Goal Area 1: Integration

Holding to the motto, “no one thing does just one thing,” Cultivating Place aims to model system integration across all South Campus’ components and functions. In the course of discovering new or different forms of knowledge or technology, and communicating their relevance, Cultivating Place will:

  • Promote interdisciplinary and trans-academic activities that create and disseminate new knowledge and understanding of the connections between ecosystems and human health;
  • Engage and integrate multiple disciplines (basic, applied, and social sciences, arts and humanities, etc.), domains of knowledge (Indigenous, Western, etc.), and community experiences (faculty, student, staff, residents, etc.);
  • Bring together diverse perspectives, histories and interests in a safe, respectful, and empowering environment, serving as a centre for sustainability dialogue.
  • As a cross-cutting theme which is fundamental to this plan, this over-arching goal of integration is supported by the specific recommendations associated with the three academic goal areas that follow.

Precedent: “No One Thing Does Just One Thing”

The hum of a honeybee connects the molecule to the ecosystem through cutting-edge research. Honeybees pollinate approximately one third of the food crops that we eat, so their health is inextricably linked to ours. Researchers from UBC’s Centre for High-Throughput Biology study the immune systems of the UBC Farm’s honeybee colonies and work to breed resistance to pathogens that are implicated in devastating losses of honeybee colonies in North America. In addition to their research function, the honeybees provide a critical ecosystem service on the Farm, pollinating hundreds of cultivars in the fields and in orchards, the produce from which supports dozens of other research projects. These include trials on innovative biofertilizers developed through the Faculty of Applied Science, and sunflower landraces grown for evolutionary biology study and next-generation biofuel research in the Faculty of Science. Farm-based research projects are typically prolific producers of fresh food, which enters the campus food system and becomes the subject of study in the areas of food, nutrition, health, and economics.

A bite of butternut squash pizza in the Student Union Building can be connected back to the Farm’s honeybees on a multi-disciplinary path that engaged business students in a marketing plan, food science students in a nutritional analysis, food and environment students in a cultivation plan, Applied Science faculty researchers in a field trial, and Faculty of Medicine researchers studying the bees themselves. This inter-connection of different components at the UBC Farm provides a level of multi-functionality that bridges disciplines and scales.

Related Links

Selected UBC research and operational units

Selected student papers available at cIRcle Information Repository