Windows and Mirrors.

This is my last post as a reporter for LFS 350 for this year. I’m excited to see what things change as years go on and if this blog will be well maintained in the future. As a reflection on the overall course, I’ll be taking my time to really break down what I feel about the course and things I’ve personally learned. I’d like to thank Masoumeh the chance for giving me opportunity to be a reporter. I should warn readers that I’ll be including both positive and negative views about the course, and my experiences as part of group 21 and as a reporter. My entire views can be summed in two words: Windows and Mirrors, which I’ll be explaining below. Throughout the post I’ll also be using many of my own photos to illustrate my thoughts so I’ll hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking and processing them. Lets begin!


Seeing both floors and the paths in between. Not just one floor.

The LFS series of courses began for me back in LFS 250. This is probably because I barely paid attention back in LFS 100. In hind sight I’m really thankful I passed that class. But back to he main topic, LFS 250, gave me the first look into what LFS “really meant”. Coming from Alberta, a province that thrives off Oil and Gas, and from a conservative home and school, I rarely took time to consider the finer details of the larger picture. Much more though, I never considered “food” to be an issue greater than “food security”. I was really amazed to see all the dimensions of food issues and the causes of each. LFS 350 further gave me new information about food. Interesting as it was, I still often found it hard to relate to the knowledge the many FNH or Dietetics students in the class. Being an applied animal biology major, I was often confused or blind to the facts when it came to nutritional disparities or discussions about the importance of specific nutrients. But this overall, I feel didn’t take away from my LFS 350 Experience.

To see different perspectives of even the most simple things.

The LFS 350 class, and my project continued to immerse me into a world I before never really understood. My group project dealt with creating a survey based on food knowledge, so needless to say I learned a lot. Many of the readings were based on the foods or systems focused on addressing food concerns, all of these helped me understand and see more perspectives. As cherry to the sundae, I was granted the opportunity to be a reporter and was able to see what many groups were doing. Worlds and scenes and ideas opened up to me, like curtains removed from a window. From the inside, I started to look outwards at all these ideas. I started to look through the windows of my previously formed views. Ideas I’ve closed curtains to in the past, re-emerged with scenes of intrigue. Furthermore having an opportunity to work on projects allowed me to open the door and experience these different things I saw through the windows. But alas, I can’t spend all the time outside, so I at this point in the term, I return inside to find only mirrors facing me.


My mental mirror, a pen and a pad.

Reflecting, is the first word that comes to mind when most people thing mirrors, and as cliche as it is… thats exactly how I feel. Aside from having all these new views and experiences laid at my food step, I had also found the need to reflect and see what parts of this grand picture was relevant to me and to see the highs and lows of the process. I guess with any reflection, more often than not, the negative ideas are easier to see than the positive. Such was the case as I reflected on the term thus far.

More often than not, I felt displaced, not excluded… displaced. My animal biology major led me to feel disconnected from the majority of the nutrition class. This feeling further intensified as my group was all nutrition students as well. The group and class as a whole was warm, and welcoming, but in the end, being a person lacking some shared knowledge, it is inevitable I felt displaced. The feeling of belonging slowly returned to me as the term went on, until CSL hours were enforced. I am really happy and thankful to be reporter, but being a reporter further displaced me from my team as I started being responsible for different things than them. This caused a sense of displacement to temporary return, but it didn’t last long. As I spoke with other groups, I started to see the fluidity and integration of all the groups into this giant mesh. The combining each groups projects future possible outcomes, I saw a grand image that made me feel that the class as a whole was much more

Displacement. One student in a sea of many.

integrated than I thought.

On the positive notes, I was able to learn about the different food aspects and able to implement changes to my own life. Small things like being aware of where my food comes from as well as being more able to recognize food insecurity has given me much greater understanding. However, these changes aren’t my highlight of the course or of the reporter “job”. You see, I’m a large believer in community, or relationship based learning and growth. Whether religiously or academically, I feel that people inevitably have much more meaningful and joyful experiences if done with a community. The course’s highlight for me, and the joy of being a reporter, is being given the opportunity to interact and meet such a diverse group of amazing people. To meet with individuals who care about what they’re doing and can share their knowledge from their invested time. To hear about people’s projects, but more importantly about how individuals themselves think. To add a face, a mind… a soul to the knowledge being passed on. That in itself has proved to be my greatest highlight and pleasure in this course and in my reporter job. So I truly hope that others will take to the opportunity to connect with the amazing individuals around them.  As numerous as an autumn rain, so together we’ll be as strong as the ocean striking the shores.

The possibilities are beautiful and endless.

Windows are made for people to see outside their box into the world around them. Mirrors are for people to look back at the selves and reflect. So if I were to sum up my entire LFS 350 experience into two words. It’d be Windows and Mirrors.

`rtang … out.

TWIAG – A Personal Reflection.

My CBL project was with the community partner The World In A Garden. The details of what my group and I did can be found in an earlier post titled “TWIAG.” But right now, I’m not writing to discuss what we did but rather to reflect on my sentiments towards our project as a whole and discuss some of the steps that we as a group took in order to accomplish what I mentioned in the earlier post.

The primary idea of the project was building a survey that would be able to reflect the knowledge of the community and interests of the community. To figure this out we initially began with a list of questions that evaluated people’s nutritional knowledge such as “which of the following has the most vitamin C” and other questions that matched the sort. This then brought into question whether the populations in depth nutritional knowledge was as important, the main idea of the survey was to figure out how to better serve the community. In this case, we determined to ask a larger variety of food lated questions and value based questions such as “which of the following about food matter more to you?”, “Which of these grows in the fall?”, and the like. This different approach, we thought would give us a much better understanding of what they knew about the food they consumed beyond the nutrients, things about food they found important, and due to the rarity of being asked such questions may cause a stirring of interest towards this subject of food. We then decided to further add open ended questions that blatantly asked “what would you like to hear more about” and the like. These questions would allow us to understand more of what they cared about and would give them a chance to elaborate or rationalize their answers. Finally, we added in statistical questions that would help us understand the person taking the survey by asking about how many they feed, and their approximate age grouping. The culmination of these ideas created a rough draft of the survey.

The survey was then further refined and the questions made to be more specific to what we wanted to know in specific. Each question now gave us very precise information which could be graphed and statistically analyzed (of course the open ended questions couldn’t be analyzed in this way, so accordingly, the open ended questions would be individually interpreted.  This allowed us to arrive at our final set of survey questions. We initially posted the survey on surveymonkey but then found it to be a poor medium for our purposes. So we created PDF versions of the survey, one with pictures and one without. We ended up using the one without pictures so that the questions would all be “fair” and not left for people to interpret according to the pictures. The final survey was then pilot tested at TWIAG at an event. A variety of cooperative individuals filled the survey out, although not everyone took it as seriously as we hoped. Regardless, this process of survey development proved to be useful and I really find it to be an asset for future projects that require the use of such tools. Currently, we are in the analysis phase and the results seem to get more interesting daily.

All in all, I’d like to think of TWIAG as a positive experience, albeit patches of miscommunication with our community partner as well as minor group misunderstandings. Really, I’m thankful for my group and being given the opportunity to be part of such a project.



The World in a Garden, is the community partner that my group, group 21, has worked with for the CBL project. This post, is very different than my regular “themed” posts where I draw a groups project to a certain theme, the reason this post is a “themeless” post is because, from my perspective, the CBL project is too multifaceted and can’t be defined by a single theme.

Group 21, was responsible for a variety of tasks, primarily with creating and conducting a survey for TWIAG to better understand the knowledge level and needs of the community. The survey created by group 21 initially focused more on assessing community nutritional knowledge, but went through several revisions to better meet the needs of TWIAG. The survey added questions that gave participants open-ended questions to gain a bigger insight to what the community wanted to know about. With the knowledge TWIAG would be able to offer workshops and other resources that would be more custom tailored for the needs of the community. The TWIAG survey was pilot tested at a TWIAG event in which members of group 21 volunteered at. The results were quite varied and were interesting as they showed variation in the knowledge that community had of food, as well as the communities interests. In the end, group 21 took the first few steps in creating a survey that could be used in the future on a larger scale. It is presumed that the survey may go under further revisions and be posted on the TWIAG website and used in other ways to further understand the demographics that TWIAG is serving.Aside from the survey, group 21 also volunteered their time on a Saturday to help out with TWIAG’s variety events. The group laboured in the rainy weather moving items and were able to have “fun” in the experience as well as further understand TWIAG and their variety of services. The evening went to the pilot testing of surveys to mostly high school students who came to attend a workshop. Overall, a member a group 21 said “it was a fun time…”. The combination of the survey development and volunteerism amazingly have many long lasting effects on the members of the group and community as a whole.

Group picture at TWIAG

Members of group 21, have been given the valuable opportunity to independently communicate with community partners and develop requested projects. Survey making and analysis skills will prove useful to many group members in the future of their academic pursuits. In terms of the community, group 21, through volunteerism has boosted contributed to boosting community awareness about TWIAG as well as possibly create a tool (the survey) that will influence the development of all future TWIAG programs. In the end, group 21, leaves with a feeling of satisfaction and knowing that future LFS 350 groups can pick up where they left off and further revise and implement the survey at TWIAG.



Illuminate means to make bright, to shed light on, and to bring clarity to. Group 28 brings clarity and insight in their CBEL project evaluating and promoting school initiatives.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).

Group 28 was given the opportunity to observe and evaluate the success of Tyee Elementary’s “Child and Nature Club” (CAN club). In their CSL project they took video footage of interviews they had with kids, parents and teaching staff. Group 28 put together a video to promote the CAN Club and what it is all about: “Reconnecting with nature through sustainable practices that help maintain/improve the environment”.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).

The data collected by Group 28 was about what makes CAN Club successful and could be used to provide some insight on whats aspects of the Think&EatGreen at school project were successful. Furthermore, Group 28’s video and report could help with gaining funding with grant funding for the Think&EatGreen at school program. Potentially this could provide future sustainability projects factors to focus on to give them a higher chance of success. Directly, Group 28’s five could provide other communities with some motivation to take initiative and follow suit in establishing an environmental club or other sustainable practices and coalitions. Group 28’s final thoughts about the CAN club and the project is that the effort requires a lot of support. It is greatly encouraging to see that the “teaching staff and parents have shown that they are motivated and dedicated to supporting the children as much as they can. Without this kind of support, success would be difficult”.

CAN club events (censored faces for privacy reasons).


Q&A with Alan Qu.

Rtang: So alan you wanna tell me a bit about the project you’re doing for LFS 350? Like, what kind of things are you doing, and what kind of impact is it having on the community around it?

Alan: Yea, so we’re basically working on Chinese communities in Richmond and basically food security issues among them. What we identified so far through research and talking to our community partners and organizations is that 44% of Richmond is Chinese, that includes CBC’s (Canadian-born Chinese) and people of Chinese decent in general, and 8% of the entire Richmond is considered food insecure. So, the assumption is that there is 44% people in Richmond who are Chinese, a large number of the food insecure people might possibly Chinese people, and so what we found is that there is quite a huge disconnection between Chinese food insecure people and the local food movements. What I mean by that is they don’t take into considerations, for the most part, factors such as culture, food preferences, language barriers… so, in most of the food movements of events you see, such as the Richmond food bank when they distribute food, you’ll find that most of it doesn’t suite the preferences, the Chinese people’s preferences. One of the ways they distribute food is through this yellow package of basically of nutritious, instant nutritious foods. One of the most nutritious foods that was essential in the package was this, dry carbohydrate thingy that has lots of vitamins and minerals in it, and that was the most common food returned by Chinese people. Basically they responded that it didn’t meet their preferences, basically. Like, they just didn’t like how it tasted, how it, how the texture was. The most important food was actually returned by them. You know, so that kinda defeats the purpose right? So we realized things like this, you know, and that they are not really taking these factors into consideration.

Rtang: So then what exactly is your group then doing, to contribute to that? Does your group do surveying or…

Alan: Well the hard part about the project is that it is the first time that this has been done. In LFS 350 it is the first time they’ve had this project, specifically. Working on Chinese communities and so we as the pioneer group are sorta feeling out the steps as we go. And so at first we were told to do these things: number 1, identify the existing food movements and organizations, make an inventory of that and talk about, we then find out, present resolutions of what should be done. All of that, its a multi year project, if you think about it, to give a really detailed inventory, list of information on what they’re doing, and also to post solutions. Thats a really big project. Our TA told us that, that should be done by a PhD student on a multi-year project for a long.

Rtang: Wow!

Alan: Yea, so we were pretty, i guess lost at first, but out TA sort of gave us an easier time by telling us “you don’t have to do the second part” just make an inventory, thats it. So that basically gave us an easier time. So basically, we’re doing now is just to find and identify how ever many organizations we can that have food related movements. We are event doing things, such as interviewing churches and temples an religious organizations that might have food programs to offer, cause they contribute towards helping the food insecurity, fight against it right?

Rtang: What exactly are the results of the interviews going to used for?

Alan: Yea, we’re just gonna, i guess provide this inventory of what organizations are out there and what they’re doing basically and leave more of the analysis and recommendations for future LFS students. Yea, this remember this is the first time they’re doing this. But its gonna be passed on. So they’re gonna have all our information, they’re gonna work on top of that.

Rtang: The future goal, the end goal, after all of these LFS groups would be to…do what?

Alan: After they use our information analyze it, hopefully, thats the idea, they will hopefully recommend, find out effective solutions to breaking down these barriers and solving food insecurity among Chinese people.

Rtang: ah, cool, well do you have any picture that you wanna talk about?

Apple Picking.

Alan:So yea as part of out CSL, our community service learning hours, we were required to go into different organization and be part of that to see what they’re doing. One thing that I did was go with the RichmondRichmond food bank and help pick fruits off of local households. And so, how this works is that a lot of households in Richmond, they have fruit trees, vegetables trees, or plants in the backyards and stuff and they, they, contribute these out to the Richmond food bank cause they’re not able to consume it all. So they contribute out it out to the food bank and the food bank organizes volunteers to go to their houses their back yards and pick the fruit off. So thats what I’ve been doing. So i went apple tree cleaning, we picked 200 pounds of apples a day.

Picking Apples

Rtang: *chuckles* Uhh wow, thats…

Alan: I got a few pictures of those.

Rtang: Thats really cool. Well thanks for your time Alan, and good luck with the rest of your project!

Alan: Thank you….


Alan: Is that it?
Rtang: yea thats it!


“The process of tuning up or perfecting a process.” Is what I think when I hear the word refining. To make something better, or to perfect it. Apple refines the it’s products with each launch. The goldsmith refines his metals before use. All of these is to make more perfect something that is already in use. But the refining process must be initiated. Group 3 is tasked as a pioneer group for this process of refinement in the City of Richmond.

Group 3 works with the multiple food groups in Richmond to address current concerns of food insecurity. In Richmond, a large portion of the population is Chinese, so, it is assumed, that a large portion of those whom are food insecure would also be those of Chinese decent. Under this framework, Group 3 identifies and catalogues already present food movements or organizations that are working on the issue of food security. Group 3 is then tasked with dismantling the approaches in an attempt to resolve the issue of cultural understanding and how to provide food security in a sensitive way. This task proved to be much grander than the 1 term the CBL project was given. But amazingly, Group 3 pioneers and lays the groundwork for the future groups to build on top of. The long lasting effects of the CBL project are profound. Group 3 could essentially be the foundation makers who pave the way to make Richmond a greatly more food secure location, in effect helping hundreds of families in Richmond. Refining, is a process started by group 3, but surely it will be a project to span the years to come.

To make up for the lack of photos for which I am usually known for posting, I’ll be posting an Interview with Group 3’s Alan Qu in the next post, so look forward to that!

` rtang


Our universe is made consists of many connections that exists between the tiniest particles to the largest ones. Every day life itself is filled with connections between ourselves, other people, and even the earth we stand on. These connections form our relationships, and our values. Utilization of these connections can be a truly empowering process in which true balance can occur between different things, peace can be achieved. Group 11 and their community partner, Village Vancouver’s FED-AP, understand the power of these connections as they work together to bring communities of Vancouver together to encourage a more food resilient society.

Group 11 helped with Village Vancouver’s FED-AP and their action plan which intends to bring Vancouver from a high energy usage state to a low energy usage state. The did this in part by volunteering at a Village Vancouver event called Neighbour Savour. Neighbour Savour is an event that encourages the community to share foods and recipes together in a potluck type format, and tin support of local artists, seed saving, composting, and waste-free meals. The potluck was designed for any Vancouver resident and each attendee was encouraged to bring something to share at the special dinner. Village Vancouver rented a hall and provided entertainment in variety of forms as well as beer. Group 11 recalls helping at this event “very rewarding” as they were able to assist to make this event a huge success with over 300 people attending! This event is sure to be remembered and have long lasting impacts in the form of community awareness and participation.

In reflection, group 11 recognizes that the exposure to LFS 250 and 350 have opened their eyes on the benefits and impacts of community involvement, particularly the effectiveness of CBL methodology. CBL gave them first hand experience and made the experience truly unique for them, personally. In communicating with group 11, they commented how much they appreciated the time spent volunteering at the Community Potluck Dinner hosted by FED-AP. Setting up and cleaning up allowed group 11 to be present throughout the entire event and watch people interact with each other. Group 11 comments on how the potluck facilitated a sense of community and allowed people to mingle and meet each other. As the night went on, people volunteered to get on stage and play music while some even gave salsa dancing lessons on the side. In a closing remark group 11 says “It felt good to have contributed to something that allowed people to connect with and appreciate each other. I hope strengthening community ties will significantly contribute to sustainability and reduce our energy intake as a society”. Indeed, the power of connections.

EDIT: Great news from the group, photos from their affiliate groups will be posted soon.

Mirrors; Hattaw’s Reflection

Looking back at LFS 250, unlike most people I’ve talked to,  I loved that course! I made some lifetime friends; my breakout room members and I went to dinner together a lot (almost all 30 of us!) and I gained a lot of hands on experience. I was hoping this year would be even more amazing but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

I’m not sure why but the sense of community wasn’t there. I believe that it dependents on which project and community partner you get to work with, and I think that’s what made the difference for me.

For next year, I recommend that community partners be clear on the projects they provide. In my case, our community partner said that they provided a describtion of a project they didn’t need just because it was required that community partners provide a quick summery of the CBEL project. Because we based our choices on the description that was provided, we ended up working on something we weren’t interested or invested in. It wasn’t hands on nor did we get to work with the community that much. Either way, none of my group members got any of their top 3 choices for the CBEL projects.

All in all, it was a great opportunity to learn that you don’t always get what you want but regardless of that you should give it your all because your community partner and your team members are all depending on you and your group dynamic.


Spacial Strengths and Gaps in Richmond

Group 4 – Richmond Food Security Society – Mapping Low Income Areas with Community Meals and Kitchens

After analyzing their results, group 4 has now come up with their project conclusion for mapping out Richmond’s low-income areas with corresponding food aid service outlets. The team found that the most food banks and alike services were concentrated centrally – where the highest population density is and therefore the highest amount of food insecure residents. This result was also found in North-eastern Richmond. Group 4 defines these results as spatial strength– where the need of food aids meets the demand in a close proximity.

Group 4’s Loretta and Monisha at Bethel Church, Richmond

There were, of course, some downfalls in spatial strength in these areas. One food bank is located in an inconvenient area where there is very low demand. Spacial gap is where the outreach of food aid does not meet the demand. One such area is Steveston and West Richmond, where the team found a high food insecure population and nearly no services offered.

Group 4 has brainstormed some reasons for the spacial gaps observed and suggest that there are no suitable facilities at an affordable lease price in those particular areas. And one thing that the team would like to see more of is more nutrition and cooking classes offered for that particular demographic.

This teams efforts will certainly have use to the City of Richmond’s future food security as it aims to tackle food insecurity.


Kat’s Reflection

I remember from last year that LFS 250 was a whirlwind of articles, presentations, write-ups, and project business, and this year’s LFS course was no different. I always felt like I had no clear direction, even as I write this blog post. But don’t get me wrong – I had fun – just fun with a high amount of anxiety and confusion.

I learned a lot this year, mostly because I chose to stray away from my typical involvement with teaching nutrition and cooking. I thought while selecting my project preferences just choose a bunch of projects where I have no clue how to do and where ever that takes me will be great. As it turns out, I was fortunate enough to be placed in the Planning for Pollinators group where I had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people, all with their unique backgrounds and quirks. Although I didn’t get to have as much involvement with the actual planning of the bee sites, I did get to learn a ton about bees (Did you know that there are over 50 bee species in the Lower Mainland!? I didn’t either.) So my advice to any up-coming LFS 350 students who may be reading this blog: take a leap out of your comfort zone, you (hopefully) won’t regret it.