Let’s do this!

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Apples, apples, pears… 

At first glance, our group may seem very different (see here!) – but once we were able to delve deeper and get to know each other a bit better we found that we actually had a lot in common. Terry might be really into agriculture and urban farming, while Caecilia is interested in farm-to-fork processes, and Cheryl hopes to discover natural properties of food; however, we realized we are all interested in the community aspect of food and also learning more about where our food really comes from. Many of us are also really passionate about recipe development and others community outreach & nutrition education – and we all love food! It seems that our group has diverse backgrounds and perspectives to bring to this course (we have perspectives from nutrition, food sciences, and crop production!).

We are really excited to be working on the heritage orchard project at the Gambier Island Sea Ranch, which you can read a bit more about here. This project was our top choice because we loved the idea of not only seeing the food system from outside the lower mainland, but also gaining a better understanding of the unique food system challenges which isolated island communities face (this one is off grid as well!). Additionally, British Columbia has a booming apple and pear industry; we believed that as Vancouverites, this project will aid us in better understanding a keystone component of our regional food system. We also just think fruit is delicious!

We are learning so many acronyms in LFS 350 – here is another one for you: Asset-based community development, we can just call it ABCD (fun!). It’s a really useful concept, it almost seems like it should be obvious – to look at not what is lacking in a community but what assets exist in that community (1). This includes some of those not so obvious assets, like the skills of individuals in that community, the water sources, or even something as abstract as the character of a place.

The Sirolli TED talk (2) really solidified this concept with his example of the NGOs that went into African countries to establish European style agriculture only to fail when the hippos ate all the crops. If they had used the guiding principles of ABCD and consulted with the local people (or as Sirolli put it – ‘shut up and listen!’) they would have known why the communities weren’t already practicing agriculture! He talks about how the people know what they need, and the locals are entrepreneurs, and how success can happen when people are brought together with common passions – this relates a lot to our project.

We hope that we are able to channel the passions of the individuals in our community partnership to create something that is meaningful and long-term and to help them reach their goals. We will be travelling out to Gambier Island to visit the GISR this weekend, and hopefully we can learn, listen, and come back with more clarity for this project.

Wish us luck!

Carly + Group 3



1. 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.

2. Sirolli, E. (2012, September). Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! TEDxEQChCh. Video file retrieved from  https://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen?language=en