I visited Vancouver! I would never forgive myself if I didn’t take advantage of my prolonged stay here in Western Canada to visit this city I’ve heard so much about. I was not disappointed. Vancouver is a beautiful city with a vibrant culture. Despite being on vacation, I couldn’t resist visiting a few farms while in town.
I cannot express how impressed I am with this student-run green roof garden at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Brendan, a student and organizer of Roots on the Roof (we never exchanged titles, but he runs the garden’s email!), showed me around this awesome site. Roots on the Roof is a student club at UBC that I feel has really elevated the role of a student group on campuses. They are more than just a gardening group. They are having an influence on the physical landscape of their campus, educating their peers and community about food and agriculture, and even selling CSA boxes of their produce! I find this just an amazing example of students empowering themselves and the community, getting outside, and really making things happen. They are even doing art engagement projects; see the hexagon posters shown in the pictures below with stories from the community about the importance of food and ag. And of course GREEN ROOF; I’m always a fan of a food producing green roof.
Technically, this farm describes itself as a peri-urban farm. This farm is located on Point Grey Peninsula, a beautifully green land form jutting out from the city into the sea. If I recall correctly the farm is about 60 acres, but only about half of that is in production, and the rest is set aside as forest. Not only is this farm beautiful, but the range of programing it hosts is also fantastic. It is a research farm for UBC professors, hosts technical trainings for farmers, public workshops on gardening, children programs, a native foods gardens and programs specifically for First Nations peoples, and on top of that the farm runs it’s own farmers market with the produce it grows. I couldn’t resist including this perfect photo of Prince, my cousin’s tiny dog who accompanied us to the farm. He could be a model, and he seemed to really enjoy this farm as well.
I couldn’t visit all these farms without getting my hands dirty, so for my last farm visit I volunteered with Fresh Roots. Fresh Roots is a social enterprise that uses public school yards for their farm sites, sells the produce they grow (including as much of the produce they can back to the schools), and also offers high school student engagement programs. It was a great time chatting with the Fresh Roots interns, equally as passionate about urban farming as I am. We prepped some garden beds for future plantings and enjoyed the beautiful weather.