The term has passed and gone and we are now left with one last assignment to finish. This term has been a rollercoaster ride for our group as we tried to help the LM-RP community create an operations manual for their new food hub. The term had started off with optimism and excitement which was quickly followed by confusion and disappointment. It was not until our second meeting with Joanne, our community partner, that we turned everything around and were able to produce the final operations manual.


            This term we have accomplished our goal of creating the operations manual for the LM-RP community. We had a scope change early on in our project that shifted our focus from creating a food hub blue print to the manual. We were able to handle this scope change and was able to produce an operations manual that Joanne was pleased with. We were also able to work closely with actual community members while we participated in their sustenance festival which gave us a closer look on how their community operated. Through this whole experience, a few things had stood out for our group. For many of us, the most important aspect of this project was communication. It was because we were able to have great communication not just within our own group, but also with the community members that we were able to finish our project to such satisfying results. This was also a conclusion that was presented by many other groups during their critical reflections. Another similarity with other groups was that we found this to be a very big eye opener. It was quite an experience to be able to actually go into the community and try to apply what we had learned about food and food security in class in a real life scenario.

So what?

            With the our operations manual, the LM-RP community will now have a basis for what their actual operations manual will look like when they create it. They will also now have a better idea of how to distribute their land plots as more results are gathered for the survey that we had created and sent out. We’d like to believe that with our help, the LM-RP will be taking a step in the right direction and be able to bring back the sense of community that they had lost years before.

Now what?

            It is disappointing that we are unable to stick with the LM-RP community through till the opening of their new food hub. Out whole group however, looks forward to seeing how the food hub will develop in the future and we are confident that it will be able to bring their community back together. Our group also looks forward to the work that the next LFS 350 group will carry on after us. We have left them with recommendations such as utilizing different methods for data collection other than surveys, and also the use of different languages so that all of the LM-RP residents will feel included in the data.

            As a closing word, our group had a great time this term working together. We would like to thank Joanne and Art for all their help on the project. We would also like to thank the whole LFS 350 teaching team for their support and teachings. Thank you all again and we hope to work with you again in the future.

Project Progress 3

 Sometimes we all find ourselves feeling a bit low and don’t have much motivation to face the day. With our busy lives filled with work, travel, and school, it is hard to keep an upbeat view about everything without getting worn out. Ever since we finished our surveys at Little Mountain Riley Park, our team’s motivation has been decreasing. As we stated in our last post, collecting responses for our survey proved much more difficult than we originally thought. With no events for our group to go to, our morale dropped lower and lower. Thankfully, the lecture and tutorial gave us the knowledge and chance to boost our morale back up.


 This week in our lecture we got to hear from every TA and some challenges they faced when they were working. Our TA, Latika Rasinghani, told us about her experience transitioning from India to Canada and how sometimes we may feel very pressured to achieve higher goals. She also brought to our attention the benefits of making sure our group dynamics are functioning well. It was also important to make sure that any present tensions are resolved so that we may continue working together effectively.  


 In our tutorial we charted how we are all feeling to compare with one another.  Based on the sharing within the group, we found that there are several moments where we felt the same way. No matter what expectations we had about the course at the beginning, we were all very excited after we met each other. We felt very happy forming this group and we looked forward to all that we were going to do in the next three months. After our first meeting with our community partner (Joanne), we felt a little disappointed because of the unclear objective of the project. That changed however, after the second meeting and everyone was happy with that. The proposal presentation we did in the tutorial session got us some positive feedback which made us feel that we were on the right track, but the mark really affected us after. Later, we did our survey at the Sustenance Festival for the project. Some of us felt down for not getting much useful data and others were content with what we had already and participated in the festival gladly. Due to the lack of data, we cannot draw solid conclusions to give Joanne and her team. Now, with our plans set on how to move forward, most of us are satisfied with our current situation.

Our team's happiness plotted over time with how each significant point affected our happiness

Our team’s happiness plotted over time with how each significant point affected our happiness

Even though we all feel slightly different, we still have the same goal of finishing on a positive note. As we continue working on our outline of the operations manual for the community garden, we are keeping a few things in mind to help us reach our positive end goal. We are making sure what we are doing can be completed within the time frame, and at the same time, we are making sure this is congruent with our team’s goals and visions. Most importantly, we are also keeping in mind Joanne and her team’s goals and visions as we want to help her achieve what she envisioned for LIttle Mountain Riley Park. What our end goal is, is not only to deliver the outline of the operations manual for Joanne and her committee, but to also lay out the groundwork for whatever team may be continuing this project later on. For further data collection, we realised that surveys are very limiting. We would suggest that further data collection about the community garden be done with personal interviews with board members or people with community garden experience as that would be much more beneficial.   


 It has been a long 2 months since we began our projects and the end is already in our sights. We feel as though we are now stronger as a group after the recent activities done in the tutorials. We have a better understanding of our goals and also the vision that we hope to achieve by the end. Even if we do come across setbacks in our projects, we need to be able to face them head-on, and together as a group, and we feel that our group is indeed ready to do so.

Project Progress Part 2


Every day, we are faced with situations that require us to make compromises in order to achieve our goals. It could even be as simple as waking up late one morning and rushing to get to work on time. With only 15 minutes to get ready and out the door, you would probably opt for a simple breakfast like jam and toast rather than bacon and homemade waffles. Currently, we are facing a similar issue with our community project. After getting our project proposal feedback, our team had to re-evaluate how we would go about achieving our project goals with the time left in the term. As mentioned in our previous post, our plan was to finalize our survey and collect responses during the Sustenance Festival at Hillcrest Community Centre in addition to sending it out to the community garden mailing list through Joanne MacKinnon. Little did we know, this would be harder than we thought with just a little over a month left in the course.


Even in the lobby of a busy community centre in the heart of Little Mountain-Riley Park, we only managed to get less than 30 survey responses in 4 hours, and that was with the incentive of a chance to win a Nester’s Market gift basket. Our survey can be viewed here. The vast majority of survey responses indicated that participants were not interested in renting a community garden plot. With the slow response rate and low level of interest, it is hard to imagine that we will have enough information before we have to start writing our operations manual guidelines and final report. Even with online responses, we cannot guarantee that a survey alone would be enough to get an idea of community preferences. We need to think of an alternative.


Group 10 collecting survey responses at the Sustenance Festival. The event took place on October 18th at Hillcrest Community Centre.

So what?

This week in class, we listened to Dan Barber’s story about how he tried to replicate the complex but ethical method of raising geese for foie gras. Dan Barber is an established American chef known for his use of “farm to table” cooking and dishes that accentuate the natural flavours of fresh, seasonal ingredients. When he met Eduardo, the man who mastered the technique of raising ethical foie gras, he couldn’t believe that everything from the type of grass the geese ate, to the climate, mating, and overall freedom, were factors that contributed to the superior foie gras flavour.  Even after years and years of trying to replicate this process in New York, his efforts were unfruitful. Eduardo’s technique probably did not happen overnight, and most likely required years to perfect. Similar to our food-hub model, sometimes we just can’t expect success to occur immediately. It is easy to get swallowed up in the complexities and size of a project, which could lead to overwhelming stress. In these situations, the project scope needs to be adjusted to manageable parts that can eventually be integrated to create the final product. We do not want to compromise the quality of our project by biting off more than we can chew.

Now what?

After discussion with Joanne and the teaching team, we agreed that it would be best to start the survey process, but leave the data analysis for the next LFS 350 groups. That way we can focus on other parts of the operations manual while survey responses can continue to be collected online until an adequate sample size is reached. We realized that surveys are rather limited in the information they can provide. No matter how well a survey is designed, obtaining useful data is highly dependent on whether people choose to participate or not. At the Sustenance Festival, most people could not be bothered to answer 6 questions. Luckily we met Varouj, a landscape architect and LM-RP Food-hub planning committee member. He was very interested in how we planned to incorporate our data into the operations manual.  He also suggested that we contact other community gardens directly about how they have divided their plots among groups, individuals, and public commons, as an alternative to solely relying on the survey. This way, we can base our recommendations on what models are already known to work well. One of the significant moments this week was when Varouj suggested to work backwards and develop a “mind map” of events. For our complex system model, which involves the City of Vancouver, the LM-RP Neighborhood Food Network, funding, building contracts, grants, and much more, the path to the functional food-hub is not a linear one, but rather a winding, branching pathway with no singular “right” way to go. Realistically speaking, we can’t take this on all our own. We need to rethink our data collection methods and the parameters of our operations manual. One recommendation we got from the teaching team was to write an outline with recommendations and not a full-length operations manual. As outsiders of the community, and limitations in our experience and time frame, we need to step back and think of what is a reasonable amount of work that can be a positive contribution to the project overall.

It is ultimately a process that leads to another process. A system has many changing and moving components, and it is too easy to get swept up in the complexity of things and give up.

Our strategy for dealing with the overwhelming feeling of “scope-creep,” is to take things one step at a time and focus on a few components and do our best to make deep inquiries that can help the LM-RP Food-Hub project along.

A valuable lesson we learned during the Sustenance Festival was that the method of data collection for complex systems cannot always be confined to the limits of an online survey. As science students, we have become used to using the controlled methods often employed in scientific research. The importance of personal dialogue with community members has given us a better understanding of what people value.


Glass, I. (2011). Poultry slam 2011 – act 3: Latin liver. (Radio Archive).This American Life.

Project Progress

Our group will be attending the Sustenance Festival on Oct. 18th to engage with community members.

Hello and welcome back to our blog! We are excited to share with you the progression we have made in our community project since our last posting. Since out last blog posting, our main objectives for the project, outlined in our last post, have shifted due to a few key developments that we have had. With the help of the Rolfe et al.’s framework, we will critically reflect on a significant breakthrough that helped us redefine our objectives and give us a new understanding of our project.


The two original objectives described in our last posting were to define a mini food hub model for Little Mountain Riley Park as well as to create an operations manual that would be used by the LM-RH Neighborhood Food Network to govern and manage the new community garden. The first part of our breakthrough was our meeting at Hillcrest Recreation Centre. On September 22nd, our group met with our community partner, Joanne McKinnon (the coordinator of LM-RP Food Network), to discuss our project and get a better understanding of our objectives. Unfortunately, we left the meeting feeling more confused than when we entered, due to the fact that the meeting mainly covered the planning and organization of the upcoming LM-RP Sustenance Festival and we only briefly touched on the aim of our community project. This obviously left our group feeling disheartened, muddled, and stuck; we knew we couldn’t move forward until we had a much clearer understanding of our objectives.

The second component of our breakthrough was the feedback we received after presenting our project proposal to the class. After presenting the same two objectives we had formed at the initiation of our project, we received a very eye-opening response from our audience. It was suggested to us that not only one, but both of our objectives were beyond the scope of our project and that it would be in our, as well as our community stakeholder’s, best interest to simplify and remodel our aim.

These significant moments in the morphology of our project have taught us valuable lessons that we can bring forward to make our project more successful.

So What?

The experiences described above tell us that as a team, we are very focused on adhering to guidelines and rubrics that are set out for us and there exists among us a level of uncertainty around stepping outside of these guidelines and remodeling the scope of our work. Our decision to keep our original objectives in our project proposal despite lacking a true understanding of their scope was based on our fear of straying from our project description given to us by LFS 350. Similarly, our failure to see significance in the meeting with our community partner shows that we are too focused on exploring the exact objectives laid out in the project description to appreciate the opportunities that are provided to us in these meetings.

Much like Chef Dan Barber’s relentless attempts to produce ethically raised foie gras in New York, we must pause and consider whether components of our project are within the scope of our abilities and resources.  Although Barber is still continuing his journey to successfully raise “wild geese,” on his farm in New York, he realizes that there may be no humanly possible way to do it with the climate and predation that he is working with. Being aware of and honest about the limitations in any given project will benefit everyone involved and create a more efficient and successful project.

Additionally, Sisonke Msimang points out in her podcast that it is critical to listen to the people that you are working with in more ways than one. We must listen “not just to the words…but to the silences,” are words that parallel very well with our struggle to form a connection and understand what our community partner wanted from us during our first meeting on September 22nd. Because our group was so focused on delivering what our project description outlined for us, we failed to understand the importance of community engagement and the huge role that the Sustenance Festival would play in our mission to create an operations manual.

Now What?

Moving forward, our group is now comfortable with the idea that some aspects of our project may be beyond the scope of our mission and that we need to be flexible in order to make this project successful. At the end of the day, having a small deliverable that is actually helpful to our community partner is much more valuable than “biting off more than we can chew” and ending up with a deliverable that sticks to our original objectives but is not useful to the community.

Additionally, we now appreciate that all occasions to engage with our community members and partners are opportunities for us to gain valuable knowledge that will ultimately make our project stronger and more successful. Community-based project development must be a process in which all members have a chance to be heard, and all opinions and components are valuable parts of a collective project.

Our upcoming objectives are to further engage with the community members of LM-RP in order to better understand what they want to see in a community garden. We will be doing this by attending the Sustenance Festival on October 18th and asking community members to complete a survey they we have put together. In addition, we will be collecting information on recommended operations manual outlines by referencing successful community gardens from all over North America.

This should keep us busy until our next posting, thanks for reading!

-Group 10


Glass, Ira. (2011). Poultry Slam 2011: Act 3: Latin Liver. This American Life Podcast. Podcast retrieved from                http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/452/poultry-slam-2011

Msimang, S. (2014, Dec, 10). A Pragmatic Idealist. The Moth Podcast. Podcast retrieved from http://themoth.org/posts/stories/a-pragmatic-idealist

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



Hello fellow classmates, welcome to our team blog!  Before we dive into our team goals and aspirations in this course we would like to take a moment to introduce ourselves individually to demonstrate the unique aspects that make our group so great!

Thea Sturdy:  I’m a 3rd year agroecology student. I am super excited to work alongside the Little Mountain Riley Park Neighborhood Food Network to help enrich food culture for the residents of LMRP!

Sylar Ju: I am a 4th year food market analysis student with a fondness for tasting seafoods. I’m also caring about the development of global seafood production .

Kelsey Dosanjh: I am a fourth year dietetics student who has a joy for sports, enjoys gardening and volunteering at outpatient clinics in my spare time.  

Joanne Labrador: I am a 4th year food science student with a passion for making food. I enjoy developing new dishes using local and seasonal ingredients.

Josh Ling: I am a 3rd year food nutrition and health student. My greatest interest is cooking food and serving it to others. But knowing the nutritional background of the food I am feeding is extremely important to me as well.

Joey Chen: I am a 3rd year Food and Nutritional Health student with great interest in foods and sciences. I love creating and tasting food and finding out about the sciences that is behind it.

Our team is made up of students from a variation of specialties, we are excited to work together and see what we can achieve using our distinct skill-sets. From LFS 350, we wish to accomplish team unity and cohesiveness as well as enhance our ability to reach out into our community and make a substantial impact. It will be great to hone in on our research skills then be able to apply this new found knowledge into something concrete and visible in our community.


What appealed to us about the “Blueprint for the Mini Food-Hub in Little Mountain-Riley Park” is that it was something none of us have had much experience with but we’re all intrigued by what steps would need to be taken to create a sustainable food hub in a small community (see image above for a draft of what it may look like). We hope to create a plan that is long term and maintainable by community groups so that this hub lasts for many generations to come. The two main objectives for this project are to define a mini food-hub model and then create operational procedures for their community garden, both of which we are hoping to get more clarity on once we meet our community partner. We will be able to interact with the UBC Community Engagement Librarian to find gardening models and ultimately deliver a manual that the community can use to further develop their food-hub. By the end of this project we hope to have created achievable and realistic contributions that this community can use to create a sustainable, affordable and nutritious mini food-hub. We are also looking forward to their Sustenance Festival they are holding in October to further educate ourselves on their intentions with the gardens …we hear there is a beekeeping center too! 

So far our team has been working out logistical issues and are in the process of delegating tasks. Everyone has been contributing ideas and vocalizing any concern which is a great way to begin this project. Ernesto Sirolli’s TED talk showed that if you don’t ask questions you will never fully understand what someone wants, we think this is applicable not only to our community partner but also to other individuals in our team. We intend to approach everyone we speak to with respect to discover the core goal they are in search of. In the words of Sirolli “the most important thing is passion, you can give a person an idea but if they don’t want to do it they won’t”, we thought this was a powerful message that is applicable not only to understanding the community partners needs so they will be happy with the results but also in ensuring everyone in our group is heard. Working together using asset-based community development approach and using everyone’s strengths will allow us to explore what Little Mountain Riley Park has of value and expand on that to give them a sustainable mini food-hub.  We will be emphasizing internal growth and limiting the use of external sources as a way to improve their gardens, local growth encourages togetherness and develops clarity so they can have one united goal.  

Thanks for stopping by our blog, stay tuned for more blog posts in the future!
Group 10


A New Community Garden for Riley Park. (2015, July 7). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from https://www.lmnhs.bc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/INITIAL-CONCEPT-7-7-2015.jpg