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!