Latest Projects

In 1999 I wrote an entry on the topic of co-operatives for the Encyclopedia of BC. It was a difficult task. In one thousand words I was asked to encompass the history and development of food and housing co-ops, producer and workers' co-ops. Why me? Because I had been involved with almost every co-op in Vancouver during the 1970s. I was a founding member of CRS Workers' Co-op that successfully operated a cannery, a food wholesaler, a beekeeping operation and a bakery for many years—all of them worker self- managed. Two of those industries that I founded in my youthful past, Uprising Breads Bakery and Horizon Distributors, are still operating and successful today.

Work in Progress

My latest non-fiction book project is titled Let a Hundred Co-ops Bloom. It begins with my arrival in Vancouver in 1975 and my first job as a member of CRS Workers’ Co-op, at the Tunnel Canary Cannery where we preserved fruit in honey. I continued to work with CRS at the food wholesaler in its early stages. By the time that CRS signed its official incorporation papers, June 1976, the wholesaler was already purchasing and selling whole food products to the province’s pre-order food co-ops and health food stores. I also worked part-time at Uprising Breads Bakery. We established our goals as a workers’ co-op and had worked toward those goals since the early 1970s: ownership and control by the members, democratic decision making and women and men working as equals. Mine is not a historical account for a reference library; it’s an account of an exciting time in my life and the lives of those involved in the so called “new wave” of co-ops—a blend of memories, anecdotes and factual information. It’s truly a piece of BC history. The book covers the years 1975-1980—a time of great growth and social action in the Vancouver area.

Can You Help?

Because CRS was associated with so many other co-ops at that time, I have also researched material from Fed Up Co- op, Agora Food Co-op, East End Food Co-op and CCEC Credit Union. Other organizations such as Co-op Radio, Isadora’s Restaurant and Wild West Organic Harvest are mentioned. Were you associated with any of these co- ops? If so, drop me a line by e-mail and let me know. Would love to hear from you.

Novel in Progress

The winter of 1941/1942 was a harsh one for the Soviet Union then at war with Germany. Nowhere was it worse than in the city of Leningrad, where Russians were surrounded by Nazi troops and suffered a barrage of artillery. Citizens lived in bombed buildings without heat, without light, without food, without accessible water or adequate plumbing. That winter they died by the thousands. That was the dismal picture until Lake Ladoga, at the city’s back door, froze over, allowing the new ice road and its brave truck drivers to carry provisions into the city along the so-called Road of Life. In my novel, 18-year-old Anna was evacuated by her father before the siege, but a sudden traffic accident takes his life and injures Anna and her sister. Anna recovers only to realize that she must return to the besieged city to find her mother.  It is lucky that on her journey she meets a young boy whose cheekiness and charm help her cope—and it is even luckier that she has previously shown a kindness to an ice road truck driver who will help her survive. When will the novel be finished?  Anybody’s guess…  
Jan DeGrass - Sunshine Coast - BC, Canada Jan DeGrass - Sunshine Coast - BC, Canada
© JanDeGrass.com  all rights reserved 2016 - website designed by Sun Coast Designs
©  2016 Photography by Ray McNally
Let a Hundred  Co-ops Bloom It’s truly a piece of BC history. The book covers the years 1975-1980—a time of great growth and social action in the Vancouver area. . Tunnel Canary Cannery, 1975

Tunnel Canary Cannery, 1975

The Russian author Gogol presides over a park in St. Petersburg

The Russian author Gogol presides

over a park in St. Petersburg

Jan DeGrass

Latest Projects

In 1999 I wrote an entry on the topic of co-operatives for the Encyclopedia of BC. It was a difficult task. In one thousand words I was asked to encompass the history and development of food and housing co-ops, producer and workers' co-ops. Why me? Because I had been involved with almost every co-op in Vancouver during the 1970s. I was a founding member of CRS Workers' Co-op that successfully operated a cannery, a food wholesaler, a beekeeping operation and a bakery for many years—all of them worker self- managed. Two of those industries that I founded in my youthful past, Uprising Breads Bakery and Horizon Distributors, are still operating and successful today.

Work in Progress

My latest non-fiction book project is titled Let a Hundred Co-ops Bloom. It begins with my arrival in Vancouver in 1975 and my first job as a member of CRS Workers’ Co-op, at the Tunnel Canary Cannery where we preserved fruit in honey. I continued to work with CRS at the food wholesaler in its early stages. By the time that CRS signed its official incorporation papers, June 1976, the wholesaler was already purchasing and selling whole food products to the province’s pre-order food co-ops and health food stores. I also worked part-time at Uprising Breads Bakery. We established our goals as a workers’ co-op and had worked toward those goals since the early 1970s: ownership and control by the members, democratic decision making and women and men working as equals. Mine is not a historical account for a reference library; it’s an account of an exciting time in my life and the lives of those involved in the so called “new wave” of co-ops—a blend of memories, anecdotes and factual information. It’s truly a piece of BC history. The book covers the years 1975-1980—a time of great growth and social action in the Vancouver area.

Can You Help?

Because CRS was associated with so many other co-ops at that time, I have also researched material from Fed Up Co- op, Agora Food Co-op, East End Food Co-op and CCEC Credit Union. Other organizations such as Co-op Radio, Isadora’s Restaurant and Wild West Organic Harvest are mentioned. Were you associated with any of these co- ops? If so, drop me a line by e-mail and let me know. Would love to hear from you.

Novel in Progress

The winter of 1941/1942 was a harsh one for the Soviet Union then at war with Germany. Nowhere was it worse than in the city of Leningrad, where Russians were surrounded by Nazi troops and suffered a barrage of artillery. Citizens lived in bombed buildings without heat, without light, without food, without accessible water or adequate plumbing. That winter they died by the thousands. That was the dismal picture until Lake Ladoga, at the city’s back door, froze over, allowing the new ice road and its brave truck drivers to carry provisions into the city along the so-called Road of Life. In my novel, 18-year-old Anna was evacuated by her father before the siege, but a sudden traffic accident takes his life and injures Anna and her sister. Anna recovers only to realize that she must return to the besieged city to find her mother.  It is lucky that on her journey she meets a young boy whose cheekiness and charm help her cope—and it is even luckier that she has previously shown a kindness to an ice road truck driver who will help her survive. When will the novel be finished?  Anybody’s guess…  
Jan DeGrass Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada
© JanDeGrass.com - all rights reserved 2016 - website designed by Sun Coast Designs
Let a Hundred  Co-ops Bloom It’s truly a piece of BC history. The book covers the years 1975-1980—a time of great growth and social action in the Vancouver area. .
The Russian author Gogol presides over a park in St. Petersburg

The Russian author Gogol presides

over a park in St. Petersburg

Jan DeGrass