EartHand Gleaners 2021 Annual Report

We are living and working on the unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh) Nations and  təmxʷulaʔxʷ of the Sinixt Peoples.

2021 Year in Review

516 individual participants invested 3697 hours of engagement – learning and growing online and in person​

38 Means of Production Garden Stewardship Sessions . 30 Means of Production Garden Solo Stewardship Sessions . 12 Online Stewardship Sessions . 39 Trillium North Park Stewardship Sessions . 18 Trillium North Park Solo Stewardship Sessions

31 artists spent more then 3000 hours involved

7 Trillium North Park Special Community Gatherings . 2 Trillium North Park Paid Gatherings . 12 Trillium North Park Artist Research Meetings . 3 Means of Production Garden Special Community Gatherings​

806 audience members listened in for over 1300 hours of sharing​

28 Virtual Free Gatherings . 6 Online Special Community Gatherings .

2021 Directors, Artists, Interns, Skill Holders

Board of Directors

Co-Chairs: jil p weaving, Belva Stone, Jen Brant

At Large: Nicole Jahraus, Susan Gerofsky ​

Treasurer: Karen Barnaby​

​Volunteer Bookkeeper

Helen Shim​

Executive Director / Lead Artist

Sharon Kallis​

Nelson Creative Lead / Admin Assist

Jaymie Johnson​

Artists in Residence (AIR)

Jolene Andrew, T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss  AIR interns: Tori Clarke, Jazz Whitford​


Rebecca Wang, Melanie Camman, Laura Herridge, Sarah Holloway​

Contributing Artists and Skill Holders

Anna Hunter, Catherine Shapiro, CZarina Lobo, David Gowman, Kathy Dunster,  Kim Strathopolous, Martin Borden, Meagan Innes, Nicola Hodges,  Sara Ross, Ryan Vasseur, Senaqwila Wyss, Tanina Williams, Jamie Thomas, Nicole Preissl​

A Letter from Community Member Cyndy

I am writing to thank you for the community arts programming offered throughout the 20/21 pandemic year through EartHand Gleaners.  Providing an online opportunity to come together with others with a shared focus that invited conversation & connection, had a huge health benefit for me and I am sure, for others. You offered a range of inventive programming encouraging access to one’s creativity and imagination and it was fun! The extensive length of the Seasonal Almanac Program, provided me with a space and ecological theme to record this very strange year.  We had monthly check-ins with other community members, something to look forward to where relationships were being formed, seasonal observations shared and immersive conversations had—- over zoom!  Additionally, I am appreciative for the ongoing Decolonizing work EartHand Gleaners maintains as a focus and offers into community life.  Working alongside Squamish knowledge keeper Meagan Innes at Trillium North and now online in the Decolonizing our Tongue program has afforded me space, time, learning and guidance for me to do this work; a real necessity for this settler. ​

I admire your continual commitment to a radical inclusivity approach where all are welcome to show up and participate, the ongoing inventive visionary perspective to create and offer ecological programming that aligns so strongly to our current climate crisis and for overseeing the tending of the land at both Means of Production and Trillium Park North.  I also want to acknowledge that I have identified a fraction of the diverse programming that you both offer here in Vancouver and Nelson BC, we,  as community members, are lucky to have you. ​

Thank you.​

With deep appreciation and admiration,​

Cyndy Chwelos

2021 Partnerships


Beaconsfield Community Garden . Carnegie Community Centre . Environmental Youth Alliance .  Emily Carr University of Art & Design . Hives for Humanity .  Kwantlen Polytechnic University .   Muddy Boot Prints . Rewild Portland .  Rhode Island School of Art and Design . Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship . Still Moon Arts Society . Strathcona Community Garden .  Vancouver Master Gardeners .  Vancouver Moving Theatre . Vancouver Park Board: Reconciliation and Culture Dept. . Vancouver Park Board Operations  ​


ArtsStarts in Schools . Doukhobor Cultural Interpretive Society . Wildflower Elementary School . Young Agrarians Society​

In the Gardens

Working with assistance of community members that could capture aerial images of the gardens, our interns and garden leaders were able to create comprehensive line drawn maps of different areas of both garden sites. We identified the plant-kin, and created corresponding spreadsheets that note the stewardship tasks to support these species and when harvests should happen for community use. It has been an incredible amount of organizational work but allows new gardeners to go forward having a better understanding of what lays ahead in the coming months, and where to focus energies.​

​Specific thanks to David Gowman, Rebecca Wang and Sharon Kallis for creating the MOP maps and spreadsheets, and to Helen Shim, Melanie Camman and Cease Wyss for the Trillium maps and spreadsheets.​

Means of Production work included continued improvement of hill access with terracing, more blackberry removal into the western side of the hill and new plantings on the ‘fibre hill’ near the new staircase. We continued the work of pruning the fruit trees back into a well-tended shape. Ryan developed an onsite soil building system, hosting two training sessions for  volunteers from both gardens. A fig and two crab apple trees joined our MOP community.​

At Trillium, we had the joy of bringing in Vancouver Master Gardeners to work with us. Cease provided some historical content to this site pre-contact, and we discovered the aerial image of our planted area appeared as salmon on what would have been near the original shore-line for Skwácháy̓s. Furthering the outline of this ‘ghost salmon’ in our garden became a central theme to our work going forward. A beautiful community event “rosehips and stories” facilitated by Meagan Innes in the fall provided us an opportunity to honour the land and our ancestors. 2021 marked our 8th summer since the park opened and was the year our stewardship community really coalesced and hit its stride—working weekly evenings for over 6 months of the year made a huge impact on the gardens. Neighbourhood appreciation for our work and these urban naturalised spaces continues to grow.​

​Vancouver Park Board’s Community Stewardship Department generously supported all of our work with approximately 100 new plantings of native species for each garden site!​

Much gratitude to our recurring community land stewards
Means of Production Garden

Amy, Asu, Dale, David, Heather, Kelly, Margo, Martin, Melanie C, Melanie G, Miriam, Sandy, Sierra,  Sharon, Ryan and Ryder

Trillium North Park

Amy, Belva, Catherine, Cyndy, David, Ed, Gavin, Helen, Jess, Johanna, Lisa, Lydia, Melanie, Rebecca, Sierra, Sharon and Susan

And to  Susan and John Russell, and the sheep of Barnston Island that complete our EartHand Fibreshed.

Along with volunteer energy, our stewardship work in 2021 was supported through a Vancouver Park Board Neighbourhood Matching Fund, Vancouver Master Gardeners and EartHand earned revenue.

Digital Mapping

Introducing Means of Production as a Digital Garden

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to work with the EartHand Gleaners Society completing a pandemic-initiated project where, with the help of the EartHand community, I catalogued and digitised Means of Production Garden into a digital garden. 45 plants are documented in the project and organised by their human-plant relationships. I spent my summer split between lending a hand at stewarding nights and manually coding the digital garden into existence. 

— Sarah Holloway, 2021 Intern

Musings from Lead Artist Sharon Kallis

2021 continued to bring on the strange, test our resilience and push our ability to adapt.
Our programs carried on with a hybrid of online guilds and small in-person gatherings—mostly for land-based work and our artists-in-residence research. 

From the outside, I suspect it would appear EartHand had a quieter year than usual, yet I am pleasantly surprised by the ambitious work accomplished in both gardens and at the rebound of our earned income from paid programs—all (but for one) offered online. I am thrilled to have new EartHand friends that join us from across the province, from Eastern Canada, Washington State, Oregon State and even Ukraine. “Zoom Programming” has proven to be a perfect way to reach a larger geographic community, keeping people out of cars to participate with us and meet with others who are peers in all things land and fibre, culture, history and personal activism. 

A strong year of internships in the gardens and on administrative support has also brought fantastic new energy to our team; the mapping work that was done moves us forward in an accessible way for folks just stepping in to understand the seasonal tasks.

Personally, the guilds that I led, co-led and attended kept me buoyant and feeling like I had what was needed to keep going forward through some trying times—learning new skills, pushing my thinking and diving into personal family research that connects into my ancestral cloth work—and is becoming a big part of my personal decolonization and reconciliation work. Asking good questions seems to mean good people show up to help.

I also want to express gratitude to the BC Arts Council Resilience funds that helped us transition our programs, offering a fantastic array of free virtual decolonizing educational workshops and supporting our artists-in-residence in diving further into their traditional learnings.

And, I can’t even put into words the incredible joy it brings me when I see people through a screen holding up skeins of wool they have spun—learning from me online!! There are at least 6 individuals that come to mind who have all picked up a spindle and have then found moments to share that new love and skill with others since life and learning went online.

‘Old tech and new tech’ finding their way together I think holds many of the answers for how we move forward.

— Sharon Kallis, Founding Executive Director & Lead Artist

Reflections from EartHand’s Intern

I joined the EartHand community by becoming an apprentice of Sharon’s through a program at Emily Carr University last May. By shadowing Sharon in Means Of Production garden and consulting David and Ryan, I made a spreadsheet of seasonal tasks, harvest time, and usage for all identified plant kins there; so new gardeners like myself could easily pick up tasks and join in. I feel naturally at ease when working and making at EartHand. Everyone here is so warm and welcoming. My weekly garden time has become something I’m always looking forward to. Then I was lucky enough to become a contracted staff member after my apprenticeship ended in November. Sharon, Jaymie, and I now work more closely together; and I had the opportunity to participate in the Ancestral  Cloth Guild where I get to explore my own cultural roots, learn new textile techniques, and develop personal projects, all the while surrounded by a group of supportive, talented, and fun individuals. As a first-generation immigrant, I’m so glad and grateful that I was welcomed to such a wonderful community in Vancouver where I call home now. I’m looking forward to doing more meaningful work at EartHand and growing with this community. 

— Rebecca Wang 王晨釔, 2021 Intern

2021 Artist in Residence

Down From the Mountains: Into the City
Cease wyss & jolene andrew

As community engaged artists, Jolene and Cease, have grown their practice, to be centred on Indigenous pedagogy.  Often creating culturally enriched spaces for community, the time at EartHand Gleaners became a place for focused and uninterrupted space for the artists to be rewarded with time to learn from one another.   Exploring cultural nuances generated restorative plans for the best use, purpose and blessings of the types of creations and gifts that are collectively created and collectively gifted, for collective development.  Time together not only brought together many mentors, like Squamish weaving masters, Tsawaysia and Tracy Williams.  A trip to the mountains in Squamish with mentor Tsawaysia (Cease) and Eric McPherson, carver and cultural teacher (Jolene) to be on the land and dream of the ways we hope to teach the next generation.  Among the mentors connected over great distances in Wit’suwet’in territory, Violet Gellenbeck (Luksilyu Clan matriarch) who advised on seasonal planning and offered time for teaching, Cultural leader Smogelgem, Laksamishu (Fireweed) clan, took peer teacher to Jolene, Jessica Michell, to dig spruce roots for weaving and also knowledge holder Caroline Hall, who taught birch bark harvesting for basket making.  All who were paid through the project.  Further, mentorship happened with young local Indigenous women with Cease and Jolene, Jaz Whitford (Secwepemc) and Tori Clark, to empower and pass on learning and opportunity to strengthen the community connection and roots to the important work of land based learning and  cultural spaces.

Due to the pandemic, we did not get to meet the full potential of the project.  There are funds left that will fund the land-based learning that will happen within a clan context, to explore and build capacity to find and collect mountain goat wool for the purpose of rejuvenating weaving within the Wit’suwet’in community in the north, as well as feed and inform the inner-city cultural planning and learning  for urban Indigenous peoples.

This residency was supported by EartHand earned revenue, a City of Vancouver Shifting Culture Grant and BC Arts Council Resilience funding

Vancouver and Virtual Programs

Virtual Paid Programs and Guilds

Ancestral Cloth: Past Threads, Present Place (2 cohorts); Brushes to Brooms; Colour Blending and Spinning Guild; Local Colour: Dye and Documentation Guild; Indigo Vat Research Guild; Lessons from the Nettle Sister; Build Your Own Warp-Weighted Loom; Wool-Prep Hackery Research Guild; Seasonal Almanac Research Guild; Mending Guild with Jen Brant

In Person Paid Programs

Colours: From Land to Fleece

Free Virtual Programs

Plan-Jam-Goal-Friends; The Makers Book Club; Virtual Studio Times; Cultural Territories 101 with Nicole Preissl; 4-part Language and Place Series; Knit Nights with Nicola; Fibreshed Talk with Rebecca Burgess; Flax Talk with Kathy Dunster; Canadian Fibreshed: Regional to National, a 3-part conversation series with Anna Hunter and Nicola Hodges; Stewardship Maker Socials

In Person Free Events

Makers Materials Market; MOP Garden Party; Drop-In Summer Studio Sessions; August Weaver Nights; Rosehips and Stories; Gifts of Time and Labour Spinning and Dye Sessions

Reflections from Nelson

2021 was a year of continued “subterranean” rooting and networking in the West Kootenays. This included time observing what was growing, meeting new friends (as the pandemic allowed), virtual and in-person weaving, fibre inquiry and processing time, and reading the pulse of interest for future projects.

Processing linen fibres from flax captivated many in the area who are already growing fibre flax; highlighting a gap in processing experience and lack of equipment despite a notable history of fibre and seed flax grown by the Doukhobors here in the early 1900’s. 

Connecting with a local elementary school and the Doukhobor community promises great potential in pursuing fibre flax projects down the road. EartHand’s propagation to Nelson is still in the very early phase of growing our presence as we work to understand the culture of creative organizations in the area, and work towards building relationship with the Sinixt Host Nation. 

Nelson snapshot 2021:
  • Two guilds hosted from Nelson: Simple Vessels Weaving Guild (virtual); Four-Mile Fibreshed Inquiry guild (virtual/in-person combo)
  • Three outdoor drop-in weaving gatherings in the park: average of 3 active participants & 10 indirect participants/engaged passersby per session
  • Flax to Linen processing day hosted by Young Agrarians: this popular outdoor and in-person event utilised EartHand’s flax processing equipment on loan from Vancouver
  • Flax to Linen ArtStarts project: engaged 40 students at a local elementary school in growing and processing flax for linen with in-kind support from EartHand through use of flax processing equipment
  • Young Agrarians Land Matching Program: initiated a year-long land matching agreement with a young family just outside of Nelson that led to hosting the Four-Mile Fibreshed Inquiry guild partially on this land, partially virtual
  • Outreach and conversation with community groups: Autonomous Sinixt, Blood of Life Collective, Kootenay Fibreshed, Nelson City Planners, the Cultural Development Committee, and Oxygen Art Centre


We love hearing the stories of how skills are shared and move through our community, here are just two of the many lines of learnings that happened this past year.

“From fleece to sweater … While I have been a life-long knitter, for the first time I processed washed fleece into yarn, which included learning how to card and comb the fleece, then to spin it into yarn and ply it. I also learned how to knit the sweater using percentage calculations instead of from a pattern. All of these skills I learned from knowledgeable, highly skilled and generous mentors within the EartHand Gleaners community. Thank you, all … and especially to Sharon for attracting such a wonderful group of people to this organization and making these life-enhancing experiences possible. I am so deeply grateful.”

Helen Shim

“I wanted to give another heartfelt, ‘Thanks!’ for the gift of last week’s basket making extravaganza! It was a wonderful jumpstart for me and, as promised I shared my new skills with the children in my care. 

Thank you for all the knowledge, connection, and fun.”

Samantha Banks

Thank you for helping to make EartHand such a supportive and incredible fibre family!