Farewell

Welcome Back! 

As the semester continues, we have finished collecting and analyzing the information from both Thunderbird and Grandview Elementary and have started working on our infographic and final reports. One step left – success is just around the corner!

Image by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

A Moment of Significance 

WHAT?

Over the last two weeks, we had to organize all the information we had found into an infographic to present at a poster presentation. This presentation invited members of the community, the LFS 350 teaching team and any straggler students into the mix. The infographic had to synthesize all of our methods, results and significance into an attractive layout. However, there was so much more than just the infographic – we had to engage with our stakeholders, instructors and other students to explain our project and why it was important. This was a daunting task, especially when at times we were not completely sure how big of a role we played in the overall project. While we knew the objective from Farm to School, we also had work to do to define to ourselves why we thought their initiative was important.

SO WHAT?

Image by Maklay62 via Pixabay

Although we were a little unsure at first, this presentation gave us the opportunity to understand our purpose a little bit better. With every new person we explained the project to, we understood even better for ourselves why we did this. They were able to give us insights that we did not have and help us build on our thoughts. Talking to people, we realized just how important it was that this was an Indigenous Foodscape and not just a school garden. Not only does this garden get to bring youth closer to their food, they get to be a part of food they have never seen before. They get to learn in different ways, ways that are more interconnected and holistic. By having garden beds that do not just plant one or two things but try to utilize their different components to grow together, students can understand that agriculture should work as a connected system. These ideas are so important to movements such as agroecology, which depends on an interconnected system of agriculture that closes a loop of inputs and outputs (Altieri, 2004).

The presentation session attracted many other students and faculty members, giving them an opportunity to learn about the different community-based projects that we, LFS 350 students, participated in. This allowed them to develop a better understanding of the major themes we had been covering throughout the semester – community food security and food justice issues for instance. By holding this presentation, we were able to spread what we learned from both lecture material and our community-based project to the local community and enable more people to become involved in our local food system.

NOW WHAT?

Taking our learnings from the presentation, we are able to improve our ideas and integrate them into our final report. We can move forward with our project, even clearer in our purpose and what to do next. But even beyond that, understanding why this initiative is so important helps us see what kind of initiatives we think will be important in moving forward. Seeing how this initiative improves food literacy in a way that not only brings people back to their land, but also emphasizes holistic relationships in such a simple way, opens up our own minds to what we could do.  However, just as we saw in this project, there is a lot of work that goes on to implement these initiatives. What we did was just preliminary work, yet it was still time-consuming and took a team of students to complete.

 

References:

Altieri, M. A. (2004). Linking ecologists and traditional farmers in the search for sustainable agriculture. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2(1), 35-42. 

Images:

Puzzle image by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

So what image by Maklay62 via Pixabay

Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

Hello again! 

With the completion of both walking tours, our group has been busy sorting through all our data and putting together our multimedia reports for Farm to School. Join us below for an update on our progress!

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Image by waldryano via pixabay

WEEKS 9 & 10

  • Organize the information we collected from Thunderbird Elementary and Grandview Elementary
  • Complete the Farm to School reports for each elementary school we visited based on the feedback we received during the second F2S meeting
  • Begin designing the infographic for the final project
  • Begin drafting the final report for the project
Achievements
  • Attended the second F2S meeting on March 5th and presented our draft reports
  • Decided the requirements and the format for the F2S report
  • WEEKS 11 & 12

  • Finish the final version of the infographic and give final presentation in the Nest on March 26th
  • Complete the report for F2S to help construct Indigenous landscapes by March 21th
  • Achievements
  • Coming Up!
  • Moment of Significant Change 

    Last week we took part in a very interesting workshop. We were told to first, on our own, draw out a timeline of all the significant moments of this course, then to draw out how we thought our knowledge/skill level had increased through the weeks and how our mood changed through the weeks.

    Here are the results:

    Linda: Personally, as shown by the green lines in the graphs, I have a fairly steady and slow growth in skill and knowledge after the first week of the term. My emotion status is also fairly stable throughout the term.

    For the skill and knowledge graph, I depicted it to have a quick growth at the beginning of term since it was not only the time of learning, but also the time for the learned or hibernated knowledge to revive and become active again under stimulation. When reading through the syllabus and the course outline of the class I was able to identify many familiar key concepts. I managed to dig around my memory to refresh them by reviewing notes or searching through online literatures. After that, during the weekly lectures, tutorials and project process, the learning process slowed down since there were always large amounts of information being put on the table and would be overwhelming from time to time. The absorption and understanding of knowledge, as well as the grasping and mastering of skills takes time through repetition and practice. Therefore, the progress might be slow, but it definitely exists and is important.

    For the emotion graph, the green line is fairly flat and stable within a neutral emotion range because I find it reasonable to stay calm under normal circumstances and it is a habit for me to not get too emotional and keep my pace if there is no emergency.

    Vivian: Looking at the orange lines, I began the course a little unsure about what exactly our community project would be about and what would be expected from us. Fortunately, our first meeting with Farm to School was able to clear everything up and even piqued my interest about the project! Not only did I gain a better understanding about my role within the project, but I was also able to learn about the goals of the Indigenous Foodscapes project and how Farm to School plans on achieving these goals. However, as schoolwork and midterms started piling up, I began to feel increasingly more stressed about meeting all the deadlines set for the course itself, as well as for our community project. Despite this, I was still able to learn a lot about creating my online presence through these blog posts.

    Having attended the walking tour after the Moment of Significant Change workshop, I can say that the tour has definitely increased my knowledge about native plants and traditional food knowledge. Learning about all this from Lori has helped revive my interest towards completing the elementary school reports by inspiring me to learn more about the various plants that we have encountered during the tour!

    Siven: As seen by the blue line in the graph, I was very excited and curious about the new semester at the beginning. I wanted to be involved in an interesting project and was looking forward to having our first meeting with F2SVA to discuss our future project. At the same time, my knowledge and skills were at lower levels and I had no idea about what the course and the project would be about. As the course went on, I have learned many professional knowledge about our local food system, such as the connection between gender and food. There were some fun but helpful activities and discussions in tutorial sessions which helped me better understand the content of the course. My skills have also improved and developed by visiting the elementary school and learning to design our own blogs. However, because of the busy work and crowded deadlines, I sometimes felt down while doing the assignments and projects, and was also worried about upcoming events. I believe that being positive is critical to a successful project, so I will plan everything ahead and try to accomplish my daily objectives on time.

    Jessica: My trajectory is the pink one in the graph. In terms of mood – I started off a little uneasy and unsure of what was even going on in this course. Then we had our first meeting with our community partner, and I got excited. I love the project and the concept, and I was excited to work. However, as the weeks went on I was less excited and more unsure. Now it wasn’t because of the project – just school was becoming overwhelming and I knew I didn’t have all the time i wanted to dedicate to this project. It’s been a struggle, especially with each additional component because if I felt like I had time I would be so excited and happy to be working on this. I know that this project will continue to have difficulties, but I’m sure by the end I will feel very content in what we’ve accomplished. In terms of skill and knowledge I feel like this course has helped me grow a lot. Every week we have a new reading or lecture that makes me question how our food system needs to address social justice (a favorite was Ron Finley’s Ted Talk However, the more I learn the more I don’t know what to do. There is so much to consider when making real change that I didn’t think of before, and it makes this all very daunting to approach – I don’t know how my knowledge is really turning into skills. 

    The Graceful Dismount

    As we reach the end of this journey, time is getting tight between all our other classes and this. Even within the course we’re submitting separate papers and trying to keep up with readings and everything outside of this project! So, in order to successfully complete this project we’ve come up with a few things.

    Image by Nick Youngson via Creative Commons Images

  • First, we’ve made a timeline of due dates and when we want to get things done. The bolded dates are dates set out by the course, the others are deadlines we’ve set for ourselves.
    Task Date
    Compile a draft of our report for F2SVA Wed March 14th
    Begin outlining an infographic for our final presentation Fri March 16th
    Meet in person + work on our infographic and report Mon March 19th
    Finish the report for F2SVA to help plan the foodscape, send it and receive feedback Wed March 21st
    Finish the infographic – start to compile information from proposal and infographic for our final report Fri March 23rd
    Present to fellow students in the AMS Nest utilizing an infographic on what we’ve accomplished this  term March 26th
    Go on a final garden walk with Lori, our Indigenous Foodscape Coordinator Week of March 28th-April 4th (Date tba)
    Meet and work on our final report Mon April 2
    Hand in a final report on what we’ve accomplished April 8

    Secondly, we will continue communicating frequently with Sam, Lori, and the respective teachers from Thunderbird Elementary and Grandview Elementary. Our final report for F2SVA has to be right for them – including all the information about the assets they have as well as what they need to build more. By asking them for feedback we can ensure that we have all the information they are looking for. We will incorporate the feedback provided by them to produce two reports that will be of use to the F2S team. To successfully complete the project, we have all agreed to follow the timeline above and to maintain constant communication and cooperation between group members. We will also continue to respect each other’s opinion and to include everyone’s strengths into our work.

    The last and final thing to be successful in our mind, is to end things with our community partner in a positive and respectful manner. They are arranging a final walk with us and Lori, possibly in UBC where we will get to learn more about the Indigenous plants around the area. We will be using that time to show our gratitude, as well as following up with them to make sure they are happy with everything.

    We are very excited to see what comes next. Our last meeting with the community partners went very well and they gained new ideas on how to build on this project in the future. It is amazing to see what the groups accomplished and how we are leaving an impact.

    Images:

  • Achievement image by waldryano.
    Strategy image by Nick Youngson.

Project Proposal + Progress

Welcome back!

The past few weeks we’ve been putting our community project into action. We had to create a project proposal to put all of our plans down on paper. Here is our Project Proposal for your perusal. We’ve gotten a good start down the road of our project, but we’ve still got quite a journey ahead of us. 

Image from Pixabay

The journey so far has been interesting – now that we are actually starting to tour the school gardens and do the actual work, things are not going quite as expected. Now you might be wondering, what exactly have we done so far? In this blog we’ll be outlining our achievements so far, what has been particularly challenging and what is up next for us.

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Image from Pixabay

WEEKS 3 & 4

      • Attend the first F2S meeting at the VSB Education Centre
Achievements
      • Introduced ourselves to Sam and Lori
      • Signed up for walking tours at Thunderbird Elementary and Grandview Elementary
      • Completed the first draft for Blog Post #1

WEEKS 5 & 6

      • Attend the walking tour at Thunderbird Elementary on February 7th
      • Begin organizing data gathered during the tour at Thunderbird Elementary
      • Complete the project proposal report
Achievements
        • Attended the walking tour at Thunderbird Elementary and recorded qualitative and quantitative data through audio recording and photographs
        • Completed and revised our project proposal report 

WEEKS 7 & 8

        • Attend the walking tour at Grandview Elementary on March 1st
        • Begin organizing data gathered during the tour at Grandview Elementary
        • Begin compiling data from the two walking tours into separate multimedia reports
Achievements
          • Coming up!

A Moment of Significance 

What?

Image of Thunderbird Elementary’s front entrance

Within our team, we all agreed the most significant moment that has occurred during the course so far was the first walk-through at Thunderbird Elementary. Going back to before the first meeting with the Farm to School team, we were all a bit confused about the project and didn’t know exactly how to approach it. However, by listening and asking questions during the meeting with our F2S coordinators, Sam and Lori, we were able to develop a clearer picture of the project. Through this initial meeting, we were able to gain a better understanding of what our project would be about and how we, as LFS 350 students, are able to contribute to the overall Indigenous Foodscapes project conducted by F2S. Connected to the lecture, constructing indigenous foodscape is critical to our local food system as it represents indigenous people and culture. We learned about F2S’s visions and goals and had a vision of how to approach it, but did not know exactly what would happen during the walk-through. 

 

The insect hotel created with SPEC for the students (separate from our project)

When we were first told about our role in the project, we felt that the workload would be quite light. Having attended the first school tour, we realized that things weren’t exactly as expected.  Our tour was a unique one in that the students were a part of our tour. The tour was guided much more towards their learning than our project. So it made it hard to record everything we needed. In addition, the raining weather also increased the difficulties of data recording. Afterwards we did a brief walk-through in the area that they could plant in, plus a lunch time meeting with teachers, but the experience was overall very different than we expected. 

So what?

Image from Pixabay

This project is going to be a challenge, especially when things don’t go as planned. However, the Indigenous Foodscapes project provides a chance for us to learn multiple skills including interpersonal communication, data collection, and the creation of multimedia reports. After learning about the ultimate goal of the project, we are delighted to be able to take part in such a small, but critical component of the project. Similar to tiny gears in an enormous and complicated machine, our contributions may seem small, but it plays a significant role in the overall project. Although we were taken by surprise by the experience we had during our first tour, we are able to learn from that opportunity and adequately prepare for our second walking tour. 

Now what?

Image from Pixabay

Learning from the first tour, we can improve our experience at the next walking tour at Grandview Elementary by becoming more familiar with the key themes of the project. Additionally, we can prepare more questions in order to obtain more accurate and detailed information about the school’s assets and needs. Because of uncertain factors from the schools, such as gardening sites and compost stations, we can actively keep in touch with the teachers to receive updated data.

Upcoming Objectives

OBJECTIVE 1

          • Complete multimedia reports for both Thunderbird Elementary and Grandview Elementary
Strategies
            • Organize data collected from the two walking tours and put them into an easy-to-read format
            • Compile a list of plants or structural needs for each of the two elementary schools

OBJECTIVE 2

            • Attend the second F2S meeting on March 5th and present our draft multimedia reports
Strategies
              • Arrive early to the meeting and be prepared to present our reports to the F2S team

OBJECTIVE 3

              • Begin drafting the final report and infographic
Strategies
                • Find and become familiar with an infographics program
                • Integrate feedback from Sam and Lori into our final reports

 

Starting Our Journey Into Community Engagement

” An Indigenous Foodscape is not only a physical space, but a cultural and social space to share knowledge… ” – Lori Snyder F2SVA

Hello and welcome to our blog!

We are a group of four LFS 350 students embarking on a journey of community engagement with Farm to School Vancouver area (F2SVA) in the Indigenous Foodscapes Project. Through the Indigenous Foodscape project, F2SVA hopes to connect young children to both the community and the food system as a whole. Follow us on our adventure as we try to help F2SVA foster food sovereignty and literacy in the minds of young children.

Image by Nick Youngson via creative commons

The objective of the Indigenous Foodscapes Project is to expose children to native plant species by introducing and incorporating traditional food knowledge into school curriculum. By creating an indigenous foodscape on the school grounds, students are given the opportunity to learn and share traditional and cultural knowledge. Furthermore, F2SVA aims to promote collaboration – not only between students, teachers and community members, but also between people and native plant species.

The objective of the project, for us as LFS students, is to document the planning process between Lori, our indigenous foodscapes coordinator, and the teachers from participating schools. We are essentially the “eyes and ears” for the F2SVA team as they figure out the most effective way to incorporate native plant species and school gardens into school yards.

Community Organization

Farm to School BC (F2SBC), established in 2007, is a provincial network that cooperates with local communities and schools to promote and support schools in building comprehensive Farm to School programs. As a part of F2SBC, Farm to School BC – Vancouver Area Hub (F2SVA) focus on contributing to the Farm to School programs in Vancouver area. By developing a series of Farm to School projects, F2SVA has improved school and community connectedness, supported sustainable regional food systems, and provided hands-on learning experience for students.

Meet the Team!

Hi everyone, my name is Jessica Wong and I am studying Food Nutrition and Health. I am passionate about food more than anything else. I love cooking, baking, eating (of course) and just learning more about food. I am a person who enjoys connecting with people (my second passion is theatre – all about telling the stories of people) I love how food connects us – it connects us with our own cultures, other people’s cultures, stories, experiences; food is universal yet so different for everyone. People can learn through food in ways you can’t from reading a book or taking a course, and it can be so personal. My dream is to connect what I have learned at UBC with real food; I want to work with restaurants or bakeries to educate people through food.

 

Hi! My name is Vivian Chung and I am currently majoring in Food, Nutrition and Health. Apart from constantly being on the hunt for new restaurants, I also enjoy travelling and baking. I have always been interested about the idea of healing through food and how food can be used to prevent the onset of certain diseases. Along with my love for travelling, I enjoy being able to experience and taste foods from different cultures around the world. Personally I find it interesting to see how food can connect us to our own cultures as well as people from other cultures.

 

 

Hi! I’m Xu (Siven) Li, a third-year student studying Food and Nutritional Sciences. Besides being passionate about food, I also love traveling. I enjoy meeting people from different regions sharing their unique stories. I enjoy tasting various food (especially traditional cuisine) from different cultures. I had a lot fun exploring what people eat on the journey. What most appeals to me is the strong connection among people, cultures and foods. 

 

 

My name is Linda/Liwen Ling, third year applied biology major in Land and Food System and specialization in food and environment. Besides food and cooking, I enjoy listening to people talk, to learn from every unique conversation and get fascinated by the complexity and diversity of people’s minds. Personally in the far future, I would like to take a profession involves both biology and education so to show the beauty of lives and nature to more people, especially the young generations.

 What We Wish to Gain

Image by woxandapix via pixabay

Jessica: This project is very interesting to me, because it connects people with their food in seeing it grow and being a part of its creation. The fact that the farm to school project focuses on Indigenous Foodscapes is particularly interesting; it is such a good way to help young students learn about culture and respect for land. My goals for this project are to gain a better understanding of indigenous food systems, and to understand how asset based community development looks in action. It is one thing to read about it, it is another to participate it and understand how it can be applied in the real world. That is generally what I want to gain from LFS 350 – we get so much real life experience in  this course and a huge opportunity to put our learning into action and see it in context. I hope these experiences make it clearer to me how the knowledge we have gained can make a positive impact on the world.

Vivian: One of the reasons I chose to do this project was because I wanted to learn more about Indigenous Foodscapes and their connection with the community. Growing up, I have not had much experience with native plants and traditional foods, so I thought that it was great how F2S aimed to introduce Indigenous Foodscapes to children at young ages. I was also drawn to the idea of being able to take part in producing a “living library” and an outdoor learning space for students. I think that having a different classroom setting will benefit students by allowing them to gain hands on experience in the production native plants.

Siven: I chose Farm to School project because I want to help the children learn more about local food and obtain some hands-on experience. In LFS250, I held a tea-making workshop in elementary school to introduce local herbs to help children recognize local food from their schoolyard farm. The workshop lets me realize the importance of developing schoolyard farm and leading the youth to understand the native species. Through this F2S project, I hope I can help the youth to be involved in our local food system, and contribute to the “Indigenous Foodscapes” in elementary school by collecting the data and planning the school garden construction. At the same time, I want to gain more hands-on experience related to our local food system to better develop food literacy and skills.

Linda: By choosing this “Farm-to-School BC: Indigenous Foodscapes in Vancouver Public Schools” project, I look forward to involve in the process of building native plant gardens in Vancouver schools. I like to see the application of classroom knowledge into real life situations and to help people to make more comprehensive and efficient planning decisions. Also through this project I hope to observe the interaction and communication between VSB and schools, and to learn how to find the common ground between different parties, and to work with various perspectives.

After the meeting with the coordinator of the project Samantha Gambling and Lori Snyder on Jan. 22nd, I got a clearer picture of structure and objectives of this F2S project. As a LFS350 student we are expected to be a witness of this “indigenous Foodscapes” project and provide information to help the VSB make decision on funding allocation. Thus my goal for this project will be to record and organize all detail information related to the planning of the native gardens and present them in a thorough and concise manner to the VSB in order to support the development of “indigenous Foodscapes” in Vancouver area hub.

First Impressions of the Process

Image by TeroVesalainin via Pixabay

Going into the meeting room for this, we were unclear as to what we were doing and a little scared as we know nothing about indigenous foodscapes or how to plan a garden. However, once we dove into discussion we found out that it does not matter what we know – it is about listening to what the teachers know and what Lori Snyder (our Indigenous Foodscapes Coordinator) knows and looking at what the land is there.

Discussing what the project entailed with Samantha Gambling (our main contact in F2SVA) and Lori really did remind me of the themes of Asset Based Community Development. Asset Based Community Development moves away from a needs based approach and works with the people in communities to help make change happen (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). To do this, people identify the strengths in the community and the potential in it which drives more local and context specific development (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). Our job in this project is to “shut up and listen” to what the teachers wanted and use that information to help them build the garden – just as Ernesto Sirolli talked about in a Ted Talk in 2012 (TED, 2012). In this talk, Ernesto Sirolli asserts that the most effective way to support those you work with is to listen to what they actually want (TED, 2012). There are so many ideas out there, sometimes it is up to us just to come up with a plan of how they can be used. We are not going there to come up with a garden ourselves, we are going to record the information Lori gives us about what the land has to offer, record what ideas the teachers have and take pictures of what the land looks like to create a report of what could be done.  We are not making one same garden for all the schools, the land is really being taken into account.

This project is also exciting for how it may help empower youth in their understanding of food systems. Food justice involves this empowerment, making students question their existing food system by involving them in it could help future changes (Allen, 2008). This project attacks two pillars of food justice – “designing exchange mechanisms that build communal reliance and control” and “creating innovative ways to control, use, share, own, manage and conceive of land, and ecologies in general, that place them outside the speculative market and the rationale of extraction” (LFS 350, 2017). In first teaching children how to cultivate gardens for themselves, they become aware of their food in a different way beyond seeing it in stores. It makes them realize their own capabilities in working with the land. Also, using Indigenous Foodscapes specifically helps create a new conception and understanding of the land.

This project is a very interesting one, and we wish we could help it grow beyond just these planning stages. However, to learn from the expertise of people and help them create their vision is a very exciting prospect. We can not wait to see where this project will take us.

 

References:

Allen, P. (2008). Mining for justice in the food system: Perceptions, practices, and possibilities. Agriculture and Human Values, 25(2), 157-161. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-008-9120-6

Farm to School BC (2018). History. Retrieved from:  https://farmtoschoolbc.ca/about-us/history/

Mathie, A., & Cunningham, G. (2003). From clients to citizens: Asset-based community development as a strategy for community-driven development. Development in Practice, 13(5), 474-486.

LFS 350 (2017). Session 2 – Food Justice + Asset-Based Community Development [Course Notes]. Retrieved from http://lfs350.landfood.ubc.ca/session-notes/term-1-session-notes/session-2/

TED. (2012, Nov 26), Ernesto Sirolli:Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM

Images:

Header image by Jessica Lewis

Objectives image by Nick Youngson

Vision image by woxandapix

Thought bubble image by TeroVesalainin