This is us!

This is us!

Introductions:

Hi everyone! We’re group 21, and we are working on assessing community kitchens in the Strathcona neighbourhood.

As a group, we are interested generally in working towards the betterment of community health through nutrition and wellness programs.  Between the six of us, our focus in this area varies from food production to working on a more individual basis to community-based health interventions.  Our goals also reflect our differences.   These vary from healthy food production and safety to public food security to creating accessible meal plans.   As our interests and goals are so different, we each created more detailed introductions that outline our perspective on these issues.

Vincent:

Hey! My name is Vincent and I am a third year Nutritional Science Major  focusing on creating nutritional meal plans for people that are experiencing and/or preventing diseases due to malnutrition and food accessibility. In current society, there are still numerous amounts of people that are not aware of the food they are eating which may lead to future diseases. I love cooking and I would love to host workshops to further spread the importance of how to select the correct food and how to prepare it.

Winnie:

Hi everyone! My name is Winnie and I am in my third year majoring in Food, Nutrition, and Health. I am interested in this major because I want to learn more about improving and maintaining health through diet. Health has always been a major concern in our society, and definitely a growing concern amongst my friends and family as we age. I especially enjoy courses required for this major because all the information I have learned can be applicable in real life settings. Although my knowledge may be very limited, it is definitely beneficial that I can provide suggestions related to food choices for my friends and family. Even though I am still unsure of what I want to do with this major, I am confident that I am heading towards the right direction as my interest in food and health continues to grow.

Wen:

Helllloooo! My name is Wen and I’m a fourth year Food Science student. I am interested in learning and researching about food quality and safety related issues. I would also like to know how these issues play a role in relation to the City of Vancouver. I love baking and love reading books!

Rita:

Hi! My name is Rita and I am currently in my fourth year of Global Resource Systems specializing in Global Health and International Nutrition! My real interest in the field is in public health, particularly public mental health, and overall the general relationship between society and health outcomes of different parts of the population.  I love to cook and wish I had more time to do it!

Jeanne:

Hi! I am Jeanne and I am currently a third year student in food and nutritional sciences. My interest in the field is food safety and food nutrition. Food is a great part of our life. Applying my knowledge in food and nutrition to create nutritious and delicious meal plans or help those in need has been one of my career goal. Other than advising others about food nutrition, I would also like to apply the technique and knowledge I have learned in food science to improve food safety in my country.

Stephanie:

I am Stephanie and currently I am in my third year studying nutritional science. I have always been a foodie. Baking has been a great part of my life since I really love making desserts and cakes. Therefore, one of my interests/career goals is to open a healthy dessert shop. I would like to have my own brand of healthy desserts and my target customers would mostly be people who are not able to enjoy normal desserts (e.g. patients suffering from diabetes, obesity) and those who are health-cautious. I would love to incorporate my knowledge in nutrition and health to help people who are in need.

Since our interests are so diverse, we wanted to choose a project that reflected that.  We wanted a project that encompassed our common interests and goals. We chose our project for a variety of reasons.  First, it is addressing food security and health issues at the community level.  Furthermore, it is working towards increasing the access of the population to culturally and nutritionally appropriate local food; thus, promoting positive health outcomes.

From this project, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of food security issues in the City of Vancouver.  This includes where food is prepared for the community and  what access members of the neighbourhood have to that community kitchen.  Also, within the community kitchen, we are interested in what programs are being provided to the members.  This includes programs for specific populations, i.e. access and maintenance of culturally and nutritionally appropriate food.  Also, which business models exist for the community and what opportunities this gives them; this includes creating enterprises with the social entrepreneurial framework, not-for-profit organizations and for-profit businesses.

The objectives of our project are to canvass community kitchens within the Strathcona neighbourhood to evaluate the ease of access to the community kitchen.  This project is in partnership with the City of Vancouver Social Policy Department – Food Strategy Implementation Team.  The City of Vancouver is interested in understanding the current condition of non-city owned community kitchens.  This will allow the city to fund such centres to improve the food security and accessibility within Vancouver. Thus, our project will create recommendations based on the needs of the community kitchen to improve programming and access by the population.  Furthermore, this includes ensuring that the food and equipment accessed is culturally, environmentally and economically appropriate.  This includes assessing the condition of the kitchen i.e. the quality and quantity of the equipment, the space,  and how it meets the specific needs of its neighbourhood.  Moreover, we will evaluate the effectiveness of the current kitchen in providing programming to the community and how to engage the public further.

This project encompasses the idea of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD).  ABCD promotes understanding the existing social and structural resources and how to improve them (Mathie & Cunningham, 477).  This project is based on understanding the resources and needs of community kitchens in Strathcona and so is based on community-involvement to develop future programs.  This theme is also discussed in Ernesto Sirolli’s TED Talk, as he discusses his involvement in “The Esperance Experience” which mobilized community members to create economic development plans (TED Talks).

Works Cited

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

(2012, September).  Ernesto Sirolli: Want To Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen! TED Talks. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen?language=en