Monday, 30 April 2012

Support the UBC Farm: Bee film screening!

“Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”- Film screening
10 am – 12:00 noon (doors 9:30am)
A beautiful, inspiring film that examines the alarming global decline of bees and the struggle of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers to find solutions. 

Any money raised will go to UBC Farm bee related projects.
Speakers and door prizes. Admission $10, students $6
Meeting Place: The Ridge Theatre, 3131 Arbutus St (at 16th Ave)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Alternative practicum in the garden

 Faculty of Education team:  Susan, Djamila, Lauren, Alison, Chessa & Julia

After completing a 10 week traditional teaching practicum  in an indoor classroom, B.Ed. students, Lauren & Alison, will be doing  their three week alternative practicum in The Orchard Garden.  Some students do their alternative practicum at museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, etc.  This is our pilot year of trying it at The Orchard Garden.  
Lauren & Alison will be spending two days a week doing hands-on garden work, learning some specifics as to how to design, plant and maintain a school garden.  They will also do weekly field trips to other learning gardens and spend two days a week on their research interests in their subject areas (Lauren- Art, Alison- English & Socials)- developing lesson plans and considering the complexities of garden pedagogy.  They will be contributing to this blog each Friday and providing us with valuable feedback on this pilot program so that we might continue to refine it for future years.  We look forward to the knowledge exchange and working with these intelligent and passionate women.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sign up for our CSA today!

Fresh parsley and kale blossoms
The Orchard Garden is excited to announce our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)!  Our CSA program will feature a weekly box of organic, seasonal vegetables, herbs & flowers from mid-June through September (exact dates to be decided depending on weather and harvest).  
This will be a great opportunity for us as students to learn the ropes of a CSA and provide you with delicious, locally grown produce!
The cost is $450 (which breaks down to approx. $25/week and includes a tax deductable donation to our "farm improvement fund").  
To sign up please send an email to:

Jay and Leanna are busy planting peas!

Here are some photos of our lovely produce from last season (in seasonal order)...  looking forward to an even more bountiful harvest this year!
Lacinato kale







Fava Beans


Summer squash


Pole beans



Cheers to delicious produce from our learning garden! 

Say hello to bee hive #2!

After our first year of success with honey bees in the garden we decided to add a second hive.  Undergraduate student, Nick offered to lead a workshop on building our new 'Warre' bee hive.

A small group of students joined us to help in the construction.

The Warre style beehive is different from our existing hive design.  The Warre design is lower maintenance as it only requires a beekeeper to check in at the beginning of the season (spring) and then in the fall to harvest the honey, (our current model requires weekly check-ups).  With the new design the bees make their own comb, which requires a lot of energy on their part and there may be slightly less honey production.  But this design is healthier for the bees as they are disturbed less frequently, are less exposed to potential disease, and the boxes are added from the bottom which mimics the natural way bees build hives.  Working with the bees preference means less work for humans and happier bees :)

Voila!  The final design!
Did you know that the queen bee can lay up to 1,000 eggs a day during the height of the summer?
 Stay tuned for more bee highlights!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Importance of a Garden: AERA visits The Orchard Garden!

After so many, many months of cold rain, we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine on Friday for a visit by an international group of scholars and colleagues in the field of environmental education.  This year Vancouver is hosting the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)- we were honoured to participate in the conference and host an off-site visit to The Orchard Garden as well as the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at the UBC Farm (check out their link: Landed Learning).

The group of roughly 35 participants traveled from the convention center to the UBC Farm on a white hybrid bus.

Jolie describes the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project (celebrating 10 years this June!)

The group explored the garden where elementary children and their "Farm Friend" mentors cultivate group garden plots over the course of 12 visits to the farm

To wrap up at the farm, the group enjoyed a kale salad from the garden, and local bread and cheese while Tathali described her doctoral research on culturally-sensitive food practices within the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project

For the second half of the off-site conference visit the group traveled by hybrid bus to visit us in The Orchard Garden.

The group divided in half to discuss related garden-based learning projects, pedagogical principles of learning gardens, researching slow pedagogy in the garden, embodied learning in the garden, troubling cultural narratives of 'Garden as Paradise', teacher education in learning gardens, the sociocultural context of learning gardens, and performing more-than-human research methodologies in the garden.  The conversation was rich with diverse perspectives as participants hailed from Australia, Sweden, the U.S., and Canada.

Julia discusses her performative methodologies for her doctoral research

Susan discusses her research around troubling cultural narratives of gardens as Eden

The group explores the garden and discusses the pedagogical challenges/benefits in using gardens as outdoor classrooms

A chickadee is nesting in one of the birdhouses children made for us last summer.  We are eagerly looking forward to potential mason bees joining us this week.  Cover crops of rye, fava, alfalfa & vetch are leafy and green.  Garlic is sporting strong, strapping leaves.  The sun is shining.  We are honoured to share this garden and learning space with our ecological partners as well as this wonderful group of scholars, writers, teachers, and gardeners.  
Thank you to Marcia and the Environmental Education Special Interest Group for giving us the opportunity to share our efforts. 

Community Service Learning in the Garden- thanks Tia & Kailee!

Tia cleans lettuce seed

Kailee washes salad greens

As the term comes to a close we'd like to appreciate Tia & Kailee for their work in and contributions towards The Orchard Garden.  Tia (a masters student in Education) and Kailee (an undergraduate student in Land & Food Systems) contributed 20 hours (each) of Community Service Learning (CSL) via their class, EDCP 585C- Theory and Dimensions of Place-based Learning: Ecohumanist, Critical and Indigenous Lenses. 
From January-April, Tia & Kailee attended several of our meetings- contributing ideas and questions, researched the uses and growing needs of native plants (to hopefully be planted this spring!), Tia contributed to this blog, Kailee helped to lead a workshop, and both Tia & Kailee  put in many hours doing hands-on garden work.

For the culmination of their work Tia & Kailee created a presentation and handout to synthesize their CSL placement with us.  Here are a few excerpts of their learning outcomes and perspectives:

"The first time we met our partners at the Orchard Garden was on a rainy, cold day in January. The garden had been put to bed for the winter, and there really wasn’t much to be done outside during the winter months. We stood out in the rain and had a brief look at where we imagined we would be spending a great deal of time in the spring."  

Over the course of the term, Tia & Kailee did spend a great deal of time on-site, which to them became the most meaningful part of the experience as they felt a sense of connection to this garden.  Here are some of their individual perspectives as to how this experience will impact their future:
  • ¨"Understanding the complexity of planning and maintaining a garden for teaching purposes
  • ¨Gained experience teaching and learning with other volunteers
  • ¨Many questions to consider for Community Engagement Project I need to develop for a course this summer"
  • ¨"Using new garden knowledge and skills in a school setting
  • ¨Enhanced understanding of where food comes from and how it is grown and harvested
  • ¨Feeling more comfortable with the idea of volunteering with projects where I have little experience
  • ¨Inspired to learn more about learning gardens in schools and apply research findings to graduating project"
Thanks Tia & Kailee!  We hope you will visit us in the garden soon and we look forward to your future endeavors around teaching and agriculture. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ecopoetry in the garden!

I guess we have to remind ourselves that "April showers bring May flowers"- but it's hard when we're starving for sun... Fortunately the 37 preservice teachers who joined us in the garden yesterday were good sports and well-equipped with rain gear.