One of the last working farms near the city of Vancouver has received a $2 million donation from the co-founders of Nature’s Path Foods.
The donation from Arran and Ratana Stephens, co-founders of North America’s largest organic breakfast and snack foods company, is a personal gift to the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. The gift will help fund capital infrastructure essential for agriculture research and operations as UBC Farm expands its programs and transitions to a certified organic farm.
“My father, an organic farmer, told me to always leave the earth better than I found it. In that spirit, our investment will help preserve this farm, protecting it from urban development so that it can continue to serve future generations,” said Arran Stephens.
Five years ago, UBC Farm was saved from real-estate development by a group of students, staff, faculty and community members. Today, the farm is a living laboratory for thousands of people, including UBC students who study and conduct research on the farm.
“Arran and Ratana’s generous gift helps UBC Farm continue its mission to study, improve and foster sustainable food production,” said Hannah Wittman, academic director of the CSFS at UBC Farm and professor in the faculty of land and food systems. “Their support for organic farming should be applauded as the practice becomes more and more critical for the future of global food security.”
The Stephens’ gift is part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the largest fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history.
“Arran and Ratana Stephens’ commitment to The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm is outstanding,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “The farm is a unique and innovative site at the university, and this new partnership will help it to grow and thrive.”
Arran Stephens and Hannah Wittman are part of a panel discussion that will address the latest trends and issues in agriculture, as well as the future of UBC Farm. “Growing the Future of Food and Farming at UBC Farm” will take place on Friday, September 18 from 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the Franklin Lew Forum at the Allard School of Law. Click here for details, to RSVP: http://100.ubc.ca/events/growing-the-future-of-food-and-farming-at-ubc-farm/
Arran Stephens, Nature’s Path Foods co-founder and co-CEO
“By partnering with the UBC Farm, we envision increased viability of organic farming and strengthened public support for sustainable agriculture,” said Arran Stephens. “In time, this will ultimately lead to increased food security and the realization of our vision – healthy, sustainably grown, organic food for all.”
About Arran and Ratana Stephens, Nature’s Path Foods co-founders and co-CEOs
As grandparents, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, environmental activists, and Co-CEOs/Co-Founders of Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Arran and Ratana Stephens have always been committed to advancing the cause of people and the planet. Founded in 1985, their privately held, family-owned organic food company is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia and employs hundreds of valued team members at its four facilities in Canada and the United States. Dedicated to helping grow sustainable food systems, the Stephens are passionate supporters of organic agriculture and have purchased 6,600 acres of organic farmland to date. In recognition of their commitment to socially responsible and sustainable business practices, Arran and Ratana were recipients of the Organic Trade Association’s 2013 Organic Leadership Award for Growing the Organic industry.
About The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at UBC Farm
The CSFS is a unique research initiative that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems. The CSFS manages a diverse range of programs concentrated at the UBC Farm, a working farm in the city of Vancouver that is a living laboratory for food system sustainability. CSFS is committed to finding solutions to the global challenges facing the sustainability of our food system, and its impact on our personal, community and environmental health.
100 years of farming at UBC
Although its size, location and purpose have changed over the years, a farm has been a part of UBC’s Vancouver campus since the university was established in 1915. As the university celebrates 100 years of learning, research innovation, and community engagement (ubc100.ca), learn more about the history of farming at UBC here: http://ubcfarm.ubc.ca/about/history/#founding-farm-1
About UBC’s start an evolution campaign
The most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history, start an evolution, has the twin goals of raising $1.5 billion and involving 55,000 alumni annually in the life of the university by fall 2015.