Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm

The UBC Farm is the place where a great community of citizens, learners, and mentors come together to stretch their minds and get their hands dirty. By focusing on food production and the stewardship of our land and water, today’s Farm is a key part of UBC’s emergence as a global leader in sustainability.

The UBC Farm was created in 1999 by students studying in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (precursor to today’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems). They imagined a new purpose for the neglected field areas on UBC’s south campus. Could they create an integrated farm system and provide a practical complement to the sustainability theory taught in class?

Students rallied faculty, staff, and community members to transform this vision into reality, bringing together fragmented fields into a single farm and forest ecosystem that delivered a number of programs across different disciplines.

By 2008, in the face of challenging economic pressures, there was growing concern that the UBC Farm would be replaced by market housing. Students initiated a campaign that called on the university to commit the 60-acre site to the Farm. Through a well-publicized series of meetings, letter-writing campaigns, and public demonstrations, they successfully mobilized other students, faculty and staff, community members, and various levels of government.

Because of their work, this area has now been secured in perpetuity as green academic space for the Farm and the academic programs led by the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and its academic partners.

With your support, the Farm will continue to thrive and grow as a global centre for sustainable food systems, community health, and environmental literacy. It will become a destination for community investment and a magnet for attracting and retaining researchers, students, and community partners who seek to unlock our collective potential to steward our land and food systems.

With escalating attention and energy focusing on the Farm, now is the time to elevate those students’ initial vision into a world-class opportunity. By investing new resources, we can transform the Farm into a sophisticated living lab to serve the needs of growing communities who demand robust efforts to resolve the challenges of sustainability.

The catalyst for this transformational process will be the UBC Farm Centre—an unprecedented learning and research facility that will put people back into the sustainability equation. While concerns over climate change, energy conservation, and green buildings have been crucial elements in advancing the sustainability agenda, it is clear that creating a space where we can study and learn about developing safe and economically viable food systems is critical to our long-term survival. Capital cost of the Centre is projected at $20 million.

By focusing our efforts through the UBC Farm and moving forward its potential, we can honour the efforts of those students and community members over the past decade and ignite a transformative process that will build a sustainable future for generations to come.

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