Our Traditional Food Gatherings
When we first began our Vision of food gathering and foraging, we started with the easiest products available such as fruits and camas. Our first outing was to East Sooke Park and Mt. Wells. We were so inspired by the amount of the Traditional foods that we found on our hikes that we began to bring them to our gardens to introduce to our community.
We have a sizable cammas plot, along with nodding onions (found on Mt. Manuel Quimper) and we utilize both the plant and its flowers in our weekly community lunch in salads and our cook uses it for her twice weekly meals on wheels.
One of our favourite fruits that we have been successful with transplanting is the native blackberry which has defined pointed leaves and has a very different flavour than the Himalayan berries that grow in abundance here. The fruit is gathered for future uses such as preservation workshops.
We have workshops for jams & jellies; vegetables (all from our gardens);
- Medicinal teas (we gather);
- Meats our members hunt (elk, moose,deer);
- Fish our members catch and everyone, including the Youth learn how to cut and process the fish;
We also process our vegetables into pickles & we have 7 varieties of heirloom tomatoes from reds & yellow to oranges and browns and we use them for stewed tomatoes.
Our cooks will use the jars (quarts) for spaghetti sauces or other dishes. All the ingredients are vegetables from our gardens grown specifically for processing. A portion of the produce is distributed to Elders; used by our community cooks for either meals on wheels, community lunches or cultural nights.
Ladybug also grows a variety of greens and beans & peas.
Our cooks will pick greens from April till December as our greenhouse stays warm and we cover the beds. This is such a great advantage to use as we may get at least 5 crops of baby greens for our community. This creates self-sufficiency within our community.
One of our Elders favourite foods is salads made of all ingredients from our gardens. We have not only provided fresh vegetables from our gardens we have also introduced
Traditional foods (honeysuckle flowers, borage, camas flowers, nodding onion, chives) that we have either gathered and grown at our garden or we go out to our Traditional Territories to gather with our Youth on our many hikes. We have also gone on gatherings for lessons on edible and medicinal plants and what they are or were used for. We have come across several varieties of ferns and camas patches; skunk cabbage; nodding onions to chocolate lilies.
One of our most popular gatherings is our Youth Gathering Seafoods. We teach the traditional ways of harvesting & cooking seafood. We gather many animals from our outdoor classroom such as a variety of clams, oysters, octopus, a few limpets and rock stickers and gooseneck barnacles and sea urchins. We have very skilled members who traditionally smoke salmon for these special occasions.
Some of our very best lessons on traditional foods come from our many outings with our Youth and Elders. We will travel to forage for fruits and berries and especially our seafoods.
We also practise our Culture by way of prayer circles and blessings. The teachings we have created on these trips has given our Youth self-confidence and we encourage them to learn more by participating.