Archive for December, 2008

Happy Holidays

Dear Friend of the UBC Farm,

Happy Holidays to you! Thank you for all of your amazing support this year in working towards saving the UBC Farm. There have been some positive steps forward over the past year, and we are looking forward to unequivocally securing the farm’s future in 2009!

To help set some key goals for the year to come, Friends of the Farm have developed 5 criteria for how we will all know when the farm is “saved.” We will continue to work towards achieving these goals in the coming year. We very much look forward to working in collaboration with you to achieve them.

What does it Mean to Save the UBC Farm?

Saving the Farm means protecting and supporting the farm’s social, ecological, and educational systems. The ecosystem of which the farm is a part, and on which it depends, must be allowed to continue to thrive. The social system made up of farm staff, students, faculty, community members, and visitors must be valued and supported. Established and future teaching and research programs must be supported to thrive as leading-edge sustainability initiatives.

There are five main practical aspects of protecting the UBC Farm. UBC Farm will be “saved” when it has:

1) Land Security

The 24 hectares in South Campus now designated as the “Future Housing Reserve” is re-designated as the “UBC Farm/Centre for Sustainable Food Systems” in all official UBC planning documents and campus maps and has secure long-term land tenure.

2) Assured Ecological Integrity

In all farm-related documents, the UBC Farm is recognized as part of an integrated ecological system, which includes and depends upon the forest ecosystem. Soil fertility and arable land of the farm are recognized as irreplaceable components of the farm ecosystem and the farm’s arable land is provided long-term security from built development.

3) Farm users driving decision making about the Farm

In the immediate and long-term future those who use and work on the site most actively and intimately (students, faculty, farm staff, and community partners) are key drivers of land use and other decisions.

4) Recognition that UBC Farm is an integral component of a sustainable university

UBC Farm is broadly understood to be a key part of meeting UBC’s commitments and aspirations towards being a global leader in sustainability. UBC Farm thrives and grows as a world leading centre for sustainable food systems, community health and environmental literacy making it a target for investment, and a magnet for attracting and retaining, faculty, students, and community partners.

5) Long-Term Funding Stability

The UBC Farm receives appropriate investment for both capital needs and provision of ongoing, stable core operating funding for research, learning, staffing and community service projects.

We look forward to working with you in 2009 to achieve these goals.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Friends of the UBC Farm


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Date change for Dec. bird survey

A message from the birding crew:

December Monthly Bird Survey – Rescheduled to Sunday December 14, beginning at 8:00 am.

The UBC Farm December bird survey will be part of the Christmas Bird Count for the greater Vancouver area, which is being held on December 14, 2008.

Remember, bird surveys are open to all those interested in early morning bird-nerding. The group meets regularly at the front gates at 8:00 am on the third Sunday of each month.

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Thanks to Mark Pickersgill at re:place Magazine for his article covering November’s design workshop. In an incredible show of support an unpaid design team put together the full-day event. The energy and passion in that room was quite inspiring, and so were the beautiful drawings that came out of the small group visioning exercises. Pickersgill, himself a member of the design team, recounts the day’s events in his feature. If you weren’t able to make it on the 29th, read this for an understanding of what the day was all about.

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Thanks to all of those who have attended the Friends of the Farm’s weekly meetings. We are taking a break for the holidays, and will be back in session beginning Thursday, January 8th. See you in the new year!

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Hello All,

There have been lots of questions pouring in about UBC’s recent press release regarding the UBC Farm. So here’s a quick note to try to provide a bit more clarity. It is important to underline that this is a huge step forward for the Board of Governors and shows real leadership and foresight. So any communications with the Board, UBC administrators or others should show deep encouragement for taking this step. The Board’s suggestion of a density transfer and development of a plan for academically rigourous and globally significant Centre for Sustainable Food Systems are both part of the win-win option for which we have been advocating.

We are still unclear on the details of what this means and we will be trying to gain some more clarity as things move forward. We will be in touch as we gain more clarity. It is our hope that this signals an opportunity for Friends of the Farm and other farm stakeholders to be an integral part of creating a secure and bright future for the UBC Farm. We know that there is lots of work ahead, but we look forward to working collaboratively with UBC and the Board of Governors on this and we are really hopeful that this will help lay the groundwork for securing the entire Farm as a vital part of a sustainable campus, and securing UBC’s position as a leader on the forefront of sustainability issues.

Thanks and we will keep you posted.

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