Embark Sustainability's Indoor Learning Garden at SFU Surrey

Sustainability in the heart of Surrey's city centre

April 22, 2022

Today is Earth Day, and I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the brilliant work that has been going on at SFU's Surrey Campus around sustainability and environmental education.

If you’ve ever visited the original campus building at Central City, you may have noticed some leafy greens brightening up our campus spaces, like the outdoor raised-bed garden on the P3 parking level, as well as the indoor vertical garden located on Podium 3. Thanks to Embark Sustainability Learning Gardens, these spaces give the campus community an opportunity to learn about food production and security. Embark Sustainability hosts several free events and workshops at these garden locations throughout the year.

Last summer, we were pleased to welcome Pablo Vimos, Gardens Coordinator with Embark Sustainability, to lead an event called Summer Gardening and Beyond. This was a special edition of the Virtual Vibe and where Pablo shared some tips to help our Surrey faculty and staff optimize their gardens. His advice had a huge impact on my tomato production at home! You can check out his presentation here.

Steve with Desiree Gabriel (Programs Manager) and Pablo Vimos (Gardens Coordinator) at Embark Sustainability’s Basic Vegetable Gardening event in October 2021

In addition, SFU Surrey will also be partnering with Embark Sustainability to sponsor this year’s Party for the Planet, the City of Surrey’s 11th annual Earth Day celebration. The event will be held at Surrey Civic Plaza (13450 104 Avenue) on Saturday, April 30 from 11 am to 7 pm. With free admission, come enjoy live music and dance, plant-based food trucks, a sustainable marketplace, Indigenous education, environmental workshops and more! SFU Surrey is so proud to be a sponsor for this event, and I am thrilled for the return of this in-person celebration. Be sure to visit Embark’s booth and check out their great work!

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention our new building, which opened in 2019 and earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in recognition of its sustainable design and operations. This beautiful building is home to our School of Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE). From developing engineering solutions for sustainable development to tackling climate change by developing solutions for the challenges facing alternative energy systems, our fantastic students, professors and researchers in SEE have already made an impact in our community in such a short time. In fact, the building itself will be a living lab for students develop and implement sustainability practices.

I am also thrilled to share that SFU is receiving $10 million from Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) for its AGtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS), which will support small and medium-sized enterprises to scale-up and commercialize agritech in ΒC. This program will support innovation to address food insecurity locally, nationally and internationally.

Across the broader university, SFU is continuing to make strides towards embedding climate action throughout its operations, research, academics and community engagement. You can read more about SFU’s 2025 Sustainability Plan and discover ways to get involved here. I want to thank Candace Le Roy and her amazing team at the SFU Sustainability Office for ensuring that all of us at SFU, including the Surrey campus, embed sustainability in our programs and practices.