Saturday, February 21, 2009

UBC Farm - Sowing Seeds for the Future

A Trip to the UBC Farm in Vancouver, British Columbia really woke me up last week. I had just seen the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and was a little disappointed by everything ornamental and then I came across UBC. In a brown early spring setting everything was bright and buzzing with potential. 

"Sowing Seeds for the Future: Apprenticeship in Organic Agriculture" is just primed to start it's second season and Apprenticeship Coordinator Sarah Belanger is very excited. "We are working with New farmers as opposed to Young farmers" stressed Belanger. Apprentices are from their late twenties to forties so many have had another career before. "I perceive there is a growing sense of respect for farmers - there's more cultural recognition now. Our program brings out the beauty and value of farming"

Instructor Elaine Spearing stresses that many of the interns have quite a bit of experience already. "We are aiming to equip people with skills and knowledge that lets them go further (and) make their progression (with farming) more productive. Some (of our interns) had home gardens but some lived in apartments. We encourage people to go work for established farmers so they can learn a farm system" stressed Spearing.

According to Belanger, in the last 60 years (1941-2001) the percentage of the Canadian population  living on farms has decreased from 26% to 2.4% . Only .5% of our population are farmers and their median age is 50. "Who is going to grow our food in the future? asks Belanger.  

For further information about the program or for your own interest see the videos posted on you-tube. Start with:

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