Volunteering

“I love feeling connected to the land and getting my hands dirty, which I don’t have many opportunities to do… I have volunteered many different places and I think the accepting, safe and appreciative atmosphere of the Farm and the people it attracts is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.” – 2015 UBC Farm volunteer

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Photo by Jamil Rhajiak of UBC Communications & Marketing

 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at UBC Farm!

Much of the great work that happens at the UBC Farm is made possible by the continued support of the Farm’s dedicated volunteers. The UBC Farm volunteer program provides UBC students, staff, faculty members, and members of the wider community the chance to gain hands-on experience in many aspects of small-scale sustainable farming. Most volunteer opportunities are available during the main growing season (May-October) but there are often opportunities available as early as February and as late as November with the different programs below. New volunteers are required to attend a general farm orientation before signing up for volunteer shifts. Here are some of the many volunteering opportunities available to you:

What you’ll do: Come help us harvest and maintain the 200+ varieties of fruits and vegetables we grow on our 60-acre certified organic farm! This diverse position introduces and educates volunteers about all aspects of sustainable farming, from weeding to planting and harvesting. Urban Farmers play an important role in carrying out the day-to-day activities needed to run the UBC Farm’s field operations. If you want to get your hands in our fields, this is the program for you!

Photo by Jamil Rhajiak of UBC Communications & MarketingHere are the main activities that you will get a chance to learn about and get involved in throughout the season:

  • March-May: perennial and annual field care including flowers, garlic, carrots, and strawberries
  • June: strawberries (with occasional other annual field care)
  • July: blueberries (with occasional other annual field care)
  • August-September: beans (with occasional other annual field care)
  • June-October: Friday harvest (with the option to stay after for a hearty $5 lunch cooked by and eaten with the farm team)

Program rewards: Urban Farmers have the opportunity to bring cull vegetables and fruit home after each volunteer shift, access a 20% discount at our markets after 10 hours of volunteering, and access a free UBC Farm t-shirt after 20 hours.

What volunteers are saying: “I had a great time meeting people and socializing while working. Learning about all the different crops was rewarding. And I very much appreciated receiving culled vegetables! I tried cooking a lot of new recipes after I learned about veggies I had never tried before.” – 2016 Urban Farmers Volunteer

Photo by Olivia SzostekWhat you’ll do: The concepts of “food as medicine” and holistic health guide the xʷc̓ic̓əsəm and Tu'wusht gardens, two of the Indigenous initiatives at UBC Farm. Volunteer with these gardens to get hands-on experience with traditional foods and medicines, meet community members, learn, and share food. From planting vegetables to harvesting and drying medicines and from engaging conversations with Elders to sharing a delicious meal, volunteer time spent in these gardens is always enriching, no matter your skill level!

Program rewards: xʷc̓ic̓əsəm and Tu'wusht garden volunteers are invited to take foods from the garden to take home at the end of each volunteer shift.

What volunteers are saying: “The session was very meditative and I felt very connected to my surroundings while working the land. I really enjoyed the experience.” – 2016 xʷc̓ic̓əsəm garden Volunteer

What you’ll do: The unique and diverse Children’s Programs at UBC Farm engage more than 7,500 children each year with visits to the farm. There are three different opportunities for volunteers to get involved with the Children’s Programs:

  • Photo by Martin DeeChildren’s Education Garden Care: volunteers at these shifts work with perennial fruits and herbs, annual vegetables, and a dynamic garden design. Join these volunteer shifts learn about growing food in a beautiful setting and in the context of the children’s programs that work out of this space.
  • FarmWonders Summer Camp: volunteers support the Farm’s summer day camps for children aged 6-14. Volunteers are needed on a weekly bases from June 27 to September 2 and are asked to commit to an entire week of either mornings or afternoons. This is a great opportunity for individuals interested in gaining experience working with children on the Farm. For more information about the summer camp program, visit farmwonders.ca.

Program rewards: Children's Garden Care and FarmWonders Camp volunteers  have the opportunity to access a 20% discount at our markets after 10 hours of volunteering, and access a free UBC Farm t-shirt after 20 hours.

  • Landed Learning Farm Friends: participate in the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project with elementary aged children on a recurring basis during the spring and fall months. Volunteers share and cultivate their knowledge about growing and food production through hands-on activities in the Children’s Learning Garden at the UBC Farm. For more information, contact landed.learning@ubc.ca.

What volunteers are saying: “I find that this program is all about building community, through land and nature. It continues to be an amazing place to feel part of a community, made of the staff, volunteers, and children. It is also wonderful to be involved with people of all ages. This program is so finely tuned to the needs of everyone, children as volunteers. I value this experience highly as I know how meaningful it has been and continues to be in the children's lives. I am grateful to be part of this real educational project.” – 2016 Children’s Programs Volunteer

Claire at marketWhat you’ll do: Running from June to October, our lively Saturday markets require many helping hands. Market Crew members are in charge of setting up the market stands, selling our certified organic produce and generally running our markets throughout the growing season. Volunteers help out behind the scenes in our produce and flower area with our Market Crew.

Program rewards: Farmer’s Market volunteers have the opportunity to bring cull vegetables and fruit home after each volunteer shift, access a 20% discount at our markets after 10 hours of volunteering, and access a free UBC Farm t-shirt after 20 hours.

What volunteers are saying: “It was so much fun talking to people from very different backgrounds and learning together!” - 2015 Farm Markets Volunteer

New volunteers are required to attend a general farm safety orientation before signing up for volunteer shifts. The introductory orientations are scheduled throughout the growing season and provide useful information about the farm’s history, programs, an overview of volunteer opportunities, and a tour of the site. Some programs require an additional program-specific orientation. If you are signing up outside of our growing season please contact us at ubcfarm.volunteer@ubc.ca

Each farm program has slightly different volunteer requirements and expectations. Most programs welcome a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, skills, and ages. The Urban Farmers and Farmer’s Market positions have minimum age requirements of 14 and 16 years, respectively. All orientation sessions and volunteer shifts require advance registration via the online registration system.  As many farm programs rely significantly on volunteers, current and prospective volunteers are encouraged to choose programs that work with their schedules so they can commit to the hours required for a specific program.

We strongly encourage people to commit to 20 hours per year if they want to help the UBC Farm.

We know that the learning and community opportunities are strengthened with each return visit.  Sign up for your Orientation and all your questions will be answered! Please feel free to contact us any time with your questions or feedback, at 604-822-5092 or ubcfarm.volunteer@ubc.ca.

For group volunteering inquiries, please visit our Community Group Visits page.

We hope to see you soon on the Farm!