Executive Summary

Pacific Community Resource Society (PCRS) provides a wide range of social, health, education, employment, and life skills services to vulnerable people in the greater Vancouver area. The project’s focus was to analyze the spending trends of PCRS, within the April to July time period. With this in mind, we proposed our research question: “How much money is PCRS spending on food and what are the major trends?” Through acquiring these trends and viewing them to be congruent with their values and service principles, PCRS may continue or revise their current food expenditure. Some values and principles PCRS follow include: economic security, community, inclusion, advocacy, cultural enrichment, and empowerment. The PCRS runs a large number of programs, but for the case of this project we focused on analyzing the spending trends of four: the Eagle High Program, Breakfast Club, Kwayatsut and the Broadway Youth Resource Center. Furthermore, by helping PCRS with visualizing their spending trends, the local community also benefits, as the final results may allow the PCRS to make some changes in order to provide a more sustainable and nutritional meal program. Moreover, PCRS has the desire to support a food provider that benefits the community and that matches their values, so as a result, places where they purchase foods may also change according to our findings and recommendations. Our methods to obtain the desired information included us entering the information provided on the receipts obtained and calculating the total amount spent per month for each program as well as the amount spent per month on each food group (fruits & vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, others) for each program. Key limitations included a lack of time and incomplete data.


As we now reflect on our project, we have realized the role (though it may be small) we have played as a group in the PCRS’s larger picture. Through analyzing their financial records and noting trends that appear, we hope to have provided a building block for future projects to come. Our results displayed information previously unknown to the members of the PCRS and allowed them to gain insight into their spendings. This experience, though challenging, was very rewarding because as a group, we were able to collaborate and organize our information together to finish a project we previously had little-to-no idea how to approach.

So what?

With a foundation now laid out for the PCRS, future projects may possibly be built off of our project. Information such as where different programs purchase their products, or what products are purchased the most, can be used as information for future projects. Throughout this project, we were able to understand that there is much more occurring behind the scenes of many community organizations. The importance of receiving funds in order to upkeep a program, and budgeting greatly affect how programs can be run. Though we were not tasked to analyze their budgeting, we hope that this information further provides the PCRS an idea of the amount of money spent within 4 months. As a group, we wish that more trends could have been discovered, but due to limited time, only a few were noted.

Now what?

As this project not only benefits PCRS, but also the local community, we recommend that if this project was to be done again, that time management should be improved, and that groups should factor in time for possible complications that may arise. Projects concerned with finding possible food suppliers which BYRC could partner with and find discounts could be beneficial for the organization. We would also recommend the next group to dive into deeper findings, such as to look at what percentage of spending should be on certain groups or to find out whether the mostly purchased food is fresh or processed.

Updates and Moments of Significant Change

This week, we met our weekly objective of analyzing the divided portions of receipts and inputting the information on an Excel sheet. We will be meeting the next week in order to discuss our findings and organize them accordingly as a group.  With this information, we hope to sort the purchases based on our determined categories (the food groups as stated by the Canadian Food Guide and for which program the food was primarily purchased for are a couple of examples) and eventually create visuals that would be easier for our community partner to interpret. With these visuals, we will point out positive and/or negative aspects that were discovered from the received financial records.

Group 12's reflection on Moments of Significant Change

Group 12’s reflection on Moments of Significant Change

During the previous week, our group participated in the Moment of Significant Change workshop in order to reflect on the events that have occurred during our project. What we all agreed on as the biggest moment of Significant Change was when we visited the Broadway Youth Resource Center. This gave us a greater understanding of how the BYRC ran and allowed us to see for ourselves who we were working for and how our work can affect them. Another significant event was when we initially met with our community partner Andrea and Jocelyn, who worked together with us to gain direction for our project. Their excitement towards this project and passion towards their cause of helping low-income youth also gave us a sense of enthusiasm towards this project. The lowest point we discussed, was perhaps when we were assigned our proposal report and presentation, since these are not the most appealing of tasks. Although it was tough pinning down exactly what direction we wanted to take and how we were going to achieve our objectives, in the end, writing the proposal really helped give direction to the project and as such was also one of our moments of significance. It was both important and useful for the progress of our project to determine our moments of significance in order to continue in the right path for our project and also to determine what we want the end product to be like.

Our group strategy for successfully completing this project consists of continuing to meet our set deadlines, and successful communication amongst each other, and our community partner. We also hope to create visuals and simplify the information in a way that would be easier to understand, rather than Excel files. Once we have simplified the data, we believe it will be easier to determine recurrent trends and start with the final part of our project which will be assembling all our findings and coming up with a conclusion or final statement on the spending trends. We will keep updating on our progress but for now we will simply say hasta la vista!

The Planning Stages


Last week we visited the BYRC, received the financial files from January – April 2014, and gained a greater insight on our project. This week, we met our weekly goal: organizing and distributing the data evenly for all members to work on, and set a new goal of creating deadlines and discussed efficient ways of organizing data. We have done a lot of planning and preparing the past few weeks but this is the first week we are actually implementing what we have planned and diving into analyzing the financial files.

So What?

By creating deadlines and discussing our plan of action, we hope to analyze the files thoroughly and effectively. Deadlines will prompt us to spread out the workload, thus lowering the chances of procrastination and last minute analyzation of the data. As we are tasked to present spending trends, we wish to give the BYRC the best results by spending an adequate amount of time examining their files. We hope that most things go as planned but we do expect some ‘bumps on the road’ as our project unfolds.

Now What?

In the podcast “This American Life” – Poultry Slam 2011: Act 3: Latin Liver, Dan Brown recalls his meeting with Eduardo the geese farmer who raises his geese in their natural environment in order to create foie gras naturally and ethically. In the podcast, Brown mentions his years of attempt in order to recreate the farm Eduardo has established, but failing and resulting to trying new methods each year. As with our project, though we may have an idea of how to approach analyzing the data, it won’t be perfect on the first try. Our attempts at organizing the data may seem complicated and our methods inefficient, but through our attempts we hope to finish with an exceptionally made project. As mentioned in our previous blog as well, we will be seeking assistance from faculty members when we are unsure of our methods.

In the upcoming week we hope to have most of our data organized in order to start noticing trends and move forward with our project. Until next time!

-Group 12

Group 12 Visits Broadway Youth Resource Centre

Hello! We are back with some great updates of our progress in the project. This week was especially important because our community partner gave us a tour of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) facilities. This was very beneficial to all the group members because it gave a better idea of how the center is run and the many programs that running there. Since we will mostly be dealing with numbers, it was nice to see a different side of the center. We felt that a visit would be very beneficial as it would provide insight and a concrete image of everything the centre offers and the services they provide.

Furthermore, we were also given the financial files for the food expenditures between January to April of last year. Through receiving financial files we are now able to start our main objective of analyzing them. In order to do so, we will proceed to one of this week’s objectives: to determine our methods of analyzing the financial information, and how the work will be split up between group members to maximize accuracy and efficiency.

Visiting the Broadway Youth Resource Centre also gave us insight to the amount of youth who depend on the programs and resources they offer. It is exactly relatable to the podcast The Fish Bank where Jensi Sartin talks about Bali’s coral reef and how many people depend on it to live. He mentions that many people just see it as being beautiful and a recreational place but that many locals actually rely on it to feed their family and send their kids to school. The coral reef can be compared to the BYRC, where many youth depend on it to thrive and rely on BYRC’s resources. They depend on it for school, food, shelter, employment, and so much more. This is why our job is so important in helping BYRC analyze their financial trends so that they can make sustainable changes that will only continue to improve the center instead of depleting it like the coral reef in Bali. As Sartin mentions that it is not as it used to be and it is getting depleted, which means that less and less families can live of the coral and are struggling.

So what?

During our visit at the BYRC many members expressed excitement and enthusiasm towards our project, hoping our results will provide major insight to their budgeting and spending. As mentioned in our previous blog post, none of our members have previous knowledge in food marketing analysis. Though this will create some difficulty, our group plans on contacting faculty members or consulting our peers to gain insight on how to analyze financial data. Our visit with the BYRC also provided us information on a few additional partner programs such as LOVE, and the Youth Health and Counselling Clinic. Through witnessing how the BYRC is run, including how food is prepared and served, we also learned the importance of budgeting and managing funds to the BYRC. This insight gave us an understanding of the potential this project has to not only help the BYRC understand their spendings on food, but may also lead to future potential projects to reform their food system. Instead of serving one meal three times a week to a few of those in need and rotating by apartment floor, they may be able to serve hot meals to everyone three times a week.

What’s Next?

Now that we have the financial files, we will begin to work on compiling the data and finding out what we can learn from it by identifying their spending trends, finding out where they buy the ingredients, as well as what type of food do they buy: organic, processed, carbohydrates, meat, among others.

Our upcoming objectives are relatable to “Grandma Mahembe’s Farm” podcast, by Lindiwe Majele Sibanda. In the podcast, Sibanda reminds us of how globalization affects our food choices and therefore, our health. In these days, we often eat outside and consume more of unhealthy food, such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and processed food, resulting in high risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. We are so glad to help BYRC know where they are spending their money on food, so in the future, they will be able to prevent these diseases by cutting down the purchase of unhealthy food and serving more of nutritious and healthier food.

To achieve our upcoming objectives, we will be in contact with our community partner to see if we can ask questions with some of the chefs in charge of the feeding programs. This will be arranged by, either setting up a time to go back to BYRC to conduct an interview or to send questions by e-mail.

We will update again soon with more progress on our project!

-Group 12



Greetings! Before we dive into talking about the project we are involved in and our experiences along the way, we would like to introduce ourselves. We are all LFS 350 students in our third year in the faculty of Land and Food Systems but we come from different programs. Louie, Lillian, and Mariana are in the Nutritional Sciences major. Levina is in Food, Nutrition, and Health major and finally Yidong is in the Applied Biology major. Although we all come from different backgrounds and have different knowledge we all enjoy not only eating delicious food but also learning about the entire food system! We are all excited and ready to take part in this project and we will keep everyone informed on our progress and experiences along the way.


The Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) is a community which provides hundreds of meals throughout the week at their Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC). Our primary goal for this project is to help analyze their spending trends and provide insight on the type of food most proceeds are spent towards. This would be a great opportunity to suggest local markets which sell healthy produce and give a variety of options for the PCRS to choose where they wish to purchase their food.


As a group, we chose this project with hopes of discovering different aspects within the food industry. We hope that through this project, we will further our understand of how to analyze and create reports based on large amounts of financial information along with creating reports on food trends. Though this may not be our strong point, we hope that this project will enhance our understanding of food marketing and business.


“Spending Trends at Pacific Community Resources Society” is an interesting project for us because it is different from the other projects. While most are working on projects focused on the impact of food and nutrition, our project delves deeper into food market analyses. As mentioned above, our goals for this project are to determine current food purchasing trends within the PCRS, as well as giving suggestions as to where they may purchase healthy and local food within their budget, and hopefully the source of this food shares the same views with PCRS (such as companies who provide a living wage).

Unfortunately, none of us are majoring in food market analysis and experienced with finance and marketing, so this is a hurdle we, as a group, must overcome. However, based on the principle of Assets Based Community Development (ABCD), it is more important to appreciate and focus on what assets we have, rather than worrying about what we lack. We may not have much experience with compiling financial data, but we understand the ultimate goal of PCRS is to find out where they are currently spending on food, plus we also have knowledge on the components of healthy and sustainable food.

Another asset for our project is the fact that we have a great community partner representative, Andrea Mears, who we met the past Wednesday. Based off of our meeting, it is evident that Andrea is as excited as we are to work on this project and she has a passion to make a change in the community through her work with PCRS and through food. We believe that such assets can guide us to achieve our goals.

Looking back at Sirolli’s TED Talk, he teaches us that we never succeed on our own. In other words, we always need help from others. In context of our project, the communication between team members and also with our community partner is mandatory. Tying all this up, we believe this project will allow us to gain positive experience through working with PCRS, more specifically BYRC, and gaining new skills.

Next up, we will be getting a tour of BYRC and be able to talk to those in charge of food preparation and purchasing!