Working in partnership with local food production, distribution, marketing and sustainability organizations in the Okanagan, the Farm Cycles Project connected UBC Okanagan students with opportunities participate in workshops, farmer’s markets, farming internships and paid employment. Collaborators included Growing Inspired, Farm Folks/ City Folks, Central Okanagan Food Council and Young Agrarians, whose focus is on growing the next generation of sustainable farmers in B.C.
In order to ensure that the students were perceived as individuals, peers of the broader community, and not as a cohort, they were intentionally supported to be engaged in activities in which there were no other students with a developmental disability. For example, while one student volunteered with the Fresh Outlook Foundation’s Building Sustainable Communities Conference and the Permaculture Design workshop delivered by Growing Inspired another was employed on a farm harvesting crops.
All the students had opportunities to learn about the social justice aspects of the farming movement, as well as become employed and gain practical farming experience, They contributed substantially to community development and the efforts of the other members of the community in farming, sustainability, reduced waste, and other environmental justice activities.
Many thanks to the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation and the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation for making this project possible.