Archive for October, 2008

UBC Farm story @ CKNW

Efforts to save our last farm


“Supporters of Vancouver’s last working farm will file into the Metro-Vancouver Board offices Friday morning to present 15-thousand signatures in favour of saving the UBC farm.

They’re waiting to see if the farm will be chopped down from 24 hectares to eight, if it’ll be moved to an old garbage dump, or whether it’ll stay as is.”

Read the full (and short) story here.


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If you’re like me, you might not have even known that such a thing as ‘Electoral Area A‘ existed. But hey! It does! And there’s an election there soon! Apparently in the last municipal election only 4% registered voters in the area voted. Pretty shabby. But this time, for all of you Electoral Area A residents, your vote will actually mean a lot to the Farm.

Blake Frederick from UBC Insiders has posted an interview with the candidates, in which the first question asked is, “Do you support keeping the UBC Farm in its current location at its current size (24 ha)?”

All four respondents (Maria Harris did not participate in the interview) answered “Yes,” some elaborating more than others. Fred Pritchard (no website) gave a one-word “yes”, Charles Menzies declared his support to have “no qualifications”, Matt Naylor was “unequivocal” about his, and Ben West upped his credentials with mention of his leadership role in the Save the Farm campaign.

We’ve also seen both Ben West and Charles Menzies in attendance and being vocally supportive of the Farm’s preservation at UBC’s most recent round of campus planning consultations. The others may have been as well, but West and Menzies were strong, active participants in the sessions we were privy to. That definitely bolsters our opinion of each of them.

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Cold Weather, Squash and Biceps

Gemma, Scott and Chris Harvesting Pumpkins

Gemma, Scott and Chris Harvesting Pumpkins

Fall seemed to come rather early this year,  being colder and wetter than I remember in the past.  Being born and raised in Ontario I am accustomed to the sunny, cool and crisp fall days of my youth.  I suppose for the first time in my 5 years in BC I have been forced to pay more attention to the weather.  As an apprentice, my day to day routine has been noticeably affected by the seasons.  I can’t  just run to my car and crank the heat or dash into the nearest Tim Horton’s, wait in line, and order a medium single single when the weather starts to take a nose dive.  For the last 6 months, 4 days a week, I have experienced and will probably never truly appreciate how much farmers are at the mercy of the weather.  “Insert tractor jokes here”

Fall is my favorite season, the leaves change into a brilliant array of colors, the weather becomes cooler, students return to school,  we return to a regular work schedule and it gives us a reason to find someone that we enjoy being cozy with.  Fall signifies the return to routine, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Remembrance day, family, friends, the all too early marketing for the holidays, and squash!!!.  On the farm as an apprentice, fall is the time to harvest the plethora of squash that we planted earlier in the year (Mark May 28 on your calenders as the sowing date for Neon Pumpkins).   Squash soup, pumpkin pie, roast squash and pumpkin carving! I was very proud when I carried a pumpkin that I had planted, grown and harvested onto BC ferries to gift to my friends in Victoria for Thanksgiving.  No matter the weather these large cucurbits densely packed with caloric energy linked my Thanksgivings in Ontario to my Thanksgiving here, not to mention the turkey…but I digest.    I’ve made great friends here in UBC’s pumpkin patch, learned more about myself and have seen what true conviction and character exists in the young farmers that are critical to the future of our food supply.  As we set aside some pumpkins for children to harvest in the near future, the rain subsided and the sun presented itself, I hoped that many more will pass through the farm gates and will be allowed this amazing opportunity that I am thankful for having been afforded.  These squash represent the end of my apprenticeship at UBC, the great people that I have befriended and new beginnings.

While I should probably end my first and only blog entry with an inspiring quote by an iconic farmer I will resist and use my own words:  No matter where you spend the fall there will always be squash and great people to surround you, your biceps may even get a little bigger.

Christopher Prechotko

UBC Farm Apprentice 08

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Yesterday marked the Friends of the Farm’s entry into the world of news media, as we held our first-ever press conference to announce the handover of over 16,000 signatures on our petition to save the Farm. Andrea Morgan and Matt Filipiak, along with others, met with UBC President Stephen Toope and Vice President Stephen Owen last night and presented them with a huge stack of petitions signed by UBC staff, students, faculty, and community members near and far. Each UBC administrator also received a homemade pumpkin pie, made with UBC Farm’s luscious Cinderella pumpkins.

Martin at Rocks and Water just posted about a video he uploaded of the 2nd half of yesterday’s press conference. Watch it below:

Here’s to hoping that the stack was big enough and the pies delicious enough to secure Toope and Owen’s support!

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A message to community supporters

Dear community friends of the UBC Farm,

UBC Campus and Community Planning is currently nearing the end of a consultation process that includes three proposals for the future of the Farm. All three proposals remove the Farm’s necessary buffer and  reduce the Farm’s size to 7-8ha. Effectively eliminating any further growth potential.

Two of the proposals even move the farm onto non-agricultural soils.

I encourage you and your friends to review the consultation material provided by UBC

and give them your feedback at http://www.websurveys.ca/UBC/

The Farm’s programs have been growing by 50% in each of the last 6 years. This growth is a result of demand and although the growth will reduce in future years, the Farm will still grow.

The current options do not reflect the results of past consultations (some of which have been reported at campusplan.ubc.ca). The options also do not reflect the opinions of the acclaimed outside planners and designers who were brought together last spring for a series of design workshops. The mood is that none of the options are acceptable but I leave that for you to decide.

The most effective response you can give is in speaking or writing to the UBC President, Stephen Toope, or VP External, Stephen Owen.

Stephen Toope, President of UBC
103 – 6328 Memorial Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Stephen Owen, VP, External, Legal and Community Relations,
6328 Memorial Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2

Please tell them what you think of the planning and consultation process.

I have attached a counter-brochure students have put together to inform other students about this process. (fotf-consultations-brochure)

Lastly the FOTF are submitting the petition to President Toope on Monday. They are holding a press-conference outside the SUB at noon and would like as many people as possible to attend.

Friends of the UBC Farm

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The Annual UBC Apple Festival was last weekend (Oct 18/19) and it was WONDERFUL! We had sunshine, and amazing volunteers, and GIANT APPLE COSTUMES…. and we had a super supportive reception from all the Apple Fest crowd.  (Thanks UBC Bot Gardens!!)

We raised ~ $1300 for the UBC Farm through sales and encouraged ~1700 petition signatures in two days!! AMAZING!!  Also, 28 enthusiastic folks joined our tours of the new(ish) UBC Farm Heritage orchard ~ launching its career as an urban agricultural education site.  Overall, a huge success.

Thanks to all who came out and supported the UBC Farm and the Bot Gardens…. see you again next year!

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photo by flickr user EAWB

The Friends of the Farm are pleased to offer another year of build-your-own scarecrows, this Saturday, 11am-4pm.

Bring your own out-grown and unloved clothes to re-purpose. We provide the wooden frames, twine, straw, extra material, supervision and warm drinks.

Last year’s event was a big success, and we’re hoping you’ll bring your little ones out and join us again this year!

Volunteers are also still needed for the event. Shifts are as follows:

10am-1pm: Set up before the start time at 11am, assist with scarecrow construction, serve hot drinks. (3-4 volunteers needed)

1pm-4:30pm: Assisting with the event, help with scarecrow making, serve hot drinks, and help with tidying up at the end, which will probably be minimal effort. (2-4 volunteers needed)

Please email Ayla at ubcfarm.volunteer@gmail.com if you can help out!

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