Social Justice and the Law with Margot Young

Allard School of Law
Law 305C: Law, Society and State: Social Justice and the Law

What are some of the key learning outcomes for this course?

Students are expected to gain a basic overview of a wide range of social justice topics and their legal implications, and to start to think critically about social justice issues and goals.

How has the UBC Farm assisted you in meeting these specific learning outcomes?

Two classes were spent engaging with the Carnegie Thursdays Writing collective in creative writing exercises around food security and the right to food. The first class was at Carnegie Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The second class was at the UBC Farm. The session in the Farm’s Yurt featured the reading of creative writings (poems, essays, recipes) by individuals from both groups. This was followed by a tour of the gardens. As the sun broke through the clouds, students and DTES community members picked their ways through and around the gardens, talking in small groups, stopping to poke in the mud, and connecting across difference and experience. The kind of conversations, the warmth of exchange, and the release of tensions and guard was made possible by being on the land in the Farm setting.

“Everybody’s spirits were lifted.”

What curricula material, activities or approaches do you utilize in this course that further develop students’ learning of the key learning outcomes?

The prior class was spent in a classroom in the Carnegie Centre doing creative writing exercises. This added to the comfort level the two groups had with each other when we met at the Farm. Students had been assigned a number of traditional legal resources on the right to food to read before the first class to lend formal substance to their experience.

The course has student-led exercises, with student-invited guests and discussants. A number of group exercises and different methods of presenting material (mind maps, group PowerPoints, etc.) help to enhance the experience.

What has been your experience in utilizing the farm with your students?

Simply, a fabulous experience. It changed the character of the class and was so enthusiastically responded to by the students. It was a healthy environment for learning, at a time of the year when pressures were building.


Margot Young, – Professor, Allard School of Law
Margot Young is Professor in the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She teaches in the areas of constitutional and social justice law.  She is faculty advisor for the Social Justice Specialization at the law school and has organized the Law and Society Speakers Series for close to a decade.  Professor Young is in her third term as Chair of the university-wide Faculty Association Status of Women Committee.  She is a research associate with Green College, the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, and the Centre for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC.