UBC Undergraduate Research

South Campus Farm : land-use conflict Glavas, Katarina; Rosen, Annie; Khaul, Rema; Lau, Ivan; Lo, Tracy; Chiu, Peter; Trkulja, Vojislav 2002-04-03

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       South Campus Farm: Land-use Conflict Katarina Glavas, Annie Rosen, Rema Khaul, Ivan Lau, Tracy Lo, Peter Chiu, Vojislav Trkulja  University of British Columbia AGSC 450 April 3, 2002           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.   1  The Conflict UBC and the Fa cult y of Agricult ural Sci ences ar e unable to reach an agr eement over wh at t ype of deve lo pment would best captur e the value of the UBC South Campus Farm.  Whil e UBC feels that the area shoul d be developed int o a resident ial comm unit y, the Facult y would like the farm to be retained for its educati onal wo rth.  Furthermore, the Facult y feels th at by pr eservin g the farm, UBC would have the opportuni t y to model ecolo gical, economi c an d social sust ainabili t y (Masseli nk, 2001).  Bec a use UBC and the Facult y have conflicti n g understandin gs of the value of the land, a confl ict has evolved around the is sue of land use.  UBC feels that eco nomi call y the land is of high value and thus will provide the campus with funding. (   The Facult y feels that the land has an ecologi cal value and henc e shoul d be used for resea rch and educati onal purposes.   Derek Masseli nk, a grad uate student who is resp onsi ble for dev elopm ent of the Farm 's landsc ape -m ana gement plans and promot ional media, beli eves that the UBC South Campus Farm provides a unique opportuni t y to int egrate a whole farm s ystem, (a farm op erati on that incl udes crop, anim al, fores t, and wetl and el ements), int o a new residential development (Masselink, 2001).  In his master’s thesis - UBC South Campus Farm:  The Elaboration of an Alternative - Derek (Masselink, 2001) offers an alt ernate plan for the South Campus farm that includes both a farm and a high -d ensit y housi n g developm ent.  As such, his thesis proposes a solut ion to the land use co nfli ct. (      2    UBC’s Position  The Offici al Comm unity Plan (OCP ) that has been adopted b y th e Universit y outl ines all developm ent, transportati on, and lan d use acti vit ies for UBC Campus .  The OCP was developed usi ng othe r plannin g docu ments such as the Grea ter Van couver Regional District’s (GVRD) Liveable Region Strategic Plan and UBC’s Trek 2000.  In accord anc e with the GVRD Live able Re gion Strategic Plan, the OC P set a target population of 18,000 residents on the UBC campus by th e year 2021 , and 24,000 residents b y the yea r 203 0 (UBC Compreh ensive Comm unit y Plan, 2000). The aim of the Universi t y is to develop th e South Campus ar ea as a self -reli ant comm unit y that include s its own comm ercial vil lage centre, comm un it y centr e and elementar y school. Roughl y ¾ of the ex ist ing 90 acres is to be developed int o resi denti al housi ng and comm unit y se rvices.  In the UBC land use propos al, the esti mated population of the dev eloped ar ea is 5000 resident s, housed in a hi gh -d ensit y town centr e and low-densit y resid enc es.  The plan also includes an elem entar y school i n the ce ntr e of the comm unit y, and the concentr ati on of the current Bioscience facil it ies and part of the Botanical Gard ens from 60 ha to 11 ha. (U BC Off icial Comm unit y Plan, 1999). The Faculty of Agricultural Science’s Position  The ini ti ati ve to sav e th e UBC Sou th Campus Farm be gan over two years ago when students and members of the facult y of Agricult ur al Sciences le ar ned about the OCP .  At a comm unit y developm ent meeti ng, students stated that the preservati on of the UBC South Campus Fa r m was imperati ve to pro vi de ex perienti al learnin g fo r students,  3  facult y, staff and comm unit y m embers.  The loss of thi s landscape would signif y the loss of the last remaining on -campus workin g land -b ase and the onl y op erati ng farm found withi n the Cit y of Vanco uver.   Since then, students, facult y, staff and comm unit y members hav e come t ogeth er to develop and promot e a visi on for the farm that includes principles of sust ainabili t y and bett er int e gr ates inst ru cti on, learnin g, rese arch, and comm unit y - buil ding (UBC Farm Newslett er, 2001).  Ex isting and developi n g proje cts on the South Campus Farm include a market garden, pump kin and egg producti on , a Vine ya rd, ruminant graz ing, she et mul ching, and shii take/o ys ter mush room produ cti on.  The Farm has beco me an int egral aspect of the Facul ty of Agricultural Science’s curricula and future visions. Ultimately, the goal of the UBC Farm is to “establish a place that provid es a healt hier alt ern ati ve understanding of how we might structure our communities in this new century” (Reinventing the Fa rm, 2000).   Value Assumption   Our group’s position on the land use conflict is based on many value assum pti ons including: weak anthropo centrism , eco -c entrism , and comm unit y-based anal ysis .  Weak anthropo centrism is the phil osoph ical view th at prioriti z es basic human needs and int erests (Armstrong, S. J., 1993).  Following thi s line of reason ing, some of the group m embers look ed at the residenti al deve lopm ent and the farm in t he contex t of how they can help meet students’ basic needs.  These group members r e cogniz ed the shortage of housi n g on campus , and th e ne ed to meet the inc re asing demand of students, and other members of the UBC co mm unit y, fo r on -campu s residences.  4  Howeve r, the y felt that high -densit y housi n g is sufficient in meeti n g thi s need and that low-densit y housi n g is n ot necessar y.   The group as a whole recognizes the farm’s potential to sustain adequate food for a small comm unit y at UBC and beli ev es that the farm could become on e of the food suppl iers for the food s er vice indus tr y at UBC.  We feel that b y usin g the farm as a food suppl ier, the cost of foo d on campus could beco me more economi cal     In addit ion, we beli eve that the farm could create ac ade mi c acti vit ies for the students that would provide them with unique learnin g opportun it ies.  S ome group members to ok the eco -cent ric viewp oint .  Eco -c entrism , also known as bio -c entrism , is the ph il osophi cal standpoint that is based on th e beli e f t hat the natural world possesses a value in its own apart of its abilit y to sati sf y human ne ed s (Agri cult ural Science 250 class notes) . Therefor e, the UBC South Campus shoul d be valued for its int rinsic worth and the farm shoul d be develope d in ways that m aint ain the biodi versit y of the land.  Unde r the C omprehensive Com muni ty Plan (CCP ), roughl y ¾ of the ex ist ing 90 acres are to be deve loped int o residenti al housi ng and comm unit y services (UBC Official Comm unit y Pla n, 1999).  However, if such plans are imp lemented most habit at and vegetation will be lost.  Although these grou p members would rather have the enti re farm retain ed, the y reco gniz e the need to meet the OCP plans, which require 5000 people living on South Campus by th e year 2012 (UBC Offici al Comm unit y Pla n, 1999).   C omm unit y-b ased an alys is is         a value assum pti on held by all of the  5  group members be cause we reco gniz e the importance of the residenti al de velopm ent and the farm in developi ng a comm unit y at UBC. The farm will encoura ge residents to purchase loc all y produ ce d foods.  This will help buil d an on -campus food s ystem, and thus locali z e the food econom y.  Furthe rmore, l ocali z ing the food econ om y ma y incu r some economi c profit s to UBC, specificall y to the Facult y of Agricul tural Sciences.  Other bene fits include the producti on of more nutrit ious foods, and the creati on of a stron g com muni t y in which membe rs are educ ated ab out local agricult ure.  Students from UBC and from the elementar y s ch ool that is planned for developm ent can learn about sust ainable agricult ur e throu gh direct learnin g ex periences (Feenstra, G. W., 1997).  The farm can invol ve local farmers and he lp facil it ate comm unit y-b ased rese arch.  Comm unit y based res ear ch is a systemi c inqui r y process which uses a joi nt approach to investi gati on that en able s all stakeholders whos e lives are aff ected b y th e problem to be invol ved in the rese arch process.   By sha ring their div erse knowledge and ex perien c e, farme rs and resea rche rs can cr eate bett er solut ions to problems which, in turn, wi ll improve the quali t y of their comm unit y life (Strin ge r, E.T. , 19 99).  Our Position B y ex ploring our value assum pti ons and discussi ng them openl y with one another, our group has com e to a consensus on the land us e conflict; we all agr ee that the farm and the residenti al communi ty shoul d co - ex ist . Inte grati n g the ex i sti ng farm and for estl ands, al so ref err ed to as th e bio science lands, of the UBC South Campus withi n the developm ent of the South Campus  6  comm unit y will off er m an y ecolo gic al, economi cal and so cial ben efits.  In addit ion, the inclusi on of thi s landscape wil l contribut e to achieving the sust ainabili t y goals of UBC (Masselink, 2001). Sustainability is the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Kloppenbur g, J ., 2000).  Th e sustainable development policy states that “UBC reco gniz es that just as the universit y cont ributes to a healt h y societ y and econom y through educ ati on to buil d social capit al, we also need to invest in maint aini ng the ecolo gical servi ces and resources, ou r natural capital, upon which society depends” (Masselink, 2001).  The int e gr ati on of th e farm and forestl ands will contribut e to ecological sust ainabili t y.  Becaus e the farm will incorporate organic farmin g methods, it will help to creat e ecolo gical sust a in abil it y.  Firstl y, it will enable the capture and rec yc li ng of local nutrients.  Legumi nous plant species can repleni sh the soil via nit rogen fix ati on.  As a result , on-sit e nutrient losses will be minimiz ed and ex isting soil resources will be conserved. Oth er metho ds of nutrient capture and cycli n g include compos ti ng s ystems and gr een manure crops (Masselink, 2001).  Secondl y, by implementi ng organic farmin g s y stems, less ch emi cal i nputs like pesti cides will be used.  As a result , there will be l ess envi ronmental de grad ati on from farm run -off that can contaminate streams , rivers and the soil (Asociacion Nucleo de la Universidad Rural, 2000).  Furthermore, be cause or gani c farmin g techniques req uire lower net en er g y i nputs the y minim iz e the use of non -renew able ener g y resour ces (M asselink, 2001). C omm unit ies that are re ge nerati ve (such as the South Campus comm unit y) are created with the int egrati on of the farm and forestl ands, us e renew a ble ene r g y sour ces su c h as sola r, wind and electric ener g y.   7  Renewable en er g y sou rc es such as thi s are available locall y, at a low cost and do not poll ute the environment (Masselink, 2001). La stl y, th e South Campus co mm unit y would produce less packa gin g and transport waste becau se food produc ed on the farm could be consum ed withi n the co mm unit y and on the UBC campus .  The int egr ati on of the farm and forestl ands int o the South campus helps the comm unit y achiev e soc ial sust ainabili t y. Un for tunatel y, most North Americans are unawar e of how or wher e their food was grown (Masseli nk, 2001). B y inc ludi ng the farm withi n the comm unit y, connecti ons between la nd, food and comm unity could be re -establi shed. Growin g fo od locall y dec reas es the reli ance on ex ternal food resources and busi nesses. Economi c benefits are also provide d by th e am al gamation of the wo rking landscapes and th e com muni t y.  For inst an ce, jo bs for students and resid ents would be creat ed.  By growin g loc al produce, the cr eati on of local mark ets and rest aurants would be promot ed. In addit ion, a focus on the local econom y cou ld prevent the monopol iz ati on of lar ge r co rporati ons.  Furthermo re, the comm u nit y could provide a sen se of home for residents wher e the y coul d work, live and stud y (Masseli nk, 2001).   Concluding Statements and Research Questions By inco rporati n g the ex ist ing farm and for estl and int o the South C ampus Comm unit y residenti al housi ng can be cr eated while economi c, ecolo gi cal and social sustainability is modeled.  The university’s need to build a residential community would be addr essed and th e Facult y of Agri cu ltural Science’s desire to retain the landscape would be respect ed.  Th e questi on that now remai ns is: how is thi s t yp e of comm unit y to be created?  Due to spati al const raint s and escalating land values, the use of land for  8  resea rch and edu cati ona l purpose s is not seen by the universit y to be a practi cal or economi call y sust ain able use of land.  This is because the ex ist ing land on campus is of high economi c valu e.  Our group recomm ends that the Facult y condu ct a conti ngent value surve y that would assess an ecologi cal value for the UBC Farm.  In addit ion, we feel that the students at UBC must be made aw ar e of th e land use conflict.  This could be done throu gh guest le ctures an d semi na rs.  We beli eve that b y inc reasin g awa ren ess on campus , the ex ist ing far m and forestl ands can be retained.  An addit ional resear ch questi on that was brought up in our group discussi on was: what condit ions shoul d be cr eated so that the farm and residenti al com muni t y in th e South Campus area can live in harmon y?  In the past, compl aint s from peo ple living near farms often revolved ar ound odour from manu r e and compos t, noise an d odours from farm buil dings, slow movi ng farm vehicles on local roads, and earl y morning or lat e evenin g oper ati on of mac hiner y (Minis tr y of Agri c ult ure, 1998 ).  Our group proposes that thi s matter is dealt wit h by inv esti gati n g othe r rural comm unit ies that are able to peac efull y co -ex ist .  The work done by Mic hael Abelm an in particular could be beneficial.  Mich ael is t he author of On Good Land and From the Good Earth, and the mana ger of Fairview Gar dens.   Fairview Gardens is a 12 acre organic farm located near Santa Barbar a, Cali fornia.  In the late 70 s, as the urban sprawl en croach ed on Fairvi ew Gardens, Michael Abelm an be gan to receiv e compl aint s, from loca l residents, pertaini n g to farm operati ons. In the 1980s, buil dings finall y surround ed the farm and the new residents were conti nuall y compl aini ng about the noise of the an im als and the smell of th e compos t.  At one court hea rin g it was even suggested th at the roosters shoul d have their voc al co rds  9  cut out.  Throu gh oper a ti ng an open -door poli c y, and educ ati ng the loc al comm unit y, Fairview Gardens mana ged to win the support of their neighbours.  In 1993 the land -owners were unde r pr essure to sell to develop e r s, but local residents ma naged to raise $800,000 in ei ght mont hs to save the farm.  At Fairvi ew Gardens, members of th e Comm unit y Supported Agricult ur e (CS A) pro gra m pa y in advanc e for a weekl y shar e of the harvest from mid - March to mid -Novemb er.  Throu gh th eir par ti cipation, the y establi shed a conn ecti on with the food the y eat, the land it's grown on an d t he people who produce it (Fairview Gardens, 2001 ).  We hop e that b y usin g the wo rk of Mich ael Abelm a n, conne cti ons between the land, food an d comm unit y of the Sout h Campus will be establi shed.                   10  References Agricultural Scienc e 250 class notes. 1999.  Asociacion Nu cleo de la Universidad Rural, 2000:  Bribri Bio -diverse Indi gena de Talamanc a   David Masselink.  UBC South Campus Farm: The Elaborati on of an Alter nat ive.  UBC, April 2001.    Feenstra, G.W. “Local food systems and sustainable communities.”  American Journal of Alternati ve Agri cult ure .  Vol.12, Nov 1997, p.28- 36.  Kloppenburg, J. et al. “Tasting food, tasting sustainability: defining the attributes of a n alternative food system with competent, ordinary people.” Human Organizations . Vol .59, n 2, 2000, p. 177-186.  Norton, B.G., “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” in Armstrong, S.J., Botz ler, R.G. Environmental Ethics Divergence and Convergence. New York: McGraw -Hill Inc. 1993 p. 286 -288  Planning Along Agriculture’s Edge.  Centre for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, 2001 Minist r y of Agri cult ure, BC, Ma y 21, 1998.  http:/ / www.fai rview gard ens.or g   Re -inventing the UBC Farm: Urban Agriculture and Forestr y on th e Point Gre y Campus . UBC Facult y of Agri cult ural Sciences.   Feb ruar y 17, 2000.   Stringer, E.T. 1999.  Acti on Research, 2 n d  E/D.  London: Sage Publi cati on. p.1 -15.  UB C Offi cial Comm unity Plan and Compreh ensive Com muni t y Plan htt p:/ /www.ocp.ubc.ca/o cp            


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