Windows and Mirrors.

This is my last post as a reporter for LFS 350 for this year. I’m excited to see what things change as years go on and if this blog will be well maintained in the future. As a reflection on the overall course, I’ll be taking my time to really break down what I feel about the course and things I’ve personally learned. I’d like to thank Masoumeh the chance for giving me opportunity to be a reporter. I should warn readers that I’ll be including both positive and negative views about the course, and my experiences as part of group 21 and as a reporter. My entire views can be summed in two words: Windows and Mirrors, which I’ll be explaining below. Throughout the post I’ll also be using many of my own photos to illustrate my thoughts so I’ll hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking and processing them. Lets begin!


Seeing both floors and the paths in between. Not just one floor.

The LFS series of courses began for me back in LFS 250. This is probably because I barely paid attention back in LFS 100. In hind sight I’m really thankful I passed that class. But back to he main topic, LFS 250, gave me the first look into what LFS “really meant”. Coming from Alberta, a province that thrives off Oil and Gas, and from a conservative home and school, I rarely took time to consider the finer details of the larger picture. Much more though, I never considered “food” to be an issue greater than “food security”. I was really amazed to see all the dimensions of food issues and the causes of each. LFS 350 further gave me new information about food. Interesting as it was, I still often found it hard to relate to the knowledge the many FNH or Dietetics students in the class. Being an applied animal biology major, I was often confused or blind to the facts when it came to nutritional disparities or discussions about the importance of specific nutrients. But this overall, I feel didn’t take away from my LFS 350 Experience.

To see different perspectives of even the most simple things.

The LFS 350 class, and my project continued to immerse me into a world I before never really understood. My group project dealt with creating a survey based on food knowledge, so needless to say I learned a lot. Many of the readings were based on the foods or systems focused on addressing food concerns, all of these helped me understand and see more perspectives. As cherry to the sundae, I was granted the opportunity to be a reporter and was able to see what many groups were doing. Worlds and scenes and ideas opened up to me, like curtains removed from a window. From the inside, I started to look outwards at all these ideas. I started to look through the windows of my previously formed views. Ideas I’ve closed curtains to in the past, re-emerged with scenes of intrigue. Furthermore having an opportunity to work on projects allowed me to open the door and experience these different things I saw through the windows. But alas, I can’t spend all the time outside, so I at this point in the term, I return inside to find only mirrors facing me.


My mental mirror, a pen and a pad.

Reflecting, is the first word that comes to mind when most people thing mirrors, and as cliche as it is… thats exactly how I feel. Aside from having all these new views and experiences laid at my food step, I had also found the need to reflect and see what parts of this grand picture was relevant to me and to see the highs and lows of the process. I guess with any reflection, more often than not, the negative ideas are easier to see than the positive. Such was the case as I reflected on the term thus far.

More often than not, I felt displaced, not excluded… displaced. My animal biology major led me to feel disconnected from the majority of the nutrition class. This feeling further intensified as my group was all nutrition students as well. The group and class as a whole was warm, and welcoming, but in the end, being a person lacking some shared knowledge, it is inevitable I felt displaced. The feeling of belonging slowly returned to me as the term went on, until CSL hours were enforced. I am really happy and thankful to be reporter, but being a reporter further displaced me from my team as I started being responsible for different things than them. This caused a sense of displacement to temporary return, but it didn’t last long. As I spoke with other groups, I started to see the fluidity and integration of all the groups into this giant mesh. The combining each groups projects future possible outcomes, I saw a grand image that made me feel that the class as a whole was much more

Displacement. One student in a sea of many.

integrated than I thought.

On the positive notes, I was able to learn about the different food aspects and able to implement changes to my own life. Small things like being aware of where my food comes from as well as being more able to recognize food insecurity has given me much greater understanding. However, these changes aren’t my highlight of the course or of the reporter “job”. You see, I’m a large believer in community, or relationship based learning and growth. Whether religiously or academically, I feel that people inevitably have much more meaningful and joyful experiences if done with a community. The course’s highlight for me, and the joy of being a reporter, is being given the opportunity to interact and meet such a diverse group of amazing people. To meet with individuals who care about what they’re doing and can share their knowledge from their invested time. To hear about people’s projects, but more importantly about how individuals themselves think. To add a face, a mind… a soul to the knowledge being passed on. That in itself has proved to be my greatest highlight and pleasure in this course and in my reporter job. So I truly hope that others will take to the opportunity to connect with the amazing individuals around them.  As numerous as an autumn rain, so together we’ll be as strong as the ocean striking the shores.

The possibilities are beautiful and endless.

Windows are made for people to see outside their box into the world around them. Mirrors are for people to look back at the selves and reflect. So if I were to sum up my entire LFS 350 experience into two words. It’d be Windows and Mirrors.

`rtang … out.


The World in a Garden, is the community partner that my group, group 21, has worked with for the CBL project. This post, is very different than my regular “themed” posts where I draw a groups project to a certain theme, the reason this post is a “themeless” post is because, from my perspective, the CBL project is too multifaceted and can’t be defined by a single theme.

Group 21, was responsible for a variety of tasks, primarily with creating and conducting a survey for TWIAG to better understand the knowledge level and needs of the community. The survey created by group 21 initially focused more on assessing community nutritional knowledge, but went through several revisions to better meet the needs of TWIAG. The survey added questions that gave participants open-ended questions to gain a bigger insight to what the community wanted to know about. With the knowledge TWIAG would be able to offer workshops and other resources that would be more custom tailored for the needs of the community. The TWIAG survey was pilot tested at a TWIAG event in which members of group 21 volunteered at. The results were quite varied and were interesting as they showed variation in the knowledge that community had of food, as well as the communities interests. In the end, group 21 took the first few steps in creating a survey that could be used in the future on a larger scale. It is presumed that the survey may go under further revisions and be posted on the TWIAG website and used in other ways to further understand the demographics that TWIAG is serving.Aside from the survey, group 21 also volunteered their time on a Saturday to help out with TWIAG’s variety events. The group laboured in the rainy weather moving items and were able to have “fun” in the experience as well as further understand TWIAG and their variety of services. The evening went to the pilot testing of surveys to mostly high school students who came to attend a workshop. Overall, a member a group 21 said “it was a fun time…”. The combination of the survey development and volunteerism amazingly have many long lasting effects on the members of the group and community as a whole.

Group picture at TWIAG

Members of group 21, have been given the valuable opportunity to independently communicate with community partners and develop requested projects. Survey making and analysis skills will prove useful to many group members in the future of their academic pursuits. In terms of the community, group 21, through volunteerism has boosted contributed to boosting community awareness about TWIAG as well as possibly create a tool (the survey) that will influence the development of all future TWIAG programs. In the end, group 21, leaves with a feeling of satisfaction and knowing that future LFS 350 groups can pick up where they left off and further revise and implement the survey at TWIAG.



Illuminate means to make bright, to shed light on, and to bring clarity to. Group 28 brings clarity and insight in their CBEL project evaluating and promoting school initiatives.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).

Group 28 was given the opportunity to observe and evaluate the success of Tyee Elementary’s “Child and Nature Club” (CAN club). In their CSL project they took video footage of interviews they had with kids, parents and teaching staff. Group 28 put together a video to promote the CAN Club and what it is all about: “Reconnecting with nature through sustainable practices that help maintain/improve the environment”.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).

The data collected by Group 28 was about what makes CAN Club successful and could be used to provide some insight on whats aspects of the Think&EatGreen at school project were successful. Furthermore, Group 28’s video and report could help with gaining funding with grant funding for the Think&EatGreen at school program. Potentially this could provide future sustainability projects factors to focus on to give them a higher chance of success. Directly, Group 28’s five could provide other communities with some motivation to take initiative and follow suit in establishing an environmental club or other sustainable practices and coalitions. Group 28’s final thoughts about the CAN club and the project is that the effort requires a lot of support. It is greatly encouraging to see that the “teaching staff and parents have shown that they are motivated and dedicated to supporting the children as much as they can. Without this kind of support, success would be difficult”.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).



Our universe is made consists of many connections that exists between the tiniest particles to the largest ones. Every day life itself is filled with connections between ourselves, other people, and even the earth we stand on. These connections form our relationships, and our values. Utilization of these connections can be a truly empowering process in which true balance can occur between different things, peace can be achieved. Group 11 and their community partner, Village Vancouver’s FED-AP, understand the power of these connections as they work together to bring communities of Vancouver together to encourage a more food resilient society.

Group 11 helped with Village Vancouver’s FED-AP and their action plan which intends to bring Vancouver from a high energy usage state to a low energy usage state. The did this in part by volunteering at a Village Vancouver event called Neighbour Savour. Neighbour Savour is an event that encourages the community to share foods and recipes together in a potluck type format, and tin support of local artists, seed saving, composting, and waste-free meals. The potluck was designed for any Vancouver resident and each attendee was encouraged to bring something to share at the special dinner. Village Vancouver rented a hall and provided entertainment in variety of forms as well as beer. Group 11 recalls helping at this event “very rewarding” as they were able to assist to make this event a huge success with over 300 people attending! This event is sure to be remembered and have long lasting impacts in the form of community awareness and participation.

In reflection, group 11 recognizes that the exposure to LFS 250 and 350 have opened their eyes on the benefits and impacts of community involvement, particularly the effectiveness of CBL methodology. CBL gave them first hand experience and made the experience truly unique for them, personally. In communicating with group 11, they commented how much they appreciated the time spent volunteering at the Community Potluck Dinner hosted by FED-AP. Setting up and cleaning up allowed group 11 to be present throughout the entire event and watch people interact with each other. Group 11 comments on how the potluck facilitated a sense of community and allowed people to mingle and meet each other. As the night went on, people volunteered to get on stage and play music while some even gave salsa dancing lessons on the side. In a closing remark group 11 says “It felt good to have contributed to something that allowed people to connect with and appreciate each other. I hope strengthening community ties will significantly contribute to sustainability and reduce our energy intake as a society”. Indeed, the power of connections.

EDIT: Great news from the group, photos from their affiliate groups will be posted soon.


“Something resembling such a picture or decoration incomposition, especially in being made up of diverse elements.”
Group 1 Picture
Group 1 and their community partner.

A mosaic can be made of putting many different parts together. Some pieces of art are mosaics. Canada being a pluralistic country is a cultural mosaic. The University of British Columbia with academics gathering from all around the world is a mosaic of knowledge. Life, in all its complexities, can be re-described as a beautiful mosaic of shared experiences. Group 1, contributes to the mosaics of many with their work assessing the land owned in richmond.

A survey map received by group 1.

Group 1 assesses under utilized city owned land in Richmond, BC. They hope to evaluate the land’s potential for agricultural production or other food related purposes. The overall goals of this endeavour could lead to food being produced for the community. The food produced for the community will hopefully alleviate food insecurity within the richmond area in a way that would satisfy the culturally diverse community. The possible future food production and Group 1’s current efforts both contribute to raising the local community’s awareness regarding food security issues. The raised awareness combined with food production would lead to better utilization of the under utilized lands owned by the city of Richmond. The community impact of the results of the land assessments could be monumental in the food system of the mosaic community of richmond.

Converted Land
A display of some converted land.

Currently, Group 1 has about 15 sites that they are surveying. Due to this being a very preliminary stage in the grand scheme of the project, the group will be conducting windshield surveys (surveying the land from a moving vehicle) in the end stages of the project. Overall, as closing thoughts, Group 1 told me that that “learned a lot and gained a lot of insight through the project.” Furthermore adding “May this course (LFS 350) help more students like [us] to clarify their goals and interest”. It seems like this experience will  definitely be a colourful piece in the mosaic of life in the community and students of LFS 350 alike.

– `rtang


Melodious. Tranquil. Balanced.
All terms used to describe harmony, a beautiful combination of different aspects. Group 30 aids in creating this harmony by joining with their community partner, the Squamish First Nations people, to combine hard work with teamwork to build a garden and  communication with experience to build memories.

Plants at the Harmony Garden
Some plants at the Harmony Garden

Group 30 was working with the Squamish First Nations people in their harmony garden. As I dialogued with them, they continued to share about how the experience was meaningful to them and that they were happy to be providing concrete benefits to the community and work alongside some members of the Squamish people. They spent several days tirelessly weeding the garden, planting garlic, and spreading manure “even in the pouring rain”. In rest, they enjoyed the sight of their labour and drank tea steeped from the herbs and fruits right from the very garden they toiled. More exciting still, some group members were given the opportunity to learn how to smoke salmon. Such events added such depth to the project as it formed allowed this team to draw personal memories from the project.

Bench at the Harmony Garden
A bench in the Harmony Gardens

Currently the team intends to finish their CBEL project by making a children’s book and providing research for a cookbook being created by a master’s student also working with the community. They hope their research and book will be “used and reused in the community, spreading knowledge through the generations and creating excitement for learning” in the Harmony Garden and the community leading to more community involvement and growth in the gardens in the years to come. But, for now, the team celebrates the time spent with the community commenting “It added so much meaning to our project as we got to know those who we would be helping and truly connect with the community.” The connection of this group’s members and their CBEL project is just one of many in LFS 350, combined they form perfect. Harmony.

The Harmony Garden
A beautiful day in the Harmony Garden.

– `rtang