Monday, 14 January 2013

SFU SEEDS PDP Module visit to Musqueam and the UBC Orchard Garden

Last week, I took up a wonderful offer to accompany faculty member Mark Fettes and faculty associate Bill Hood and their SFU SEEDS teacher education group on a visit to Musqueam, and to bring the group on a visit to the UBC Orchard Garden. They later visited the Camosun Bog near Imperial Drive on the edge of campus.

 At Musqueam, Elder Larry Grant took time to tell us about the history of Musqueam and about his own experiences, with his typical generosity, kindness, candour and humour. Everyone in the group was at times both shocked and moved by these stories, and learned a great deal -- there were lots of questions. Elder Grant took us on a tour of the beautiful new Musqueam Cultural and Community Centre buildings, and at my request, we also saw the site of one of the Chinese market gardens at Musqueam, Hong Kong Farms, where Burnaby MLA Richard T. Lee's family farmed for many years.

Elder Grant commented that, although UBC is very closely affiliated with Musqueam, the SFU group was the first group of teacher candidates to request a visit and talk at Musqueam! I was astounded to hear this, and assured him that we would make that situation right as soon as possible. I had not known how to approach the Musqueam First Nation to organize such a visit (through correct protocols, etc.), but a simple phone call to the Band Office is enough to get things started.
The SFU group loved the Orchard Garden and were keen to get involved, especially since the Garden is now under imminent threat of being bulldozed as soon as a year from now if Campus and Community Planning goes ahead with building a 12-storey tower on the site without design consultation. There may be plans in the works for this PDP Module group to come back to the Orchard Garden to perform a drama piece about community gardens on our Arts in the Garden day April 6, 2013 -- watch this space for more details!

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