UBC Farm

Ecology

Surrounded by a 90-year old coastal hemlock forest, the UBC Farm encompasses a 24-hectare landscape forming a rich mosaic of cultivated field areas, hedgerows, orchards, and successional forest stands. The diversity of the landscape provides valuable habitat for a range of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles not found elsewhere in the city. The gently sloping southern aspect of the site and moderate maritime climate allow for cultivation of a wide variety of crops year-round. In a gradient of intensive and extensive management, the farm cultivates a range of annual and perennial crops mixed with animal production.

Program Activities

Innovative sustainability learning and research is at the heart of the UBC Farm's programs. The Farm provides a unique outdoor classroom, where learners of all ages can immerse themselves in the stewardship of a working, productive landscape, linking society's most pressing global challenges to relevant, practical solutions that are achievable through a better understanding of the role that managed ecosystems play in supporting societies.

In addition to hosting a living laboratory for students in over 50 multi-disciplinary UBC courses, the UBC Farm includes elementary school garden projects, an Aboriginal food hub area, a student-run farmer's market, a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program, practica in sustainable agriculture, and an array of research projects.

Facilities and Farm Operations

The site supports a working mixed farm operation with academic programs integrated throughout. The 12-ha section cleared in 1965 has extensive irrigation, sub-surface drainage, and other utility infrastructure, and well-drained soils that have benefited from forty years of continued stone removal and amendments with organic matter.

The mix of crops and livestock at the farm is intended to represent the diversity of food, fibre, and fuel production that is possible in the pacific northwest. Specific research projects and gardens continually change and grow in accordance with the longer-term guiding principles for land management, which employ an agroecological framework. The majority of the farm site has been voluntarily managed to follow COABC standards for organic production.

A gentle slope that bisects the farm is planted in perennial crops, including over 70 different varieties of apples in our heritage orchard, as well as grapes, raspberries, blueberries, hops, and truffles. Level fields on either side of the slope are managed as part of a multi-year annual crop rotation. The intensively cultivated fields are increasingly being subdivided by a network of hedgerows and integrated with rotational livestock management. We maintain a basic complement of powered field equipment (including two tractors with a range of implements) and hand tools in several toolsheds and a machine shed on site. With two small, multi-purpose field buildings on site, the farm has classroom, kitchen, office, workshop, storage, and processing areas.

Two glass greenhouses and three poly houses provide facilities for plant propagation and season extension. An on-site 300 cubic metre-capacity compost facility processes organic waste from UBC's animal care facility and incorporates it as a soil amendment on the fields.

Several garden areas with specific teaching or community service objectives sit at the edge of the forest. The Children's Learning Garden has raised beds, a cob toolshed and adobe oven, and small teaching shelters and a greenhouse. The Indigenous Food Hub includes more raised beds, a smokehouse, shelters and outdoor food preparation areas, and a ceremonial fire circle. In addition, the forest edge is home to several medicinal plant gardens, an Organiponico urban agriculture demonstration, individual and shared plots for practicum students, and teaching gardens for specific UBC courses.

The farm has seasonally incorporated grazing cattle on rotating pastures, including two Belted Galloway cattle grazed in 2010 as a pilot research project, and typically houses several free range poultry flocks in movable coops. Honeybee colonies are managed on site for pollination services and research purposes. In recognition of the important agroecological functions of integrated farm animals, there is a strong interest in diversifying this component of the farm.

We prioritize teaching and research activities that also produce high-quality fresh food, which enters the UBC campus food system through a range of direct marketing channels. This makes the UBC Farm a working farm, and the majority of our revenue comes from produce sales.

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Listing last updated on Feb 22, 2012

"I am convinced that we need living laboratories and classrooms like UBC Farm to help generate and disseminate the knowledge we need as a society to create a more sustainable food system for the future. The UBC Farm is exactly the kind of model we need for sustainable agriculture at this critical moment."

- David Suzuki, 2009



Season:  June through October

Type:  single farm

Since:  2005

# of Shares:  40

Full Share:  $500/year - $25 value box for 20 weeks

Work Req?  No


Schedule and Location:

UBC Farm, Saturdays, 9am-1pm.

Schedule and Location:

UBC Bookstore, Wednesdays, 11:30am-1:30pm.

We supply produce to food outlets at UBC as well as to some of the top restaurants in Vancouver; contact us for details.



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