Hello and welcome back to our blog! We can’t wait to share the progression and achievement regarding the herb garden project with you.
To begin with, we have completed the project proposal according to our understanding of the project, where we introduced more detailed background and significance, clearly defined the aims, project objectives, planned out the research methods and listed out the success factors possible for evaluation. You can view our proposal report by clicking into this link: Proposal Report Group 20.
In this blog post, we would like to introduce you with our weekly objectives and our previous achievements, a moment of significance during the last a few weeks, and the upcoming objectives we would like to achieve in the next two weeks.
Week 1 Jan 4th – Jan 10th:
- Meet and get familiar with each other;
- Determine our common goal and interests;
- Pick the projects we liked the most and liked the least, and vote for them.
Week 2 Jan 11th – Jan 17th:
- Initial conceptualization of the context of the Herb Garden project
- Prepare for engaging with community in a professional manner
- Send out the first email to get in touch with our community partner
Week 3 Jan 18th – Jan 24th:
- Meet with the community partner and listen to her plan
- Based on the information the community partner gave to us, draft a plan and timeline for further research
- Set up the next meeting time with the partner to discuss in more details
Week 4 Jan 25th – Jan 31st
- Have the second and the third meeting with the community partner on site
- Determine all the expectations of the community partner
- Submit the proposal letter to the stakeholders, which include introduction to the Gorden Neighbourhood House and the Herb Garden project and specification the liability between the stakeholder and the Gorden Neighbourhood House, to community partner for reviewing
- Draft the proposal report based on our current understanding of this project
Week 5 Feb 1st – Feb 7th
- Submission of the draft proposal report, and make revisions based on the TA’s feedback
- Find new potential sites based on the criteria we set with the community partner, and summarize the information to the partner to decide.
- Divide the individual tasks to work on for next week and the reading break
Week 6 Feb 8th – Feb 14th
- Work individually on our own tasks (research for the listed 20 herbs)
Communication is not simply verbal. It is also a “nonverbal behaviour.” Power posing suggested by the social psychologist – Amy Cuddy was very helpful in building our confidence during the first meeting; we had a lot of uncertainty before the meeting. For example, high power posing (i.e., sitting upright without hunck-backed) physiologically will decrease cortisol by 25% (Cuddy, 2012). In the end, our first meeting went smoothly.
As mentioned in the last post, we tried our best to respect the goals of our community partners, and was able to provide more specific plans and action according to her plan. For example, in the first meeting, our partner indicated that they are looking for new potential sites for the herb gardens. After carefully listened to her expectations, we decided that our objectives for looking for new sites to be: adequate sunlight exposure time for herbs, minimum size of land field available to use, and the maximum height allowed for the herbs to grow. By following this criteria, we have found 28 sites available in the West End community, and have provided our partner with the specific address and at 3 to 5 pictures for each site. With this information, our partner identified 15 potential sites of special interests. And the owners of the sites of interest will be followed up with the proposal letters that we have written.
Throughout the experiences of exploring new potential sites, we found that there are a great number of useful spaces that can be transformed into green spaces, specifically edible green spaces. This is the first step of Asset-based community development: identifying the resources that the community already has and “focus on the strengths of a community” (Valley, 2016). Gordon Neighborhood House has several volunteer programs and there are on-going volunteers helping out the herb gardens. These volunteers are a valuable resource.
In addition, in the last post we also mentioned that we would like to find the rich potential in the West End community and work with the community partner to decide what to do with it. During the meeting with the community partner we we felt the necessity to upgrade the signage in each herb garden sites to specify the use of the herb gardens and attract more community members to come and pick them up. After discussion with the community partner with more details about this part of the project in a following meeting, we have set 3 main objectives for promoting the herb gardens. First, we would like to design a sign that incorporates both the logo of the Gorden’s Neighbourhood House and their sponsors, which should be attractive, simple, easy to read, and informative (people should know what the herb garden is and how it works). Second, we want to include a “book” attached somewhere in the each site, which would include all the herbs in the garden, and introduce what are they, how to use them for cooking, and how to harvest them. Third, before the harvesting season, we would like to design a small handout including all herb garden sites, with brief explanation on how the herb garden works. We want the handout to be attracting and helps to encourage people to participate.
A moment of significance
One of our greatest moments of significance that occurred to date was the success in finding new potential Herb Garden plots around the West End community. After determining the objectives for for new sites, which includes adequate sunlight exposure time for herbs, minimum size of land field available to use, and the maximum height allowed for the herbs to grow. We formed small team to walk around the West End community street by street, and search for the potential sites that fulfills the 3 objectives. Each potential plot needs agreement of two of our group members, and after considering the plot as a potential one, the exact address was taken from google map. In addition, at least 3-5 pictures were taken from different perspectives for each plot to give the community partner a better understanding of the plot. All the 28 identified plot meet the initial objectives we set. Moreover, we organized all the information into separate folders, and share them in the same folder through the dropbox.
After receiving our email and the shared google doc, our community partner commented “This is very helpful. Thank you for all your work on this.”
Our community partner’s affirmation is our best motivation!
Through this project we learnt the importance to work collaboratively as a group, and having a uniform presentation of the work we each did separately. By setting the same criteria, we can work on this project individually yet still have the similar outcome. And by having more than one group member to review each plot, we can avoid bias to some extent, which result in higher quality of work. In addition, after collecting all the data separately, we used the same format of presentation: coding each plot from 1 to 28, labelling each plot with their own address, and including pictures and other information in each individual folder. As a result of this, the final shared folder was very well organized and easy for our community to view.
Based on the success of this part of the project, we would like to continue using this strategy to work on further parts of the project. For instance, when completing the herb info book, we are planning to search different herbs that are assigned to each group member individually, and decide on a final format to present this information. We believe that we can save a lot of energy and time with this strategy because we can avoid reformatting and re-organizing the information we collected again.
Upcoming Weekly Objectives
Week 7: Feb 15th – Feb 21st
- Work on our individual tasks (format the information on individual herbs together into same format, insert pictures)
- Determine the slogan and other important icons to include in the sign
- Determine the text and pictures to include in the booklet
Week 8: Feb 22nd – Feb 28th
- Design the sign using the photoshop
- Design the herb book
- Add the confirmed sites the the West End Community Herb Garden Map
Thank you for reading our blog, and see you soon 😛
Valley, W. (2016). Community Food Security + Asset-Based Community Development. Retrieved from www.connect.ubc.ca
Cuddy, A. (June, 2012). Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are/transcript?language=en#t-103143