The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden has been based on unceded ancestral Musqueam territory at the UBC Farm since 2007, first under the guidance of the UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health and now located within the Indigenous Research Partnerships, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and under the direction of Dr. Eduardo Jovel. With an emphasis on teaching, learning, and research, it aims to serve educational and research needs related to Indigenous knowledge and its intersections with other ways of knowing. We are particularly focused on food security and traditional plant knowledge, while increasing participants’ knowledge and access to both traditional and non-traditional plants uses. The garden is guided by the principle that ‘food is medicine’ and follows the research ethic framework of the “4R’s: respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility” and a holistic understanding of health and healing. In addition to its international, community-based research, the garden engages with numerous regional Aboriginal schools, communities, and organizations.
The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden hosts the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness program, which brings urban Aboriginal and recent immigrant youth to the garden from March to October. Previously hosted programs include Sharing our Wisdom: A Holistic Aboriginal Health Initiative, a research project focusing on understanding the effectiveness of traditional Aboriginal healing knowledge when addressing health inequities experienced by Aboriginal peoples. Food harvested from the garden was used as part of a monthly community Feast Bowl which brought together students, staff, faculty, and members of the public to cook and eat. The garden includes numerous medicinal plants native to B.C. and and other places. These medicinal plants are used in medicine-making workshops and to traditional knowledge sharing activities with the Medicine Collective, a group of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-Keepers. Four to six student internships are offered every year and the garden, students gain credit towards their degree by enrolling in these internships.