UBC Farm is in full swing this summer

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      On May 28, I visited the UBC Farm and didn’t want to leave.

      The 24-hectare research, learning, and community-service facility—which looks just like a big, green, happy farm—was literally buzzing with activity. During the summer, about 70 staff and volunteers work on the farm each day.

      While most visitors know the farm as a place to get great locally-grown, organic produce (Saturday mornings, starting June 13), the farm is also a thriving academic environment.

      This Saturday (June 6), ethical-food guru and author Michael Pollan headlines a fundraiser for the farm.

      Its academic coordinator, Andrew Rushmere, noted that activities on the farm have grown so much over the past few years, financial pressures are coming to bear. For example, the market’s cooler is broken. The tractors are on their last legs. Staff must bring their own computers from home, and share a cramped office space. The caretakers are paid in free rent.

      While UBC will decide the future of the farm this fall, it’s in full swing this summer.

      At the Aboriginal Community Kitchen Gardens, for example, a handful of workers chopped tree rounds into burnable firewood, for the new smokehouse. Clarence Webster piled a bunch of rounds on top of each other, and called it his “West Coast inukshuk”. The smoker will be used for fish and meat, by a crew of folks mostly living in the Downtown East Side.

      At 68, Alice Rosypskye barely broke a sweat hauling wheelbarrows of tree trunks across a field. She swears it’s the lifelong diet of salmon and blueberries that keep her spry. And Rupert Scow manned the chainsaw, filling the air with wood scent.

      The Georgia Straight will have more on Michael Pollan and the UBC Farm in its June 4 issue.