Newsletter for the Indigenous Health Garden of the Indigenous Research
Partnerships, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC
The Indigenous Health Research & Education
September 30th 2015

In this newsletter:

  • Highlights from late September

  • Upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities

  • CRUW youth program wins 2015 Telus Innovation Award

  • Reflections from the season from Feast Bowl intern Jaylin Melnichuk

Late September has flown by with cooler nights and crisp sunny fall days getting the garden ready for winter. In the garden, volunteers have been working on preparing the beds for winter by planting oats, crimson clover, and laying straw mulch. We have been harvesting many medicines to dry for tea and for the upcoming tobacco pipe mix making workshop with the Medicine Collective, before the plants are finished for the season.

CRUW youth and staff stayed overnight at the Farm this past week to smoke salmon in the smokehouse, part of Food Preservation Day as youth in the program learned about many different ways to preserve food for year-'round local eating. Meanwhile, the Feast Bowl team is busy planning delicious meals as we bring in a bountiful harvest of food to cook and eat. We are excited to be lining up speakers for upcoming meals also, to make space for sharing stories and experiences among the community.

Don't forget to check out our website and Facebook page for regular updates, photos, volunteer opportunities, and more!
Highlights from late September

Clockwise from top left: fennel seed ready to harvest for tea; CRUW youth smoked salmon in the smokehouse over this past weekend; oats have been our main late-summer cover crop and will die back over winter to form a mulch on the soil; nootka rose hips for tea; volunteers help prepare a bed to plant cover crop; calendula flowers ready for harvest..

Upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities
  • Wednesday September 30th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse, featuring a reading by Francine Cunningham
  • Thursday October 1st, 1:30-4:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Wednesday October 7th, 1:30-4:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Tuesday October 13th, 9:30AM-12:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Tuesday October 13th, 3:00-5:00PM: Tobacco Pipe Mix Making Medicine Workshop (workshop full, please RSVP to to join the waitlist)
  • Wednesday October 21st, 1:30-4:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Tuesday October 27th, 1:30-4:30PM: Last garden volunteer session of 2015!
  • Wednesday October 28th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
  • Wednesday November 25th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
  • Wednesday December 16th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
How to volunteer for garden sessions: we work in the garden rain or shine, so come dressed for the weather. We have extra rain boots, gardening tools, and gloves to share. Bring a snack and water bottle - bring friends and family (of any age) too! No experience necessary. You will find us in the Indigenous Health Garden at the UBC Farm. The most up-to-date directions to the UBC Farm can be found here. Once at the Farm, you can follow the "Aboriginal Health Gardens" signs or follow this map to find our garden.

How to volunteer for the Feast Bowl: if you are new to the Feast Bowl, please fill out our volunteer sign-up form online so we can get to know you a bit better! Join us at the UBC First Nations Longhouse (1985 West Mall) at or after 9:30AM to help us harvest or cook, or 12:30PM to eat lunch with us. Extra help from any age or skill level is always appreciated, especially in the kitchen. If you can only join us for lunch, we encourage you to come anyway and we look forward to sharing a delicious meal with you!

Note: if you plan to bring a large group, please let us know ahead of time at

Note: if you plan to bring a large group, please let us know ahead of time at

CRUW Youth Program Receives 2015 Telus Innovation Award

A huge congratulations to the CRUW youth program for receiving a 2015 Telus Innovation Award! Along with other generous financial contributions, the CRUW program can do the good work it does. Thank you to everyone in the CRUW circle, and to its youth participants especially, for all the hard work that made this possible.

Reflections from the season from Feast Bowl intern Jaylin Melnichuk

Jaylin showing off our turnip greens for cooking at the May Feast Bowl meal; harvesting beets with volunteers in the garden in July

My name is Jaylin Melnichuk, and I am currently in my fourth year completing my undergrad in First Nations Languages Linguistics. This year I am working with the Indigenous Health, Research and Education garden. My internship revolves around planning and facilitating the Feast Bowl monthly community kitchen program.
Since my internship started in April, I have been on a steep learning curve coming to know what it means to run a community kitchen. What a crash course! It’s always an adventure exploring a new space, learning how it runs and how to introduce new volunteers to the space for the first time!

The kitchens at both the UBC Longhouse and UBC Farm centre are such well put together spaces, and because of this the summer has breezed by. The summer, for me, has been a learning period with getting to know the garden where the food we serve comes from, and how that relationship frames this project as something much bigger than a once-a-month meal.

I have attended every garden session I could since April, supporting the wonderful garden interns and volunteers. There have been so many highlights for me in the garden, especially learning and working with the Medicine Collective during their workshops. When these medicine plants are cared for and harvested by the volunteers, as facilitators we have to guide their understanding of medicine to include Indigenous ways of knowing the world. It has been an amazing experience to work with the garden interns and Elders, sharing and learning through the different perspectives they offer.
There have been a few key opportunities afforded to me as an intern that have inspired me in this process! I have participated in medicine workshops in the garden and a canning workshop with UBC’s Roots on the Roof community garden club. Another one of these occasions was a community kitchen leadership workshop, put on by Fresh Choice Kitchens, who are part of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Hearing how community kitchens around the city of Vancouver operate gave me a full education as to how hard people work to maintain these programs. It awed me to find out that most organizations run multiple meals a week, feeding hundreds from diverse backgrounds around the city. The set of challenges that come with this are immense, but it has inspired me to seek out community kitchens in the future, since volunteers are a huge part of their success.
One of our goals as interns is to strengthen the ties that UBC and UBC Farm has with the Musqueam community and Indigenous student base at UBC. When approaching this, I thought that it would be a great idea to have a speakers series at the monthly Feast Bowl meal! For the Feast Bowl meals happening September - April we are looking towards finding students to share their work at the Feast Bowl to not only enrich the environment, but to have a chance to share in front of their peers. So far we have been in touch with the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language classes and Indigenous creative writing students, with Cree author and recent UBC MFA graduate Francine Cunningham presenting at the September Feast Bowl to read from her forthcoming novel. My next task is going to be putting up posters around campus to let everyone know the Feast Bowl dates for the rest of 2015!
I move forward in this internship, into the fall and winter season, with a need to reflect on what I’ve learned so far and apply it. I can truly feel, through the learning I’ve done in the summer, that I’ve grown as a person. I am now even better equipped to think about land stewardship in a way that rejects colonialism. I am also better equipped as a linguist to understand the importance of biocultural diversity and what it means to “translate the land.” For now, I look forward to applying my kitchen knowledge to preserve more foods for the winter, creating nutritious meals for the winter months’ Feast Bowls.

I’m incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity and I look forward to volunteering in the garden next season!

- Jaylin Melnichuk
Indigenous Research Partnerships
UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems
2357 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. Canada
V6T 1Z4
Phone: (604) 822-5092
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