Friday, 24 March 2017

Kedrick James & Narrative Inquiry graduate class (LLED 565c) in the Orchard Garden

Thanks to Kedrick James, a member of the Cultivating Learning Network Advisory Board, for holding his LLED 565c Narrative Inquiry grad class in the Orchard Garden yesterday. By all accounts, it was a very good class -- and they were there to witness the first blooms emerging on the magnolias!

It's great that so many UBC courses use the Orchard Garden as their outdoor classroom, for one session or a whole course. If you are an instructor and want to arrange to hold your classes in the garden, just contact <> to let us know and book the space.

Our upcoming workshop April 1: Mushrooms, mycorrhizae, garden ecology

Here is the poster for our exciting workshop coming up next Saturday, April 1. We will have guest workshop leaders Laura Super (UBC Forestry PhD student, and a long time Orchard Garden team member) and Mendel Skulski, president of the Vancouver Mycology Society.

If you weren't sure how you felt about mushrooms, fungi and mycorrhizal networks before, I think you'll learn to love them and their important role in garden and forest ecology.

Hope you can be there!

Note: We will be adding an extra workshop on April 29 to make up for one of our snowed-out sessions. More info to come -- it will be a great one too!

Our March 4 workshop: Body measurement from soil to sky -- math and astronomy in the garden

We had a great workshop on March 4 -- the rescheduled time for our snowed-out Feb. 4 date.

We used a chant with gestures to orient ourselves, facing southwards (something that might work well with school classes in the garden outdoors):
Here I stand beneath the sky
On the compass rose stand I.
My left hand points to the start of day,
My right hand points to where the sun goes away.
My back is to the cold north star,
My face looks south, where the warm winds are.
North, south, east, west --
Where I stand, I am at rest.

Then we used the great activity designed by former Orchard Garden team member, astrophysicist
 Benoîte Pfeiffer, to track the path of the sun on both the summer and winter solstices, using our hands to measure angle of elevation and our arms and whole bodies to sweep out the path the sun takes from sunrise to sunset.

We worked out ways to measure garden beds using our hands, feet and stride, and then used the measurements on seed packets to plant beds of early vegetables: radishes, peas and spinach.

We also planted nettles on the far side of Totem Field, with John Ames' help. Nettles are used around the world as a spring-harvested tonic vegetable (and tea), and an autumn-harvested fibre plant for making thread and cloth.

Our final activity in the garden was making and hanging up 6-month pinhole cameras to track the path of the sun, an activity and art form we learned from visiting mathematical artist Nick Sayers. Six cameras were made, in three pairs: one of each pair to be taken down at the Summer Solstice, and the other to stay up till next Winter Solstice. We can compare the results from each pair of side-by-side juice can pinhole cameras!

Lunch back at Scarfe included kale chips and roasted brussel sprouts from veggies we harvested in the garden, along with a delicious butternut squash/ coconut Thai curry soup, lots of bread from Terra Bread's generous donation, and cheese, humus and fruit. A great day, with lots of learning about body measurement, math and astronomy in the garden!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Our workshop this Saturday Feb.4th. is cancelled due to the snow. Will keep you posted on the new date.....

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Intro to School Gardens Workshop #2 of 8 (1/14/2017)

Finally, a return to the garden after a lot of snowfall. It was amazing to see that some kale and herbs such as rosemary and sage had survived the winter.

Kale in snow
The Schedule for the day:

10-10:15 Welcome, introductions and tea and starting soup-making
10:15-11:15 Workshop: Practical advice on setting up or activating a learning
garden at your school: school support, funding, curricular connections and starting small (led by Toni Lazarova)
11:15-12:15 Walk to Orchard Garden and back to harvest produce for lunch
12:15-1 Workshop: Practical learning about gardening: soil, compost,
crop rotation, planting schedules and more (led by Julian Yeo).
Preview of upcoming workshops; evaluation forms
1–2 Making and eating lunch together


The two workshops were so  informative today. We saw how Toni started a school garden from square one. We learned about where to set up a school garden, the importance of grants to fund the project as well as the support of fellow teachers, parents or community members to maintain the garden. The workshop on soil was very in depth and tied in nicely with the seasonal planting chart.


Favourite recipes of the day

Egyptian Lentil Soup (double recipe) Soup:

5 tbs olive oil
2 large onions, minced
4 carrots, diced
3 c red lentils
2 large potato, diced
12 c vegetable (or chicken or beef) stock
salt and pepper

2 tbs chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin
(Optional: toasted crusty bread croutons)
(Optional: yogurt)
(Optional: crispy sage leaf topping –below)

• In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions and carrots in 3 tablespoons olive
oil till soft. Add lentils and broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 min.
• Add potatoes and cook 30 min more until lentils are very soft.
• Puree with a blender or food processor. Stir salt and pepper into the soup and return
to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 min.

• Fry onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add cumin. Serve with croutons and/or
• (Optional: Sauté a good handful of large fresh sage leaves in a pan of hot olive oil for
1 -2 minutes until crispy, then remove from heat).
• Add toppings and serve!

Kale Chips
Rinse kale leaves, dry well and tear leaves away from tough stems. Spread out on a baking
sheet oiled with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees F until crispy.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Woad Dyeing Workshop (12/10/16)

It was an informal dyeing day with students 
dropping in help with the process.

First, the woad plant was stripped of its leaves and then left to soak for an hour in hot water.

While we waited for the woad, we began designing our cotton tablecloth and UBC Orchard Garden banner.

Next we applied the beeswax on the fabric before dyeing it in the woad/chemical solution.

After that, the fabric was left to dry.... 


Intro to School Gardens Workshop #1 of 8 (11/26/2016)

    Despite the dismal weather, everyone gathered to have morning tea and to share ideas of garden as learning spaces. We even had a chance to learn a folk song with Susan playing accordion live.

    A Group Sing-a-long

    This was the schedule for the day-presentation, a walk to gather kale and herbs (sage and rosemary) from the garden, another presentation on sustainability and zero waste management followed by cooking and eating our healthy garden soup.

    10-10:30 Welcome, introductions, and tea
    10:30-11 Workshop: Exploring school gardens as spaces of teaching and learning (Latika Raisinghani)
    11-12:15 Walk to Orchard Garden and back to harvest produce for lunch
    12:15-12:45 Workshop: Reduce waste and connect to your food! (led by Ina Tessnow-von Wysocki:)
    12:45-1 Preview of upcoming workshops; evaluation forms
    1 – 2 Making and eating lunch together

    In the Garden 

    Some important takeaways -
  • Start small, even little plants or seeds in a plastic cup can generate student talk. 
  • Pick up to a 1/2 or 2/3 of kale so it can grow back 
  • Breaking bread and sharing tasks is a part of community building. 
  • Lupii Cafe - a zero waste restaurant dedicated to sustainability. 
  • Zero Waste Market - bring your own containers for this market.
Garden in a Cup