As we enter a new year – and a new decade – it seems appropriate to take a quick look back at some of the highlights from the past year here at the UBC Farm (both in pictures and words). It was a busy one with lots of firsts, and some seconds, thirds, and eighths…
The season began with a big bang in April, in the form of over 2,000 farm supporters taking part in the Great Farm Trek. It was a major culmination of the Save the Farm movement. We also received our first official farm sign from UBC that day! In March, the second generation of Sowing Seeds Apprentices began their 8 month journey at the farm, spending time in the fields as well as in the classroom as they learned all about organic farming.
Pollan-mania hit the farm in early June when the renowned journalist and food writer Michael Pollan spoke to a crowed of over 600. The event was a collaboration with Barbara Jo’s Books for Cooks and was a huge success. A few weeks later, the fields were producing enough food for our first market, and we celebrated with a season opener like never before. Over a thousand customers attended our season kick-off event and enjoyed a number of new vendors and activities at the market, in addition to a local pancake breakfast provided by the 100-Mile Diet Society. Highlighting the connections between the food system and climate change was a major theme for the farm this past season and will continue to be into the future as we demonstrate “carbon-smart” farming practices and food choices.
Major events weren’t the only things happening at the farm this year, it was incredibly busy in the fields too. 550 blueberry plants were established in the eastern part of the farm, and although no berries were harvested in 2009, we hope to be enjoying the first harvest this year, yum! The sun shone brightly for what felt like all of July and August, and as some of us wilted in the heat (salads included), the vegetables grew, and grew, and grew. We had some of our biggest harvests ever and many veggies grew bigger than my head! The heat proved favorable for apples as well, and Sarah harvested the first crop out of the orchard this year, which were all delicious.
A smoke house was constructed on site as part of an initiative through the Urban Aboriginal Community Kitchen Garden Project (UACKGP), in collaboration with UBC engineering students as part of their Community Service Learning opportunities. This has been a long-standing dream for many members of this community and it was with great ceremony and celebration that several smokes took place during the summer.
Food was the theme of many celebrations in 2009, including Outstanding in the Field and Feast of Fields. As the light grew softer and the colours turned from greens to goldens, we marked the transition into fall and the end of yet another successful – and extremely busy – season with a Harvest Festival and FarmAde. It was a fitting way to give thanks to and to appreciate the fruits of everyone’s labour over the past growing season and all of the incredible food the land produced.
Finally, we ended the year by being chosen as one Tides Canada’s “Top Ten for 2009”
From the Tides Canada site:
“Each year, we select ten social change organizations that we feel are making huge inroads in building a more just and sustainable world. These groups work tirelessly on the ground, running smart, strategic campaigns and achieving remarkable results.”
It was a very exciting year and has left us eagerly anticipating what 2010 has in store. The Farm Team and Friends of the UBC Farm would like to thank all of you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you this coming season!