I have always wondered what the real purpose of hosting a farewell party is. Most people I’ve asked believe that it’s for everyone to say their last goodbyes before the person leaves. Although that may technically be the case, I believe that be it for work, family or friends, farewell parties are a celebration of the person’s journey so far. It highlights all the relationships built, all the challenges faced, and all the lessons learnt by this individual in a particular setting. Rather than signifying the end of a journey it acknowledges his/her success and progress in this journey – a better job, a better home, the next stage in life. Similarly, this last blog is a highlight of our success, as a team and as individuals, on this project as well as an illustration of the knowledge we have gained that we will carry with us as we continue in our journeys.

Executive Summary

In collaboration with the Food Strategy Implementation Team at the City of Vancouver’s Social Policy department, us students from the University of British Columbia conducted field visits and interviews with supervisors of publicly accessible kitchens, in West End Vancouver. This neighbourhood comprises of Davie village, home to the city’s LGBT community, as well as Robson and Alberni streets that showcase high-end retail stores. However, the neighbourhood also has a higher percentage of population living below the poverty line, compared to the city, making them vulnerable to food insecurity. The objective of this study was to assess the type, use and condition of publicly accessible kitchens and, based on the findings, make appropriate recommendations to support kitchen programming that may be implemented as an approach to address food security issues in the community. In person interviews were conducted with kitchen supervisors, at four different facilities, using a survey including questions in regards to the use, management and equipment condition. Collected data was compiled using Microsoft Excel and analyzed using bar graphs. Analysis of the results showed that all the community kitchens surveyed offered different programs for the community. Three out of four kitchens allowed kitchen access only to designated volunteers and staff members. While only two out of the four kitchens were fully equipped to support programming in the community. This suggests that community kitchens closely monitor the changing needs of their neighbourhood in order to appropriately cater to its needs. Also, opening kitchen access to the public may encourage more community members to participate in kitchen programs. Lastly, funding may aid kitchens to expand their infrastructure and afford appropriate equipment for use in kitchen programs. Nevertheless, it must be considered whether community kitchens serve as long or short term solutions to food insecurity. Are there other aspects of the food system such as government policies or food production which may play a role in decreasing the prevalence of food insecurity?


As our community kitchen project has come to an end, we have successfully collected the necessary data. We did, however, experience some challenges contacting facilities and arranging meetings.  Consequently, we visited four kitchens instead of six (like we had originally planned).This being said, the four kitchens we did visit provided us with some valuable information. We obtained a wide range of responses which demonstrated the diverse needs of certain community kitchens. It is our hope that the results we obtained will be of use to our community partners.

So What?

Our findings are important because they provide an alternate lense to look through, helping us to understand the complexity of community kitchens. It is possible that through our data, we will contribute some knowledge and varying perspectives to the existing literature. Because our research is specific to the West End of Vancouver, it serves as a case study that may provide insight for those looking to gain more information on the issue.


Why else is this important? Why should people care?

Although we surveyed a small sample size which may not be representative of the entire Vancouver community, our research can be used to outline how some community kitchens are currently operated. Our analysis will give more information about the factors that are working for kitchens, others that are not and the reasons why. Our research and analysis will then direct the development of possible programming and help support kitchens in ways that are appropriate for meeting the needs of communities.

Now what?

Now, we need to analyze the data and produce a final report about our findings. This is the most challenging part of the whole process. It will require teamwork and cooperation from the entire group to complete this task. We will have to develop a report that correctly reflects our experience and clearly states the main findings. The report will be reviewed by our community partners, so it needs to be of good quality and appropriate. Ideally, everyone’s questions will be answered and the community partners will be able to use this information to further enhance their current knowledge about community kitchens. In the future, our findings may be used to implement more community programming in the West End. Hopefully, this project will have a positive impact and make a difference in the way food insecurity is handled in Vancouver.

The community kitchen project was a good experience and a good example of collective action. Students had the opportunity to collaborate with community stakeholders to tackle the issue of food insecurity in neighborhoods. This gave us a chance to develop many skills that will be useful in our future careers. Time management is an important skill that we learned throughout this journey. We also learned to persevere and work together as a group, regardless of the circumstance. We learned to identify the positives in both the high and low moments. One of the most important skills is to be able to reach the expectations and be accountable.


We hope you have enjoyed reading all our blogs and until we cross paths again – “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye” (The Sound of Music, 1965).

Final Sale

Ever walked in and out of a clothing store, in a jiffy, absolutely sure about your purchase? I have not. In fact, choosing the store seems like a million dollar question already. Once I have become a millionaire, it’s about choosing the outfit. But there are always so many options – so many styles, and sizes and colours and prices. The number one question to myself in the dressing room is, “Should I buy this?” Usually, this uncertainty lessens when I know that the store has a refund or return policy. But nothing scares me more than the bold and red FINAL SALE tag on the item. Indirectly, that tag indicates that if I am unsatisfied with my decision, after the purchase, I will be stuck with the outfit and the bill. Should I still buy it? – Uncertain group member

Similarly, we have faced varying degrees of uncertainty, on a more serious scale of course, throughout our community projects. So far, we have successfully completed two kitchen visits. The first, was at the Diamond Centre for Living – a very beautiful facility resembling a character filled house.

Character home kitchen 1st Kitchen Visit

Being the first visit, there was a lot of nervousness around how the process would flow. But the butterflies soon flew away as we got to meet the kitchen manager. He made us feel very comfortable and was well prepared for our meeting. After what we thought was a smooth interview, we were given a tour of the kitchen which allowed us to make our observations as well as connect some of the things that were discussed earlier. The experience built a clearer picture of the project in our minds as we left with feelings of awe.

Filled with a higher level of confidence, we embarked on our second visit. We had made the call and gotten a time that was convenient for the agency. However, when we contacted the director to confirm the appointment, the director postponed the meeting to a later time on the decided day. Still excited about the visit, we arrived at the place. But upon arrival, we were informed that the director was engaged in prior commitments. With heavy hearts, we decided to wait but thoughts of uncertainty had already begun to conquer our minds – that is, whether we would have to leave without interviewing the director. After a long wait, she invited us into her office for the interview but she had very limited amount of time to offer. On one hand, we were delighted to being able to interview her but on the other, we were uncertain about the quality of the interview and the opportunity to take a tour of the kitchen. Thankfully, she was very cooperative and gave us enough information in the short amount of time. Also, she let us tour the kitchen, although independently, after our quick but successful interview.

2nd Kitchen Visit

In the end, things may not have gone as planned but we were able to accomplish what we had set out to.

Our variety of experiences, during these visits, have made it clear that, as a group, we are on the same page and have given us insight on how to proceed. We have realized that breaking down larger tasks into smaller tasks, makes the challenge much less daunting. Entering the next few weeks, our main objective is to complete the rest of our kitchen visits efficiently and adequately. After which, we hope to organize and analyze the full set of data in a manner that can be presented to our peers, teachers, kitchen administration, and community partners. Also, we are determined to maintain a strong communication within our group in regards to our perspectives on the progress much like the activity we had at the workshop in our tutorial last week.

During the workshop, we personally reflected on our moments of significance and came to similar conclusions. One of our major moments of achievements was successfully scheduling and completing our first visit.

LFS 350 - Blog Post Picture

Since, it had been very difficult to connect with the person in charge for many of the facilities, being able to schedule and actually conduct an interview was a big step for us as a group. The actual interview was very interesting, enlightening, and we were very fascinated being a part of the project. In addition, it was strongly encouraging for the group members who did not go to the first visit, especially since we had encountered huge roadblocks in terms of contacting kitchens. It had finally begun to feel that there was actually some light at the end of the tunnel.

Although, there lingers a huge uncertainty about whether we will be able to successfully contact four more kitchens, in the limited amount of time left, and that one wrong decision may cost us much more than a shopping bill, we will continue in our efforts. Since we believe that now we hold a better understanding of how uncertainties may occur, it is our goal to deal with them even more proficiently. We aspire to continue expanding our knowledge and become more confident exercising our skills throughout any uncertainties that may arise within each visit. So bring on the final sale!

Detour Ahead – Enjoy the Ride!

In the first few days after moving to Vancouver, my dad and I decided to explore the city, starting with Granville Island. Being new to the city streets, we decided to use the “Google Maps” application on my smartphone for directions. Two minutes in, my dad missed a turn and the GPS rerouted. Another couple minutes later, we hit some construction and the GPS rerouted again. On the new route, we faced some temporary road blocks so the GPS rerouted AGAIN. After a bunch of detours we eventually got to Granville Island, but by that time my frustration knew no bounds and I had developed feelings of dislike for the streets of Vancouver. The very same night, we were invited for dinner to a friend’s place where he asked us about the areas in Vancouver we had explored. Unknowingly, I started listing all the things we saw on our detour to Granville Island.  That’s when I realized that sometimes it’s not just about getting to your destination – it’s also about the journey. On our detour, my dad and I had the opportunity to see some different neighbourhoods and events taking place in the city. Not to mention, the beautiful scenery that accompanied the drive, the extra time I got to spend with dad before he left for Toronto, and that persistence and adaptation to changes (at least by the GPS) eventually brings success. – Enlightened group member.

This week our objective was to re-evaluate our communication with the community, that is, clearly presenting the purpose and objectives of our project to kitchen managers, and adapting to changes in our plan of action. Especially, since one of our assigned community kitchens is unavailable to participate in the project. The manager informed us that they were more interested in connecting with organizations that focused on the rights, issues and movements specific to the local community.  And this brings us back to the Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on ‘the golden circle’ and that,  “Connecting with WHY is essential to effective collaboration and project outcomes.” In our case, we and the agency may be sharing different objectives and purposes which further lead us on to different paths. Hence, we are currently in the process of  “re-routing” with the hope of improving our communication and project management skills on our way to the final destination.

Fostering project planning and development skills can be long and arduous, however if successful, the individual or group is left confident in its ability to tackle multi-faceted projects. For example, in the podcast, Dan Barber – an American, visits a goose foie gras farm, in France, that allows geese to roam and eat freely as well as mingle with wild geese that eventually join the farm. Dan takes this experience back with him to New York in order to start his own farm. However, due to little initial success, he decides to invite the French goose farmer to New York for some assistance, after which the farm runs smoothly. Similarly, in the film on “tiny houses” titled Tiny, Christopher attempts to build a very small house using a trailer. With minimal construction skills, initially, he faces countless obstacles. Eventually, he seeks assistance from an experienced man who has built a tiny house of his own. In the end, Christopher develops confidence in his ability to break-down and complete projects as well as learn new skills.

Both examples show how managing a project can be overwhelming initially, but can end up being incredibly rewarding and life-changing. When Christopher and Dan initially encounter challenges, they seek the help of people with experience in completing similar projects. This indicates the importance of experience while suggesting that the only way to gaining experience is going through the learning process. In addition, these stories emphasize the importance of flexibility in project development. Even when projects are meticulously thought out and planned, unforeseen issues may arise when acting on these plans. For example, if Christopher and Dan were set on their initial plans, they may have never achieved success. Because they were open to adapting different methods and perspectives, they were able to work past their problems and fulfill their projects. Similarly, we are constantly improving our approach and adapting to changes in our plans to successfully complete our projects. Because often times, a scope change, warranting flexibility, is necessary to proceed in order to increase the functionality of the project.

Currently, we have been able to schedule a kitchen visit, next week, with one of the agencies and we are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity!


Works Cited

Barber, D. (Interviewee), & Glass, I. (Interviewer). (2011, December 11). Act 3: Latin Liver [Radio series episode]. In Poultry Slam 2011. Chicago: The American Life.

Mueller, M., & Smith, C. (Directors). (2013). Tiny: A Story About Living Small [Motion picture].

Sinek, S. (Speaker). (2009). The Golden Circle [Conference recording]. In Ted Talk. Newcastle: Youtube.

Making the Call

Having just moved to Canada, on my first day of school, I found myself fumbling for some stationery. After, what felt like eons of searching, I turned to the guy sitting next to me and asked, “Excuse me, do you have a rubber?”. To my horrific surprise, his reddening cheeks burst with laughter and sentenced me to a term of embarrassment, while teaching me that what I was looking for was identified as an eraser. Eventually, I learnt that different people identify and interpret things differently and that it is crucial to be on the same page to communicate efficiently (or well, at least to save one-self from utter embarrassment) – Embarrassed group member.

This past week, our objective was to improve communication between the group. This was done by exchanging availabilities, designing a weekly meeting schedule, delegating tasks and setting short-term goals in order to complete our project in an effective and timely manner. The above, allowed us to search for additional community accessible kitchens, start contacting kitchen managers, and scheduling visits to the assigned kitchens in our neighbourhood. Since our contacting efforts were made closer to lunchtime, we were only able to connect with two kitchen managers.

Our approach included calling and emailing the facility and making the necessary arrangements. During this process, one of the kitchen managers initially agreed to a kitchen visit and later decided otherwise.The manager explained that his schedule had filled up and gave the impression that he perceived the kitchen was inadequate for the purpose of our project. He then redirected us to a city-run community kitchen.This indicated that there may have been some miscommunication regarding the nature of our project, although, we felt that we were clear about our purpose. Thus, a clarification of our interests in non-city run kitchens, of all forms, may have been required. A communication gap may have occurred due to some assumptions made based on the response received during the initial phone conversation. This is a reflection of how different people may have varying interpretations to what is being communicated.

Initially, we felt a little discouraged, however we realize that these are some of the challenges faced during community based learning. Moving forward, it will be important that we keep this experience in mind while interacting with members of the community. Especially during the interview process, where even non-verbal communication by the interviewer may be interpreted differently by the interviewee, further leading to a bias in information provided. Hence, neutrality in expression and reactions to survey answers will not only assure the collection of unbiased data but also prevent these individuals from feeling judged. If interviewees are hesitant or do not know how to answer a question, try asking it in a clearer manner.

Our experience can be likened to The Fish Bank podcast by Jensi Sartin. In this podcast, a fish sanctuary is created on the coast of Bali, Indonesia. The sanctuary received overwhelming support by the local community and after a number of years, the protected fish flourished, as well as fish in surrounding waters. This can be related to community kitchens as a whole. The fish sanctuary shows that by nurturing certain members of the community you can strengthen the system as a whole. In a sense, a community kitchen could be considered a human sanctuary that aims to strengthen those most in need until they are able to go out into the “wild” again.

We come into the equation as a sort of independent consultant to the fish reserve. Our goal is to identify ways these protective establishments can be supported and to reiterate their needs to an authority who can achieve this. What we aim to accomplish is somewhat like developmental aid consulting, in that we hope to serve and develop these establishments much like they serve and impact their surroundings.

Blog Post 1



Hi, this is Poonam Dattani. I’m a second year student in the faculty of Land and Food Systems,  majoring in FNH. I like baking, dancing, playing badminton, and singing

Hi! My name is Agnes-Sophia Arbuah and I am in my third year of the Food, Nutrition and Health Major. I enjoy dancing, cooking, and sharing nutrition information with others.

Pearl Cicci, also a nutrition major, likes dancing, hiking, and experiencing the food of different cultures.

Hey this is Alice Wu, another third year student in land and food system nutrition major, I like baking, enjoys sweets, like to dance and meet new people.

I’m Pierre Looper, in my last year at UBC studying Food Market Analysis in the FNH program. During my free time I enjoy playing soccer and basketball as well as gardening and traveling.

GROUP 15 Interests, Goals, and reasons for choosing our project

We would like to gather insight into the city’s community kitchens, while strengthening our abilities to critically analyze situations and engaging with the community. We are also looking forward to interact with professionals working on similar projects, whilst making a positive impact on the community.

Our common interests are nutrition, healthy living and contributing to the community. Through this project we are excited to explore and expand on food assets.

Looking into community kitchens is a valuable approach because it allows us to gain diverse perspectives from the  various community members  that utilize the kitchen space. Not only are community kitchens a place to cook and share food, they also provide a common space for people to socialize. Because of this, we are all eager to meet with various people who are impacted by these community kitchens! It is through the community that we will gain the essential knowledge to help the kitchens reach their full potential.

Objectives of Our Partner

Our community organization, in partnership with The City of Vancouver, aims to gain more knowledge and collect data from community kitchens. This data will be used to inform the Vancouver Food Strategy on how to better distribute funds. Areas of focus include functionality, availability, accessibility and cleanliness. We hope to achieve this by visiting various community kitchens in the West End of Vancouver.

1st Impressions

We had our first meeting with our community partner, Sarah Carten, on September 23rd, 2015. She was very helpful and allowed us become more familiar with the expectations of the project. Sarah explained to us that we will be interacting with a variety of people in different communities. Initially,  we did not get much information about our project but we are eager to interact with people and try our best to help them with the data we collect. Ernesto Sirolli’s TED talk was very insightful, because it shows how effective listening to the local people really is. We can use this way of thinking when we are talking to the people and trying to gather information from them. We need to present ourselves as friendly people that are there to listen and to help them. Ensuring them we will actually help them and not hinder them. This also ties into Asset Based Community Development, with the idea that we can utilize what the community already has and work off of that. One main asset to communities are people themselves. The locals of the communities have years of knowledge that we can definitely use to help them improve their situations.

Overall, as a group we cannot wait to get out there and gather this knowledge from all the people.