UBC Farm

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UBC Farm
General information
Type Farm and forest system
Location 3461 Ross Drive
University Endowment Lands
Town or city Vancouver, BC
Country Canada
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Construction started 1915
Renovated 2000
Owner Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, part of UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems

The UBC Farm is a 24 hectare farm and forest system on the southern end of the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver. The farm is run by the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, which is part of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and has existed in its current form since 2000. It hosts a variety of crops and fruits, as well as some animals and composting facilities. Several academic programs allow the students to use the farm for research and teaching.[1]


The farm, located on traditional Musqueam First Nation's territory, has been part of UBC since 1915. However, the Farm of 1915 was not located at its current position, but reached from the Nitobe Memorial Garden to the Thunderbird Stadium. In 1970 the Farm moved closer to its current position at Wesbrook Place. During the 1990s activity on the agricultural area in the South of campus declined and in 1997 the area was declared a "Future Housing Reserve". A student-initiated program, supported by the Faculties of Science and Forestry, began in 1999 to advocate for the revival of the UBC Farm.[2] 2008 saw the announcement of plans, to reduce the size of the Farm or to move it somewhere else entirely. This caused the Alma Mater Society club "Friends of the UBC Farm" to start the "Save the Farm" campaign and advocate for the conservation of the Farm.[3] This campaign caused a shift in policy and on December 1, 2009 UBC Board of Governors stated that the area of the UBC Farm would no longer be considered a housing reserve.[4] In 2011 the area was declared a "Green Academic" zone, which "will be kept primarily as open areas to support land-based teaching, research and community engagement".[5]

Farm facilities and mission

Farm facilities

The Farm consists of two small buildings, which can serve a variety of purposes, e.g. as classroom, office, kitchen, storage and processing areas and is surrounded by a coastal hemlock forest. Two tractors and other tools are stored in several sheds on site and two glass greenhouses, as well as three polytunnels offer to extend the seasons and to further spread the crops. Moreover, a 300 m3 composting facility can process the Farms and other local produce wholesalers organic waste and turn it into soil fertilizer. Two trailers furthermore offer staff accommodation to take care of the animals 24 hours a day. The Farm includes a wide mix of crops and livestock, which represent the agricultural possibilites of the pacific northwest. Vancouver's moderate maritime climate allows cultivation of certain crops year round. Over 70 different kind of apples are growing in the heritage orchard and the Farm also features grapes, blueberries, raspberries, hops and truffles. Usually the Farm also hosts some free range poultry and honeybee colonies and has occasionally been a seasonal home for some cattle. This also provides a habitat for "a range of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles not found elsewhere in the city".[6]

Farm mission

The Farms main objective is to offer UBC a wider arrange of possibilites to research and create more sustainable and healthy communities through interdisciplinary cooperation and a hands-on learning approach. A better comprehension of the relationship between society and ecological systems should be promoted. And through sharing the gathered knowledge with the local community, awareness for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle should be raised.[7]

Farmer's markets and other events

From June to October UBC Farm offers two farmer's markets every week, where the Farm produce is sold. On Saturdays, the market is hold at the UBC Farm and on Wednesdays the produce is sold at UBC's Vancouver campus. Some produce is also sold to local restaurants and a volunteer student organization provides a delivery service of the Farm's produce. Furthermore, the Farm occasionally hosts private events like weddings, birthday parties or music events.[8]

Teaching programs

Curricular activities

UBC Farm provides students with resources to pursue land-based, hands-on research and learning. Several UBC degree programs are cooperating with the Farm, in particular the Faculty of Land and Foods Systems, and include the Farm in many of their curricular activities. In 2010, 2,500 students from eight faculties participated in curricular activities based at the Farm.[9] Moreover the Farm is part of UBC's "Campus as Living Lab" initiative, which was introduced with UBC's commitment to sustainability.[10]

Indigenous teaching

As part of Vancouver's Native Health Society (VNHS) project, a garden and a weekly community kitchen for Aboriginal people in Vancouver has been established in 2005. The goal is to provide healthy food for Aboriginal people and to give the elderly and the young Aboriginals a space to interact and to share knowledge. Furthermore, the native Musqueam community has a space to grow food and medicine plants.[11]

Children's Learning Garden

The Farm also features a Children's Learning Garden, which offers Farm Discovery Tours for "students from pre-kindergarten through secondary school" during the school year, and Farm Wonders camps over spring break and in the summer. The garden also hosts the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project, a program run by the UBC Faculty of Education, that partners elementary students, seniors, and other community volunteers to grow food, cook, and learn together throughout the whole school year. [12]

Future plans for UBC Farm

Construction of two new buildings

As the demand for bigger facilities at the UBC Farm grew since 2000, in 2012 it has been announced that two new buildings are scheduled for construction at the Farm site. The new buildings should include a replacement for the current Farm Centre and a residential sustainability college. The new centre is set to "include classrooms, dry and wet labs, offices, kitchens, processing space, an area for the farmer's market, a small retail space, café and student study spaces", while the college is to offer residential space for students to engage in "practical participation at the Farm".[13]

Possible AMS brewery at the Farm

In 2013 the AMS announced, that the plans for a student-run brewery based in the new Student Union Building (SUB), set to open in 2014, are disregarded due to financial reasons. Instead of incorporating the brewery in the new SUB, plans were made to build a commercial student-run brewery at the UBC Farm. This poses a variety of problems, as in UBC's Land Use Plan, no space is assigned to accommodate a brewery on the Farm's area.[14]

External links


  1. "About – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  2. "History – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  3. "Save the Farm – Friends of the UBC Farm Blog". Wordpress. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  4. "History – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  5. "Land Use Plan" (PDF). UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  6. "Farm features – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  7. "Vision – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  8. "Markets & Events – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  9. "Teaching & Learning – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  10. "Campus as a Living Laboratory". UBC. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  11. "Indigenous Initiatives – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  12. "Children’s Learning Garden – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems". UBC. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  13. "Sustainability college to be constructed at UBC Farm". Ubyssey. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  14. "Last Words: The UBC Farm revisited, Toope’s subway flip-flop and the decrepit old SUB". Ubyssey. Retrieved March 14, 2013.