Thursday, 19 January 2012

"you can't garden nature": considering the meaning of native and non-native plants

Thanks to Dr. Pat O'Riley for sharing this article with us:

As we write a grant for native plant material and research appropriate ways to use the garden to dialogue around the topic of native and non-native plants, we are reminded of the fluidity of origins, place and time, as well as the importance of understanding the relationality of plants without romanticizing or privileging one type over another.  While we seek to incorporate a diversity of plants in our garden, we must recognize that this diversity is for the benefit of cultural learning and sharing, as well as for the direct ecosystems with which we partner.  The conversation of native and non-native plants is complex, involving issues of invasiveness and ecological balance as well as stories and ancestry.  We look forward to continuing this conversation in our research and gardening...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

2011: A retrospective on place

March 2011: Stormy and tray

Our team came together in early spring of 2011. It has been a learning year for all of us- challenging, beautiful, sweaty, delicious, surprising, fragrant, overwhelming and fruitful in every way. As we settle into a new year of growing (literally, organizationally, and energetically) it is helpful to reflect on our efforts and accomplishments. Following is a photo retrospective highlighting the previous 10 months in the garden. Tomorrow our team gathers for the first meeting of the year. We will discuss the possibility of a CSA, embodied math workshops, vermicomposting, grant writing, aphids, wireworms and all things garden related. Stay tuned for updates...

Working the soil by hand (and foot)

April 2011: Radish sprouts

Brave new asparagus spears

June 2011: Meeting our insect friends

Queen Gwyneth: The hive settles in

Digging new potatoes for the summer solstice

New entrance gate for our solstice party

Dean of Education, faculty, staff, students and community attend solstice party

Interpretive Chinese Market Garden

July 2011: One of many Education classes plant carrots and parsnips

Environmental Ed. course weeds and plants bee forage and herbs

Whimsical signage made by students

Natasha checks on beets

Jay munches carrots :)

Summer strawberries

September 2011: Leanna leads bean pickling workshop

Hand-picked beans are brined and jarred

Late summer garlic

Beauty in the afternoon

Our only real tomatoes to speak of... too much cold rain.

Root veggie harvest!

LFS Wednesday night dinner creates menu based on garden harvest!
Feeds 100 students, faculty and staff.

Experimenting with grains...

Espaliered apple trees blush in October

Leanna leads apple preserving workshop

Fall Harvest Celebration- students pressed 200 lbs. of local apples!

Dried beans: A delight for the senses

Eric gives compost demonstration for soil workshop

November garlic planting

an early snow on the spinach

December 2011: dreaming of sunshine...

Some quotes from UBC professors and students:
"It is a glorious space for gathering, teaching and learning"
"We loved the space, and next year, I plan to use it more"
"We really enjoyed exploring and interacting with nature"
"I am excited to get my hands dirty and do some planting!"
"I was inspired by our Orchard Garden experience... I decided to plant some radishes at our place- I can't wait to see them grow!"

And here is 2011 in the numbers:

- Facilitated 5 community summer camps.
- Forged and strengthened partnerships with Think & Eat Green @ School, Agora Cafe, UBC Farm, and the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
- Hosted Think & Eat Green @ School Summer Institute.
- Welcomed 160 university and community partners to our solstice and harvest celebrations.
- Facilitated 12 undergraduate and graduate Education courses in the garden.
- Facilitated 5 undergraduate LFS courses using the garden as an outdoor classroom.
- 99 graduate students, 116 undergraduate students, and an additional 155 UBC and other community members (including garden volunteers) engaged in learning experiences in the garden.
- Received a $2,000 AMS sustainability grant to upgrade our compost system.
- Implemented the student-written monthly newsletter, Field News, currently with over 300 subscribers.
- Initiated this interactive website/blog which to date has had 5,407 views! Thank you to everyone for your interest and support. Happy 2012.