Category Archives: Great Events

Compassion Into Action


Let’s turn our compassion for others into action. Let’s feed the hungry. Let’s do it by giving away delicious organic food. Food that’s as pure as can be. May this inspire others to open their hearts and wallets.

This is the basis for Compassion into Action that my dad Arran started a few years ago after being inspired by the Dalai Llama. All the talk of compassion fuelled him to do something about it. Let love be your rocket fuel as Robyn O’Brien says. Here’s a pictorial recap of this year’s Compassion Into Action.

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Let’s set the stage with some music: Corey from the Peak 102.7 was the Compassion Into Action dj for the day.

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Candice and John from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank:

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Let’s kick off with some Coffee from Ethical Bean! Fair trade certified.

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Maria with the Milks. Soy, Cow, Almond.
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Organic toaster waffles, courtesy of Nature’s Path.

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Cooper from Happy Planet pouring out organic juice. And Happy Vibes.DSC_0138

Volunteer with the food bank who were collecting donations.

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Arjan, Rimjhim, Jyoti, dad, et moi.

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Brent – pretend-eating a monster spoon of Chocolate chips a la Cookie Monster.DSC_0148

It was hoppingly busy!

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An organic hot and Cold Breakfast was served: From organic and fairly traded Ethical Bean Coffee to Happy Planet Organic Juices to Nature’s Path Organic Cereals and Waffles. You could come back for lunch, including Que Pasa Organic tortilla chips and salsa, Silver Hills Gluten free Grilled cheese and Save On Meats Vegetarian Chilli. Once your tummy was full, you could do your grocery shopping with a 25 dollar donation. Ons reusable bag could be filled up with organic goodness.
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Dad live on the radio with Corey from the Peak!

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Bowl of delicious Vegetarian Chilli anyone? Served with a smile from Save-On-Meats.

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Darren and Rex.

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Joes No Frills donated organic produce as did Save on Foods.

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Nature’s Path donated Love Crunch cereals, Evirokidz cereals, Bars and granolas too. Que Pasa donated their scrumptious whole grain tortilla chips.

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Arjan with Corey from 102.7 the Peak,DSC_0159

Marketplace!DSC_0167

Eatmore donated organic Sprouts – with a 25 dollar donation you could fill up a reusable bag of organic groceries.DSC_0176

Tanya and John. Tanya held several bake sales in her office to raise funds for the food bank. She presented it to John of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in an envelope. Brava! The Food Bank relies solely on donations to feed 28,000 people per week. No donation is too small.DSC_0191

Anthony from BCIT. Along with Breakfast News and the Weather Channel they were one of several Media covering the event.DSC_0196

Jyoti and Jason cooking up a storm:

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Thomas modelling an organic Pumpkin. Nice pumpkin.DSC_0206

Arjan, Rimjim, John making delicious Silver Hill bread Gluten Free Grilled Cheese.
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Silver Hills Organic Breads (also Gluten Free) was there with smiles!DSC_0232

These were amazeballs vegan and Gluten Free from Two Daughters Bakeshop http://twodaughtersbakeshop.com/DSC_0145

Organic Pears from Witzke’s Farms:

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Happy Shopper! Organic veggies galore.DSC_0175

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More Happy Shoppers – with such an array of fresh organic veggies, bread, chips, juice, and cereal who wouldn’t be happy? DSC_0177

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Positivity is infectious. Get in line, Get infected!

The March


I was so stoked to see so many marchers in Victoria today!

Unfortunately I was only able to stay for a short time. But in that brief time, we marched as if our lives depended on it.  And they do!  Wanting to spread a positive message, our signs read We Didn’t Grow Up Eating GMOs.  Why Should You? Our Grandmas Didn’t Grow Up Eating GMOs.  Why should We?  Misty and I were dressed like our glamorous grannies in 1950s garb with our signs held up by Wooden Kitchen Spoons.

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With Rachel, fellow fighter for food democracy.  DSC_0305 DSC_0322 DSC_0324 DSC_0326

 

March for our Food

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”
– JFK

I passionately encourage everyone everywhere to march tomorrow in the world’s second March Against Monsanto.  It’s being held in every major city in the world on October 12th.

Here is Dr Vandana Shiva explaining why we should March.

Although Monsanto is perhaps the least ethical of the corporations, they are not the only ones legally hijacking our food supply.  6 companies are in control here: Dow, Sygenta, Dupont, Bayer Crop Science, Basf  are just as culpable.  Between them, they control the global seed, pesticide and agricultural biotechnology markets.  This is not science fiction.  This is not a conspiracy theory.

“What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.” —Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector

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This should have violated every anti-trust piece of legislation known to the courts.   Like monocrop agriculture is wrong, so are a handful of companies consolidating the food chain.   They say they are feeding the world.  Owning and poisoning the food supply doesn’t equate to feeding the world.  GMOs are not proven safe for human consumption.   They were released into our food supply after 3 month long rat studies.  Rats live 2 years!  The theory is that they use fewer pesticides.  The reality is that they use more pesticides than before.  The theory is that they give more nutrition.  The reality is that these are all just dreams and not one nutritionally enhanced food is commercially available.  As people wake up to this reality, they are outraged.


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March for our Food.

March for the Bees who are beeing destroyed by neonicontinoid pesticides.  (Neonicotinoids are a common coating on GMO seeds)

March for justice for the 284 000 Farmers in India who have been driven to suicide.

March for biodiversity.

March for the system of farming that works: ORGANIC.  In side by side comparison studies Organic yields equal GMO yields over the long run.  In times of drought, Organic yields are greater than GMOs.  Without poisoning the Earth.

I’m leaving you with this image: Monarch butterflies flutter, Bees Buzz, Insects abound, Our rivers run clean.  Air is pure.  This all is possible if we grow organically. Listen to the Earth.  Respect her creatures.  Respect each other.   As Grandpa Rupert said,

“Always Leave the soil better than when you found it.”

GMO OMG Bellingham and FISHY Sugar Beet car

Last night in Bellingham Washington, I attended the Bellingham premiere of GMO OMG. At the Pickford Film Center.  Guess what I saw parked out in front of the theatre?

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A Fishy Sugar Beet car! Here is more about the fishy food car campaign:

It was a wonderful turnout.  Sad for the several folks who were turned away…. but awesome that it was SOLD OUT! DSC_0264

Adrienne Battis from Bellingham COOP www.communityfood.coop and Steve Crider from Amy’s Kitchen http://www.amys.com/  below. Steve explained during the panel discussion that the reason that frozen pizza you buy in a store will be labelled whereas Pizza in a restaurant won’t is because food service doesn’t require food to be labelled.  Food service is a separate category.  Why would we ask for labelling where there isn’t? We don’t want to complicate our lives.  Just like we don’t require restaurants to label ingredients on the menus.

Yes on 522 has simple GMO labelling guidelines.  For human food.  Bought in the store.

DSC_0262In addition to NON GMO popcorn, I was pleased to find fair trade organic chocolate for sale.  Yay Pickford Cinemas http://www.pickfordfilmcenter.org/

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Sara Southerland, for Sustainable Connections http://sustainableconnections.org/.  Sara drove the Fishy Sugar Beet car!  That’s about as cool as it gets.

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Terence of Barlean’s Organic Oils http://www.barleans.com/

They endorse YES on 522!

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Courtney Pinneau and Caroline Kinsman of the  NON GMO  Project

http://www.nongmoproject.org/

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Vote YES on 522!  Washington is poised to make history.

Eco Fashion Week 7th Edition day 2

Thanks to dear Eve I was given the impetus to attend EcoFashion Week.  Thanks to Jessica, I was given VIP tickets.  Merci beaucoup to both of you.  I attended the Value Village evening at this week’s Vancouver Eco Fashion week.  Going strong since 2009, Miriam Laroche organized Eco Fashion Week to create awareness and thought-provoking questions about our consumption.  This event was totally up my alley for those of you who familiar with Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet and Style-Diet Shot.  The evening was about re-purposing, recycling and upcycling. Below Myriam is dressed head to toe in Value Village.  She said that her dress was originally made in Italy by a chi-chi brand.  She looks fabulous.  DSC_1066

jessica with friends

(L to R) Carolynne Beaty of the Sitka Foundation http://www.sitkafoundation.org, Leonard Schein of Festival Cinemas recently acquired by Cineplex, Dr Jaqueline Hudson, the only woman I’ve met who got to name a mountain, and the delightful Jessica Taylor http://www.illumina.pacificaphotography.com/bk_action.html.

I got so many fantastic Style Diet Shots I am dying to show you.  But I must pace myself.  It will be an exercise in patience on my part!

Below are some pics of the runway, the theme of the evening was Value Village,  68 pounds is the amount (by weight) that the average North American throws away annually, in textiles. DSC_0038 DSC_0085DSC_0106 DSC_1142 DSC_0030

Revamp Gala

Belugas, anemones, music, eco-fashion and applauding courageous women.  It was a night to remember!  Gowns by Pure Magolia eco bridal couture (made In Canada, from sustainable fabrics) and Jewellery by Mirror Mirror Bijoux.  We have a special treat today: NY Photographer Richard Lecoin took some lurvely photos of the models.  Big up to Richard https://twitter.com/Dj_NyRichardNy.  You’ll see his RDL initials in the photos he took (they will be interspersed).  Here are my favorite two shots of his:

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Singer Ashley Robyn http://www.ashleyrobyn.com/

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DJ Wax https://www.facebook.com/djwax.caDSC_0882

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DSC_0917Pure Magnolia designer http://puremagnolia.ca/ Patty Nayel.  She was the brainchild behind this event to raise funds for the YWCA Crabtree Corner.  Her gowns are locally made from divine fabrics.  (She is wearing her own creation!)

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Pam Chang Jewellery designer in the middle from Style-Diet Shot with friends(l to r) Patty, Elaine, Pam’s Mama, sister-in law.  Alex from Style-Diet Shot on the left.  Alex’s coat is vintage Ralph Lauren the beads fairly traded.

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Torch of Life

What struck me most about The Torch Of Life event for organ donation were not the buckets of tears I wept during the Movie Nicholas’ Gift, it was talking to Reg Green, Nicholas’ father.  20 years after his son was killed.   The nadir, he said, was Nicholas’ death itself.  Ever since I became a mother, I feel tragedy more viscerally.  I know many of you feel this too.  The unimaginable, the loss and death of your child.  I can think of nothing worse….

But because they chose to donate Nicholas’ organs, only joy came out of this personal tragedy.   Nicholas’ organs went to 7 different recipients.   The 19 year old girl who received Nicholas liver had just gone into a coma. Her brother and mother had died of liver disease.   Now she is a busy bustling mother herself.  How could that not be joyful?

The death of young Ahmed Khatib, a Palestinian killed in the cross-fire might have resulted in more suicide bombers.  Instead his grieving father donated Khaled’s organs to Israeli children.  It was an ultimate defiant act of peace.  There were several lives saved by this selfless act.  Including an orthodox jew, who wasn’t entirely comfortable with his dying daughter receiving the liver of a Palestinian.  It saved her life. The movie “Heart of Jenin”  showed us that there is such hope to heal nations even in the senseless death of a loved one.

I was moved to tears throughout the event, which included two films, various speeches, and a walk for life.  Throughout we had the inspiring presence of Nicholas’ father Reg (who lives in California), and Ahmed’s brother from Palestine (he lives in Toronto)!

We can learn a lesson that in grief, we can give.  In giving, we heal.

Below is Karen Hurd Stacey of the Stacey House https://www.facebook.com/happyliversociety.org with Dr Yoshida of VGH.  Karen who received a liver transplant last year, gives a home to those needing one during their transplants.  More importantly she gives support and advice to people facing this scary situation. Dr Yoshida is a beacon of light to his patients.  His motto is “Not to Worry”.

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Below is Darvy Cullerton, double – lung transplant recipient.  He never expected to live past 31 years of age having suffered from cistic fibrosis his whole lifvxe.  He is newly and happily married and 36!

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Katie Powell (below) is a gal who donated her liver to her brother.  Woo Hoo Katie.  Her site https://www.facebook.com/LiverGiverKatie!aKatie Powell

Below is George Marcello – a man on a mission.  He received a liver transplant and hasn’t been able to stop going.  He runs and walks thousands of miles to raise awareness for organ donors.  He took the torch of life to be blessed by the pope (who supports organ transplants by the way).  http://www.torchoflife.com/
a George marcello www.stepbystep.ca

We marched on City Hall….

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Walking with the torch are Nicholas Dad, Ahmed’s brother and Karen Stacey.

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Taking the torch to City Hall.

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Councillor Adrienne Carr acting as Deputy Mayor receives the Torch carried by Nicholas’ Dad and Ahmed’s brother.

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Below Eunice Barriga, grateful heart transplant recipient.

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Photo op!

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This is the website to register online in BC https://transplant.bc.ca/OnlineReg/bcts.asp

In addition to the movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis there is a touching video of around 12 minutes long you can see here about Nicholas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8671CyM7w

I promised to send someone the speech I gave.  Might just as well post it here for those of you who are curious about my story.  If it inspires just one person to donate….

5 years ago I was blissfully unaware of the path  I was heading on.  As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss.  I speak to you today as a mother, which automatically makes me  a daughter and grand-daughter.  The web of your interconnectedness is just as wide.  But at the end of the day we all daughters and sons.  I’m half Indian half English, so according to the Indian culture I can simplify it as follows:

If you’re older than me I will call you aunty or uncle.  If you are the same age as me I will call you brother or sister.  It pushes past the who what why, the clothes we wear and the roles we play.  We are all pretty much the same underneath our skin.

Except for health.  And blood types.  It’s because of my A+ bloodtype that I’m standing here about to tell you why I gave away 2/3 of liver of my liver 2.5 years ago.  The thing is: that it grows back.  What do you mean it grows back?  Well it does.  So many educated people don’t know that.  Mine grew back after about 6 weeks.   From one healthy liver you get two healthy livers as Dr. Buscowski told me.  This is a miracle.  Liver is the only internal organ which regenerates.

I actually volunteered a student at the University of Chicago Wyler Children’s Hospital.  This was in the early 90s when they were just experimenting with parent to child transplants.  They were doing the first live liver transplants back then on wee ones.  Volunteering with those kids back them, I never dreamed that I too would be in their situation, waiting for my liver to grow back.  The glamorousness pushing an IV pole around.  Sick as dog.  And totally beyond the point of caring that my backside was hanging out.

Technology has worked miracles.  We can donate just about anything, but only the liver grows back.  As much as I hero-worship the medical team, they are not gods or the creator.  They have  managed to prolong life.  This is the miracle of modern medicine.

Being a liver donor was a unique blessing.  I was able to save my father, Arran from premature death.  Not only that but we were able to hop on the wellness train together.  Let me just say for the record I am not a masochist.  I have a low pain threshold.  I didn’t enjoy being sick, time away from my little girls.  But was worth it, it was a no-brainer.

So here is a brief synopsis.

In 2008 Dr Yoshida told my dad, he would need a transplant.  This was due in part, to a genetic condition called Alpha –1 Anti-typsonase.  I was living in Italy with my husband and 2 young children at the time.  I immediately offered my liver.  And I was just as promptly refused by my mom and dad.  You have young children!  What about them?  Don’t you talk to us about this again!

So secretly I did all my blood tests in Italy- it was to be our last year there.  My dear husband supported me.  Heck! Pascal even got his blood typed so he could be considered as a donor.  But it wasn’t a match.  I felt the hand of destiny guiding me.  Everyone who got tested wasn’t suitable.  Besides I was the tallest possible donor.  Your internal organs positively correlate to height.  Taller you are, bigger your organs.  I was closest relative, the tallest relative and with A+ bloodtype.   I didn’t have the Genetic Condition that dad had that my grandmother had.

Dad surprisingly did turn for the better which lasted to 2010.  I was waiting in the wings ready to jump in, when he took a turn for the worse.  He turned into a bag of bones, with a huge distended Belly and stick thin arms; he was more in the hospital than out. I had mentioned to the medical team that I wanted to donate my liver several times (out of earshot of my parents).   Each time, they smiled and said great!  So I figured I had communicated my desire; I had been tested (in Italy) and was good to go.

However, I didn’t realize that doctors are prohibited from soliciting living donors.  Even if you tell them you want to donate, they are forbidden by ethical rules to pass your name on to BC Transplant.  I didn’t know that.  This explained why nobody was contacting me from BC Transplant.  I don’t know how I made the connection.  But I contacted BC Transplant.  If you are in this situation this should be your first step.  Learn from my mistake.  Don’ test yourself. Forget about results being from a foreign country and in foreign language.  Heck those doctors won’t accept blood work that they haven’t personally ordered.  The testing process took months.  I was hoping dad would not succumb to a random infection in the weeks before.  I said a prayer with every heartbeat.

We were given the date March 7th, 2011

We survived the ordeal and after a year or so felt much like our old selves.  Dad is travelling now which is why he couldn’t be here.  And I’m so happy for him.

The way our health is going, it is inevitable that you will know someone in your family needing an organ transplant.   It may be you, it may be your brother or your son.  Please sign up.  I understood that other countries don’t face this organ shortage that we have here in Canada.  It’s a funny feeling waiting for someone to die.  Most people who need organs die on the waiting list, paradoxically waiting for others to die.

If I told you we could eliminate the waitlist with two simple words, would you believe me?  The laws are currently set up for what’s called “opt-in”.  That means everyone who wants to donate (like on their driver’s license) has to “opt in”. The other system is “opt out”. Recently Urguay and 4 other countries set up presumptive consent.  That means you opt out.  If you don’t want to donate your organs you don’t have to.  But for those who forgot to check the box, this could save your brother, your friend, your mother, your daughter.  This is what presumptive consent is.  Join me in advocating for the laws to be changed.

In the meantime, there are some very sick people in this building.  They are dying just like my dad was.   The only thing that can save them is an organ.  Please give the gift of life.  Give so they can live. And until we figure out how to change these laws, tick off the box that makes you an organ donor.