UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Farm Interpretive Signage Project Durnin-Vermette, Francis; Matharu, Dinjot; Todd, Adam


The UBC Farm serves as an area for research, learning, and community engagement. It is visited by students, children, Indigenous community members and the general public. Currently, the Farm lacks a formal method of communicating important aspects about the values and goals of the UBC Farm, such as educating people about the cultural and biological diversity on the farm. Interpretive signage on the UBC Farm has the potential to effectively extend knowledge about the values, history and significance of the farm will be both a learning opportunity for visitors, and will also allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the farm. Proper signage can also play an important role in promoting food literacy, food sovereignty and food citizenship. The ultimate aim of this research project is to develop the content and design for a series of interpretive signs at the UBC Farm. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to (1) understand what UBC Farm stakeholders would like to see communicated on the signs about social and biological diversity at the UBC Farm, (2) investigate the most effective ways of communicating narratives about sustainability to the public using interpretive signage and (3) develop three interpretive sign design mock-ups and a final report to present to the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems project team in order to jumpstart the process of installing interpretive signs on the farm. In order to begin drafting the signage, a series of semi-structured interviews with the UBC Farm stakeholders were conducted. These interviews yielded a wealth of information about essential elements that the stakeholders believed ought to be included in the signage. We then conducted literature review and interviews regarding the best practices by which to design and build the signs. Our results included accurate details about the historical importance of the Maya in Exile garden within the Farm, information regarding where the signs should be located, and how interpretive signs should be designed that is in keeping with the aesthetic of the Farm. We also developed a budget for interpretive signs. Finally, we developed three different prototypes of our signage focusing on the Maya in Exile Garden, Ecological Diversity, and Research at the UBC Farm. In addition to these signs, a fourth “introduction” sign was designed that would situate the UBC Farm with the broader University of British Columbia community. Our results yielded a variety of responses from stakeholders regarding placement and content, suggesting that there are more than three ideal locations and topics to cover within the UBC Farm signage project. Our findings highlighted the need for additional signage which this project did not cover. This includes signage for the main farm entrance, signage for the indigenous gardens and the signage for the children’s garden. Hence, it is evident that there is great interest and importance surrounding signage at the UBC Farm. Our research hopes to inform future signs using the information we have collected regarding potential locations, recommended interviewees and desired content of signs according to respondents. Once implemented, this signage will be able to establish the UBC Farm as an educational and sustainable site. 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.”

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