Learning Opportunities with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems offers experiential learning opportunities to a diverse community of people. We offer programs, classes and resources from Community Workshops to Student Internships, Children and Youth Education to the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture.
Emi Durfeld, Perennials and Seed Crop Worker
"I have been lucky to have had a flavorful taste of different tasks throughout the seasons. In the fall, I spent time harvesting perennial herbs for Saturday markets, helping out with farm harvests and harvesting seed from crops. As well, throughout the fall I harvested many apple varieties. In late fall and early winter, I transitioned more of my work to processing harvested seed, which consisted of threshing, winnowing and sieving to clean the seed thoroughly."
Kate Dunne, Saturday Farmers' Market Worker
"Saturday Market Workers serve as the link between the public, vendors, and farm staff. We work closely with all three, making connections and learning about the struggles each group faces. This allows the UBC farm to operate as a strong community, supporting new vendors by sharing knowledge, and improving sustainable small scale food systems for everyone."
Work Learn Profile: Natalie Hamilton, Farm Ambassador
I learned how much I enjoy being able to engage with and talk to various people at outreach events and how wonderful the UBC farm community is. I also learned a lot from the awesome staff and students I was able to work with. Additionally, I valued being able to further my graphic design skills and to understand the process of designing materials for a large organization.
Bowen Wright, Saturday Market Worker
"Going to Friday Harvests was one of the highlights of my summer; I loved spending time working in the fields chatting, laughing, and getting to know the Practicum students and Field staff. While the physical work itself can be hard, it is also rewarding and fun!"
Mackenzie Dorsey, UBC Farm Ambassador
"The Farm is a great asset to UBC, and it is important that students, professors, and the community know about this “hidden gem” at the bottom of campus!"
Timothy Wong, Market Sales Worker
"I think most people don’t quite understand the sheer size of the UBC Farm. It’s often advertised as being 24 hectares, but you really can’t grasp the sheer scale of it until you visit in person. I also think that people underestimate the number and type of projects that are on the farm. It extends far beyond just growing produce, and there are numerous research projects and unique undertakings. For instance, did you know that there’s a project that’s aiming to grow truffles?"
Camille Lyu, Saturday Farm Market Worker
"One important aspect and mission of the UBC Farm is connecting land, food, and community. The Saturday Farm Market is an essential piece of building that connection. The market offers an opportunity for community members to connect to the land that grows the food."
How students can get involved
The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems provides many for-credit and not-for-credit opportunities for students to get their hands dirty and learn about the food system. Get information below on internships, courses, volunteering, student groups, and more.
Not For Credit
Get involved with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm.
Visit here for a library of on- and off-campus food systems learning resources.
The Food Systems Network (FSN) is comprised of students, faculty, and community partners whose research/work focuses on one of the many aspects of the food system. Founded in September 2016, the overall goal of the FSN network is to increase collaboration and interdisciplinary conversations about critical problems facing our food system locally and globally. To get involved or for more information, please contact any one of the network’s Co-Founders below.
Amber A. Heckelman:
firstname.lastname@example.org Ph.D. Candidate, Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems
email@example.com Ph.D. Student, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Laura Castrejon Violante:
firstname.lastname@example.org Ph.D. Student, Interdisciplinary Studies
email@example.com M.Sc. Student, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems
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.
The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm offers paid Student Work Learn, for-credit Career Development, and Volunteering positions.
Find available opportunities
Courses and acadmemic credit for UBC students, and certificate programs for non-UBC students.
Food Systems-Related Courses
We’ve compiled a list of courses across UBC that are food systems-related. These courses are organized by faculty, in alphabetical order (last updated July, 2017)
Interested in a degree in Applied Biology, Global Resource Systems, or Food, Nutrition and Health? Explore Land and Food Systems’ Undergraduate programs.
Land and Food Systems Courses
- AGEC - Agricultural Economics**
- ANSC - Animal Science**
- APBI - Applied Biology
- FNH - Food, Nutrition and Health
- FOOD - Food Science**
- FRE - Food and Resource Economics
- GRS - Global Resource Systems
- HUNU - Human Nutrition**
- LFS - Land and Food Systems
- LWS - Land and Water Systems**
- PLNT - Plant Science**
- SOIL - Soil Science**
Directed studies are 300- or 400-level credit courses (e.g. APBI 497, GRS 397, FNH 497), where you first identify a professor with whom you can design your own food-systems-related project. Students initiate a directed study by approaching a potential supervisor – a faculty member at UBC who is working in an area you are interested in. Your supervisor needs to hold a teaching position at UBC. If the faculty member agrees to supervise your project you should next plan out the details, such as: What will the project involve? How much work will it entail? How will you be evaluated? Once the project work-plan is ready, you must submit a Directed Studies application. Contact your program advisor for more details. Past CSFS directed study projects include: seed-saving, soil data, working with medicinal plants, and curriculum development for children’s programs. You can also check out ENVR 448 for directed studies in Socio-Ecological Systems Research.
Student Directed Seminars
Student Directed Seminars allow students to follow a topic of interest that they want to know about, that the University does not currently offer. The program provides upper-year undergraduate students (in 3rd year or later) the opportunity to design and execute their own 3-credit seminar class with a small group of peers. Each seminar brings together a group of highly motivated students to explore and investigate a topic through learning activities including group discussions, research papers, presentations, guest lectures, applied problem-solving, and Community Service Learning.
Gain credit and career experience
LFS 496 Career Development placements prepare UBC students professionally and academically for future careers through a mentored learning experience with a real food business or organization. Students apply the theory they gain from class through on-the-ground, food system-related work and course assignments that support their practical learning.
UBC Farm Forestry
About half of the UBC Farm is second-growth forest and it is a rich area for learning and research. The Faculty of Forestry is a partner with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, and offer students and instructors opportunities to learn about cultivating forest stewardship.
Go Global offers programs to let you venture out into the world to meet people, build skills and gain perspective while earning transfer credits through an immersive travel experience. Three main types of international experiences are offered: Exchange, Research and Study Abroad. Deadlines vary for each program and school are typically between December-February or in May. Check out the Go Global website for a full list of available exchange opportunities and deadlines. A variety of opportunities are available within the field of land and food systems, including studying at one of the top-ranked agricultural universities in the world (Wageningen University and Research) and 140 other universities!
Imagine learning about sustainable agriculture in Cuba or international development evaluation in Indonesia or sustainability in Iceland? Global Seminars provide participants with the opportunity for an immersive experience in a short amount of time in small groups.
International Service Learning (ISL)
ISL Programs are offered through the Office of Regional and International Community Engagment. Several academic programs are available that involve a pre-departure intensive course before twelve weeks of field school. Past offerings include: Ecological and Environmental History of Costa Rica in Transnational Perspective and Small Scale Agricultural Research in Uganda. Although not all programs are directly related to food systems, most relate to themes of community development, environmental conservation, and decolonizing knowledge seeking.
The UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture is a six (or four)-month experiential learning program designed for aspiring farmers, urban gardeners, environmental educators, and students with an interest in applying their learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems.
The Permaculture Design Certification Course is presented by the Conscious Design Collective and supported by the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm. It is a two-week experiential learning certificate designed for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge of design principles using permaculture. It is offered every alternate growing season.
Develop your understanding of the connections between food, health, society and the environment, and gain tools to solve complex food systems problems locally and globally, with the UBC Minor in Sustainable Food Systems.
Students completing the minor are immersed in experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities, involving several departments and faculties across UBC, as well as off- campus partners.
If you want your education to have a big impact, learn with us at the CSFS at UBC Farm – and a great way to get involved is through the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) at UBC. In an LFS degree, you’ll work with professors, professional practitioners, community leaders and peers to drive change in the areas of food security and safety, human nutrition, and the way we lean on our land. LFS programs even let you get your hands dirty to study and learn right here at the UBC Farm!
What are the kids learning at the UBC Farm?
From gardening their plots in the children’s garden, to identifying bugs along the agroforestry trail, there is a bounty of hand-on activities for kids in our child and youth programs. Field games, seeding in the greenhouse, baking with farm produce, fort-building, composting, apple picking, chicken feeding, berry picking, potato hunting and medicine making just to name a few.
Learn more out about our FarmWonders Day Camps and other programming.
Community Workshops at the UBC Farm
The UBC Farm offers workshops led by our experienced staff and allied experts in sustainable living skills from around the region.
Discover British Columbia's Progressive Food Community with Feeding Growth
Through community engagement and education activities, the Feeding Growth community of food leaders, supporters, businesses, and organizations works together to amplify the local food economy by assisting the producers of exceptional, healthy, sustainable, and socially responsible retail and packaged goods companies.
Indigenous Initiatives at the UBC Farm
The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at UBC Farm is located on the unceded ancestral territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people, whose guidance and collaboration is vital to all activities on the Farm.
Four Indigenous initiatives have their home at the UBC Farm: Tal A’xin: Maya in Exile Garden, established in 2000 as one of the longest-running community-based projects at the UBC Farm, Tu’wusht Garden Project, initiated in 2005 with partner Vancouver Native Health Society, xʷc̓ic̓əsəm: Indigenous Health Research & Education Garden, part of LFS Indigenous Research Partnerships, and the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program (CRUW), developed in 2011 by Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society. Each year, these initiatives bring thousands of visitors to the Farm and engage hundreds of UBC students through academic connections such as class visits, group projects, graduate research, and directed studies.
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