 20 to take joint action across the globe.

In Ottawa, with the backdrop of the Parliament Buildings, we have the unique opportunity to show the world that Canada cares about the fate of the Arctic. Meet at noon at the eternal flame on Parliament Hill and bring your friends.

We also hold monthly meetings where discussion is wide open about how, as a group, we can best bring change to Ottawa and inform the public about the many threats to our future. If you would like to get involved, send us an email at or look for us on Facebook as Greenpeace Ottawa-Gatineau.

I hope we’ll see you on the 20th.

Earth Month April 2013 at terra20

Written by Denise Deby.

terra20 books photo by Denise Deby

Living green, for many of us, means trying to do the best we can as consumers, by reducing, reusing, recycling, and choosing environmentally-friendly goods and services over harmful ones, when options and information exist.

Bringing a wide range of sustainable products to the Ottawa market is the approach of eco-store terra20, which opened last year. Billed as North America’s largest eco-store, Ottawa-based terra20 sells an array of items, from household goods and cleaning products to office supplies, clothing and more. In one visit, you could pick up non-toxic shampoo, bamboo and organic cotton bed sheets, a backpack made of recycled soda bottles with a solar cell phone recharger, a copy of Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic, and fair-trade chocolate.

Terra20 posts the ingredients of the products it sells, and adds its own labels to let customers know what eco-principles it considers those products to be consistent with—for example, “organic,” “made in Canada” or “waste-reducing.” Few products do everything, but terra20’s overall message is upbeat: its name comes from the idea that “the year 20-something will be the year we achieve sustainability.”

Sustainability may be more of an ongoing process, but one interesting thing about terra20 is that—like smaller stores in Ottawa that sell environmentally-friendly products, but on a bigger scale—it’s working to build a community where people think about and share ideas about green living.

Terra20 is continuing to do that this month in a big way, through social media and in-store promotions. Its Earth Month celebration focuses on a new theme each week. Last week’s was cloth and alternative diapering.

This week’s topic is litterless lunches, and on Saturday, April 13 from noon-4 p.m. at the store, there’ll be presentations on products as well as a litterless lunch food prep demonstration (with samples) by the amazing Judi Varga-Toth of Credible Edibles.

The third week is about reducing waste, and includes an Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 20 from noon-4 p.m. Several companies will present products that use recycled materials or help you reuse your own, including EcoJot, which makes stationery from recycled paper, and local business naCoille which produces hand-crafted cutting boards and furniture from reclaimed wood. The afternoon will be hosted by the always-impressive Ian Capstick of MediaStyle.

Week 4 will be all about terra20’s ecobar, where customers can purchase household cleaning solutions in refillable bottles. Further details on all the Earth Month events are at

Terra20 is located at 2685 Iris St. in the mall beside Ikea, on bus routes 96, 101 and 172 (or bike along Iris), and offers online browsing and shopping as well.

National Wildlife Week April 6-14, 2013

Written by Denise Deby.

"Blandings Turtle at Mud Lake" by greencolander (Michelle Tribe) on Flickr Creative Commons
“Blandings Turtle at Mud Lake” by greencolander (Michelle Tribe) on Flickr Creative Commons

To celebrate National Wildlife Week, the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge is inviting people to “go wild.” Ottawa Goes Wild happens this Saturday, April 13 (rain date Sunday April 14) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brewer Park.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Ottawa Valley, South March Highlands, Ecology Ottawa and Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club will join in to provide information on what’s happening with wildlife and habitat conservation in the city. There’ll be music, artists and kids’ activities as well as info displays.

Also for National Wildlife Week, the Canadian Wildlife Federation is inviting people to sign up to Walk for Wildlife. On Saturday, May 4, CWF will lead a walk through the beautiful Fletcher Wildlife Garden from 9:30-noon.

Revolution Movie Comes To Ottawa

Written by Denise Deby.


“Revolution is a film about changing the world.”Revolution Movie website

Producer and director Rob Stewart set out to make a movie about protecting sharks, but he ended up travelling to 15 countries looking at ecosystems and how we’re affecting them—and how their degradation affects us as humans.

Stewart finds environmental destruction, but also people and organizations doing encouraging work to save the planet.

The film is showing at the Empire Theatres from April 12-18, 2013. Check the website for locations and showtimes.

If you watch the trailer, you might recognize a few scenes from Ottawa: