Our first objective for this week is to contact and survey the final kitchen. We had been having trouble contacting the target kitchen and we will do more research to find another one. The second objective is to input the data into the survey bank. The third objective is to share our reflections with each other in order to identify themes from our surveys. this will help us to make generality about the assets and needs of the kitchens in Strathcona.
Our achievement for this week is that we interviewed five kitchens. This is particularly significant for our team because we had made large stride in contacting kitchens since last week. We really enjoyed surveying the kitchens because we had the opportunities to observe the impact of the kitchens on the communities, just as what we had discuss in class. This reminds us how Ron Finley built a community garden to educate the youths and positively influence the whole community (Finley, 2013). This is quite similar to community kitchens as they both provide food, though in different ways to support the community.
In visiting our community kitchens, it also became apparent to us the issue in the neighbourhood around access to food and how important community kitchens are in addressing that need. The managers of the kitchens expressed to us how vital improving access to appropriate food was for the health of the community. In Tristram Stuart’s TED Talk, he discussed how creating more access for people to the food that we currently produce, through diminishing food waste, is a vital step in achieving global food security (Stuart, 2012). With regards to our project, this is essentially what we are trying to achieve on a more local scale: our goal is to canvass the community to assess their wants and needs around food access through the medium of community kitchens.
We started the term having very little expectations and knowledge about the contents of the course until we were given further information. We began to get more excited when we met up with our community partner Sarah Carten, where we got captivated by her enthusiasm and opportunities to explore the community. During that period of time, we had a very clear vision of our project by making a very flexible schedule on when and how to finish this project. However, little did we know, realistically we had to contact the community partners starting from the day that we received the contact information. Moreover, it was hard to schedule both our community partner and our own free time to meet up due to other factors such as midterms and projects. By that time, we realized that we were very behind, we did not have any community partners scheduled by week 7 and this the time where we were both stressed and frustrated of what to do next. After week 7, we had a group meeting to discuss our progress and we proposed an alternate plan where we split up into pairs to locate and communicate with assigned community partners. Within a week, we had 4 community partners surveyed and scheduled the other 2 community partners to be surveyed. During our third group meeting, we re-evaluated our progress and surprisingly we made significant progress.The moments of significance for this week was that lots of progress had been achieved: we surveyed five kitchens and we tried to contact the last one.
We split up into pairs to contact and search for community kitchens. Pairs were assigned according to their availabilities. We found that pairs were more efficient than having one person to contact all the kitchens since they can be more focused on the kitchens they are responsible for. Also, each pair would search for more than 2 kitchens at a time so that we had backup plans if the two targeted kitchens were not available. Moreover, we did not only book appointments on Wednesdays, but also on other weekdays or whenever the community kitchen coordinators were available. This allowed us to be more flexible and thus more productive. In addition, our group made a spreadsheet to record the details of our visited kitchens. This fostered better communication between group members and ensured that we did not overlap with each other. To complete the project successfully, we will continue the data collection and analyses process in pairs. Furthermore, communication will be vital to decide on generalities for community kitchens in the Strathcona area. We are going to meet and discuss the progress of our project regularly to set micro-deadlines that will be kept.
Finley, R. (2013, Feb), A guerilla gardener in South Central LA. TED Talk. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la/transcript?language=en
Stuart, T. (2012, May). The Global Food Waste Scandal. TED Talk. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/tristram_stuart_the_global_food_waste_scandal?language=en