Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

Weekly Achievements – Upon Reflection

Week 7:

  • Updated existing food asset information with information that was missing or no longer correct on the excel data sheet. This was completed by searching for recent information regarding the assets through the internet, phone calls, emailing and in person visits, and then updating the data in the spreadsheet.
  • Collected new data regarding potential food assets. Members of the group strived to collect a large amount of data by internet browsing, phone calls, emailing and in person visits. The data collected was then inputted into the spreadsheet.

Week 8:

  • This past week we trialed the map at three Save on Food locations in
    Vancouver to gain insight on its usefulness. We found that the publicexpressed interest in this resource, and wanted to learn more.
  • Some struggles involved being ignored, people making excuses not to talk to us or just saying no before we even finished trying to tell them what we were doing. Moreover, the senior population also seemed overwhelmed with the advanced use of technology.
  • Some achievements included, meaningful conversations with a few people about food system problems such as food waste, teaching someone about CSAs (and this person getting really excited about this opportunity), and impressing a couple of people with the innovative VFAM resource.
  • We also interacted with some fellow UBC students that were very fascinated with the efforts of the Faculty of Land & Food Systems as well as Vancouver Coastal Health in creating the Vancouver Food Asset Map.
  • Other community members and students also felt inspired and asked about ways to get involved.
  • We thought of ways to use the constructive feedback to offer further improvement suggestions.


Objectives – Moving Forward

Week 9:

  • Data collection week! Group members will continue their efforts to collect data on new food production assets and update the information of the existing assets. Any findings will be uploaded to the spreadsheet.
  • Review and summarize the feedback collected from community members, while trialing the food asset map. Use this information to offer improvement suggestions.

Week 10:

  • Last chance to collect and record any data regarding the food production assets.
  • Group members review the excel submissions and ensure that formatting, entries, and all other components are in order.
  • Analyze the community member feedback from the map trialling.
  • Group meeting to prepare an action plan for completing the presentation, infographic and final paper.

Week 11:

  • Begin focus work on developing a presentation, infographics, and writing the paper.
  • Group meeting to prepare and organize the upcoming deliverables that will be provided to our community partner, Teya Stephens, who can use this information to enhance the map.

Week 12:

  • Complete the last blog post and reflections.
  • Present our infographic to our peers and other community members.
  • Share our experiences such as the successes of our project, the results, what we have learned from the project, and how we will move forward in the future.
  • Discuss the essentials needed to build and sustaining community change and programs.

Week 13:

  • Submit the group final paper.
  • Sigh with relief and accomplishment!

Moment of Significant Change Workshop

The opportunity to learn flexibly while working with the community allowed us to gain an enhanced understanding of ourselves and the significance of our contributions. Through this exercise during tutorial, we were able to communicate as a group and share all our experiences so far in the course. Overall, we observed in both our skills/knowledge and emotions/feelings graphs that we had all undergone similar experiences. Hence understanding the interconnected nature of these two graphs. In several instances, we found that a change in our skills + knowledge had an influence on our emotions + feelings and vice versa, as our emotions + feelings played a role in how we approached new knowledge. This experience relates to the concept of how our emotions and feelings can have an effect on our learning (Shulman, 2005). As expressed in the article by Shulman (2005), “conditions of inherent and un-avoidable uncertainty” allow for individuals to be cognizant of their experience and actions, which enables learning from one’s experiences. When we were confused or uncertain with a task (e.g. creating our proposal), we felt a little frustrated and discouraged; however, it was these situations that led us to gain more knowledge and skills, as we sought help from our community partner, TA, and professor and worked through these challenges as a group. Ultimately, we agree with Shulman’s statement that “without a certain amount of anxiety and risk, there’s a limit to how much learning occurs” (Shulman, 2005). In community-based learning we are exposed to situations, such as beginning a new project or trialing the food asset map with community members, where we may undergo uncertainty and/or anxiety but we can ultimately enhance our knowledge by being “obligated to learn from experience” (Shulman, 2005). Moreover, the diversity of our group allowed for an enriched intellectual experience since we all problem-solved in our own unique way (Phillips, 2014).

Skills and Knowledge Throughout the Course

Community-based learning occurs both in a group and on an individual level. Nevertheless, each of our graphs on the skills and knowledge throughout the course were all quite similar. We felt that throughout the first few weeks we learned on a steady incline. We were introduced to community based experiential learning and why we would be doing it; it is important to not only learn in the classroom but apply this knowledge to real life situations. During week 2 we felt the readings, especially Allen’s (2008) paper, “Mining for justice in the food system: perceptions, practices and possibilities”, was a good resource to enforce the lessons taught in class on food justice. While writing our proposal we realized we didn’t know as much as we previously thought, hence the drop in the graph, and we sought help to get back on the right track with our proposal. It has been increasing since then as we learn more about our project – for example, how to update the excel sheet for the food assets, the most effective way to search for new food assets, and going through the learning process of trialing the map with members of the community. We plan and hope the learning continues for the rest of the course.

Emotions and Feelings Throughout the Cours

We all believe that maintaining an optimistic mindset is key in executing a successful presentation and project. Thus, as a group we all had similar feelings throughout the course. The first couple weeks we felt anxious and nervous for what was expected of us in this course. The workload appeared to be very heavy, the projects to be mostly group led with little guidance and what was expected of us was quite vague. After meeting with Teya from Vancouver Coastal Health the goal of the project was much more clear as she explained what was expected and how we would go about completing the project including written instructions and due dates. We were then excited about our project and came together as a group to plan the logistics of the project. Moreover, we kept each other motivated and offered positive reinforcement and constructive feedback whenever necessary. During week 4-5 we felt confused about writing the proposal but as we all brainstormed and collaborated, our ideas began to overlap and we became much more confident about our progress. For week 6 we were enthusiastic, but also slightly nervous about interacting with the community, trialing members and presenting the Vancouver Food Asset Map. Nevertheless, we worked as a group to keep each other motivated and shared a wonderful learning experience.


Strategies for Successful Project Completion

In the past week our group trialled at three different Save on Food locations and gathered data from community members on the effectiveness of the Vancouver Food Asset Map. To finish this component of the project, each group will summarize their data descriptively and create charts to easily visualize the results. By analyzing the feedback, we can convey potential improvement options between community members and present these suggestions to Vancouver Coastal Health in hopes to further advance the map for future use. In terms of collecting information for the map, we all need to continue our extensive research to increase the quantity of entries added to the map database. Once we have imputed all data and analyzed the results from the trialling events we can begin to make conclusions and move towards finishing our paper and creating a meaningful presentation. To be successful in the completion of this project we need to keep lines of communication open, encourage each other to work hard and schedule group meetings in advance. In terms of completing the paper, we will divide the work up into different sections so each person is responsible for a different part and then one member with do the final edit so we have continuity and flow in the paper. For the presentation we can communicate on the computer about how we would like to approach and organize the presentation, and then we will meet as a group to practice delivery so we can feel confident about our presentation.


References