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