Blog #4 – Farewell

As we come to the final weeks of the term, we bring to you our last blog post of the project. With our final post comes a reflection on a moment of significance that has helped shape our attitudes for the future.

Current Vancouver Food Asset Map- Kitchen and Food Programs (April 2, 2017)


As a group, we were trying to tackle food insecurity, specifically the lack of kitchen access, from using one aspect: The Vancouver Food Asset Map (VFAM). This interactive map was an effective platform to visualize the many food assets that exist in Vancouver, highlighting the need for more easy-to-read, approachable tools for the community. The VFAM was initially supposed to be a useful tool, but we encountered setbacks such as people simply not having access to a computer, not knowing how to use a computer, or encountering language barriers. Through our community trialling, we found that the VFAM wasn’t able to reach a big enough audience of people and thus many people and families are being missed.

So what?

As we continued working on our project throughout the term, we learned that in order to tackle food insecurity, more forces and different types of resources would be required on top of the Vancouver Food Asset Map. Although it was clear that it would be an extremely useful tool, it became evident to us that it was only really addressing a small fraction of the bigger issue of food insecurity. Food insecurity is not something that can be solved overnight, and as we learned in lecture and tutorial, it is something that needs to be addressed with many different strategies. The Food Asset Map offers a way for community members to find resources in their neighbourhood and obtain their immediate needs, but it does not address the chronic causes of food insecurity. Our research into the community gave us valuable feedback for further improvement on the tool itself, but also insight to community members’ situations, and how they might or might not use the VFAM tool. This helped us understand the complexity of food insecurity in Vancouver as a whole.

Now what?

Through adopting a food justice lens, we hope to begin the process of seeing the constraints that exist in society as we work towards collectively facing obstacles in the food system (Gottlieb and Joshi, 2010: ix). As individuals who are all part of the food system, it is up to us to make an impact in our own communities and to transform the current food system. This project taught us the power in community initiatives, in working on a local scale to connect resources and combat food insecurity. Even within our own community exists many challenges, and it is by talking with community members and building off the work of past students, that we can create feasible solutions. More communication also gives us an opportunity to further discuss our findings. Our community work and partnership has given us space and resources to manifest our findings into practical solutions, so we hope future projects can take different approaches to improve our work as well. We would like to bring awareness to difficulties and constraints that may be inevitable working in community projects, but to also invite all to learn and embrace the uncertainty.

Some Members’ Thoughts

Ruby –

The Vancouver Food Access Map has provided a great and very practical tool for community members to easily find various food assets around the city. The functional and accessible format make it powerful in reaching a wider audience. However, through my conversations with community members, I found that this tool still excludes the most marginalized people that it’s critically trying to help. Those without easy access to computers, or knowledge of how to use them, are not as able to use the map for the purposes it has been created for. Therefore, I believe the next big step, alongside adding more assets, is to connect with community partners such as libraries and other resources that may have access to computers and be able to provide support for map users.

Tracy –

Similarly, I also think branching out to other partners to promote the VFAM is a logical step for further utilizing the map. In order for community members to use it, they should and need to know about this tool. What I thought this project lacked was its promotional presence, despite being a relatively easy tool to access online. Perhaps food assets and community programs should advertise this tool so community members can explore other options that may suit their needs.



Gottlieb, R., & Joshi, A. (2010). Food Justice. MIT Press.

Blog #3 – Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

As we enter the last few weeks of the term, our excitement and drive to finish strong continues to grow. With our third blog post comes a reflection on our group objectives/achievements, newly acquired knowledge/skills, as well as a look into our emotions throughout the past few weeks.

Weekly Objectives + Achievements

Week 8

Objectives: To handle uncertainty in the learning environment

Our goal is to learn from our own experiences and to change how we respond to uncertainty from the project. We hope to gain more confidence in dealing with challenging situations and address issues directly.

Achievement: Map trialing

Two group members (Tracy + Jeanette) at Save On Foods Dunbar for map trialing

On March 6th our group was able to trial the map at three different locations (Save On Foods Dunbar, Save on Foods UBC, and CityReach FoodBank) and collected feedback and consent forms from community members. At Save on Foods UBC, six community members trialled the maps and filled the feedback forms within a span of two hours. We had the opportunity to interact with community members and gauge interest in using our map tool, as well as receive feedback on how the map could be improved. We were able to collect 6 feedback forms from Save on Foods UBC, 9 feedback forms from CityReach FoodBank, and unfortunately we did not receive any feedback from Save On Foods Dunbar as the demographic of customers did not express interest/need for the tool. 

Week 9 + 10

Objectives: Developing infographics

Our goal is to learn how to design an infographic that will convey a story, identify causes and issues relating to our project and inspire solutions. We hope to develop something that is easy to read but still clear and informative.

We will also have all of the data collected that we will need to finish our project and to plan for our presentation and report. With the data collected, we will evaluate and analyze any commonalities or significant changes necessary.

Week 11 + 12

Objectives: Report writing

Our goal is to work on the final report together and to organize and plan for the presentation. We will follow the guidelines provided for us to ensure in a high-quality report that we are each proud of, and which will ultimately help the wider community.

We will also practice and refine our final presentation to share what we’ve learned from this project to other students, staff, and community members.

Moment of Significant Change Workshop

Explanation of Skills/Knowledge graph (Orange)

  • As we approached this project, we had little to no information about what our project would be, what we would have to do, and who we would interact with
  • Meeting with Teya: significant increase in skills and knowledge as we were informed about what to do, and what our plan will be
  • Hoping to gradually continue gaining knowledge and skills as we complete map trialing in our community
  • Hoping to gain knowledge and skills as we begin to put together the final report and presentation

Explanation of Emotions/Feelings graph (Blue)

  • Neutral feelings coming in to the project
  • Drop in emotions when our team had some miscommunication issues, but emotions increased again as we resolved our problems together
  • Building excitement, feelings of being more at ease after meeting with Teya and Kathy
  • Feelings of accomplishment at map trialing
  • Hoping to continue building on that excitement as we come closer to the presentation day
  • Greater understanding of the project, its strengths and weaknesses, leading to the final written report

The Graceful Dismount 

  • Remaining organized for the last few weeks of school
  • Understand what the requirements are for the report and presentation
  • Set deadlines ahead of time to limit stress as final exams approach! – assign tasks to each group member and edit/help out each other
  • Continue to have good communication within the group – bring up any issues as soon as they occur
  • Divide and conquer! Divide out tasks to make all group work easier for those with busy schedules

Blog #2 – Project Proposal + Progress

The middle of the term and reading week has snuck upon us, allowing us to reflect on what we’ve done in our LFS classes in the past number of weeks and what we can work on to improve/build upon these in the future.

Our Proposal Report: Kitchens + Food Programs Proposal

Objectives & Achievements

Week 1


Keep up with lectures, tutorials and readings to become more aware of community-based experiential learning, local food insecurity and food justice.

  • Read into and became comfortable with the learning objectives
  • Familiarized ourselves with the different community-based projects
  • Chose projects which spoke to our interests

Week 2 + 3


Understand our project and get to know the members of the group

  • Got in touch with our community partner, Teya
  • Met with our community partners in person, and attended orientation along with other groups
  • Read the project description and familiarized ourselves with the project background and goals
  • Crafted a team charter and assigned roles to each member of the group

Week 4 + 5


Have a clear idea of what our goals and tasks to complete the project will be

  • Created our group proposal, highlighting the background, significance, research questions, and methods concerning our Kitchen Access project
  • Coordinated with Teya and Save on Foods managers to set up a date and location for our map trialling + data collection
  • Remained in contact with each other to keep updated on new information and tasks needed to be done
  • Explored current resources and information of the asset map
  • Tested out the Vancouver Asset Map ourselves to become more familiar with it

Moment of Significance – What? So what? Now what?


As we didn’t know each other at the beginning of term, establishing a unified and successful group was challenging at first. Being a group of six busy students, it was evident that finding time to meet outside of class time would be difficult, and being a large group with various opinions and viewpoints presented many challenges. Specifically, our communication  skills were lacking considering the amount of work we needed to accomplish.

So what:

There was a moment where collectively as a group we realized that our group wasn’t melding together as cohesively as desired and therefore our commitment in the class had decreased as a whole. Not only would our marks suffer, but so would the project we had been assigned to if we didn’t try harder to improve upon the existing Vancouver Food Asset Map. Though we are all taking other classes, we realized that LFS 350 isn’t just about getting a good mark but about contributing work that will benefit the community and the local food system in Vancouver. We met after an LFS 350 class and decided that we all needed to do better as a group if we wanted to have this positive impact from our project.

Now what:

Through lots of hard work we were able to achieve a positive and cohesive group dynamic while working towards the objectives we set up for ourselves to create and update our food asset map. We are very excited to both add to the map and trial it in various places around the city with members of the community. Though it was a rough start, our group is committed to working our hardest to improve this map for the benefit of others within our community.

Upcoming Objectives

Week 6 + 7


Have a successful map trialling session, where we receive constructive feedback from community members upon which to build on our future objectives and methods to approach these issues. Also become more comfortable with working in the community

Strategies to achieve:
  • Practice with group members prior to the actual trialling session
  • Contact Teya if questions arise, and clear any confusion
  • Practice using the Vancouver Asset Map and explaining how to use it
  • Identify gaps in information and/or knowledge in the asset map

Week 8 + 9


Learn how to display collected data in a clear and effective way

Strategies to achieve:
  • Clarify how to input and display data
  • Determine where new collected data should be input into current resources
  • Find an efficient method to research and find valuable data

Week 10 + 11


Understand what is required to complete a strong and well-done final project

Strategies to achieve:
  • Consult with Teya and our TA to discuss expectations and share advice on ways to effectively compile and present our data for the public
  • Discuss with each other and distribute responsibilities among team members
  • Complete project according to assignment objectives and rubric

Blog #1 – Hello world!

Project Introduction + Objectives

We are working with Vancouver Coastal Health on this project to improve upon the Vancouver Food Asset Google map, more specifically under the Kitchen Access/ community kitchen programs category. Vancouver Coastal Health runs the health care services for many areas in the Lower Mainland of BC, as well as the Sunshine Coast and the central coast. Through this project, we hope to update and improve upon the Vancouver Coastal Health excel document and asset map to increase the knowledge base of kitchen access programs within the community. Furthermore, we aim to inform the community about the asset map through in-person demonstrations and questionnaires to understand potential problems or issues that users could face when using this technology. We hope to support and help those who may be dealing with food insecurity, as we believe that having access to common things like a kitchen is something everyone should have. This asset-based community development approach allows us to focus on the strengths the community already encompasses and build upon them in hopes to also inspire positive action for change in the community along the way (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003).

Meet the group!

Adeline Wong, 4th Year FNH/BEd

I love food and anything that is food-related. Food insecurity is something that I know a little about and hope to learn more of, but I’ve always thought of this issue as more related to being able to access food itself. It makes sense that having the skills and resources to cook and prepare food are also very important for people to be able to feed themselves with nutritious and safe food. I would like to learn about more resources that can help those that have not achieved food security and I look forward to learning about what past LFS350 students have discovered in terms of kitchen access and food literacy, as well as how we may make progress in this project to reach more people.  I chose this project because I think the food asset map is such a genius resource that has the potential of helping so many people. I love that it gives people the independence and access to be better able to feed themselves and their families.

Jeanette Tsia, 3rd Year FNH 

Hi! My name is Jeanette Tsia and I am a 3rd year student in Food, Nutrition and Health. Beginning from a young age I have always loved baking and cooking. Whenever I have free time I’d find myself in the kitchen testing out new recipes or making dinner for my family. Being in the kitchen allows me to experiment and be creative which is why I find cooking so therapeutic and enjoyable. Being able to create something and then enjoy it while also nourishing my body brings a sense of accomplishment and joy to me!

We often take simple things like having a kitchen for granted, and we don’t realize that many people in the community may not have such a luxury. I chose this project because I want to play a role in helping identify as many kitchens as possible around our city that will allow community members and families to learn, create, and explore the joys of cooking! I hope that by working with individuals who are also excited about this project will bring an incredible energy to our group and drive our project forward. I hope to really connect with the community and to also learn more about the Vancouver Food System.

Megan Clarke, 3rd Year FNH

My interests include anything food and/or nutrition and anything that involves me being outdoors, including skiing, cycling, and hiking (my above photo was taken at the peak of Anvil Island in Howe Sound). I chose this project because food insecurity is an issue very close to my heart as I used to live in a very food insecure community in the interior of British Columbia. Although many programs were missing in this community, the one thing we did not have was any public kitchen access or even a place where people could go to learn about healthy eating. Therefore my goal is to learn a lot about the kitchen access programs that are available in Vancouver, and possibly look to implement them in the community I used to live in. Through this experience I also would like to learn about the asset map that is available and see how it can be used to benefit those in our communities.

Bree Sinnott, 3rd Year Nutritional Sciences

I have a real passion for health and nutrition which is the main reason I chose to study in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. In my spare time, I enjoy doing things outdoors, like hiking and camping. I also volunteer with UBC Recreation as an events coordinator and love the collaboration with other volunteers and providing a UBC students with an outlet for activity. As my degree has progressed, my interest has increased with all the issues regarding food sovereignty, food systems sustainability, and food security. With this project, I hope to increase my knowledge on the subject of food security while also adding to the greater food system of Vancouver. I am excited to take on this project with my group by studying the importance of kitchen accessibility, and its link to the overall theme of food security. I am looking forward to learning more about food literacy systems, and it my goal to see how I can provide a service within my own community, and how I can add these workshops into my day to day life. With LFS 350, I am excited to expand the knowledge of the project that previous LFS students have learned, but also by gaining a better insight into our food system.

Tracy Tam, 3rd Year FNH

Passionate about nutrition (but also food in general), I have developed a taste for wholesome, real food from picking vegetables from my garden to creating tasty dishes. I enjoy volunteering in the community by teaching kids nutrition education, as well as staying active by paddling the waters around Vancouver.

I chose this project because I support the ability to access safe and nutritious food, and want to provide my part in helping others in the community. I am excited to be a part of this great opportunity for us to branch out from within our school boundaries to apply our knowledge but to also learn directly from the public. Nourishing ourselves begins with the essential step of food access, so I hope to see what we will find to improve food access and security with our current information or new assets we might find. I would like to gain more insight in our complex food system integrated within our very own city!

Ruby Pyke, 3rd Year Global Resources Systems

In the past few years my interest and passion in sustainable food systems has grown exponentially after working on farms around the world, being involved in education at an urban farm in Vancouver, and pursuing studies surrounding food systems. Growing up in Vancouver, I have known about poverty and food insecurity for my whole life, but have not understood the complexity and ubiquity of the problem. I am particularly interested in the intersection between sustainable development and social justice. Food insecurity is a pervasive problem in all parts of the world, but as we’ve learned and as I’ve seen working on small scale farms, it is best to first work with this problem on a local scale. On the UBC campus, I’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort into Sprouts, a student-run initiative passionate about healthy and affordable foods. This has helped me see the power in grassroots organizations.

I am excited to work on this project to acquaint myself better with the food system and food assets in my local area. I’ve been relatively oblivious my whole life to Vancouver’s food insecurity problem, but I hope to better understand the current state from this project. Similarly to how large systemic problems are best addressed on small scales, I believe that focusing on kitchen access as a means to alleviate food insecurity is a helpful way to tackle these challenging issues.

First Impressions

Going into the orientation, we were a little unsure of what to expect as we did not know many of the details of our project. However, we found the orientation held by Teya and Kathy extremely informative and interesting. We could clearly see how much this project meant to them by their level of enthusiasm and excitement while delivering their presentation. Our group was impressed by the work that has already been done on the Vancouver Food Asset Google Map as we were not aware of just how many layers of nutritional/health programs and resources there are present in Vancouver. This map is a very neat means of spreading information and we are thankful to have the chance to contribute to its implementation, through both adding additional information to the map and testing it out with members of the community. Enabling members of our community with better food access could be the beginning of allowing them to contribute to the community as well. It is important to form strong connections by listening to what the community needs (TED, 2012), and we believe our asset map is a great link for us to reach out. This is a key principle of Asset-Based Community Development, as connections within a community is essential and it is through building strong diverse relationships that we are able to effectively solve problems (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). We feel very supported and informed by both the UBC Land and Food Systems 350 team and the Vancouver Coastal Health Dietitians about where we can ask and look for help if we were ever to run into any issues. We are excited to see where this term will take us, and we can’t wait to be working in the community.


Mathie, A., & Cunningham, G. (2003). From clients to citizens: Asset-based community development as a strategy for community-driven development. Development in practice, 13(5), 474-486.

TED. (2012, November 26). Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!. [Video File]. Retrieved from