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Archive for the ‘Apprentices’ Category

Simply put, “We need more farmers.” – Bill McKibben.

The application deadline for the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture is fast approaching! We are accepting applications until Sunday, October 30. We hope to have a response for all applicants by the end of December 2011.

About the Practicum:

2011 Practicum students processing onions for storage.

Established in 2008, this part-time (600 hour), 8-month practicum offers instruction and daily work experience in small-scale sustainable farming. In a balanced, hands-on learning approach, students work alongside staff in the greenhouse, gardens, fields, and orchard. Students attend complementary lectures, demonstrations, and farm visits, and participate in a variety of practical and reflective educational activities. Direct marketing activities are also a key part of the experience. The practicum has been designed as a beginning point for aspiring growers, educators and agricultural professionals.

Students come from all backgrounds and are expected to be passionate about pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture. A certificate of completion will be issued to students who fulfill the practicum requirements. Further, we support our graduates to make connections within the BC agricultural community, and to seek out mentors to learn with following Sowing Seeds. Although the Practicum is not yet registered as a Credit Course, UBC students can enroll in the program as a Directed Study and receive partial reimbursement for the cost of the program.

For more information, please see the Practicum page on the UBC Farm website.

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Just a reminder that this Friday, October 29th is the closing date for applications for the 2011 Sowing Seeds for the Future Practicum program, a hands-on, season-long practicum in sustainable agriculture at the UBC Farm. Visit the Sowing Seeds page for full program and application details.

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The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm is delighted to offer:

Sowing Seeds for the Future

A hands-on, season-long practicum in sustainable agriculture

We are now accepting applications for our 2010 program!

Sowing Seeds 2009

What? ~ The Sowing Seeds Practicum 2010:

Established in 2008, this part-time (600 hour), eight month practicum offers instruction and daily work experience in small-scale sustainable farming.  In a balanced, hands-on learning approach, students work alongside staff in the greenhouse, gardens, fields, and orchard.  Students attend complementary lectures, demonstrations, and farm visits, and participate in a variety of practical and reflective educational activities. Direct marketing activities are also a key part of the experience. The practicum has been designed as a beginning point for aspiring growers, educators and agricultural professionals.

Students come from all backgrounds and are expected to be passionate about pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture. A certificate of completion will be issued to students who fulfill the practicum requirements. Further, we support our graduates to make connections within the BC agricultural community, and to seek out mentors to learn with following Sowing Seeds. Please note, Sowing Seeds 2010 is a non-credit course and therefore participants are not eligible for student loans. However, in 2010 we are offering a fee discount for UBC students who register, and successfully earn credits, for a directed studies based on their Sowing Seeds Practicum.

Where? ~ The UBC Farm:

Located at the southern end of the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people, the UBC Farm stewards a 24 ha site as an integrated, working farm system. The UBC Farm is student driven and all practices voluntarily adhere to COABC standards for organic production.  In a given year, we cultivate up to 250 different varieties of annual and perennial crops.

What’s new for 2010?

Following two full seasons, the Sowing Seeds practicum is making several changes to its structure to reflect feedback from our 2008 and 2009 students, our UBC Farm Staff, and our Steering Committee. The information contained on the website and in the Program Overview reflects the current direction of the project .

Sowing Seeds 2009

 

Course Logistics:

Course dates : March 13 – Nov 6, 2010

Course hours : Vary throughout the growing season from 7-21 hours/week. See our Program Overview for details.

Course fee : $3,000

**(UBC Students who register, and successfully earn credits, for a directed studies course based upon their Sowing Seeds Practicum are eligible for a $400 refund)**

Capacity : 10 students


Applications:
Application information is available on our websiteApplication deadline: December 1, 2009.

For more information, please:

  • Visit our Website and download our Program Overview
  • View photos from the 2008 practicum
  • Watch a short video about the practicum in 2008 (scroll down: “A Unique Urban Agriculture Course at UBC Farm”)

Contact information:

If you can’t find the info you need on our website, please contact Elaine Spearing at: ubcfarm.seeds@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

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On Saturday Oct 31 all prospective applicants to the 2010 Sowing Seeds for the Future Practicum are invited to attend  a drop-in Open House at the UBC Farm between 2-5pm! Come meet this year’s apprentices and farm staff, tour the site and get your questions answered!

Sowing Seeds field trip to Salt Spring, June 2009*

Sowing Seeds field trip to Salt Spring, June 2009*

For the 2008 and 2009 growing seasons, the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm has been pleased to offer “Sowing Seeds,” a hands-on, season-long apprenticeship-style course in sustainable agriculture. Our second year of the program began in early March 2009 and completes early November 2009.

Now, after two full seasons, Sowing Seeds 2010 is under revision as we consider feedback from our 2008 and 2009 apprentices, our UBC Farm Staff and our Steering Committee.  We believe this evaluation is a critical step in the creation of an excellent program, and we are excited about the continued evolution of Sowing Seeds.  The 2010 course details (including course schedule, dates, fees and application information) will be available on our website shortly. Updated info will also be available at the Open House on Oct 31.  We hope to see you there!

(* Thanks to Nic for sharing his photos!)

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Pumpkin Polka Dots - Cinderella (orange) & Jamboree (green)

Pumpkin Polka Dots - Cinderella (orange) & Jamboree (green)

The harvest season is upon us and it’s time to give a warm welcome to the winter squash!  Rich and delicious, you’ll want to pick one up for a hearty fall soup, pie or roast.  Here’s a quick photo introduction to some of the gems waiting for you here at the Farm.

Perfect PUMPKINSDelicious DELICATAAwesome ACORNGlorious GOLD NUGGETFun FESTIVALBeautiful BLUE HUBBARD

Pumpkin Pick-up

UBC Farm, Lower Squash Field
Tuesday – Saturday / 9 – 5 pm
$5 per pumpkin

Even if you can’t make it to our Saturday Farm Market, you can still pick up a pumpkin anytime during regular Farm Hours.

Pick your pumpkin friend out of the perfect pre-harvested pile located west of the lower squash field, past the chicken pens.  There will be a small container by the pumpkins for you to leave $5 for each pumpkin you bring home.

We’d appreciate it if you do not pick pumpkins directly from the field!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

A yummy way to use your winter squash from the The Post Punk Kitchen.

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Have ready 2 greased baking sheets. Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a seperate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla (and flax seeds if using) until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, folding to combine. Fold in walnuts and raisins.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don’t spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies with a fork or with your fingers, to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350. If you are using two sheets of cookies on 2 levels of your oven, rotate the sheets halfway through for even baking. You’ll have enough batter for 4 trays.

Remove from oven and get cookies onto a wire rack to cool. These taste best when they’ve had some time to cool and set.

Fluffy Pumpkin Waffles

Spicy waffles for crisp fall mornings from The Post Punk Kitchen.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup demerrara or brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons soy yogurt
2 cups soymilk
1 3/4 cups cooked pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl, vigorously wisk together wet ingredients until well emulsified. Pour wet into dry and combine. Prepare waffles according to manufacturers instructions.  Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

Warming Pumpkin Curry

Adapted from CHOW.

1 pound pumpkin, butternut or blue hubbard squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
7 ounces grated coconut, fresh or unsweetened dried
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2 small red chiles, split in half lengthwise
Salt, to taste
Chopped cilantro, garnish

Put the pumpkin or butternut squash in a saucepan with turmeric, smoked paprika, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes or until tender.

Grind half of the coconut in a spice mill or a mortar and pestle with the cumin seeds. Stir this into the pumpkin mixture and stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small, nonstick frying pan, heat the oil until hot and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chiles. Stir and cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes, then pour this mixture over the pumpkin curry. Garnish, season and serve.

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Farm Animals

Where are the animals?

When people come out to the farm for the market, an often overheard question is “Do you have any animals on the farm?” Usually when this question is asked, the person doing the asking has certain types of animals in mind. They are usually thinking of “traditional” farm animals  like cows, pigs, goats, and chickens. We do have some chickens at UBC Farm; these are the only “traditional” animals we have here. If you take the time to look around, however, you will find that our chickens are not alone…

 

Look Up

The chickens have squadrons of avian compatriots, from large raptors to tiny hummingbirds. Many bird species are spotted on the farm; some are residents, some are just making a migratory pit-stop, and some stop by as an occasional rare visitor. Bald Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks, Northern Flickers, American Goldfinches, and Rufous Hummingbirds are commonly seen here. There is even a self-guided birding tour with numbered stops throughout the farm. Maps and a list of birds seen at the farm can be found at the front gate.

 

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

rufous hummingbird

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds aren’t the only animals that fly, though – the arthropods are masters of the aerial arts as well – and among their number certain members of the Class Insecta are invaluable allies to us on the farm. Without the bees (both the native bumblebee species and the introduced European honeybee) to pollinate our crops, we would have to be out in the fields for hours at a time with small paintbrushes, hand-pollinating the flowers of many (if not most) of our crops – a virtually insurmountable task! So the next time you happen to meet a bee, remember to thank it kindly not just for the delicious honey, but for your fruits and vegetables, as well.

 

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Around

The chickens also have company in the forest and the fields. As with the raptors, the chickens don’t necessarily have the welcome mat out for all of their terrestrial neighbours, either.

Take the coyote, for example. The coyotes are probably the largest terrestrial animal found on the farm. They can sometimes be seen at the edges of the forest in the morning, watching the field crew – no doubt wondering what those crazy humans are up to now. They are also occasionally seen hunting in the fields during the day, but the most common “encounter” with coyotes is running across evidence of what they were up to the night before. Pawprints, scat, and dug-up fields are the most common clues, but lately they have been enjoying the melons with great gusto. Chewing up the irrigation drip-tape is also a perennial favourite coyote activity.

 

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

Smaller animals also abound on the farm, and the Order Rodentia is well-represented. Squirrels scamper in the forest (and love the compost bins), while deer mice and voles find luxurious habitat and plenty of food in the farm’s fields.

 

Douglas Squirrel

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Down

If you watch the chickens for any length of time, you will see them scratching in the dirt. They do this to search for food, primarily grubs and insects. This reminds us that not all animals live above the ground; many types of animals live in the soil here at the farm. Some are harmful, such as the larvae of many types of moths, and feed on our crops damaging them in the process. Some, however, are beneficial – such as the Ladybird beetles (ladybugs) that feed on aphids.

 

Ladybird Beetle

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

Another familiar denizen of the soil who benefits us greatly is the earthworm. These helpful creatures break down organic matter – which makes nutrients available to crop plants, in addition to loosening the soil  – which allows air and water to flow freely, greatly aiding the growth of  the plants living in it.

 

 

image from wikimedia commons

image from wikimedia commons

 

 

While we are thinking about life in the soil and how it influences the plants and other animals around it, we should perhaps spare a thought for the teeming multitudes of organisms in the soil that are too small for us to see with the unaided eye. A complex web of microorganisms is at the root of all life in the soil, and the health of these organisms determines the health of everything else in it. But that is a tale for another time…

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