Since the announcement in April regarding proposed legislation for a new governance structure at UBC, many supporters of the UBC Farm have been alarmed by the possible implications of “Bill 20” for securing the 24-hectare UBC Farm. Richmond’s Garden City Lands blog published a post last weekend titled, “UBC Farm – new threat or new respect?” The post highlights some of the recent media buzz regarding the UBC Farm and Bill 20, including a statement from the Farmland Defence League. In response, the UBC President’s Office has continued to assure the public that the South Campus Academic Plan, which outlines a 5-year guiding vision for the farm, remains a key part of the university’s sustainability aspirations. The Georgia Straight also drew attention to the issue in two articles published on May 13. This media coverage represents a fraction of the questions we’ve been getting and makes one thing quite clear: people care deeply about the farm and its future.
At meetings with UBC administration last autumn, we were told that the UBC Farm’s land designation would finally be changed from “Future Housing Reserve” to “UBC Farm” by the spring. To date, the land designation remains unchanged. We will be working diligently over the next few months to ensure this needed change happens and the UBC Farm is finally secure.
In a nutshell, we are uncertain about precisely how the UBC Farm will be affected by the proposed legislation and are going to be querying UBC administration and representatives from the province. We will keep you in the loop on this blog. In the meantime, it may be useful for farm supporters to ask their own questions to UBC administration and representatives of the province so that they know the issue continues to be of concern (please see sample letter and contact info in link below).
Thank you for your continued support and vigilance. On a lighter note, we hope to see you at the UBC Farm over the coming months, and watch for us at various community events throughout the summer!
Please feel free to email email@example.com if you would like tips on letter writing or have any questions.
Things to keep in mind:
– Please be polite
– Keep letters short and succinct
– Handwritten letters are most effective, but e-mail messages are better than no messages at all!
– Please include your mailing address so that your recipients know that you are, in fact, a real person
Hon. Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development
365 – 5740 Cambie Street
Hon. Bill Bennett, Minister of Community and Rural Development
100C Cranbrook Street N
CC: President Stephen Toope
Office of the President
The University of British Columbia
6328 Memorial Road
Canada V6T 1Z2
CC: UBC Board of Governors
University of British Columbia
6328 Memorial Road, Rm 121
Old Administration Building
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Dear Ministers Stilwell and Bennett,
As a supporter of the 24-hectare UBC Farm on the university’s south campus, I am very concerned about the impact of UBC’s new governance structure on this valuable academic and community resource. I have enjoyed the unique opportunity of buying fresh, organic produce from a farm in the city during the weekly UBC Farm Markets/the farm provides a critical site for my research/my children have attended the farm’s summer camps/I am a student at UBC, and the land literally serves as my classroom, etc. In the context of an increasingly urban population both globally and in Vancouver, the city’s last working farm serves as a unique site for demonstrating how humans can meet their food security needs while ensuring the ecological integrity of an integrated farm-forest agroecosystem.
Considering the new role that you will be playing in UBC’s governance, I would like to know what you are going to do to honour UBC’s promise to preserve the farm. Following a highly successful campaign to save the farm in 2008/2009, the South Campus Academic Planning Committee followed the UBC Board of Governors directive to develop an “academically rigorous and globally significant” sustainability plan for South Campus. The resulting academic plan, called “Cultivating Place,” was warmly received by the Board of Governors and Senate. However, I understand that the UBC Farm’s land designation has still not been changed from “Future Housing Reserve” to “UBC Farm,” and the university is citing the need to transfer housing density to elsewhere on campus before the land designation can be changed.
Widespread support for the UBC Farm was made very clear during public consultations in 2008. I feel that if UBC is genuinely committed to the UBC Farm and its university-wide sustainability goals, the UBC Farm’s land designation should be changed regardless of when the density transfer can formally take place. How are you going to ensure that securing the UBC Farm is not postponed by the restructuring of UBC’s governance, which could take years?- Hide quoted text –
Thank you for your time, and I hope you act swiftly to preserve the UBC Farm so that it can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of the university and local communities.
3331 West 14th