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Good things growing in Vernon girl's backyard

Elizabeth Varges introduces viewers to her backyard chickens.
Image Credit: SOURCE/
June 06, 2013 - 1:59 PM


A four minute video featuring twelve-year-old Elizabeth Varges, of Vernon, demonstrates the many ways her family is tackling sustainability in their backyard, and beyond.

Varges' video, Sustainability in Our Backyard, won first place in this year's Inquisitive Clips Film Competition, co-hosted by the City of Vernon and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO). The short film showcases the family's budding backyard garden, their happy flock of chickens, and loyalty to local farmer's markets.

"Sustainability—this may just be a word to you, but in our house, it's so much more," Varges says in the introduction to the film.

Varges tours the audience around her home, pointing out their spiral herb garden, garden plots and in the works "food forest".

Karmen Morgan, waste reduction coordinator with RDNO, was on the panel of judges and says everyone was astounded by Varges' passion and understanding of sustainability.

"It was a challenging theme—sustainability in your backyard," Morgan says. "It's kind of nebulous and broad. It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly."

Contest submissions reflected that with each film giving its own unique interpretation of the word. Morgan says she learned a lot from the videos, from pyramid gardening to mountain biking.

"This competition gives us an idea of what people are interested in," Morgan says. "If we see there's interest in more bike paths, that's something we'll look into."

This is the fifth annual Inquisitive Clips contest, and Morgan says it was initiated as a way to engage with the public. She says it can be hard attracting people to their website, and hopes the video medium will help spread a message about the environment to the general public in a fun, engaging, and accessible way.

With her first prize win in two categories, Varges gets a one night stay at Halcyon Hot Springs and an Apple iPad.

"She was just so keen on what her family was doing personally and the learning around it," Morgan says.

Kiki the Eco Elf came in second place with her video Sustainability.

The theme is usually announced in January, and the city and RDNO invite the public to get involved next year.

In the meantime, it's Environment Week, and there are events going on until Friday.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call (250)309-5230.

Credit: SOURCE/Inquisitive Clips
Elizabeth Varges' award winning video 'Sustainability in our backyard'.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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