The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden (IHREG) is located at UBC Farm. The garden’s traditional xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Musqueam name is xʷc̓ic̓əsəm. The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word means “The place where we grow”. The xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden has been at the UBC Farm since 2007, first under the guidance of the UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health and current under the Indigenous Research Partnerships (IRP), Faculty of Land and Food Systems, under the direction of Dr. Eduardo Jovel.
With an emphasis on teaching, learning, and research, xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden aims to serve educational and research needs related to Indigenous knowledge and its intersections with other ways of knowing. We are particularly focused on Indigenous food sovereignty, food security, and traditional plant knowledge while increasing participants’ knowledge and access to both traditional and non-traditional plant 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 xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden hosts the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness program, which brings together urban Aboriginal and recent immigrant youth to the garden from March to October. The garden includes over 60+ medicinal plants native to British Columbia and beyond. These native medicinal plants are used in medicine-making workshops which are taught by the Medicine Collective, a group of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-Keepers.
The Garden also hosts student internships throughout the academic year that supports UBC students in gaining hands-on learning and research while gaining credit for their degree.
The xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden works on and acknowledges the unceded ancestral territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Musqueam peoples, whose guidance and collaboration is paramount to the work we undertake at the Garden. We also acknowledge the support of the Vancouver Native Health Society, the Tu’wusht Garden Project, the Musqueam Garden, the Maya in Exile Garden group, the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm, the AMS Sustainability Fund, the Indigenous Research Partnerships, and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC.