UBC Farm

Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz

Amy Frye toodles the campus delivering UBC Farm free-range eggs to Agora and Sprouts, student-run organic cafés/stores. The golden-yoked jumbos don’t last. Students snap them up. Café cooks crack them into dark-chocolate brownie mix and cookie dough. Mid-winter, eggs are the Farm’s only harvest and most get sold on campus.

From June through late October, though, city folk flock to UBC Farm for as many as 250 varieties of just-picked vegetables, herbs, flowers and small fruits. The Farm, occupying 24 hectares on the south campus, is bound by forest that acts as a wind buffer and natural eco-system. The land is the city of Vancouver’s only working farm. “It is not a garden,” Amy firmly points out.

Amy Frye is the Farm’s market coordinator, born and raised in Minnesota (near her grandparents’ farm) with a master’s degree in Resource Management/Environmental Studies. The twenty-something TA also teaches a course called Land, Food, and Community. Amy, along with other farm staff, diverse faculties and the wider community, are as busy as the farm’s bees promoting the seed-to-plate experience—planning, planting, educating, conducting school tours and program coordinating. For example, engineering students constructed “speed bumps”—irrigation pipes that won’t burst when run over by a truck. And Stacy Friedman (Faculty of Education) organizes the kids’ summer camp (FarmWonders) and Landed Learning intergenerational programs. Each year, full-time farm employee Elaine Spearing shows 10 apprenticing farmers the lay of the land. Gary King of Hazelmere Organic Farm, supplier of produce to, and friend of, John Bishop, heads up a steering committee that assists and advises staff on organic farming. It’s not uncommon to find Bishop, the crew from Cru, Provençal, Sage Bistro and other eco-conscious restaurateurs milling about on market day.

Over the last months, the whole lot have been lobbying to prevent UBC Farm from becoming a housing development. The joint effort to save the farm looks promising—Vancouver Feast of Fields was recently OKed for autumn 2009.

Maybe it is possible to put all your eggs in one basket.

Click on UBC Farms’ superb website (www.landfood.ubc.ca/ubcfarm) for all programs, including the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program. You can even get married on the farm.

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