Below is the text of a letter submitted by Jen Ardiel to the Vancouer Sun, printed this Sunday. Jen does a wonderful job of illustrating why developing the farm is so unnecessary.
Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008
I would like to thank Murray Isman and Stephen Owen for bringing current thinking about the UBC Farm to the public’s attention (Issues & Ideas, July 22.)
In March, I participated in a University of B.C. design workshop at which planners, architects, administrators, designers and students were given the task of meeting UBC’s residential and academic building requirements over the next 100 years. What was exciting was that the university’s building needs could be met within the area that is currently developed. Older buildings, parkades and badly designed green spaces and corridors could be redeveloped to create a more sustainable campus. If the farm is developed, we would lose something that needn’t be lost. The need for agricultural research will explode in coming decades and UBC, if it doesn’t make foolish changes, will be hailed for the foresight to secure the farmland.
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To everyone who attended Wednesday’s UBC Food Systems workshop: thank you so much. The event went as well as it possibly could have, in my opinion, with a resounding message of support for the UBC Farm as the outcome. Each of around a dozen break-out groups used their report-back time to make a strong statement of support for the maintenance of the Farm’s current size and location, expansion of academic connections, financial support for the Farm from the University, and enhancement of like-minded food production areas on campus. It was also emphasized that to reduce or hinder the growth of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems would be a seriously regressive act for the University, and would be looked poorly upon by the global academic and sustainability communities.
Critical questions were raised regarding what would become of the ideas generated by the attendees of the workshop. Campus and Community Planning’s Joe Stott said that any consensus formed at the meeting was in no way binding, but that the goal was to “generate as many ideas as possible” to assist in the planning process. The results of the workshop will be made available to attendees and the public via C&CP’s website. (We’ll also post updates here.)
The next step – which C&CP is calling “The Preferred Option” – is due this Fall, and entails the presentation of a number of land-use proposals by Campus and Community Planning (C&CP), each outlining a different scenario for the South Campus area. It is fair to say that if none of these scenarios suggests the Farm be kept at its current location and size, it will prove a blatant disregard for the “consultation” held on Wednesday, and totally undermine the stated intentions of C&CP to listen to public input.
We’ll keep up all our efforts with outreach and pressure on the University in the months to come, and I invite you to keep up with progress. In order to save this beautiful place we need all the help we can get at this time. Thanks for your continued support and assistance!
(**For those of you who weren’t able to make it, Mark Bomford’s rushed but rich presentation about the Farm’s legacy, role, and importance at UBC has been posted on YouTube.)
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As many of you know the UBC Farm has existed under a specter of potential market housing development since it’s re-invention and the beginning of all our current programming back in 2000. The hope is that this backgrounder will provide a some information on the current process and get you up to speed on the present situation in the struggle to maintain everybody’s favorite urban farm.
The reason that the tenure of the UBC Farm land base has always been a little unsure is that it was designated as part of a “Future Housing Reserve” in the university’s 1997 Official Community Plan. This plan dealt solely with residential neighborhood zoning (the UBC Farm land base has an academic designation), but the UBC Farm lands were seen as a great opportunity to zone another large area for market housing, hence the FHR designation. Currently, Campus and Community Planning (CCP) at UBC is undergoing a review process of its Vancouver Campus Plan. This plan deals only with institutional (including academic) zoning, and because the FHR lands are technically still zoned as academic, it has been decided that options for the future of the UBC Farm will be reviewed through this process. While we have been assured that the university will retain a “UBC Farm” in some capacity, there is a very real possibility that they will recommend that the Farm be moved and/or reduced considerably.
If you value the UBC Farm, now is the most important time to get involved and voice your opinion. The Friends of the UBC Farm have organized an advocacy campaign involving letter writing, petitions, and coordinating folks to attend and speak out at public consultations and community events. To find out how you can voice your opinion of the value of the UBC Farm
- visit the Friends of the Farm at: http://www.ams.ubc.ca/clubs/friendsubcfarm/Site/Home.html
- join the maillist by emailing: email@example.com.
- come out to one of the weekly meetings, 6pm tuesdays in the Farm Centre.
Stay tuned for upcoming events!
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UBC Campus Planning has finally announced the date of their Food Security workshop. It is extremely important that we have a mass of people who come out to express the importance of preserving the UBC farm and it’s vital role in the University’s food system. See Campus Planning‘s announcement below for registration details.
Food Security and the Vancouver Campus Plan
This forum would examine the broad concept of food security, encompassing
safety, quality and sustainability of our food supply and access to a
healthy diet. In relation to the campus community, the Faculty of Land and
Food Systems incorporates food security in the faculty’s teaching and
research http://www.landfood.ubc.ca/aboutus/overview.htm and the University
has supported community gardens in the new campus neighbourhoods. The
challenge is to identify a role for the UBC Vancouver Campus Plan in
promoting the provincial and regional efforts to improve our food security.
View the BC Agriculture Plan at http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/
DATE: June 25, 2008
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (Light snacks available)
LOCATION: GSS Ballroom, 6371 Crescent Road, UBC
How to register:
To participate in any of the Vancouver Campus Plan policy forums please
Stefani Lu, UBC Campus and Community Planning
Telephone 604-827-3465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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