KPU marks thriving agricultural partnership with City of Richmond

Mon, May 29, 2023

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is recognizing the City of Richmond Parks Department for its support of the university’s agriculture and food systems programs.

Recipient of KPU’s 2023 Community Impact Award, Richmond’s Parks Department has partnered with the university to drive forward programs for students and the community at the KPU Farm on the Garden City Lands and at the KPU Richmond Farm School in South Richmond.

“Our relationship with the City of Richmond Parks Department exemplifies KPU’s polytechnic approach to higher education, and allows us to combine hands-on learning with holistic food system awareness,” says Diane Purvey, provost and vice-president academic at KPU.

Presented annually, the Community Impact Award recognizes individuals and organizations who are strong partners of KPU and make a difference in regional communities of relevance to the university.

“Agriculture is an important part of Richmond’s history and economy,” says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Our partnership with KPU goes a long way to promoting urban agriculture, advancing food security, and creating new opportunities for innovation. More importantly, this collaboration allows our residents to see agriculture in action, while learning about farming and food systems.”

The KPU Farm is operated by KPU’s department of sustainable agriculture, which offers students a bachelor’s degree in applied science in sustainable agriculture.

Located on the City of Richmond’s Garden City Lands, the KPU Farm grows crops on 3.3 hectares (eight acres) of organic farmland, with features that include a solar-heated dome greenhouse, three moveable high tunnels, beetle banks for beneficial insect habitat, and an innovative approach to carbon-negative farming at the edge of a former peat bog.

Organic produce from KPU Farm is sold at the Kwantlen Street Farmers Market and to wholesalers such as Discovery Organics. Food is also donated to the Richmond Food Bank, and is made available to KPU Richmond students in need.

The KPU Richmond Farm School, operated by KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and located on Gilbert Road in Richmond, offers students an eight-month farmer training program and opportunity to access incubator plots to manage their own small farm with support and mentorship from the university.

Both KPU Farm and the KPU Richmond Farm School also provide space for student research projects that include studies on sustainable cropping systems and bog restoration.

KPU presented the 2023 Community Impact Award at KPU Community Day on May 27 at the university’s Richmond campus. Included in the presentation to the City of Richmond was a painting created by KPU alumnus Alison Curtis