Archive for the ‘Save the Farm’ Category

While many farm friends describe what a special experience it is for them to visit the UBC Farm in the midst of an urban environment, we also hear about the challenge of accessing the farm by public transit. A recent re-route of the TransLink 41 bus has improved the farm’s accessibility, but we now have an opportunity to bring public transit directly to the farm gates!

UBC Campus and Community Planning is working with TransLink to change the campus shuttle routes (C20 and C22). A direct shuttle to the UBC Farm would support UBC’s sustainable transportation plan, improve students’ and researchers’ access to unique academic opportunities at the farm, and create new possibilities for university-community programming for other members of our community. Please help us demonstrate the need for direct public transit to the UBC Farm:

Warm thanks for your ongoing support!


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Dear farm friends,

We hope you’ve been passing a cozy hallowe’en weekend and enjoying plenty of seasonal treats!  Please note the important Public Open House and Q& A Session coming up this Tuesday, Nov 1st, regarding the Revised Amendments to the South Campus Neighbourhood Plan.  It would be excellent if you could attend and help to represent the interests of Friends of the UBC Farm in this process. If you are not able to attend on Tuesday, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts through the online consultation (available from Oct 21-Nov 3).
UBC is in the process of amending the South Campus Neighbourhood Plan for Wesbrook Place such that it concurs with the university’s overall Land Use Plan.  These amendments must take place in order to retain the UBC Farm for sustainability research, teaching and community engagement, as well as creating a thoughtfully-designed South Campus community.  The two key messages that Friends of the UBC Farm would like to emphasize are:
  1. Transferring housing density from the UBC Farm to other parts of campus concurs with Smart Growth principles and will help to create more sustainable, livable neighbourhoods on campus.
  2. Quite apart from the consideration of the UBC Farm, designing compact communities will make UBC a better place to live. For instance, densely-built neighbourhoods help to support:
    • Mixed, affordable housing options
    • Physical activity through walkable, bike-friendly neighbourhoods
    • Well-serviced transit networks, along with associated air quality benefits
    • Environmental benefits, such as efficiently recovering heat, water and organic waste
    • Retail, recreational and child care facilities, enabling people to work, play, and shop in the places that they live
    • A more vibrant sense of community and reduced experience of being a “commuter campus”

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Place: MBA House, 3385 Wesbrook Mall


  • Public Open House – 4:30-5:45pm,
  • Q&A Session – 6-7pm
  • Public Open House – 7-7:30pm

Please note that the Open House display boards will not be available during the Q&A portion.

Online consultation on the amendments will run from October 21-November 3.

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Dear Friends of the UBC Farm,

Please note that next Tuesday, June 28 from 4:30-7pm, UBC Campus and Community Planning will be hosting a Public Open House to amend the South Campus Neighbourhood Plan. This Open House is taking place in order to integrate the Neighbourhood Plan with the recently amended Land Use Plan.

Time: 4:30-7:00 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, June 28th
Place: MBA House, 3385 Wesbrook Mall
FMI: Stefani.lu@ubc.ca or visit this C+CP page.

Members of the public are invited to learn more about the amendment process and provide input. Thank you for your ongoing support for the UBC Farm, and we hope that you will attend and take part in this important consultation process! We would particularly appreciate your support and advocacy on the following issues:

  1. The process will allow for residential density to be transferred from the UBC Farm to sites that have not yet been developed. In keeping with sustainable community planning and  design principles, Friends of the UBC Farm supports increased density in Wesbrook Place.
  2. Further, we suggest that adjacent and proximate lots be designed with consideration of farm views, access and impact, and that the eagle’s nest tree habitat in the area be carefully protected.
  3. We support integrating the lands formerly occupied by BC Research into the Neighbourhood Plan.
  4. Within the provision for a new greenway, we support a design for a main UBC Farm boundary greenway that retains a natural forest structure and understory.
  5. The Wesbrook Place Rd and greenway network should facilitate efficient access and egress to the UBC Farm, ensuring good cycling and pedestrian routes and parking, adequate motor vehicle parking for community events, transit routes and stops, and well-designed connections to on-campus greenways and road networks.
  6. Ensuring consideration of the UBC Farm’s capacity to assimilate and re-use materials and energy from the neighbourhood, including but not restricted to stormwater, surplus heat in wastewater, district heating infrastructure, organic wastes, as well as timber and soil from clearing and construction.
  7. Supporting community programming connections between the Wesbrook Place neighbourhood such as community gardening, recreation, public events and gatherings, and community education initiatives
  8. Incorporating the developments in Wesbrook Place into UBC-based academic studies of design, construction and functioning of sustainable urban development

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UBC is offering two upcoming workshops as well as an e-consultation for proposed updates to its Land Use Plan. Please show your support for the UBC Farm by attending these workshops on WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, OCT 13 & 14! The online consultation will be open until Oct 15.  Attendance at the workshops requires an RSVP to stefani.lu@ubc.ca.  Please see below for workshop dates, times and locations. Thank you for supporting the Farm throughout this process, and thank you in advance for your attendance!

Updating UBC’s Land Use Plan provides a promising opportunity for the UBC Farm’s “Future Housing Reserve” designation to finally be changed.  This change is very important for realizing the academic vision and goals of the UBC Farm, as outlined in the South Campus Academic Plan Cultivating Place. Notably, transferring housing density from the UBC Farm to elsewhere on campus would not only support the land security of the UBC Farm, but it would also promote affordable housing options on campus.

While we would still prefer that the farm be designated as “UBC Farm,” removing the “Future Housing Reserve” label is a positive and crucial part of moving toward securing the UBC Farm.  Please show your support for the UBC Farm by participating in the Land Use Plan workshops and e-consultation, and please keep in mind the following:

  • Amendments to increase housing density on other parts of campus make it possible to keep housing off of the UBC Farm.  If you support the Farm and affordable housing, then these amendments merit your endorsement.
  • Both the Alma Mater Society and Friends of the Farm advocate adopting “UBC Farm” as the new land designation instead of “Green Academic.” However, if Green Academic” zoning were adopted, Friends of the Farm maintains that this zoning definition should include the Farm’s correct 24-ha size, refer to the site name UBC Farm, and cite the academic plan Cultivating Place as the guiding framework for land use decisions.
E-consultation: September 27 – October 15, 5 p.m
To participate in the e-consultation, please click this link.

Workshops: October 13 and 14 (PLEASE ATTEND ONLY ONE)

  1. Wednesday, Oct. 13: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., SUB Ballroom, 6138 Student Union Blvd, UBC
  2. Wednesday, Oct 13: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Tapestry, Wesbrook Village, 3338Wesbrook Mall, UBC
  3. Thursday, Oct 14: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., West Point Grey United Church, 4595 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver
Please RSVP to stefani.lu@ubc.ca, indicating which workshop you’ll be attending.

For more information, please visit Land Use Plan workshop page on the Campus + Community Planning  website.

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Please show your support for the UBC Farm by attending one of the Campus & Community Planning Open House workshops next THURSDAY, JULY 15. Attendance requires an RSVP to Stefani Lu: stefani.lu@ubc.ca

On the surface, much progress appears to have been made in “saving” the UBC Farm.  UBC President Stephen Toope has repeatedly expressed his recognition of the vital role that the Farm plays in making UBC a leader in sustainability, and the South Campus Academic Plan, “Cultivating Place,” has received strong endorsement from UBC’s Executive. Such breakthroughs are due in no small part to an outpouring of public support for the Farm over the past 18 months, which included over 2000 students, staff and community members celebrating this 24-hectare farm-forest agroecosystem in April 2009’s Great Farm Trek.

Nonetheless, it’s worth sizing up these advances against the 5 Criteria that Friends of the Farm published two years ago to specify what it means to “save” the UBC Farm. First and foremost, protecting the UBC Farm entails formalizing the Farm’s land designation from “Future Housing Reserve” to”UBC Farm/Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.”  Today, the UBC Farm is still labeled “Future Housing Reserve.”

Within the public consultations that UBC Campus & Community Planning is hosting to update UBC’s Land Use Plan, we finally have a chance to officially remove the Farm’s problematic land designation. The “Cultivating Place” plan explicitly recommends changing the land use label to “UBC Farm.”  However, the Land Use Plan Open House Workshop announcement states that the Farm will be designated “Green Academic.”

Campus & Community Planning has not defined what “Green Academic” actually means. Why not simply change the designation to “UBC Farm” instead of creating a confusing label that appears nowhere in Cultivating Place?  Will UBC Farm stakeholders be granted decision-making authority over detailed land use activities that take place at the Farm? What types of development and land use would be allowable under “Green Academic?”

Cultivating Place outlines a progressive vision for South Campus in teaching, learning and research on pressing issues of food system sustainability, and we need to know how the principles of this academic plan will be followed under UBC’s new Land Use Plan. This is a critical time to voice your support for the Farm: Please sign up for one of the two Open House workshops on THURSDAY, JULY  15  (4:30-6pm, or 6:30-8pm) by RSVPing to Stefani Lu: stefani.lu@ubc.ca Thank you in advance for coming!

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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 click for sample letter

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Dear Friends of the Farm,

We need your input and ideas to help secure a bright future for the UBC Farm that will benefit future generations. The South Campus Academic Plan (SCAP) is ready for public feedback. For those who may not know or remember, this is the plan that will lay out the vision for the long term future of the UBC Farm that will be presented to the Board of Governors this fall. This feedback opportunity may be one of our only chances to contribute to building a strong and compelling vision for the future use of the UBC farm. Please take advantage of this opportunity and share your ideas. The more voices we have contributing, the stronger our chances are for a plan that reflects the desires of the diverse users of the farm.

The timeline for feedback is short. This particular window is only open for one week. Different sections of the document will be opened each week for feedback. Please check the following weblink http://www.sas.ubc.ca/ each week for the next few weeks to make sure you give feedback on each section of the document. Please see the message below for details and link to the document and feedback page.

Many thanks,
Friends of the UBC Farm…read on…

The first section of the South Campus Academic Plan is now available for feedback.  Please go to http://www.sas.ubc.ca/ and look to the ‘Comment Period for the draft South Campus Academic Plan’ section.  Within it is a link to the current section open for comment.  This week’s section is the Mission Statement.  Also, the SAS poll this week (on the sidebar) addresses the SCAP Mission statement.   At weekly intervals, additional sections will be made available for comments.

Thank you for your time and thoughts,

Have a good day,

The South Campus Academic Plan committee

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