KPU’s agriculture department hosting next Wild Spaces event
The event will engage students in farming and the importance of appreciating the land at the Garden City Lands near Richmond campus
Update: The event date was changed from March 22 to March 29.
The sustainable agriculture and food systems department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is hosting a Wild Spaces event in Richmond on March 22 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.
Wild Spaces is a new interdisciplinary teaching and learning approach with a focus on ecological place-based education in a post-secondary setting. Faculty, staff, and students explore “intentional outdoor learning at and near” KPU campuses, according to the Wild Spaces website.
The event was organized by Lee Beavington, a learning strategist and interdisciplinary instructor at KPU, and will be hosted by Alex Lyon, a faculty member from the sustainable agriculture and food systems department. The event will be held at the Garden City Lands, which is across the street from the KPU Richmond campus and is frequently used by the agriculture department.
Lyon will be showcasing how the farmland is used by students and the approach she uses with her students when it comes to growing food and connecting to the land.
“Our students spend a full year on the farm doing hands-on learning twice a week. When I met Lee and learned about the Wild Spaces project … [I liked] that it provides opportunities for instructors and students to engage in wild spaces at the KPU farm,” Lyon says.
“About a third of the site of our farm is agricultural land and then two thirds of the site is bog. It is an interesting example of urban wild spaces with a lot of different histories and issues we can think about, like ecology, conservation, restoration, and food.”
The Wild Spaces event is open to all KPU students, and the goal is for students to engage and learn about the land in a new way.
“Students who are mostly on the Richmond campus have never seen the farm, even though it is right down the street. It is a way for us to engage differently with the history of the land that we are on, especially when we think about issues related to sustainability, climate change, and truth and reconciliation,” Lyon says.
Being outdoors can also have an impact on students’ mental health and wellbeing, especially during this busy time in the semester.
“Seeing students get excited about what they see at the farm … is one of the most rewarding parts of being at KPU for me. There’s always a few students who want to grow something that is really unique or culturally important to them,” she says.
The event also includes a tour of the greenhouse dome on site.
“We have this cool geodesic dome. We have physics students who have been collaborating with us. So really, whatever discipline people are in, they can often find some connection with the farm and that’s exciting for students.”
“Farming is not a purely wild space. It is an urban natural space that has a lot of invasive species, but also a lot of native species. My motivation for doing this is to both share and highlight what [Beavington] and I are doing,” Lyon says.
Registration for the Wild Spaces event is full, but there are still spaces on the waitlist. To get on the waitlist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The department will also be hosting their weekly Tuesday Twilight tours of the farm this year in the summer.