UBC Theses and Dissertations
"Tails" from the farm : stories of the successes, challenges and barriers of integrating livestock on campus farms and gardens at post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States Yuen, Natalie B. A.
This thesis examines the successes, challenges and barriers of integrating livestock on campus farms and gardens at post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States based on my experience in integrating livestock at the University of British Columbia Farm (Phase I), and the experiences of representatives from other campus farms and gardens that are currently integrating, had integrated, and/or are wanting to integrate livestock (Phase II – Parts 1 and 2). The research methodology in Phase II was guided by the qualitative description approach, with foundational elements of pragmatism and participatory paradigms. Participants were sought via an online survey (Part 1) that was sent to 144 known campus farms and gardens and to the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) listserv. Of the 28 participants that responded to the survey, 22 consented to participate in in-depth, semi-structured interviews (Part 2), which were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Based on the results, the integration of livestock fulfilled the missions of all campus farms and gardens in Phases I and II by providing experiential learning, skill building and engagement opportunities for students, and public demonstrations of alternative livestock production methods (social successes). It also provided many with ecological services, such as nutrient cycling and pest management (ecological successes), and economic diversification and additional revenue (economic successes). Despite the wide array of challenges and barriers due to their applicability to, and the uniqueness of campus farms and gardens, the barriers encountered by campus farms and gardens that are wanting to integrate livestock were also the challenges experienced by those that are integrating (or had integrated) livestock. A comparison of the most frequently cited challenges and barriers revealed four common responses: Labour and Logistics, Institutional System and Support, Animal Ethics Committees, and Space and/or Infrastructure (three of which I experienced in Phase I). I argue that addressing these four challenges/barriers will help to facilitate livestock integration on a majority of campus farms and gardens, and possibly resolve some of the other challenges and barriers connected with them; thereby allowing campus farms and gardens to reap the successes of livestock integration – particularly the social successes.
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