Friday, 23 March 2012

Time to plant peas! Youth volunteer in the garden...

Thanks to the Karma Connections youth group for volunteering with us in the garden on Wednesday. Karma Connections is a program that aims to match youth to meaningful volunteer experiences. Youth are encouraged to make connections to organizations of their choice, and make arrangements to go and dedicate their time and services. It was great to meet such eager and knowledgeable youth ... (all photos taken by the volunteer youth)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Don't miss this lecture: Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World

Please join us for what will surely be a provocative and interesting lecture from Dr. Frédérique Apffel-Marglin on Friday March 30. Dr. Apffel-Marglin's work has centered around the relationships between humans and the other-than-human world. She will be discussing the land-based intelligences of traditional peoples as we try to make sense of current issues such as sustainability and alternative food practices.

Friday, March 30, 2012
12:00 - 2:30 pm
UBC, Faculty of Education, Neville Scarfe Building 310

Lecture: 12:00 - 1:30 pm
World Café on Huerto-Chacra Projects in the High Amazon: 1:30 - 2:30 pm


Saturday, 17 March 2012

spring digging!

Budding apple trees and daffodils... crocuses in bloom...

Yesterday was our big spring work party- thank you to everyone who came out and put many hours, muscle, and heart into the garden. What a wonderful way to usher in the growing season- gather a group of eager students and put our shovels to the soil.

Elementary science in the garden

Although the morning was dreary and cold, we were excited to host Patrick's elementary science class in the garden yesterday. It was wonderful to know so many of these preservice teachers are doing their practicums at schools with school gardens and we were inspired by their thoughtful questions and explorations. Thanks to Deanna for leading the group and brainstorming curricular connections in the garden!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Spring Work Party tomorrow!

Eager to get outside, get your hands dirty, get those atrophied arm muscles back into action after a LONG winter of studying?

We are too.

Come join us Friday, March 16, 2012, 12pm - 4pm for a St. Patrick's Day work party. Work with us for an hour and you're qualified for some nice fried 'taters, salad, and other goodies.

What will we be doing?

  • Reshaping a large field into new beds!
  • Re-establishing existing beds!
  • Garden clean up!
  • Weeding apple trees!
  • Potting strawberries!
  • Maybe transplanting things!
  • Maybe seeding things!
  • Digging in compost!
  • And more!
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Critical thinking in the garden

Student teachers leading a lesson in the garden

Although the wind was bone-chilling, it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon in the garden with Nora Timmerman and her teacher education students in EDST 454, Critical Thinking: Frameworks, Methods, and Challenges.

Two groups led critical thinking activities in the garden for children from Kindergarten to Grade 3. The first group used "I wonder...?" questions to explore colours in the garden, and the second group used inquiry-based learning to ask open-ended questions to discover "what stories is the garden is telling us?" The outdoor activities ended after planting radishes in the Chinese Market Garden.

Huddled in the Agora to warm up, rich discussions and reflections followed the activities. We discussed rules for being in the garden: Should they emerge during the activity? Be student-generated? How to instil respect for the garden? We discussed inquiry: How can a teacher resist directly answering inquiry questions? What is the role of an expert? Is it overwhelming or motivating to discover that there is so much we don't know? We discussed the pedagogy of landscape: Can plants teach or are the stories in a garden purely human?

As one student said, "All these questions, they inspire me to go home and do research. Like, so how did humans decide what is safe to eat or not?"
Fascinating conversations with a wonderful group of committed and inquiring student teachers.

What are these flowers? They taste sweet, like broccoli.

What's this plant? It smells like onions. Can we eat it?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #9

Tia shares an article from her hometown on the revival of the pawpaw tree:

I try to stay up to date with the news from my home city (Windsor, Ontario) by reading the Windsor Star on my phone every day. On March 7th there was an interesting article on reviving the pawpaw tree in Essex County. I must admit I am one of the people described in the article who has never heard of a pawpaw! This is a relevant article as it relates to my experience researching native plants for the Orchard Garden. The pawpaw was once a very well-known, common fruit and today nobody in the area knows about it. From the description of it, it sounds delicious! Isn’t it amazing how many edible plants disappear from our knowledge and culture? I love that there are people out there trying to learn more about native plants and trees and are trying to bring them back to the areas they belong in. I am hoping when I go home in April I get a glimpse of a pawpaw tree!

pawpaw fruit

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #8

Tia has been attending all of our Orchard Garden meetings and learning lots of new garden terminology. Here's her post on learning about cover crops:

I have heard a lot of discussion at the Orchard Garden meetings and workshops about “cover crops”. For those who don’t know, a cover crop is planted after another crop is harvested. The purpose is to enhance the soil quality and add organic matter to it. The cover crop is not planted to be consumed but merely to help cover the ground and help the soil become healthier so that future crops can be planted again in that space. Cover crops are sometimes just planted in between growing seasons, but can be left to grow for a whole year too. I guess it depends on how badly you need the space! If you can wait, it’s better for the soil to leave the cover crop growing. I learned yesterday that it is especially important to educate people about cover crops when it comes to school gardens. Often people will think the garden is “dead” or “ruined” because they don’t understand what is happening between growing seasons. If teachers with school gardens explain to other staff and students why gardens have cover crops this may enhance the connection they feel with the garden when it is not a growing season. I have learned the garden is alive every day of the year! There is always something going on!

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #7

Enjoy Tia's latest post as she embarks on her garden learning!

I was reading a few of the Orchard Garden newsletters a little while back and saw that it was recommended that people interested in gardening order seed catalogues. I must, say I always wondered where people got their seeds from. I thought the only place you could buy seeds was at home depot! So I ordered some catalogues online and have quite enjoyed flipping thought pages learning about new things I could grow! It makes me sad that it has taken me this long to be interested in gardening, as I just moved away from my home in Ontario where I had a huge backyard! One thing that I thought was really neat was “vegetable growing bags”. I had no idea you could plant things in bags! I’d like to learn more about this.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Garden Planning Workshop

 We were very excited to have such a large group of students attend our 'Planning to Plant' workshop last Thursday (our largest group to date!).  Students came from the faculties of Education, Land & Food Systems, and Forestry, as well as from surrounding organizations.  Our goal for the workshop was to make gardening feel doable and exciting in a range of contexts and scales.

Most workshop participants were starting gardens for the first time and had lots of questions on breaking ground, choosing seeds, laying out beds, soil fertility, and harvest times.  We spent some time exploring the garden, tasting winter greens and noticing how much food is actually available in March thanks to the mild climate of Vancouver.

Participants spent time articulating their overall garden goals, choosing crops, mapping their garden plots, and planning the planting and harvesting times.

Some participants wanted to get their hands in the soil and we were happy to have them clear the beds and prepare the soil for spring planting.

Here are some basic tips for starting a garden:  
  • Start small and build on your success!
  • Be aware of all growing limitations (seasons, soil, space, light, water, maintenance, budget)
  • Know who you are planting for (family, classroom, market, community)
  • Talk to other gardeners in your area- they are the experts!
  • Plan your planting dates based on your desired harvest dates.
  • Keep a record: taste, touch, smell, draw, photograph and record your process.  A garden journal should include notes on the following: 1) Plant date (direct seed or transplant), 2) Weather, 3) Soil temperature, 4) Notable pests, 5) Harvest dates, 6) Personal notes- “did I like it?  Would I plant it again?”
  • Set goals but be flexible!
  • Be creative and have fun J

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #6

Tia shares her learning about container gardening...

One thing I have been reading a lot about in some books I have on apartment gardens is that your pots need to have drainage holes in the bottom. I never knew this, as there are many pots you can buy that don’t have holes in the bottom. I have made the switch and purchased pots with drainage holes however, so I anticipate this will lead to much healthier and hardier plants. In Amy Pennington’s “Apartment Gardening” book she says that if you do purchase those big pretty coloured ceramic pots you should get holes drilled into the bottom of them. Who knew?

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #5

Tia has begun her own little container garden- here's her latest post on her garden learning!  Inspiring to know you can grow food on such a small scale!

Here is my new little apartment garden! I hope something grows! I have planted herbs mostly, but did plant some tomato seeds too. After attending the Orchard Garden workshop yesterday however, I heard tomatoes don’t grow very well in Vancouver climates so perhaps they won’t grow like I thought they would. We shall see!

A teacher learning in the garden: Post #4

We are so happy to have Tia documenting her learning journey- here's her latest post!

Hello again!
Since my last post I have had the opportunity to research many native Vancouver coastal plants with my service learning partner, Kailee. Many (if not all) of the researched plants may be planted this spring in the Orchard Garden. After looking at so many photos of these local plants I have to say I am pretty excited to see what they are going to look like in real life!
I really like the look of the nodding onion plant and the shrubby cinquefoil…I don’t think I have ever seen these before.
All of the plants being considered for the native plant garden are plants that have been medicinally used or eaten by First Nations groups throughout history.
Here is a list of possible native plants you may see this summer in the garden: The snowberry, the oregon grape, the red-flowering currant, the red-osier dogwood, Labrador tea, sword ferns, the common camas, the evergreen huckleberry, and the salmonberry.

shrubby cinquefoil

nodding onion

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Math in the garden

We were very excited to host one of our many math classes in the garden yesterday- EDCP 340 (French immersion elementary math). The instructor had thoughtfully prepared an integrated assignment for the students and it was our job to introduce them to the garden and all the many possibilities of seeing math in plants, bee hives, weather patterns, paths and much more...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Opening for elementary class at Landed Learning! Great opportunity!

Are you a Grade 4, 5, 6, or 7 teacher who is 
passionate about earth stewardship, food education, and garden-based learning?
Apply for your class to participate in the
Intergenerational Landed Learning Project!

The Intergenerational Landed Learning on the Farm for the Environment project is a unique education and research initiative of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC, that brings together children, educators, and multigenerational volunteers to explore how holistic experiences in a farming/gardening project on an urban farm can foster understanding of and respect for land-food-human connections.
The Landed Learning school year program currently has an opening for an intermediate (grade 4-7) class from Vancouver School District #39 to join our farm-based environmental education project during the 2012-2013 school year.  Participating classes take part in 10 - 11 UBC Farm Days plus 1 - 2 program-related work days at their schools throughout the school-year where student groups work cooperatively with community volunteers (“Farm Friends”) to plan, plant, tend, harvest, prepare, and eat foods they grow in their own garden beds.
Participating teachers will collaborate with other teachers in the program and with the Landed Learning Project team from the Faculty of Education, UBC, to develop and document holistic, school- and farm-based curricula.  Four to six additional planning meetings and related activities will occur at your school and the UBC farm during the 2012-2013 school year.  

The application is due Sunday, March 25, 2012  

We hope to have an electronic version of the application on our new project website over spring break, but there may be some delays in getting the website up.  Interested teachers may request notification when the website is live or complete the attached Word version of the application.  Please direct all inquiries and submit the application to landedlearning@gmail.comor fax 604-822-4714, ATTN: Stacy Friedman.  
For more information on the project, please visit our website