Maya Garden
Maya in Exile Garden

Maya in Exile Garden

Maya in Exile Garden

In 1986 five Maya families came to Canada as refugees from Guatemala. Nearly a decade later, urged on by a UBC student, these families secured a plot of land at UBC Farm to practice their Mayan farming traditions and keep this millennia-old cultural knowledge alive for future generations.

Now, firmly rooted in the Maya in Exile Garden, the ancestral crops known as the “Three Sisters” (corn, beans and squash) are grown along with an ebullient array of flowers and sold at UBC Farm’s Saturday markets. Along with the garden’s output, the goal is to celebrate and share this rich yet relatively unknown Indigenous knowledge and its stories in order to educate local people about true Mayan culture.

To that end, members of the Maya in Exile Garden offer public workshops such as Three Sisters in the Kitchen and what is a traditional Maya cooking workshop. Authentic meals utilizing las tres hermanas (The Three Sisters) are featured, such as tamalitos de flor de calabaza con salsa de miltomate (tamales filled with squash flowers served with tomatillo salsa), ensalada tradicional (traditional salad), ejotes en sopa (green beans in soup) and dulce de calabaza (squash dessert).

Keep an eye out for these and other flavourful UBC Farm workshops and meet the members of the Maya in Exile Garden at the farm market held every Saturday from June through to the end of October. Proceeds from the garden’s sales help fund a project in Guatemala that develops Mayan girls’ weaving skills to create unique, sellable goods and thus help lift these other families’ incomes and futures.

Other Stories from the Field

Story Credits

Special thanks to all of our story partners:

Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm: Hannah Wittman, Academic Director; Ryan Weemhoff, Sales Manager; Véronik Campbell, Academic Programs Manager; Shannon Lambie, former Communications Coordinator; Hannah Lewis, Community Education Coordinator; Jaylin Melnichuk, former Feast Bowl Intern; Clare Cullen, Operations Director; Sarah Clements, Flower Intern and Practicum Field Mentor.

Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Jennifer Honeybourn, Director, Communications; Sean Smukler, Assistant Professor; students of APBI 260 Food & Environment 1; Gabriel Maltais-Landry, Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Other: Leonard Foster, Professor, Faculty of Medicine; Stacy Friedman, Program Manager, Intergenerational Landed Learning Project, Faculty of Education; Steve Golob, Chef, Place Vanier Residence.

Special thanks to the entire staff at the UBC Farm who have appeared in any of our photographs — thank you!

Story team: UBC Communications & Marketing — Cindy Connor, Online Producer; Martin Dee, UBC Photographer; Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Paul Joseph, UBC Photographer; Michael Kam, Web Developer; Adrian Liem, Manager, Digital Communications; Laura Stobbe, Communication Designer; Mark Pilon, Communication Designer; Jamil Rhajiak, Photographer; Aida Viziru, Web Interaction Designer; Matt Warburton, Manager, Graphic Design; Mormei Zanke, Assistant Writer. Additional copywriting — David Leidl, Copy Editor. Additional video direction and editing — Lu Zhang, Editor, Video Director; Lucas Hrubizna, Editor.

Thank you: The University of British Columbia Archives