Improving farm viability : volunteer programming and decreasing labour inputs

Cordia Chan, Chloe Frere, Rino Harada, Melissa Iverson, Tiffany McFadden, Keryn Rolston, Leanne VanderKwaak
The UBC Farm is a practical example of agriculture within an urban centre that embraces and promotes sustainable agricultural production, food security and safety, and the health of human communities. Unfortunately, the Farm is running at an annual deficit. In response to recommendations from past UBC Food System Project (UBCFSP) groups, our group examined the possibility of expanding production on the Farm as a way to increase revenue. A recurring recommendation in past UBCFSPs was to increase
more » ... the Farm's production area in order to increase revenues. However, as expansion has not yet occurred, our project goal was to determine the limiting factors and what modifications were needed in order to facilitate such growth. Through interviews and research into past groups' UBCFSP projects we identified that the number of Farm volunteers has declined over the past year and that this declining group of volunteers is suffering from burnout due to the tediously repetitive and laborious tasks (such as weeding) that they must perform. Without an adequate labour force the Farm cannot expand. In order to address this limitation to expansion, our group explored both options to strengthen the current volunteer program at the Farm, and to explore ecologically sound, labour-saving farming techniques to alleviate volunteer burnout. We developed these findings into recommendations, which, if implemented, we believe will allow the Farm to expand production. 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."
doi:10.14288/1.0132819 fatcat:ihi6gidndndb7butijgiiwwviu