03/30/18

OUR LAST BLOG POST: Farewell!

“It is already our last blog post and our community project with Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre is coming to an end.”

Weekly Objectives and Achievements:


Objectives for Mar 19th -25th

  • Finalize outreach material
  • Get confirmation from Carin and start contacting farmers
  • Complete the infographic and prepare for the final presentation

Objectives for March 25th- April 1st

  • Complete Blog 4
  • Work on the final report
    • We plan to refer to the Harper Adams University Guide to Writing up Science Based Practical Reports to ensure our report is coherent and follows grammatical and academic reference guidelines

Our Achievements

We have finalized our outreach materials and have started the initial process of contacting local farms. We have also completed our infographic and successfully presented our findings to community partners and other LFS students. We are so grateful to have been a part of this community project with Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre to address food insecurity in the Downtown Eastside community by connecting children and families to fresh local food.

Check out our Ray-Cam Farm2Family flyer below!


 

Moment of Significance:


What?

Looking back in the past three months, we can agree that the most significant moment for us during this Farm2Family project would be the final poster presentation. It was at this time that we all realized the impact our community project had. Due to the nature of our project, our end results did not consist of numbers or statistics. Because of this, some of us were uncertain if we had done enough to lay the foundations of the Farm2Family program, questioning the effectiveness of our project results and impact. Despite this, once we received our community partner approval, we began the initial process of contacting local farms on Sunday, March 25.

To our surprise, the following day at the poster presentation, we received news from our community partner that she has already received four responses from local farms who have shown interest in partnering in the Farm2Family program. Furthermore, during our poster presentation, we made a connection with a woman who works with the BC Farmers’ Markets Association who wanted to promote the Farm2Family project.

Overall, our presentation was well received and we had positive feedback about our infographic (which we have attached) and our work on this project from Dr. Will Valley and our community partner.

 

So What?

This particular moment made us realize just how big the potential of Farm2Family can be. Through the unexpected connection with a BC Farmers’ Markets Association member, we saw the reality of the Asset-Based-Community-Development approach as it demonstrated how the community can work together, using its strengths to improve community food security. As our community partner, Carin, stated, “There are so many solutions addressing similar problems. We need to do this more often; where we come together and put solutions together” – its takes communicating, networking, and discussions.

Often, low food accessibility and the dependence on donated food in the DTES constrain the ability of community members to exercise their right to make food choices and to acquire fresh, healthy, and nutritious food. The nutritional needs of individuals are negatively impacted by the limited products offered by charitable providers, who often consider their own focus, interests and operational needs over the needs of recipients. Many food providers are closed on weekends, holidays, and evenings. The food supply is often limited and, as a result, people line-up and even fight for food; food supplies often fail to satisfy demand, making food accessibility in DTES more challenging (Miewald, Carrasco & Turner, 2010). In addition, some food suppliers only target specific groups of populations, such as women, youth, and sex workers. Statistically, indigenous women with children report the highest incidence of food insecurity (Li et al., 2016). The greater vulnerability of women to food insecurity has accelerated the development of women-targeted services, with 20% of the food charities in DTES serving women exclusively (Miewald, Carrasco & Turner, 2010).

The F2F program will also provide food for youth and families, and will supply the DTES with much-demanded fresh produce. In securing fresh produce, the program has grown directly from community demands, improving food justice in the community by increasing distributive justice in the local food system. Whereas food donation programs often require the community to simply accept what’s given, F2F seeks out specific foods based on stated community needs. In conjunction with other food programs offered by Ray-Cam (such as Hot Lunches and Breakfast, Backpack Program, Parent Cooking Program, community kitchen), F2F not only provides food access to those in need, but also encourages families in DTES to engage actively and take up food-related leadership roles by taking initiatives to help build capacity, skills and employability in the area of food acquisition, storage, preparation and delivery.

We are really excited about this opportunity to expand our reach as we continue promoting Farm2Family. Eventually, it would be great to get other community centres in Vancouver involved to increase the scope and impact of this project.

 

Now What?

Going forward Carin will take the lead contacting farmers and figuring out the logistics of the food donations. We are hopeful that we will receive more responses from farmers who want to participate in the program. Additionally, we now see a need to take data on how Farm2Family impacts the costs of Ray-Cam’s food programs, how much food is donated, and how this will change over time, among other things. In the future, if many farmers respond and there is an excess of donations, it may also be beneficial to expand this program to include other Vancouver (and Downtown Eastside) community centres (i.e. Gordon Neighborhood House).

~

Lastly, we would like to thank the Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre for allowing us to partner with them on this project! We all feel that we gained valuable life experience and skills applicable to our professional endeavours. We look forward to hearing more about the programs progress from Carin, and we would like to thank her personally for sharing her vision for Farm2Family with us.

THANK YOU! – Yolanda, Ednelyn, Angela, Skylar, and Adam 🙂

References:

Rahmberg, C. (2018). Personal Communication.

Harpers Adams University. (n.d.) Writing up Science Based Practical Reports: Study Advice Guide. Retrieved From: https://cdn.harper-adams.ac.uk/document/page/127_Writing-up-Science-based-Practical-Reports.pdf

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.

Miewald, C., Ibanez-Carrasco, F., & Turner, S. (2010). Negotiating the Local Food Environment: The Lived Experience of Food Access for Low-Income People Living With HIV/AIDS. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 5(4), 510–525. https://doi.org/10.1080/19320248.2010.530550

Li, N., Tarasuk, V., Zhang, R., Kurrein, M., Harris, T., Gustin, S., & Rasali, D. (2016). Priority health equity indicators for British Columbia: Household food insecurity indicator report, p.44. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF). Retrieved from http://www.phsa.ca/population-public-health-site/Documents/Household%20food%20insecurity%20in%20BC_full%20report.pdf 

 

 

03/11/18

The Graceful Dismount

Weekly Objectives and Achievements:


Objectives for February 26th-March 4th:

Schedule Community Partner Meeting
✅Update Community Partner on progress
✅Update the Blog
Finalize Draft of Brochure, Phone and Email Script, and Local Farms Database

Objectives for March 5th – 11th:

Finish Farmer Vendor List
Finish email and phone scripts
Finish brochure and email flyer
Meet with Carin at Ray-Cam to get materials (such as images for use in the promotional material) and touch base.

Our Achievements:

We recently finished gathering the contact information (name, email, phone, address, etc) for over 60 farmers for our group to contact about participating in Ray-Cam’s Farm2Family initiative. We are also almost done drafting all our promotional materials (email flyer and brochure) and we have finished drafting an email contact script. We were also happy to meet with Carin as a group on March 5th to touch base on our project progress, get feedback on the materials we had already drafted, and obtain images to use in the promotional materials we are making.

 

Moments of Significance Change 


In our class tutorial on February 26, we participated in a Moment of Significance Change Workshop and created as a group a chart displaying our feelings and knowledge gained throughout the our project. Here, we had the opportunity to reflect on our individual and group progress.

Check out our charts and personal reflections below!

Moments of Significance Charts:

Feelings Chart

Knowledge and Skills Gained Chart

 

Personal Reflections:

During the tutorial, our group had a chance to draw a graph that shows a pattern of each of our changes in knowledge, skills, and emotions over the course of this project. After looking at my group’s moments of significant change, I felt relieved that we all had a pretty similar emotional change. Personally, I was lost in the beginning of the project since it was the first project that I actually have to work with an organization for sustainable food systems and build contact lists and seek out for donations. However, my group has been working well in supporting and enhancing everyone’s individual learning by giving feedback to each other’s work. Although it was hard to organize my tasks regarding the project, a direct meeting with a community partner gave me better clarification for the upcoming goals. I am so glad that such hands-on experiences have really been contributing in developing my professional skills such as communication and planning.~ Angela 

 

“Overall, I’ve had great confidence in the goals of our community project. I’ve also been lucky to have dedicated team members. Having a committed community partner in Ray-Cam that has largely shared our vision for this community project has been extraordinarily beneficial as well. The moment of significant change for me was changing the scope of the project from being oriented toward securing a certain number of donations to dedicating ourselves to preparing outreach materials that best represent the interests, values, and goals of Ray-Cam and the local community. There were some frustrations around communication and planning around the busy schedules of everyone involved in the project. However, learning to trust the commitment of everyone participating has relieved a lot of the stress this caused. It also helped us to develop better communication skills as well as strategies for effectively working around busy and conflicting schedules.” ~Adam

 

“After the workshop I felt really excited to continue charging ahead with our project. Throughout this project I have felt really grateful for having such respectful, accountable team members and I was glad I was able to let them know about that. I also liked that it was respected for people to have had ~negative~ emotions or feelings (i.e. disappointment) at different points of the project and to share that with their team members and reflect on and learn from that experience. It was nice to get feedback from my team members about their thoughts on this entire process and I was glad to hear that everyone has been on somewhat the same page. My only complaint about the workshop was that I felt it was a bit rushed due to lecture going over time, and I think that we could have benefited from more discussion as a group instead of individual quiet reflection.” ~Skylar

 

“I felt a lot of uncertainty doing this project. I personally had no experience seeking out donations or had much knowledge about local farms, therefore, I was unsure how to approach the project in the beginning. Thankful for my group members, they helped me have a better grasp about the course of the project. Though it became a little frustrating during times communication was an issue, the workshop made me feel a little relieved as I realized that I was not the only one feeling like this. Thinking about the TED Talk, “How messy problems can inspire creativity”, this workshop allowed us discuss our struggles and frustrations and brainstorm solutions. Regarding our issues of communication, we discussed ways we can effectively communicate with each other and plan out our next steps. The workshop allowed those who were feeling confident to encourage those who were feeling overwhelmed by the project. After the workshop, we can all agree that we felt on the same page and ready to complete this project.” ~Ednelyn

 

“I personally felt anxious and a little bit uncertainty when we started this project because I had no previous knowledge on food security issues in DTES. But thanks to my responsible and reliable team members I have gained confidence in completing our project. I have felt so grateful for everyone’s valuable contribution understanding that everyone had a really busy schedule which could make communication hard sometimes. It was impressive to see everyone has dedicated themselves to work continuously and vigorously to meet and exceed my/our expectations.The moment of significant change workshop reminded me how time flies fast that we were already halfway through the term. Looking back, I felt so proud of what we have been achieved so far has aligned with our objectives and goals. And it was great to know how my team members had different feelings at different stages of our project. Sharing and be open-minded with each other has made our communication become smoother. My communication, time management, and collaboration skills have improved throughout the project. Knowing that everyone is on the same page, I have gained confidence in finishing our project.” ~Yolanda

 

Group reflection:

As you can see from the graphs and personal reflections, the journey of this project has been quite a rollercoaster! Though we were all working together as a group, there were times were we felt all over the place; some were feeling great, whereas, others felt overwhelmed and discouraged. A part of the group felt confident and knew exactly what they were doing, whereas, some felt lost. It was not until the Moment Significance Change Workshop discussions and the development of the charts that we realized this as a group.

After having our project proposal approved by our community partner, we were excited to get things started. We aimed high and set the goal of contacting 100 local farms to receive as much donations as possible. However, as the end of project drew closer, we became unsure if we would even get to the point of contacting farmers. A little discouraged, we turned to the quote,Without a certain amount of anxiety and risk, there’s a limit to how much learning occurs(Shulman, 2005, p. 18).

Through our uncertainty, we came to learn that it was more important to ensure that the reason and significance of Ray-Cam’s Farm2Family Program can be easily understood by the community. Taking an Asset-Based Community Development approach, we focused on Ray-Cam’s strengths in outreach and community-building. In linking local farmers with the DTES community, we hope to improve food security by ensuring access to adequate fresh, nutritious and culturally appropriate food “through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices and equal access for everyone” (Bellows & Hamm, 2003, p.107).

We argue that acknowledging food right as a human right and adopting a food justice lens are imperative to identify the social constraints as we address the food insecurity issues in DTES. During the process of collecting farmer’s contact information, we realized that the higher logistic cost associated with distant farm locations may be the main barrier to establishing a partnership between farms and Ray-Cam. We also realized that the materials used for contacting local farms needed to effectively communicate Ray-Cam’s values, goals, and interests. Therefore, as a group we had to shift gears and dedicate more time to developing the contact materials rather than focusing on obtaining a certain number of donations.

 

Strategies for Project Completion


  • Setting strict deadlines for ourselves for different project components. Continue to follow through with our daily objectives.
  • Maintaining consistent communication among team members in the group chat.
  • Continuously keeping contact with our community partner and asking for feedback.
  • Keep confidence and a positive attitude when facing challenges.

With these in mind, here are our upcoming objectives:

  • Receive a confirmation from Carin regarding the Brochure, Flyer, Email and Phone Script, and Local Farms Database
  • Begin the initial process of contacting local farmers

We are ready! Let’s finish this project!

References:

Bellows, A. C., & Hamm, M. W. (2003). International effects on and inspiration for community food security policies and practices in the USA. Critical Public Health, 13(2), 107-123. doi: 10.1080/0958159031000097652

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

TED. (2017, January 17). How messy problems can inspire creativity. TED, Tim Harford, London, 2015.[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd_j_kw_jZQ

Image credit:

http://www.pf-solutions.ca/the-practice-firm/skills-abilities-knowledge/

http://top10tale.com/most-effective-ways-to-boost-your-self-confidence/

http://www.hockeysouthland.co.nz/News-Events/u15-girls-a-team-announcement

http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/knowledge/tools/uncertainty-guidance

http://ronedmondson.com/2016/12/five-personal-reflection-questions-to-evaluate-your-year.html