The first grade programming at my elementary school included a field trip to the Dairy Farm at the University of British Columbia. It was a full day at the beautiful seaside campus at the western-most point of Vancouver. The build-up to the visit and the absolute magic of being six and going to a real farm still linger with me. So now, as an adult, I am thrilled to be able to recapture some of the joy I felt as a child and to appreciate the farm on a very different level. The UBC farm really is an amazing urban resource and sustainable food model for urban centres around the world.
The farm is quite different now, the Dairy Farm has moved to a rural area just outside of the city. The current UBC farm is a 24-hectare teaching, research, and community farm, it's the last working farm in Vancouver.
There is a weekly Saturday farm market which sells produce grown on site and hosts local craft and baked goods vendors. The scene at the weekly market is rustic and lovely, with people of all ages walking a pathway lined with bike racks and lavender patches that leads to the small market.
In addition to the fields of produce, herbs, and flowers, the farm is also home to free-range chickens, cows, honey-producing bees, orchards, and native berries. Using organic growing practices the farm is operated by an army of devoted staff, students, and volunteers. The farm also seeks to engage the community in other ways including Aboriginal programming which supports and educates hundreds of participants largely from Vancouver's troubled downtown eastside.
For those living in Vancouver or just visiting for the weekend, this is not to be missed. This post just barely touches what an amazing provider the farm is to people living in this city, so please check out the incredible website for the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm and this gorgeous video documenting what the farm is all about.
Photos: Kathryn Wright