Thursday, 19 December 2013

"The New Rules of Public Art" poster

As we do lots of arts-related projects in the Orchard Garden, I thought this might be of interest! It comes from Situations <> in Bristol, UK:

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

More videos on community impact of Orchard Garden alumni & programs

Hi everyone. Here are links to the six short videos we've produced so far. Hope you enjoy them!
Orchard Garden alumni:
1) Djamila Moore & the Garden of Wonders

3) Alison Krahn & work with the Vancouver School Board

4) Kate Petrusa & curating at the BC Farm Museum

Orchard Garden programs:
5) Teacher education workshops

6) Arts in the garden workshop

The videos were made by Vancouver filmmaker Michael Louw with UBC producer Susan Gerofsky and additional camera by Don Miernecki.

Links to additional resources from the films:
(1) As noted earlier, another film about the Abernethy School Kitchen Garden featuring Djamila Moore can be found here, and there is also a US National Public Radio (NPR) podcast about the garden at The Abernethy Garden of Wonders website is here:

(2) Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society's website is at, and I understand they are making a film about their work now too!

(3) The Vancouver School Board's Green Schools site is at

(4) Reviews of Kate's exhibit, Handmade to Handheld, can be found here:
<>, <>

(5) Here's a link to a one-page fact sheet about the UBC Orchard Garden from April 2013.

(6) Participating artists include Mind of a Snail Compost Modern Shadow PuppetrySharon Kallis and the Urban Weavers StudioBen PfeifferOrkestar Slivovica and Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers& Musicians

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Orchard Garden alumni videos

Please check out three amazing videos of two of our fantastic The Orchard Garden alumni, Djamila Moore and Ali Krahn!

The first two were made by The Orchard Garden with Michael Louw:

This one was sent to us by Djamila and was made by Abernethy School in Portland about their School Kitchen Garden program:

We have more videos by Michael Louw in production, so please stay tuned.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Invitation to important meeting: Nov 6

Please join us for an important strategizing meeting on the future of the Orchard Garden, UBC’s student-directed teaching & learning garden! The meeting will be on November 6 from 4-6:30pm in the Lillooet Room, I.K. Barber, light refreshments included. To register, please go to: or email for more information.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Farewell harvest celebration

On Wednesday, October 16th we had our Farewell Harvest Celebration at the Orchard Garden. It was a beautiful day filled with food, friends, fun activities, speeches and music. Amidst the garden, laughter and great conversations dominated the day as well as the sound of live music performances by Susan Gerofksy and Brian Jones. No one will forget the fragrant smell of brewing freshly picked garden herbal teas (planted earlier this year by student teachers!), which was later replaced by the pungent smell of pressing fresh orchard garden apples (harvested by student teachers at our recent workshop) into juice.

Here are some of the highlights of the Harvest Celebration:

Heart-felt speeches from the Dean of Land & Food Systems, Murray Isman, and the Department Head for Curriculum & Pedagogy, Peter Grimmett. Great live music performance throughout the day (Susan Gerofsky & Brian Jones)

Freshly harvested garden kale and kohlrabi “massaged” salads as well as many other delicious foods

More speeches (including Susan Gerofsky, Julia Ostertag, Andrew Riseman)

Prayer flag painting with wishes for the garden

Apple Pressing Station!

Although we were sad to say goodbye to the Garden site as we know it, we were also excited about creating a new future and memories at the next Orchard Garden site!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Fog, fall, and failure

My dissertation writing days have begun in earnest now - days spent writing, reading, and sitting inside. Out in the garden, fall and fog transform the space into a mysterious world. It is hard to come to terms with things falling apart but even this has its own beauty.

This morning, two graduate students from an Environmental Education course met me in the foggy garden to plan their class visit next week.

"We don't have anything like this garden at our university in China," the one student commented.

"Well, we won't much longer either," I replied with sad, resigned laughter.

The final stage of my installation based PhD research project, Threads sown, grown & given was to explore the ideas and practices around gift giving, in education and in relation with land. The webs we spun as gifts in March 2013 are slowly collapsing but most still hang, bejewelled with fog dew. My hope now is to carry the energy of the garden and this installation series forward into my dissertation writing. A difficult hope that is sure to fail. But failure, it turns out, is one of the themes of my dissertation I have slowly grown to appreciate: "Just as any human enterprise is defined by what it excludes, it is a culture's failures - quickly forgotten, repressed, buried away - which have the most to say about that culture's beliefs and values" (Antebi et al., eds., 2008, p. 12).

--Julia Ostertag, PhD Candidate, EDCP

[Please search "installation" on this blog for more posts related to my research project. Comments are also always welcome!]

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Goodbye harvest celebration October 16

Since 2005, students have been gardening, teaching, and learning in The Orchard Garden behind the MacMillan building on the UBC campus. In 2014, however, construction will begin on the site and the garden will have to move either to a temporary or permanent home elsewhere.

Please join us in saying goodbye to a vibrant, lively, and profoundly significant aspect of our campus landscape in our third and final annual Harvest Celebration at The Orchard Garden on October 16 from 1:00pm-3:00pm.

Students, staff, faculty, family, friends, alumni are all welcome. There will be food, apple cider pressing, music, speeches, garden tours, and more!


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Summer Camps at the Orchard Garden

For three weeks this summer, the Orchard Garden is hosting the FUN Society's Summer Camps. they provide fun filled days for kids ages 6-16, and wanted to share their summer with us. Last week, we had our first group out, and played 20 Questions, where kids guessed which vegetable was taped to their back by asking friends for clues. They loved it - especially because they could eat the surprise veggie afterwards!

Next, we had a scavenger hunt throughout the garden, where campers looked for each plant in the garden, and tried their best to name each one. The sprinklers were one that day, so there was an added bonus when searching the greenery :) 

We had a great day, and are looking forward to the next batch of campers next week! Stay tuned.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Handmade to Handheld - Farming Exhibition on View

A little something I've been working on when not in the garden or field. The new exhibit at the BC Farm Museum features the stories of four farmers in the Fraser Valley. Using an interplay of farmer photographs and historic artifacts, this display showcases contemporary farm stories and links them to the rich agricultural heritage of the Fraser Valley. It is also designed to question current trends in agriculture and to juxtapose large and small scale farming practices. 

The BC Farm Museum is in Fort Langley and they are open 10:00-4:00pm, daily. 

I hope to see you there! 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Fireweed dreams

Fireweed and webs
As I sit at home to write my dissertation, the installation Threads sown, grown & given continues to grow and change at the garden. Now it's the season of fireweed. At the centre of the installation, surrounded by linen webs, a circle of fireweed is now glowing amidst the regular garden crops (cucumbers & squashes). Fireweed caught my attention years ago when I first encountered it growing in northern Quebec. To plant it in a garden calls into question what we in fact consider to be "a garden." This weedy plant grows after fires (or clear cuts or other disruptions), spreading rapidly by its thick rhizomes and thousands of fluffy seeds. Beyond being a "weed" and regenerating exposed soil (important work!) it is also a beautiful flowering plant that bees love to visit. From a human perspective, it has been valued as a food plant (the young stems can be eaten), a medicinal plant, and...perfect for this installation project based on threads...a fibre plant (both stems and seed fluff can be spun). Since this final installation engages with the questions of regeneration, reconciliation, and gifts between humans and with the land, this plant spoke to me. However, it was with some trepidation that our garden team invited a weed to live alongside our regular crops.

It appears to be incontournable: This is the last year of The Orchard Garden in our current location. I am filled with sadness but dream that perhaps the fireweed will take root and regenerate the soil and our imaginations after the destruction ends.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Humanure at the UBC Farm

UBC Farm's new pilot outhouse, Photo: C&CP
Now this is cool: The UBC Farm has developed an innovative outhouse that really creates a sustainable fertilizer by deviating urine from fecal matter. Or at least, that's what they're studying with a pilot outhouse at the Farm, build as part of a SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) project with Geoff Hill, Chemical & Biological Engineering, the UBC Farm and Campus Sustainability.

Try it out next time you're at the Farm!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Time in the garden, a student teacher reflects on life

VĂ©ronique blogged about her experiences at The Orchard Garden on her personal blog. Her beautiful, poetic thoughts can be found at Time in a Garden. The blog begins like this:

There is so much more than you think there is in one armful of soil. So much more movement, so much more depth. I stared at a patch of soil today because I was asked to. When was the last time you did that? When was the last time someone asked you to?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Greenhorn to (almost) Green Thumb

Delicious daikon - from garden to table

Gardens are welcoming places full of life. Yet they can be intimidating as well, for those who have little knowledge or experience with gardening. This described my situation as I began my practicum at the Orchard garden; I was definitely more of a greenhorn than a green thumb.
But in the past few days, I have learned so much just by being in the garden and assisting with the various stages of agriculture. From seeding to weeding to harvesting to composting- I experienced many different aspects of gardening.

Creating community through school gardening

I have spent the last week in the Orchard Garden working with a group of fellow teacher candidates from the UBC Faculty of Education to develop strategies for the implementation of school gardens in different school environments. We have also worked to maintain the Orchard Garden by weeding and working with compost, as well as harvesting food crops for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and for several celebration activities that have taken place in the Orchard Garden.

Enhanced Practicum Reflection, week 2, June 17th to 21st

Week two started off with a nice cup of tasty lemon balm and calendula herb tea. My team partner Karine and I had the opportunity to fix up the overrun herb garden at The Orchard Garden. It was a busy project but I learned a lot about the herbs, such as, what medicinal qualities herbs have and how invasive mint and oregano can be. Because of their rhizomatic roots they can be very invasive to any garden and need to be contained.

Vivian's views: all things soil

Meet our new pets - in the vermicompost bin!

I am a UBC Teacher Candidate and I started my field experience at the Orchard Garden just this past week. I would like to share some of my experiences and reflection from this week:
In one workshop, Julia asked us to write down a list of words that comes to mind when you think of “soil”. The reason why Julia chose soil was because it is something that many people know about (as opposed to, for example, a name of a plant). For me, I have very limited knowledge of gardening but coming up with words associated with soil was something that I could do, whether these words are biologically or symbolically related. Likewise, this is what I would do in a classroom with students – activate

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Summer Celebration 2013

Last Tuesday, the Orchard Garden welcomed guests to the garden for the 3rd Annual Summer Celebration. With the help of 6 fantastic enhanced practicum students (teachers to-be, participating an informal learning situation), we put together a great program. 

Heather and Vivian harvesting kohlrabi

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Djamila's growing garden

An article about a great school garden in Portland, where Djamila Moore is now the school garden teacher! High praise for the garden came from Michelle they just need to have a teaching space beyond the hallway.
Good luck, Djamila and Abernethy Elementary School! Keep us posted on how things go.

And, coming soon: A great video of Djamila talking about her work in Portland.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Student teachers prepare for the garden party: Week 2

Karine works in the herb garden
This week we worked at planning The Summer Celebration event that will be at the Orchard Garden on Tuesday, June 25 from 12-2pm. The difficulty we had in planning this event is that we are unsure about the number of people who will be visiting and/or the age range of the visitors. We therefore decided to go with activities that would be interesting for a wide range of ages and easy to adapt for various audiences. The plan is to have a tea table by our newly revamped herb garden where we will be serving both hot and iced teas made out of the herbs in the garden. We also planned an art table using materials from the garden, a food table where we will be serving food from the garden, a storytelling space under a special mulberry tree, and a bugs' life table at which we will be discussing the roles of bees and other bugs in the garden. Hopefully, we will have enough visitors to promote this really cool educational garden. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Job posting: Landed Learning project at the UBC Farm

Intergenerational Landed Learning Project : Position Title – Landed Learning Communications Assistant
The Intergenerational Landed Learning Project, a garden-based learning program and research project of the UBC Faculty of Education is currently  accepting applications for the position of Landed Learning Communications Assistant for the 2013-14 school year.  Landed Learning partners children with community volunteers to learn together by growing, cooking, and eating local food at the UBC Farm.  The Landed Learning Communications Assistant will attend and photograph the activities of the project, including weekly Farm visits on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am-3:30pm, September-October 2013 and February-June 2014. The successful candidate will assist in the documentation and communication of project activities, objectives, and outcomes through web-based media and written reports. 
Position Details
  • Start Date: September 2013
  • Part-time (~20 hours/week), Sept-Oct and Feb-June; possibility of work in November-Jan.
  • Must be available 9am-3pm Wednesdays and Thursdays; remaining hours are flexible during the week.
  • Suitable for a UBC undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Wage: $14-15 per hour, depending on experience.
How to Apply
E-mail a cover letter and a resume clearly detailing your experiences and qualifications for this position to Stacy Friedman at :
  • Attach to the email a single PDF document that contains your cover letter and resume. Ensure your name is included in the file name.
  • Ensure your e-mail subject line clearly refers to the position title for which you are applying.
  • Include a copy of the cover letter in the body of your application email.
  • Applications must be received no later than 5pm, Monday, June 24, 2013.
  • Interviews will take place the week of July 2. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
  • Please no phone calls.
More information about the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project can be found at:

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Hawai'i School Garden Network

Thank you to Djamila, our recent graduate and now garden coordinator in Portland, for sharing information about this amazing initiative, the Hawai'i school garden network (

The Hawai'i school garden network offers perhaps one of the only year-long teacher education programs geared toward garden-based education. The program is called Ku Aina Pa (Standing firmly in knowledge upon the land) and also includes a yearly symposium. The website offers an exhaustive list of curriculum resources for teachers.

If you haven't already visited our resource page, go to it for a list of websites & books all related to garden-based, outdoor, environmental education. If you see something missing, let us know and we'll update our page!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Week One: A Teacher Candidate in the garden

The poppies in the Garden...
I am a UBC Teacher Candidate starting my field to fork to field community experience and I have to say this first week has gone by really quickly. At the beginning of the week we met all the lovely people of the Orchard Garden and of the Think and Eat Green projects who shared their passion for the environment, gardening, food sustainability and children with us. After familiarizing ourselves with our own little section of project, we were sent to our own placements, which for me was the Orchard Garden and gave us lots of latitude to decide the nature of our own project. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Enhanced Practicum Take 2

Last week, the Orchard Garden welcomed our three elementary school teacher practicum students. They will be working with us for the next three weeks in workshops and hands-on garden work as part of learning about teaching in an informal setting. We are running workshops on many things, from local garden histories, to how to start a school garden. And of course, lots of digging in the dirt.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Summer Celebration time at the garden! June 25

This has been a wonderful spring and the gorgeous Orchard Garden is teeming with life. Come and celebrate the arrival of summer with us at the garden on June 25 from 12-2pm. Light refreshments, snacks from the garden, activities, tours, music, and a time to meet the student gardeners and educators who run this incredible project!

Everyone is welcome.

This is our third annual summer solstice celebration at the garden, though it may be our last...

Travel to garden parties past on our blog...2011 & 2010.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Weaving your own bike basket from invasives

Here are instructions for weaving an entire bike basket from invasive species, thanks to Todd De Vries and the Urban Weavers.

Urban Weavers bike basket

Some people may be interested in this as part of the enhanced practicum...?

UBC Board of Governors report on the Orchard Commons building

A number of us met today in the Orchard Garden with Dave English from UBC Properties Trust and others involved with the core sampling and other plans regarding the Orchard Commons buildings and the proposed UBC Vantage College.

FYI, here is a link to a report to the Board of Governors about these plans. The proposed 1000 international students at Vantage College are expected to pay $8,400,000 annually for 12 months'  rent of 350 square foot single residence rooms, $6,800,000 for meal plans, and $10,000,000 in tuition.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


The westernmost corner of garden is full of lupins right now! These beautiful wild flowers are a welcome addition to any marginal soil. Not only are they bright bursts of colour, but their roots have a unique ability to take nitrogen gas from the air, and convert it into a useable form for plant roots. Adding nitrogen to the soil is a great thing for neighbouring plants.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

UBC Permaculture Design Certification Course

Permaculture Design Certification Course @ UBC Farm 2013
Design Solutions for Sustainable Food, Building and Community Systems
August 17th - Sept. 8th, $950 - $1250.
A traditional 15-day intensive Permaculture Design Certification course over three weeks with all the trimmings. Led by James Richardson, this urban PDC explores opportunities for change in places as small as a balcony, and as large as a 40 hectare farm. With UBC Farm, Vancouver City and the surrounding bio-region as our classroom, we'll explore the theory and practice of change with open heads, hearts and hands.

Friday, 17 May 2013

New to teaching? Gardening? No problem!

Check out one of our Orchard Garden workshop participants' blog postings on bringing gardens into the classroom during her teaching practicum. 

Great to see this enthusiasm & fearlessness. Teaching on practicum can be overwhelming all on its own, so to bring garden-based education into the mix is really inspiring.

Congratulations, Sarah! Let us know how it all went.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

An interesting design idea for the Orchard Hub building

Thinking about talking with the architects for the new Orchard Hub building (once the architects have been hired, that is!) I was looking for examples of green-roofed university buildings that would integrate well with the Orchard Garden. Here is the most interesting example I have found so far. What do you think?

"Green Grass, Glass & Class"

School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang University, Singapore

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Mid May Growing

With the 2 weeks of solid sunshine, and high temperatures, the garden is a happening place to be. Last year's kale plants are making seed with these brilliant yellow flowers. The fava beans are flowering. The apple trees are blossoming. And our resident gardeners, Panthea and Heather, are sporting 2013 Farm Fashion as they prepare and shape beds for planting.
Brilliant yellow kale flowers - 4 feet tall!
Fava bean flowers are my favourite because they smell like oily sun tan lotion. 
A plethora of apple blossoms.
Farm Fashion by Rosy, Panthea, Heather (left to right)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Orchard Garden from the Perspective of two B.Ed students

Beauty. Peacefulness. Tranquility. Colour. Diversity. Abundance. All these words described our first impression of the Orchard Garden. What is this place in the middle of the hustle and bustle of campus life? A place of such freshness, where biodiversity can be seen, heard, felt, and smelled—all five minutes by foot from Scarfe!

Our time in the Orchard Garden has been filled with exploration and learning, in a sense a great mirror of the education process itself. We began our time by investigating the many facets of the garden, using the informative workshop series documents created by the Orchard Garden team. These followed the entire food cycle: from prepping the garden beds, to growth, to harvest, to preparing and eating a meal, and finally returning the end products to the compost bin—so they could become soil anew.

Friday, 3 May 2013

CSA's now available from the Orchard Garden!

If you love local food, and love the Orchard Garden, now's your chance to buy a CSA share. This share will provide a weekly box of fresh produce through the growing season. Click here to sign up.

Or for more information...

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a model used frequently in urban agriculture where the customers and producers share both in the benefits and risks of farming. We ask for a lump sum payment upfront which will provide us with working capital for the season. In return you will get a weekly share of the most fresh, local, and seasonal vegetables possible. Because of the large number of variables that affect vegetable production, CSA members are asked to understand that the produce that you receive will not be entirely predictable. The weekly share will vary based on growing conditions.

Additionally, we are asking for a suggested donation of $100 for garden improvements. This money would go towards seeds, tools, soil amendments, etc.
The options we are offering are as follows:

Full Share
16 weeks - Early June to  Late September
$375 - ~$25 per week worth of vegetables
$100 suggested donation for garden improvements
Half Share
16 weeks - Early June to  Late September
$240 - ~$15 per week worth of vegetables
$100 suggested donation for garden improvements
Working Share
For this option we would require a 2 hour/week commitment to volunteering in the garden. In return you will receive a 50% discount on either a half share or a full share.  Please contact us at  to establish a work schedule.

Spots on the list will be awarded first come first serve, so please don't hesitate to voice your interest. We can arrange payment at your convenience. Weekly pick-up of your share will occur every Tuesday from the Orchard Garden office starting as soon as possible in June. The Orchard Garden office is located in McMillan room 66 (in Agora).

Any qusetions can be sent to


Heather, Panthea, and Emma

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is in full bloom at the Orchard Garden. It's such a beautiful time. Plants are young and fledgling, and promise a bountiful summer!
This garlic was planted last October. Look at it go!
Yet, the green onions are looking rather sad. You can admire the minimal weeds though...

The gai lan is coming along nicely. This fast-growing crop will be ready to eat soon. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Student Teachers in the Garden

Student teachers shaping and amending beds
This week, the Orchard Garden is hosting 20 student teachers who are completing their 'enhanced practicum'. This practicum is very different from their classroom practicum, which is 10 weeks long. For the next 3 weeks, these budding teachers will be experimenting with a more informal setting to explore the pedagogy of teaching.
A brief introduction to bees!
At the Orchard Garden, we focusing our work with two students, and are looking at concepts of place-based learning, sharing resources about running and starting schoolyard gardens, and of course, garden work in the dirt as well.

Monday, 22 April 2013

UBC Farm Permaculture Design Course

Introducing two courses for change:

A)  Introduction to Permaculture Design
August 17th - August 20th | $450 | UBC Farm and OUR Ecovillage, Vancouver Island 

A 4-day taste of the ethics, principles and practice of Permaculture design.
Camping and meals provided at OUR Ecovillage, Vancouver Island.

B) Permaculture Design Certification Course @ UBC Farm:  2013
August 17th - Sept 8th | $950 - $1250 | UBC Farm OUR Ecovillage, Vancouver Island and the City of Vancouver.
Design Solutions for Sustainable Food, Building and Community Systems
Internationally recognized certification with UBC student credit available too.  
Fifteen unforgettable days over three weeks in Vancouver and the surrounding bio-region.

Inline image 1
James Richardson
Ph.D. Candidate Ecological Footprinting, Victoria University of Wellington.
M.A.S.L.A. Sustainable Food System Design, University of British Columbia.
B.Ed.  Outdoor & Experiential Education, Queen's University.
B.Sc.  (Hon) Biology, Geography and Mathematics, McMaster University.

Skype: jamesmatthewrichardson

Thursday, 18 April 2013

UBC Celebrating Learning Week TLEF Showcase 2012 featuring the Orchard Garden!

Here is a link to the UBC Celebrate Learning Week TLEF Showcase from November 2012. Julia Ostertag and I presented a slide show and short talk about the Orchard Garden project, which has been funded for a full three years through generous TLEF grants.

Follow the link to the 2012 presentations -- we are the third one in (at 23:56). You can hear the talk and see the slides on this site.

A garden in the rain & visitors from Finland

This afternoon, Andrew Riseman and I talked with a delegation of Finnish university campus planners about Learning Landscapes on campus. Our visitors also heard from a number of people from Campus and Community Planning about the planning, building and maintenance of other projects at UBC ranging from new wood-framed buildings and sustainable energy and greywater systems to the design of the large new multi-use Hubs.

This group showed tremendous interest in the Orchard Garden, the UBC Farm and other student-led, grassroots initiatives at UBC and their integration into the life of the university. They said that school gardens are rare nowadays in Finland, although they were a regular part of rural elementary schools up till about WWII. However they did say that students on their campuses (at Aalto University, The University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu and others) were now requesting spaces to grow vegetables on campus. They promised to put us in touch with students there who are also engaged in university garden projects.

We mentioned 'flax', and there was a flurry of activity with electronic translators as people looked for the Finnish term ('pellava', if you're interested). Our visitors told us that in the old days most people used to grow pellava to make their own clothing. One said that pellava was very stiff and scratchy at first, but then got better and better as the years went on -- "just like us!" He had a 30-year-old linen suit that was just beautiful, he said.

I took some pictures of the garden this morning to add to our slide show. Here's a link to my slides (I'll add Andrew's when he sends them), and here are a few pictures of our beautiful garden in the spring rain.