Page 1

ubc farm


We rise through adversity, through new challenges.

UBC Farm: No one thing does just one thing

We rise to meet opportunities that come with each day.

The UBC Farm elevates the vision of the campus as a living lab into an interdisciplinary centre for dialogue and investigation of sustainability issues.

We also rise to call attention to our needs and those of all living things in the world: safe and nutritious food, clean water and land, knowledge to make robust decisions, a community of supporters who trust us and whom we trust. At the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems, we rise to protect the variety of choices we can make about what we eat, how we eat, and when we eat. We rise to develop those processes that bring us to the core purpose of sustainable living: to nurture you, not only to live long, but to live well. Growing, processing, and consuming food is not rocket science. It’s harder. Modern science and engineering benefit from 400 years of physical and technical knowledge. Food production in the 21st century is an infant science with many of the processes and innovations having been developed only in the last 20 years. Together, we can connect the practice of food production while addressing the challenges of sustainability by supporting the UBC Farm and building the Farm Centre. The impact of this shift in thinking and practice will affect how future generations engage with their food and the land and water that nourishes us all.

In the past year 2500 students participated in 150 projects. Eight faculties and 14 academic programs leveraged the Farm to deliver 60 courses. Dozens of community groups access the UBC Farm as an expression of their care for sustainability. More than 600 individuals contributed over 5000 volunteer hours in 2012. Together they explore a wide range of research questions, from what enhances the survival of honey bees to how children learn to care about the land and water that nurtures them. Continuing on our current trajectory is simply not sustainable. Food production, processing, and consumption will be key global challenges in the decades to come, with shrinking arable land, mushrooming urban populations and the vagaries of climate change. Grappling with the complexities of our land and food systems is essential to our survival. Farm Centre: The food we produce in the future will be the food we eat in the future Building the new Farm Centre and calling out to our network of global partners will lead us to those new processes, new ways of understanding, and new leaders who will help us build resilient communities in the challenging decades ahead. The complexity of these issues is clear, and we want to connect our courage with yours to transform it. We invite you to join us on an amazing journey of outrageous courage into a future where we build, nurture, and steward sustainable land and food systems for the benefit of all in the present and future.




Picture the term “sustainability”. What comes to mind?

The resources available to us in the future depend on the decisions we make today.

Do you see a ‘green’ building or a hybrid car? Or do you see people, those you love, who care for you and nourish you? How would you care for them, protect them, and give them opportunities to thrive? At the UBC Farm, we see food as the way people connect with each other, their communities, and the earth. Food is the interface by which we care for the land and how the land provides for us. By broadening the scope of sustainability to include food, we share our concern for each other, for our communities, and for our future. To do this, we commit to developing new leaders from all disciplines to forge new connections and knowledge on sustainability. Courageous leaders who will get their hands dirty as they explore the world’s greatest living laboratory and classroom—our earth—and make it their home and purpose. And we commit to creating the great space they need to learn, take risks, and emerge with a greater sense of purpose and action. By focusing their training and learning through the UBC Farm and the new Farm Centre, these leaders will be the nexus between today’s communities, tomorrow’s landscapes, and citizens around the world. They will use the UBC Farm and the Farm Centre as a living laboratory to call out to people to join us in navigating the fog of complex food and sustainability questions. By harnessing our combined outrageous courage, they will work with us to recognize the subtle contexts of place, history, and imagination to inform great sustainability solutions.

Likewise, the food we will eat in the future will depend on conditions available in the future; how food will be produced in the future; and what food will grow in the future. By testing out scenarios today, we are better positioned to deal with the increasing complexity of tomorrow. But we need to play and learn in conditions that are connected to real time and real space if we are to achieve real results. Traditional labs are separated from reality. Researchers working in traditional labs have some idea of the conditions that produce good results, but they are often challenged with implementing viable solutions that can be replicated in the real world, in real time, for the benefit of real people. In the living lab of the UBC Farm and the new Farm Centre, real time, real space, and real actions will grapple with the complexity of the universe. By working in an ecosystem with real consequences, researchers at the UBC Farm will be able to take one part of the system, tinker with it, and see how it affects the whole. Moreover, they can do this with researchers from a broad range of disciplines to understand the impact of their actions on our food, soil, water systems, animals, people, communities and culture. Through the UBC Farm and the new Farm Centre, UBC will be made that much stronger as a key constituent in the global living lab movement, better able to announce its place in the world as a centre for great learning, great curiosity, and great solutions for the benefit of a resilient society. UBC will be a place where theory and practice are no longer separate constructs, but integrated processes by which holistic learners develop holistic solutions. By building the UBC Farm Centre, we will demonstrate the transformative power of UBC as a living lab.

WE ARE BUT ONE THREAD WITHIN IT. WHATEVER WE DO TO THE WEB, WE DO TO OURSELVES. ALL THINGS ARE BOUND TOGETHER. ALL THINGS CONNECT. —  CHIEF SEATTLE Today’s students are tomorrow’s sustainability leaders. They work at the forefront of uncharted methodologies and processes, and need tools and knowledge to make new connections between traditional, academic disciplines and to find those new methods needed to build resilient communities. We now know that providing the best learning opportunities to our new generations, as early as possible in their development, will produce the best outcomes for healthy individuals and resilient communities. While UBC can attract and recruit outstanding students, they still need unique opportunities and challenges to deepen their capacity to solve problems and develop robust inquiry. A new Farm Centre and expanded sustainability programming will help them emerge as holistic, academically rigorous agents of change who will continue their great work in the world long after graduation.

TOMORROW’S SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS Outstanding sustainability teaching and learning starts with the vision of providing students with the best knowledge, skills, and motivation to emerge as engaged global citizens. They must be exposed to those conditions that will allow them to create, to speak up, and to stand up; to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable; to own their words, to matter, and to help. We have developed a program of four crucial attributes, so these emerging leaders can leverage the UBC Farm and the new Farm Centre to develop those skills to work responsively, flexibly, and adaptively in shifting us towards sustainable practices and living. 1. Holistic Systems Thinking: Everything is connected We begin with the means and methods to see, articulate, and measure how human and natural systems work and interact. By developing an ethical foundation that recognizes the harmonious integration of human and natural systems, students can demonstrate an appreciation that all actions have consequences within, between, and among systems. 2. Sustainability Knowledge: Understand context and find opportunities Before setting out to find the best solutions to emerging challenges, students will gain proficiency in the history and underlying principles of sustainability knowledge, including evaluation of sustainability models and paradigms. By understanding historical and current theories, students can better develop their own definitions of sustainability and find opportunities to construct new models.

3. Awareness and Integration: Connecting knowledge Sustainability practice asks students to confront situations that are typically beyond the boundaries of their personal knowledge and perspectives. These questions must be negotiated in order to move forward in building a more sustainable world. Students who appreciate the participation and perspectives of all disciplines and cultures are better positioned to weigh these multiple perspectives and anticipate the outcomes of different processes and actions. 4. Acting for Positive Change: Contribute to co-creating a better future Students must engage others if they are to implement positive change. At this stage, integration and application of holistic thinking, sustainability knowledge, and the ability to connect are intertwined with a personal value system that allows a student to move from pupil to global citizen. We have the vision and expertise to deliver a great resource for the benefit of communities around the world. By nurturing tomorrow’s leaders and building the new Farm Centre today, they will, in turn, build a legacy for subsequent generations to approach new sustainability challenges with the curiosity for new knowledge, the courage to pursue potential solutions, and the compassion and concern to make all of their work relevant to the wellbeing of people and the land and water upon which our lives depend.

By focusing our efforts through the UBC Farm and moving forward its potential with the new Farm Centre, we can ignite a transformative process that will build a sustainable future for generations to come. We invite you to join us in this journey and to explore what we could do together. Larry Sproul Director, Development 604.827.5556 | Amy Frye Director, UBC Farm 604.822.5092 |

Produced by the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia | CONTRIBUTORS VĂŠronik Campbell, Amy Frye, Niki Glenning, Jeffrey Hsu, Andrew Riseman, Larry Sproul, Sabrina Yan RESOURCES Cultivating Place: An Academic Plan for Applied Sustainability on South Campus and Beyond (December 2009) South Campus Academic Planning Committee Transforming Sustainability Education at UBC: Desired Student Attributes and Pathways for Implementation (August 2011) UBC Sustainability Initiative Teaching and Learning Office (TLO) and 2010 TLO Fellows Place and Promise: The UBC Plan (August 2012),

UBC Farm: Outrageous Courage (Conceptual Draft & Academic Plan, 2012)  

An early conceptual concept for the UBC Farm, eventually replaced by "Grow the UBC Farm". This draft includes summaries of the academic mand...