We are group 16 from LFS 350 and we will be conducting our project with the Gordon Neighbourhood House this semester in the Pay-What-You-Can-Eat community lunch program. Last semester, a previous group of LFS 350 students took on a similar project at the Gordon Neighbourhood House. We are determined to expand on the work they completed by further empowering the Gordon Neighbourhood House to implement diverse, healthy, low-cost meals at their Wednesday lunch programs. Throughout this post you will get to dive into our individual details, collective group interests and goals, learning objectives, as well as our first impressions with the Gordon Neighbourhood House!
Who Are We?
Razvan Adrian Gheorghe
Major: Food, Nutrition, and Health
Interests: Soccer, skiing, fitness, and travelling.
Personal interests for choosing this project: Throughout my undergraduate studies I have challenged myself to learn how to prepare a wide array of healthy and nutritious foods that incorporate a diverse set of produce. I have gradually diversified my knowledge in recipes, but have not had an opportunity to challenge myself to produce them
with low restricted budgets. I saw this project as an opportunity to challenge myself and discover to what extent costs can be limited to provide healthful meals. As an aspiring Dietitian, I am extremely excited to be a part of this project as it will allow myself to acquire knowledge on how to prepare these respective meals at an affordable price. This is an essential skill that will not only benefit the lives of my future clientele, but also myself.
Major: Food, Nutrition, and Health
Interests: Cooking, baking, fitness, travelling, nature, gardening, music, and movies.
Personal interests for choosing this project: I moved out on my own at the age of 17 and struggled with balancing meals which were both cost effective and nutritious. I learned through experience how to do this, and as a nutrition student I plan to further my knowledge and share with others who are in similar situations. I have worked in a community kitchen before and it was a valuable experience preparing meals for others, and experiencing their gratitude. It can be challenging to plan and execute a meal for a large group, but very rewarding at the end of it. I look forward in sharing my skills in this group project, learning from community members, and meeting some great new people.
Major: Food, Nutrition, and Health
Interests: Weightlifting, cooking, and experiencing various cultures through food.
Personal interests for choosing this project: I have always loved experimenting with different combinations of foods in the kitchen. As I grew older, my interest in food, along with my involvement in sport, cultivated an interest in nutrition. Getting more involved in the community is a great way to share my love of healthy cooking and hopefully spark an interest in others. I am excited to be involved in a pay-what-you-can community lunch that makes healthy meals more accessible to all members of the community. It will also be interesting for me to see the relationship other members of the community have with food, and how programs, such as those run by the GNH, can improve these relationships.
Major: Nutritional Science
Interests: Movies, music, books, swimming, cooking, and spending time with my friends.
Personal interests for choosing this project: Food has always been my passion because it has an inexplicable ability of binding people together. I am exciting to be a part of this community project as it gives me the opportunity to provide food to individuals that need it most. I believe that this particular project can challenge myself extensively, by testing my ability to think elaborately in order to create a nutritious meal with a low budget. Furthermore, I am excited to further enhance my skills of serving that I have acquired from working at previous restaurants.
Major: Food, Nutrition, and Health
Interests: Cooking, baking, fitness, and exploring new places.
Personal interests for choosing this project: I have had an interest in food, nutrition, and cooking from a young age, as I spent much of my childhood helping and watching my parents work at their Chinese restaurant. I believe that food is not only essentially important but it can be a universal language. Food acts as a social equalizer by bringing together diverse cultures, individuals, and joy. I chose this project with Gordon Neighbourhood House because I believe it will be a great opportunity to be more involved in the Vancouver community, build new relationships, broaden my knowledge in cooking and nutrition, and experience something fun and new!
Major: Nutritional Science
Interests: Movies, superhero television series, cooking, baking, writing, and seeing new places.
Personal interests for choosing this project: When looking through the projects, I was focused on finding something I would enjoy and benefit from both academically and personally. I believe academically, this project will be able to teach me a wide range of skills that will enhance my in-classroom skills. This includes the business management aspect of planning, implementing and evaluating the costs meals we’ll be preparing, and the nutrition aspect of evaluating it to be a healthy choice. This combines aspects of both my major in nutritional sciences and minor in commerce. In addition to this, on a personal level I believe this project to be able to aid me in more effectively managing my own food choices. Living alone, I love learning to cook new things for myself, but I wouldn’t say I have yet been able to integrate a constantly low-cost and healthy diet that I can manage on top of my studies and extracurricular activities.
As we are all students studying nutrition in some capacity we have identified that we all portray a common interest for the food system and its effects on an individual’s mind and body. For each of us, this project is an intriguing way to supplement and apply our theoretical food literacy knowledge gained throughout our education thus far. We are eager to combine all of our unique skillsets and backgrounds to create an exciting, nutritious and inclusive program for the Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) community. We are excited to interact with members of the GHN community and hope to provide a healthy, delicious, local and affordable meal that will adhere to the respective cultural and ethnic preferences of the community members. We found the GNH to be a welcoming environment, located in the West end of Vancouver. Their community aim is to provide food for insecure people and to further empower their food system. Their goals and interests align directly with our group interests, which is ideal and will benefit us greatly as we will have the opportunity to work collaboratively to continue their pursuit in obtaining their desired goals.
Also, we aim to network with the Vancouver community to identify their perspective of a desirable meal in order to combine these results with our knowledge about food literacy and implement new meals! As we all resemble having an interest in exploiting our individual creativity, developing these new meals will be an exciting experience that we hope will leave a legacy.
Why GNH: Pay-What-You-Can Community Lunch?
As a group, we are very excited to be working with the Gordon Neighbourhood House on the Pay-What-You-Can-Community-Lunch project. We all have different backgrounds and learning experiences that have shaped us to exploit different reasons for having an interest in this project. Specifically, a reason that is common among all of us, is that we believe it will further enrich our knowledge in food and nutrition, as well as expand our individual involvement experiences in the Vancouver community. Furthermore, we believe it is a great opportunity to apply and build on our interest in cooking and meal preparation. Lastly, because we are Nutritional Science or Food, Nutrition, and Health students, we believe that we possess the required skills and knowledge of food literacy to effectively design meals that are healthy, low cost, delicious, and at the same time environment-friendly for the Gordon Neighbourhood House community lunch program.
Retrieved from: www.gordonhouse.org
“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”
– George Washington
The Pay-What-You-Can community lunch applies the idea of food justice for the program, by recognizing that all community members should have the right to access healthy, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and locally grown food (Gordon Neighbourhood House, 2016). Furthermore, food justice is further identified in this program because community members are provided with the ability to exploit their interest and desire in utilizing food as a tool to build new relationships, empowering them to get engaged and communicate their ideals and beliefs. Having the opportunity to partake in such an exciting community project at the Gordon Neighbourhood House is truly a privilege for each of us as we will be able to develop a heightened understanding of the power of food and the significant influence it can have in empowering community unity. In order to obtain the best results from our project, we are motivated to be conscious and mindful in our decision by constantly assessing, monitoring, and re-evaluating our actions through a variety of different lenses. Exploiting our areas that need to be improved will ultimately define our success. Furthermore, we propose to work collaboratively by utilizing our abilities to remain level-headed in the complex environment that we will be exposed to throughout this intervention. We have identified this to be an asset in allowing our group to function effectively and cohesively in the unpredictable environment.
We hope to use the asset based community development (ABCD) approach by conducting a survey with open ended questions with community members of the Pay-What-You-Can lunch program. Patrons will be asked what changes they would like to see in both the food and the execution of the program as a whole. By doing so, we will be following one principle of ABCD approach which is “everyone has something to contribute” (Session 2 notes, 2016). Ernesto Sirolli (2012) quoted “instead of arriving in a community to tell people what to do, why don’t, for once, listen to them” and “only respond to people.”Community members will have the choice in contributing feedback if they wish to, and we will listen to what they have to say. Furthermore, we believe that we are applying this concept by listening to the community members and empowering each individual to feel confident in sharing his or her own opinions and ideas. We hope to work with the existing structure of the Pay-What-You-Can lunch program and expand their progress thus far by making revisions, while ensuring to remain true to the GNH’s defined goals, mission and social identity (Be a Good Partner, 2016).
As a determined team of UBC students, we hope to conduct a project that will provide significant benefits to the Gordon Neighbourhood House, its members, and the surrounding society. We are passionate to challenge ourselves by testing our ability to strategically apply our critical thinking skills to develop multiple healthy, low-cost meals. In order to promote our local food system, we propose to create our recipes by utilizing local and organically grown produce. As a group, we hold a great deal of importance for health and nutrition, therefore we want to ensure that our meals will be nutrient-dense, low in refined sugar and sodium, and contain minimally processed ingredients.
Most significantly, we hope to promote the importance of food security to the surrounding community, while also empowering the importance that food can have in strengthening relationships. We are motivated to work with the GNH staff to continue the pursuit of being a source of inspiration, motivation, and guidance to the entire community, to further enhance the community member’s ideals and beliefs in regards to nutrition and sustainability.
What Can We Learn From This Project?
By the end of this term, we would like to acquire a diverse set of skills that will allow us to thrive as individuals in our future professional careers. As already mentioned, we hold a great deal of importance for health and nutrition, so by the end of this project we hope to have learned how to collaboratively plan, implement, and execute a low-cost, healthy meal for the community. We hope to learn how to evaluate the meals, effectively articulate their nutritional importance, and further expand our interpersonal skills by working in a group setting. In doing so, we hope to obtain valuable skills of engaging ourselves with the community, building relationships with community members and group members, as well as developing the skills to effectively identify the community’s expectation of a healthy, low-cost meal. Furthermore, we hope to acquire all these skills highlights above and further apply them in our future community initiatives. Lastly, each of us hope to enrich our knowledge in how community lunch programs are run after our time spent at the Gordon Neighbourhood House.
Retrieved from: www.quoteaddicts.com
Gordon Neighbourhood House Program
- Vision: As a place-based community organization, we work alongside our community, sister organizations, local businesses and policy-makers to animate and support dynamic programs, services and initiatives that respond to the needs and dreams of the community (Gordon Neighbourhood House, 2016).
- Mission: Gordon Neighbourhood House strives to ensure that the West End of Vancouver is a vibrant and active community, where everyone is empowered to play an active role in civil society.
Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) is a volunteer run, non-profit, and community based organization. GNH was established in 1942 by the Gordon sisters at 1005 Jervis St. The new space at 1019 Broughton St. reopened in 1985 and is a community hub which houses various different programs for all age groups. These programs allow the community members to come together, socialize, and facilitate learning in a supportive environment. The space offers a wide variety of programs for all ages including community lunches, yoga and qi-gong classes and many after school programs for kids. GNH also runs two thrift shops, providing the community with everything from household basics to vintage fashion. All of the proceeds go back into programs and initiatives run by GNH. Each year, 400 individuals become GNH members.
Gordon Neighbourhood House offers three weekly community lunches. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds are welcomed to enjoy a healthy and low-cost meal. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they host a healthy entree for lunch, and on Wednesday they run a Pay-What-You-Can soup and sandwich lunch program. The GNH Chef, along with a team of volunteers, plan and execute a fresh, local, and healthy lunch for community members to enjoy based upon local donations. All community members are invited and no one is turned away.
We are only starting to encounter potential challenges that may arise on the way. We have all collaborated very well so far by having a successful meeting at the GNH. We can only pinpoint one problem from our first experience, which was the incredible difficulty in finding parking! Distance and timing to get to the GNH is not a problem, but coordinating our schedules in splitting up our visits to GNH is something we are still discussing. GNH has expressed preference for our group to not come as a whole group, due to the limitation in space. Therefore, having to establish split experiences in our visits may be a challenge, but we have absolutely no doubt that we will all be able to make the needed number of trips there, and are all very excited to start our project. From what we have learned in class, we know an important principle of the ABCD approach is that relationships matter because they build community (Session 2 notes, 2016). We believe that community lunches provide the opportunity for individuals to bond, connect, and learn from each other. With this, we are all enthusiastic about making the trips to get to know the community there.
More specifically, witnessing the vibrant and welcoming atmosphere of the Gordon Neighbourhood House was an experience in itself. Our first meeting with the coordinators was influential for each of us, as we left astounded at their extensive enthusiasm and determination in regards to the program we would be facilitating. Their level of attentiveness and compassion for our ideas and prospective intervention allowed us to be reassured that they fully support and encourage a multidisciplinary approach. In addition, it was evident that the Gordon Neighbourhood House has a strong desire to ensure that all of their services and initiatives adhere specifically to the needs of their community.
Applying Ideas of Food Justice, Active Listening, Asset-Based-Community-Development (ABCD) and Prospective Ideas
“Together we grow”
– Gordon Neighbourhood House
The Pay-What-You-Can community lunch applies the idea of food justice for the program, by recognizing that all community members should have the right to access healthy, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and locally grown food (Gordon Neighbourhood House, 2016). Also, the exploit their interest and desire in utilizing food as a tool to build new relationships and empower community members to get engaged and communicate their ideals and beliefs
We hope to use the asset based community development (ABCD) approach by conducting a survey with open ended questions with community members of the Pay-What-You-Can lunch program. Patrons will be asked what changes they would like to see in both the food and the execution of the program as a whole. By doing so, we will be following one principle of ABCD approach which is “everyone has something to contribute” (Session 2 notes, 2016). Ernesto Sirolli (2012) quoted “instead of arriving in a community to tell people what to do, why don’t, for once, listen to them” and “only respond to people.” Community members will have the choice in contributing feedback if they wish to, and we will listen to what they have to say. Furthermore, we believe that we are applying this concept by listening to the community members and empowering each individual to feel confident in sharing his or her own opinions and ideas.
Another important principle of the ABCD approach is that relationships matter because they build community (Session 2 notes, 2016). We believe that community lunches provide the opportunity for individuals to bond, connect, and learn from each other. GNH has been a part of the community for over 70 years, in this time they have solidified a social identity. We hope to work with the existing structure of the Pay-What-You-Can lunch program and expand their progress thus far by making revisions, while ensuring to remain true to the GNH’s defined goals, mission and social identity (Be a Good Partner, 2016).
Goodbye for now!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our first experiences in the project! As you can see, we are a determined and motivated group of individuals that hope to leave a legacy at the GNH by the end of this project. Therefore, we must continue our journey towards success by completing our written proposal. Stay tuned for our next post!
LFS 350 Session 2 Notes. (2016). Course:LFS350/Week02. Retrieved from: https://http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Week_02
Gordon Neighbourhood House. (2017). The History of Gordon Neighbourhood House. Retrieved from: http://gordonhouse.org/about-gordon-neighbourhood-house/history/
Sirolli, E.(2012). Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [Video file].
Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen/transcript?language=en
University of Memphis (2016) Engaged Scholarship, Online Module 3: Be a Good Partner. Retrieved from: