Farewell!

Moment of Significance – What

Looking back, we have come to experience uncertainty in different stages of the project. At first, we were confused about what we had to do. After the orientation organized by Teya Stephens, our supervisor from Vancouver Coastal Health, we started to gradually understand how to work with the map and were given clearer directions. As shown on our moments of significant change workshop in our previous blogpost, while some of us gained confidence over the course of the project, there were some of us who felt lost and needed some more guidance. One moment of significant change that boosted our confidence as a group was the arrangement of 2 map trialling sessions after most of the updates of the Food Asset Map were complete.

During the map trialling stage, we initially visited Bridge Community Health Clinic in Vancouver and conducted surveys regarding whether the map was easy to understand and use, as well as to obtain feedback to further improve the map. Only 3 visitors completed the survey and we were recommended by our TA to obtain a larger sample of responses for a more meaningful statistical analysis. During our second trial at the UBC Nest, we obtained an additional of 10 responses.

Moment of Significance – So what

The implications of the 2 trials were significant for our project. Not only were the trial results extremely valuable for providing the foundation for our work later on, it also increased our understanding and confidence as a group collectively. The findings solidify the content of our final presentation, including our infographic, showcase and report, and directs us toward a proper project closure. When we were educating the public about our project goals, methods, and purpose, we were in fact educating ourselves and enhancing our own understanding towards the project. We felt a sense of satisfaction seeing our work pay off and seen by the community. Since the second trial was unexpected, we managed to increase our communication and collaboration through the generation of a to-do list, delegated tasks to each group member, familiarized ourselves with upcoming deadlines. We were more creative, exchanged our ideas more freely and frequently, and felt more comfortable reaching out for help when we need clarification. In a way, those disadvantageous moments actually benefited us.

Moment of Significance – Now what?

We have come to realize Tim Harford’s words that there are “unexpected advantages of having to cope with a little mess” (2016). With the upcoming development of our elevator pitch for the upcoming showcase presentation, infographics and final report before us, we are now better equipped for successful completion as a group. But a very good question to ask this point in time is will we “gain appreciation” for all the uncertainty we have experienced up to this point and in the future (Harford, 2016)? We need a change in attitude to see that, instead of viewing uncertainty as a barrier to success, it is a stepping stone offering many critical reflection and learning moments that help make our project better. Though uncertainty is unavoidable, we can strive for better communication and exchange of knowledge and concerns earlier on in the project. As the project draws to conclusion, we are thankful for the unique learning experience in LFS 350.

References

Harford, T.(2016). Tim Harford How Messy Problems Can Inspire Creativity. (Video file). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/aLoXx8qnb14

Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Objectives

  • Begin working on final report and presentation
  • Finalize the VFAM Excel Spreadsheet with all correct information
  • Compile results from Map Trialing and begin to work on feedback

Achievements

  • Updated VFAM map tool Excel Spreadsheet with current contact information for a number of assets as found online
  • Reached out to new assets that may be added to the map tool
  • Met deadlines for all assignments, including blog posts, project proposals
  • Attended the Community Member Map Trailing at Bridge Clinic on March 6

Moment of Significant Change

Description:

During the Moment of Significant Change workshop, we as a group identified the knowledge and skills we have gained so far as and changes in our personal emotions, values, and beliefs throughout the course of this project. The first graph above is the combined graph represented the whole group. We felt our knowledge was relatively low coming to the project. It was not until the orientation session led by our community partner that we got introduced to this ongoing project and received clarifications on our role. Although not shown on the graph, we expect to keep achieving new skills and knowledge throughout the project. Graph 2 represents the changes in personal feelings and attitude. Our emotions were low and neutral in the beginning since we did not know what to expect for the project with lots of uncertainty and doubts. As we learn more about the project we felt more prepared and excited to contribute in helping food insecurity in our community. However, we were quickly overwhelmed by all the documents that were given to us and confusion also arose with the instructions. Some members kept feeling a loss of direction while other members received positive feedback from updating the food assets.

Reflection:

This workshop gave us an opportunity to share our experiences, stories, and feelings with the group members. In many stages of the project uncertainty always gets in the way of our progress which is normal and expected. The reading from the past weeks suggested that our career as food system professionals will be defined and “characterized by condition of inherent and un-avoidable uncertainty” (Shulman, 2005, p. 18). The real challenge is not the uncertainty itself but how we face it and respond to resolve it.  This requires critical thinking, effective communication, and trust in the group members. With the first-hand experience gained in this project, we were able to exercise and examine our abilities to cope with uncertainty which is beneficial in the overall learning experience.

Our perceptions of the food asset map have also changed since the beginning of the project. We believe the map is a powerful tool for but we are unclear about its overall impact on addressing food insecurity. Although we feel the contributions we offer is limited, we are hopeful that with consistent efforts in perfecting the map, it can contribute to the bigger picture in the long run.

 

Graceful Dismount

As the term comes to an end, our group hopes to continue updating the Vancouver Food Asset List to add onto the map. We will do this by collecting any new data for the map as well as reviewing already existing information to ensure its accuracy. A couple of group members have conducted a map trailing trial with a few community members at Bridge Clinic in East Vancouver through the communication of our contact at Vancouver Coastal Health. During this, we were able to get feedback from community members on different ways to improve the map such as making it available to other cities in the Lower Mainland. We will also assess more evaluations by community members facing food insecurities done during this experience via an ethically designed anonymous evaluation. Moreover, we hope to continue our project through keeping constant communication with group members through our Facebook group to delegate our work equally. This will ensure a fair distribution of work between all group members and improve the quality of work. Finally, as our final task, we will interpret the quantitative and qualitative data to articulate our findings and present it in our final report. We aim to transition smoothly into the final stages of our project at the end of this term and hopefully keep in contact with Vancouver Coastal Health.

 

Reference

Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ697350.pdf

 

Project Proposal + Progress

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Objectives

  • Delegate tasks to group members in order to ensure an equitable distribution of work
  • Research free and subsidized grocery stores that may be added to the map tool
  • Update information currently populated in the map tool to ensure completeness and accuracy of information by contacting different food asset locations
  • Arrange map trialling session with community members to obtain feedback on the usability and the effectiveness of the map

Achievements

  • Clarified our group’s role in the Vancouver Food Asset Map through the orientation session at Pacific Spirit Community health centre, led by Kathy Romses and Teya Stevens
  • Drafted, revised, and finalized project proposal
  • Established contact with community partner for map trialling (Bridge Clinic) on March 6, 2017
  • Updated VFAM map tool Excel Spreadsheet with current contact information for a number of assets as found online
  • Reached out to new assets that may be added to the map tool
  • Met deadlines for all assignments, including blog posts, project proposal, and TCPS certification

Reflection on a Moment of Significance that has Occurred in the Course so Far.

  • What?
    • While we initially set up a communication system, it was not utilized effectively, and we did not communicate our progress of the project well with the team. This may have occurred due to the number of days missed for lectures which resulted in the feeling of disconnect with the project. It was easy to forget about the course, and being part of a large group with little direction seems to result in individuals feeling less responsibility for contributing to the project. While our facebook group is still active in delegating tasks and setting up meetings with community partners, we did not utilize the platform to update each other on the progress of our project. While we do have a google document, VFAM Progress/Updates, for progress and updates but that is underused as well.
  • So What?
    • Our main problem is a result of two issues: the lack of communication about the progress and neglect of the project’s progress. The lack of communication resulted in members not being aware of what other members were doing for the project. The neglect of the project’s progress over past couple of weeks resulted in delay in the project’s advancement. However, we could have utilized the unfavourable situation of missing couple of weeks of LFS 350 as a reason to reinforce our communication skills and turn the situation into an “unexpected advantage”. The process might have been more difficult in trying to arrange a system of communication but we may have ended up more focused “to cope with a little mess” and create a more effect way of communicating virtually (Tim Harford, 2016).
  • Now What?
    • As a group we will continue forward with weekly planning sessions. We will all quickly gather and share what we have done and what we are planning to do over the week until the next meeting. While this can be done in tutorial, we should also think about days that we might miss tutorials like the last couple of weeks due to holidays. This can be by creating a progress chat group on facebook.

Upcoming Objectives

  • Conduct map trialing with community members at Bridge Clinic on March 6, 2017
  • Data collected during map trialing session will be compiled and shared with Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Group members will continue to review and update the map tool to ensure accuracy of information
  • Group members will continue to seek out and contact additional free and subsidized grocery sources to be added to the map

References

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Harford, T. (2016). How messy problems can inspire creativity [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd_j_kw_jZQ.

Beginnings

The Team

profileMartha Staus

3rd Year – Dietetics

My life truly revolves around food – cooking, sharing, consuming and learning – it’s what occupies the vast majority of my time, energy, and resources. Issues relating to food security in particular have been an interest of mine for some time, both in respect to how it will affect my future practice as a dietitian and in its affect on my own life as a student with limited income.

Andy So

3rd Year – Food, Nutrition and Health

The reason why I take this Major is because I really like food. However, it is really difficult to keep fit while having a lot of food. Therefore, I believe taking this major would allow me to learn more about ways to find nutritious food and balance my diet, thus, remain healthy while enjoying food.

 

Madina Wahid

3rd Year – Food, Nutrition and Health

Nutrition and health have always been important factors in my life which led me into this major. During my time at UBC, I have grown a particular interest in international nutrition and how it is incorporated with public health.

Ben Heo

3rd Year – Applied Plant and Soil Sciences Major

I am a student passionate in learning about environment sustainability and social issues around the world. Through my studies in LFS, I hope to integrate both social and environmental approach to address global issues we face currently.

 

Michelle Wu

3rd Year – Nutritional Sciences

From my personal experience, I was able to see how change in nutrition intake impacts the health and wellbeing of my family. Learning about different aspects of food and nutrition, especially its role in growth and disease prevention, is something I have great interest in. I appreciate being a part of this ongoing project that not only provides hands on experience but also helps address food insecurity in our local community.

Crystal Lee

2nd Year – Food, Nutrition and Health

I have always loved food and have the passion to learn more about food production and how the components interact in our body. My major gives me the perfect opportunity to learn what I love and contribute  to the community with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained along the way.   

Group Interest

Being on a student budget, we have all had the experience of searching for free or subsidized grocery items, but failed to do so. However, after the orientation with Vancouver Coastal Health, we were introduced to a food asset map that highlights locations providing free or subsidized grocery items around the city of Vancouver. We were impressed at how easily it is to access and navigate through the food asset map, and therefore we are excited to be able to make our own contributions to it!

Group Goals

As a group, we are concerned about the prevalence of food insecurity that exists in Vancouver. At our group orientation, we learned from Kathy Romses that British Columbia is the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction policy, and that 1 in 5 children in BC still live below the poverty line (Stephens & Romses, 2017). Through participation in this project we hope to play a part in mitigating food security issues in our communities. We expect that learning about the process of identifying and documenting food assets in a community and gaining skills in working and interacting with community members will be a valuable experience that we can take with us throughout the rest of our education and professional lives. We look forward to build upon the efforts of the previous group in identifying searching, identifying, and compiling food assets in the community.

Why We Chose This Project

Our group chose this task because we wanted to get involved in a big project that was community focused and aimed to address the issue of food insecurity and poverty in Vancouver. The project for the food asset map allows us to get involved in a real-world applicable task that will be applied to tackle real concerning issues. It provides us with the chance to learn outside of the lecture halls through experiences and develop skills that we would not be able to foster in classrooms. The idea of practical learning over theoretical learning really drew us into working on this project.

What We Wish to Gain from Our Experiences in LFS 350

We hope to learn how to communicate with community members in a professional setting with real audiences and stakeholders. By engaging with the community partners we hope to apply the knowledge learned in class to real life situations and understand the issues relating to poverty and food insecurity in Vancouver. LFS 350 also allows us to work in a group setting composed of diverse disciplines and perspectives.

Project Objectives

Led by dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health, this project is a collaboration with various community partners to create a food asset mapping tool that will be available to the public, specifically community members who are experiencing food insecurity. While it is recognized that this project does not address the root cause of food insecurity in Vancouver (poverty), the goal of this project is to create a current and up-to-date tool that connects community food resources to those who need to access them (Stephens & Romses, 2017).

As a team, we will be collecting information about free or subsidized grocery items and low-cost markets available in Vancouver communities. We will then update the Food Access Map with this data. Additionally, we will be gathering feedback in the form of surveys from community members about the level of accessibility and usability of the map in order to inform and direct future development of this project (Stephens and Romses, 2017).

First Impressions

The definition of Food Justice is “a transformation of current food system, including but not limited to eliminating disparities and inequities that constrain food choices and access to good food for all” (Gottlieb and Joshi, 2010). With food justice in mind, we once again see the importance and criticality of having the right to food and hoping we can start to make a change in the yet-to-be perfect food system with this community project.

After attending the orientation meeting earlier this week we gained a much clearer understanding of how our contribution to this project will fit into the bigger picture of Vancouver Coastal Health’s food access map and of food security in Vancouver . Ernesto Sirolli notes in his TED Talk (2012) that a large successful company is the result of collaboration from a group of individuals, and likewise our project requires the collaboration between Vancouver Coastal Health, LFS students, local food assets as well as other organizations and community partners. We recognize that we’re just a small part of a big puzzle, but that we have a part to play in trying to build a tool for Vancouver residents to locate good food.

The orientation session led us to think about the fact that everyone in the society has something to contribute. According to Mathie and Cunningham, there is a need to switch from the traditional “needs-based approach,” in which citizens of the community rely on external resources to provide solution, to the “asset-based approach,” which involves recognizing the already existing assets in the community to initiate positive changes to solve the problem (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is well-suited to the current project, as recognizing strengths may be a more productive and positive approach than seeing the constraints that exist in our society as we work towards collectively improving our food system. In this case, citizens of the community, rather than external experts are at the center of development (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). Through this project, we will be identifying and drawing on the strengths that the community already possesses, the assets that are already growing and thriving in Vancouver, and work to connect them into a network that is stronger than the sum of their parts. We will seek to listen to the community members’ vision of development, rather than showing up with our own ideas, as this is a more effective approach to providing support (Sirolli, 2012). This will require us to make personal connections with individuals in the community, and to be flexible in terms of our methods of approaching the community, such as using various ways of communicating with local food assets.

References:

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

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.

Sirolli, Ernesto (2012, November 26). Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! Retrived from https://youtu.be/chXsLtHqfdM.

Stephens, T., & Romses, K. (2017). LFS 350- Community Project Vancouver Food Asset Map: group orientation session.

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