Newsletter for the Indigenous Health Garden of the Indigenous Research
Partnerships, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC
The Indigenous Health Garden Newsletter
November 5th 2014

In this newsletter:

  • Highlights from early November

  • Upcoming workshops, volunteer opportunities and dates

  • Recipe from October Feast Bowl meal: Roasted Squash and Swiss Chard

Our time outdoors is limited this time of year, and I find it all the more special when we do get a chance to feel the fresh air, hear the eagles cry, smell the wet earth, and work with the plants. Volunteers and program participants have bravely faced wind, rain, and cool temperatures to join us these past weeks and we are so grateful for their time and energy.

As the season winds down, we will be transitioning into sending this newsletter out only once a month. If you have questions about programs or getting involved between newsletters, please don't hesitate to contact

In the past few weeks, our programs have slowed down with the slowing of the growing season. We were honoured to take part in an end of season ceremony with the three other Indigenous initiatives on Musqueam territory at the UBC Farm. It was a beautiful day to express thanksgiving and appreciation for the season together in the Tu'wusht teepee and Maya Garden fire pit.

The Elder's Advisory Circle for the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) youth program met this past week to discuss the successes and challenges of the year, exciting new research, and planning for the year to come. Meanwhile, the staff and volunteer team came together to debrief the season and plan for the Life Skills Program, which will engage CRUW youth alumni throughout the winter months.

Team members at Aboriginal Family and Child Services in Surrey joined the Medicine Collective for a medicine walk as part of their team-building day, while weekly volunteer sessions in the garden have helped us to harvest some of the last medicines of the season to dry, plant cover crop in our now-empty garden beds, and rebuild our pathways.

Finally, the October Feast Bowl meal was a great success with over 40 participants joining to help us cook and eat a delicious meal of fish soup, roasted squash and swiss chard salad (recipe below), bannock, tea, and beet brownies. We felt warmed inside and out from the supportive community, positive energy, and delicious food!

Early November in the garden


Clockwise from top left: delicious squash and swiss chard salad from the October Feast Bowl, chopping beautiful UBC Farm shallots for soup, bright squash ready to roast, and fennel seeds harvested in late fall and dried for future medicine workshops.

Upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities
  • Thursday November 13th, 1:30-4:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Tuesday November 18th, 1:30-4:30PM: Garden volunteer session
  • Wednesday November 19th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
  • Wednesday December 18th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
How to volunteer for garden work days: 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 to find our garden here.

How to volunteer for the Feast Bowl: join us at the UBC First Nations Longhouse (1985 West Mall) any time after 10:00AM to help us 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
Recipe from the September Feast Bowl meal: Roasted Squash and Swiss Chard


For the October meal, we cooked this recipe with this beautiful striped green and yellow squash from our garden; it is pre-Columbian, meaning the seeds have been saved for hundreds of years.
Cold-hardy greens like swiss chard are a delight to eat this time of year, bringing colour to this meal. The sweet taste of the squash combines well with the caramelized flavour of the garlic and onions. This was a big hit at the October Feast Bowl and is open to many adaptations - try cooking this with a different kind of squash, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, or even different greens like kale!

3 cups squash, cut in cubes (eg. butternut or acorn)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 large shallots quartered
4 large cloves of garlic, skinned and left whole
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 large head swiss chard, stems 1 inch diced and leaves roughly chopped (about 6-8 cups)
0.5 cup sunflower seeds (optional: toast them first)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
0.5 cup dried cranberries
0.5 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel and seed the squash and cut into bite-sized cubes. Coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and the rosemary. Place on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until tender and caramelized. Turn squash half way through.
  3. Coat shallots, peeled whole garlic and the remaining 0.5 teaspoon of salt with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on another sheet pan. Roast for 20-30 minutes turning half way through.
  4. When about 10 minutes remain until the roasted vegetables are caramelized, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté chopped swiss chard stems in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. After 3 minutes, toss in the chopped chard leaves and chopped sage and cook for another 1-2 minutes, turning the chard as it cooks with a pair of tongs. Do not over cook.
  5. Add in roasted vegetables, sunflower seeds and cranberries. Toss over heat to incorporate ingredients for one more minute.
  6. Remove from heat and add in crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.
Adapted from this recipe:
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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