I’m Tracey Arial, a creative entrepreneur with a seasonal life.
- In the summer, I help Verdun residents buy or grow local healthy food and purchase compost and handcrafted items through the Coopérative Abondance Urbaine Solidaire (CAUS).
- During the winter, my focus turns to active transport enthusiasts, Verdun residents, family historians, solopreneurs and small business owners. I help them read and produce Notable Nonfiction through books, courses and private coaching.
You can keep up with my work via my blog, three monthly newsletters (seasonal living, Island Report and Notable Nonfiction) and my weekly Unapologetically Canadian podcast.
Please consider purchasing my books and courses or hiring me to help with your projects. For individual attention, use my MeetMe page to set up a phone or Skype consultation.
If you can just want to laugh at my funny Friday posts, that’s okay too.
In the meantime, here’s more information about seasonal living, urban agriculture and notable nonfiction.
I’ve also added sections about my non-profit causes, political activism and recognition received.
Lastly, you’ll be able to read about ten things I do badly.
Most people in Canada recognize four seasons in the year, but for me, a post-menopausal woman with Celiac Disease, my health depends on it.
As I eat locally and change my exercise routines and habits with the climate, I’m discovering at least eight seasons, and perhaps as many as 12. For more about this, listen to the first episode of my podcast.
As mentioned in that episode, I feel healthier and calmer if I make changes to follow the weather. Revising my exercise routine, the foods I eat, the amount of sleep I get, how many deadlines I face, and the projects I’m trying to accomplish keeps me feeling good. When I forget, I get migraines, dizzy spells and hot flashes.
There are even indications that the particular nutrients needed change at specific times of the year.
My daughter and I plan to produce a cookbook and blog series to investigate and explore seasonal meals during 2019. Perhaps we’ll figure out how to improve our eating habits too!
I’m certified as a permaculture designer, and have training in consensus and transition movement techniques. When I remember to use them, these skills give me an ecosystem-centrist worldview and limit my natural tendency to be judgmental.
It helps that I have a passion for urban agriculture too.
That passion had me joining others to found CAUS, a non-profit solidarity cooperative. CAUS now operates out of the Verdun municipal greenhouses as a member of Grand Potager, another non profit organization we recently founded.
If you live in Verdun, please join either or both of these organizations.
- CAUS welcomes consumer, producer and worker members who purchase one, 50 or 100 shares at $10 each.
- If you grow food or conduct workshops related to urban agriculture, you can join Grand Potager for $150. You can also support their mission as a friend for only $10.
As a journalist and author, I’ve written hundreds of articles for blogs, magazines, newsletters and newspapers. I’ve also written five books and contributed to eight others. Yet, I’m still stunned at how much I grow when I sit down to write.
If you’re a business owner, writing out your story can save you time and attract clients.
As an avid hiker, cross-country skiier and cyclist, some of my favourite experiences with my children came from trips researching travel guides to Ontario, an experience you can duplicate if you really want to appreciate a trip and discover how it helped you build relationships.
Design and local news stories for magazines and newspapers encouraged me and readers both to get involved in our local community and make our environments more beautiful.
I’m learning a ton working on books about behavioural economics and project management, permaculture gardening and marketing too.
Writing is also giving me more understanding and pride in Canada due to stories based on history. My role as an amateur historian began with my first work of literary nonfiction, I Volunteered, Canadian Vietnam Vets Remember. It continued through Beads in a Necklace: Stories from Genealogy Ensemble.
- I Volunteered was published in 1996 and remains in print.
- Beads was published in 2017 and has already been reprinted.
I’m now working on a book about how World War II changed Canadian identity.
After that, I plan to write a series of novels telling the history of Canada based on my genealogy research, writing and teaching.
If you choose to write a family history about your ancestors, you’ll learn something special about your identity too.
In addition to thirty years of experience as a paid communicator, I’ve also trained, presented and expressed the concerns of writers who simultaneously operate as artists and small business people. By doing this, I’ve learned to run my business better.
You can take advantage of my experience if you choose, via my blogs, courses and podcast or in person via coaching, workshops or speaking gigs.
If you prefer to connect by working together for causes, I hold membership and leadership roles in several non-profit organizations and charities. They include the Montreal Press Club, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, Quebec Writers Federation, Safe EMF and the University Club.
It would be great to work with you in any of these organizations.
After a lifetime of political neutrality as a journalist, I decided to run to become borough councillor in 2017. I lost, but am still trying to figure out what to do with my leadership ambitions in this area.
My goals are to make leaders at every political level more responsive to individual citizen needs. We need good services that match the level of taxes we pay. I want fewer rules overall, but stronger enforcement for the rules we do have.
I don’t have any strong affiliation to a specific political party and my beliefs range widely from left to right, depending on the issue.
- Despite my strong Catholic faith, I believe that a woman should be able to have a safe abortion if she wants.
- I don’t believe in capital punishment.
- We need strong regulations for firearms and pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, I don’t care what colour someone’s house is or what they choose to use as material for their driveway.
- I want strong laws to protect air, food, green spaces, heritage, housing, green spaces, public spaces, security, water and wild spaces.
- Businesses shouldn’t have to jump too many hurdles to operate.
The balance between collective and minority rights is hard to achieve, but I think Canada has done well by providing gay marriages, private sex lives, universal health care and mortgages. I’m in favour of all of these policies.
I think we need to reconsider our positions on biotechnology, community resilience, development, economic viability, education, energy, low cost housing, the democratic deficit and the transfer of public resources into private hands.
The Professional Writers Association of Canada awarded me Quebec’s Regional Volunteer award in 2015 and the Lawrence Jackson Memorial Award of Achievement in 2009.
Le Vitrail gave me a certificate honouring volunteer involvement in 2010.
I proudly display these awards in my office along with:
- a thank you plaque from the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Quebec,
- a Florida Department of Commerce certificate of appreciation,
- a first jump skydiving certificate and
- my Canada Cord from the Girl Guides of Canada.
Ten Things I Can’t Do
To cut some of the earnestness in this post, here’s a list of ten things I can’t do.
- Buy clothes that fit my husband
- Hang pictures straight
- Laugh quietly
- Keep a tune during karaoke
- Keep still
- Make a cup of drinkable coffee
- Recognize dark humour
- Remember names and phone numbers
- Stop crying when I’m upset
- Tell a polite lie