Blog Post #4

Executive Summary


             The Little Mountain-Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network (LM-RP NFN) aims to improve food access of its residents by increasing accessibility through connecting residents with healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food through events, gardens, and programs. (“LM-RP Neighbourhood Food Network (NFN)”, n.d.). The Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign works with local businesses to raise funds for the networks’ program, specifically the Little-Mountain Riley Park community garden.

            Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a framework that utilizes the knowledge and resources of community members, challenging the typical needs-based approach to development (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). We will refer to ABCD principles, with a focus on developing human capacity. It is important to determine what each community already has to offer, and what programs effectively reach people, in order to see how they might extend the success, and work towards community food security.

Inquiry Question

            How to effectively recruit local businesses for a fundraising project. We want to gain insight into what encourages or deters a business to participate in a local fundraiser such as the Nourish Your Neighbourhood fundraiser.


  • Augmented and refurbished the business contact list, including updated phone numbers and email addresses for over 122 businesses within the neighbourhood
  • Updated the information letter
  • Developed an online survey intended for all businesses to fill, regardless of interest in the fundraiser


            Out of the 122 businesses that we contacted, we had a survey response from Little Mountain Shop and SweetSalt Bakery & Cafe expressing potential interest. Three businesses, Nesters Market, Earnest Ice Cream and The Locus, actively donated gift cards towards the fundraiser.  We have forwarded the survey responses to Joanne and she will likely contact the interested businesses closer to October. The information gathered from the few surveys give insight into the recruitment process and how to effectively engage business for future fundraisers.
Recommendations and Conclusion

            In the future, we would ideally recommend in-person contact with businesses. This would establish an initial relationship wherein the manager would have the opportunity to connect a face to the initiative as opposed to a virtual e-mail that can be easily discarded as spam. If this is not possible in all cases, a phone call would be next best method of communication. These methods establish a more personal relationship and interaction with the businesses which may give them more incentive to either participate. In addition, we would recommend having a physical copy of the survey to fill out in person or be verbally completed over the phone would prove beneficial in response volume. We hope Joanne will take these recommendations into consideration and implement them into future fundraising endeavors.   


Moment of Significance


          In our flexible learning session two weeks ago, our group set out to approach the local businesses door-to-door about their potential participation in Nourish Your Neighbourhood. When we wrote our previous blog post, we were filled with much more optimism and perhaps were overzealous with our initial intention of reaching every businesses that did not have a contact email on our list. It should be noted that our list included every food-related business between the boundaries of 16th to 41st Ave, and Knight to Cambie. Hence, our first problem: the time constraint. With the three hours we had for our flexible learning session, including the transportation time required to travel from UBC to the Little Mountain-Riley Park neighbourhood and back, we decided to target Main Street. As we started approaching people door-to-door, we soon realized our second problem: we need to reach managers or store owners.

          As it turned out, managers are difficult to find at their business locations on a Monday afternoon. Without a manager present, we were unable to ask for participation in our fundraiser, and we could not gather valid survey responses, so we took down an email and carried on. It was not until we reached the Main Street Honey Shoppe when the store employee – not the manager – asked us what we are fundraising for. We explained that the purpose of the garden is to raise money for the community garden to support food security in the area. He said that this is our selling point, and we should make it a priority in our pitch rather than a secondary aspect. He also said that community members may be wondering why we, as UBC students and outsiders to the community, would be involved. This was a moment of significance for our group because when we made plans for this flexible learning session we did not anticipate the limitations that we faced, nor did we have great consideration of how we would be received by the community.

So What

            Almost as if Will read our minds, in Session 11 we discussed how we as a class are coming in as an outside organization with new ideas and imposing them onto the community. As the employee at The Honey Shoppe pointed out, our connection with the Little Mountain-Riley Park Community Food Network was not extremely clear to business owners and community members, and was likely shadowed by the fact that we are outsiders from a university collecting survey data. Typically university knowledge entering the community to assess what is needed is not an asset-based approach, it is usually considered deficit-based (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). While the Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign itself takes on an asset-based approach – it aims to add a garden to the neighbourhood to increase the existing state of food security, and which helps to foster citizen-to-citizen connections – it may seem deficit-based depending on who it was coming from. Maybe we were seen as a group of patronizing outsiders trying to save the community, when the purpose of our project is to raise money for a garden that will facilitate the community’s capacity to save itself.

            Admittedly when we started this project we had many ideas, suggestions, and perhaps unrealistic expectations. We were optimistic about what we could achieve and were excited about what we could contribute to this campaign, but did not fully consider if our goals were feasible or realistic. Hence, the slight disappointment with the lack of immediate results when we went door-to-door. We made a huge list of businesses but how were we going to reach them all? Did we really think that because we thought the fundraising campaign was a great idea and we are passionate about food security, that others will easily make that same connection? We were unsure of whether community food security would be a motivating factor for business owners to participate, but perhaps that information up front would have made a difference in the way we were perceived – as a group of people advocating for a cause connected to the neighbourhood rather than group simply collecting donations and survey responses.

Now What

              In retrospect, at the times when we were able to speak to a manager or store owner, more often than not we received a positive response and an interest in participating. However, the key point to those conversations always revolved around the community garden and how it was relevant to their community. It is possible to consider that if we made our door-to-door pitch very clearly about the garden, and spoke to store employees rather than solely asking for the manager, we would have received more interest, or the employees might have made a greater effort to encourage the manager to participate. It would have been difficult for us to not appear as outsiders simply because of the nature of this class and the timeline of the project. We had a relatively shorter duration with it, and were already discussing how we plan to accomplish a Graceful Dismount (see blog post 3) before we even reached our final flexible learning session. That initial point of contact with the businesses was very likely our first and last exchange before we would return the project to Joanne, so how do we go about avoiding the outsider effect? Perhaps if we had a presence in community it would have been easier to reach out, or if we had a longer commitment with the project to see it through until its launch in October, we would have had a more convincing voice.


Blog Post #3

Previous Weeks’ Objectives

Over the past couple weeks our main objective has been to decide on a project from the list of options given to us by our community partner Joanne. We decided to choose the Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign in the Little Mountain-Riley Park area. In order to accomplish our primary objective, we did the following:

  • Familiarized ourselves with the businesses in the Little Mountain-Riley Park area by learning about the demographics of the community.
  • Synthesized an Excel worksheet that contains contact information of local businesses in LM-RP area and sort them by location.
  • Maintained active communication with Joanne by being in contact through email.

Week of March 7 to 14

This week our main objective has been to redraft and complete our new project proposal. We would accomplish this by doing the following:

  • Creating a template email that explains the Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign that will be sent to local businesses
  • Creating a survey that can be used to assess the reasons behind choosing to participate in or abstaining from the campaign.
  • Touching base with Joanne to update her on our progress and to show her final copies of our survey and template email.
  • Directly contacting local businesses by emailing them the template letter and a link to the survey.
  • Formulating a tentative schedule involving which businesses will be visited in person on March 14.

Looking Forward: Upcoming Objectives

Having composed a template email and survey, our next objective is to contact businesses and determine who is interested in participating in the fundraiser. We will accomplish this by performing the following steps: 

  • Meet in person with participating businesses to develop and understand their role in the fundraiser.
  • Compile data on businesses’ participation as well as the barriers identified from the survey and in-person communications.
  • Compare methods of contacting businesses and their success rates of receiving support.
  • Start to prepare for the final report by discussing our results and what the best way to present them will be.



As busy as our group has been with work from other classes, we have still managed to keep the Little Mountain-Riley Park community project a priority. The project change resulted in the need for a revised proposal report. Luckily, we were able to get together to formulate a new plan, while still using some of the guiding principles from our previous report.   

During the flexible learning session last week, our group got together and started researching businesses in the Little Mountain-Riley Park area. We compiled an Excel worksheet and effectively organized it by street. This was done in preparation for the next flexible learning session, during which we are planning to approach the businesses in person. We hoped that by synthesizing a comprehensive list containing information about the local businesses in the area, we would be able to make the process of recruiting businesses easier.

This past Monday we had a group meeting after class and we were able to accomplish many of our weekly objectives. As a group, we created a document that explains the Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign and a survey that will help facilitate information behind the reason to choosing to participate in or abstain from the campaign.  We then sent this information to our community partner, Joanne, to receive feedback and see what can be improved on.

Moment of Significant Change Workshop
During session 9, our group had the opportunity to come together and reflect on our experiences individually throughout the process of the project. We created 4 graphs outlining two of our high points and two of our low points in the process. These include the following:

  • Levels of Anxiety
    There is a common trend of anxiety levels, peaking during our time of project change and dipping back down during our flexible learning session in week 8. One member, outlined in orange, was absent at the time which resulted in her feeling a higher level of anxiety due to her involuntary inability to significantly contribute in the process.
    Anxiety Graph
  • Levels of Confusion
    This graph shows greater fluctuation among our team members. Some feeling more confused about our project at specific times than others. We realized that through our effective communication during week 8, the group was able to collectively sort out our tasks and responsibilities which alleviated some confusion for the majority of our members, as depicted on the graph.
    Confusion Graph
  • Levels of Excitement
    While our levels of excitement momentarily dropped during the time of change, due to uncertainty and anxiety with the outcome of the course, it has since risen. We have collectively come to be more excited about this project than with our initial one because of the direct contact with prospective fundraisers and a higher perceived impact. One member was especially excited with the decision to switch projects.
    Excitement Graph
  • Satisfaction with Group Members
    A few of our members have previously worked together in a group through LFS 250, and therefore were comfortable and acquainted with each other’s work ethic. Overall, our satisfaction within our group has had a steady increase. Some members plateaued at the point of project change due to the uncertainty of the situation.
    Satisfaction Graph

So What

The Moments of Significance workshop allowed our group to look back at the last nine weeks and identify high points and low points, summarizing as a group the things we found difficult and rewarding. This workshop gave us the opportunity to individualize the project and assess our own journey throughout the process. There were both common trends and differing feelings within the plots of each graph among each member and this workshop allowed us to discuss why these trends were the way they were and ultimately increased our team bond.

The group unanimously found that those significant moments early on, including meeting our group and finding out what project we were taking on, were points of excitement but also uncertainty. The reality of the workload of the class seemed to set in for all of us, bringing increasing levels of stress around the time of due dates for parts of our project. The project proposal allowed us to come together and determine how we would like our project to unfold. This quickly became irrelevant when our project underwent a scope shift. Having to adjust to a new project and revise our proposal was taxing on group morale, but we stuck through it.

Working hard on our new proposal ended up being another significant moment, occurring around week 8, where many of our group members began to feel ease in levels of stress and uncertainty. It was rewarding to see our vision for the new project become clear, and we are hopeful that further rewarding moments are close ahead as we begin to interact more directly with the local businesses in the Little-Mountain Riley-Park neighbourhood.

Difficult moments, such as feeling behind after the scope shift, brought out our group’s true colours. We are proud of the way our group has stayed positive and worked together.

We realized that despite having a major change in our project part way through, this was not actually the point of highest anxiety. This caused confusion and uncertainty, but we found that our anxiety increased within the following weeks due to perceived stagnancy within the new project and sudden reality that we had not made as much progress as desired. It was interesting and relieving to see other groups’ progress and insight into their own experiences. Each group’s high points and low points were unique. We look forward to the remainder of our project and working with Joanne.

The Graceful Dismount

Although our course is nearing its final stretch, the majority of our project still feels as though it has yet to take off. Our group has been hard at work composing the documents and lists necessary before we begin seeking out businesses to support the fundraiser. In preparation for our next flexible learning session on March 14th when we plan to go door-to-door to pitch the campaign, the remainder of this week leading up to it will be crucial. Our group must closely communicate and collaborate with Joanne to get approval for the advertisement we will be emailing and presenting to the potential contributors. Ideally the letter will incorporate our group’s ideas of what factors may entice businesses to be interested in participating, while also maintaining the core values of the campaign to promote and inform the public about food security and food as a basic human right. We are finalizing the accompanying online survey that we created to help collect data on the reasons for participating or not participating, and will bring an iPad to help facilitate convenience of responding. Our main goal is to increase the community support from the number it was at last year. With consideration to how difficult it will be to approach businesses and ask for their support, collecting feedback from them will help us adjust and improve our approach, and will certainly be useful information to consider for future years of this campaign.

Now What

Moving forward, we aim to have the tabulated results provided to Joanne by (whatever day we agree on) and an updated list of contact information of businesses that agreed to participate. Joanne’s contact information was provided in the letter to the businesses to establish her as the main person of contact once our group departs from the project at the end of the term. We hope that our involvement in the Nourish Your Neighbourhood campaign will help kickstart the event in a positive way with the time that we are committing to pursuing supporters, and the information we collect that may be helpful in future years.

– Group 3



Blog Post #2

Proposal Report



Previous Weeks’ Objectives

Over the past couple weeks, our main objectives have been to draft and complete the project proposal report. While this was the main focus, our other objectives included maintaining active communication with Joanne by being in regular contact through email and scheduling a time to meet face-to-face. Other objectives have included:

  • Learn more about the Hastings-Sunrise area and determine current food accessibility barriers
  • As a group determine what we would like to get from this project and how we can best go about this
  • Come up with a tentative schedule involving which group member would attain which focus group training session


Week of February 8 – 15 Objectives

This week, our community partner, Joanne, contacted us and informed our group that there had been a scope shift and the timeline of our original project would not be possible. As a result, we decided that it was necessary to meet with Joanne to determine what our new project would encompass. Our other objectives for the week included:

  • Choose project from list of options Joanne had given us
  • Adjust schedules according to changes
  • Create new timeline for project
  • Write new proposal for community project


Looking Forward: Upcoming Objectives

Having completed our proposal report last week, we are now on our way to taking what we have proposed and transforming it into reality. Our future objectives are to:

  • Touch base with prospective businesses in the Little-Riley Mountain park area to provide them with information about our project and to give them a heads-up that we will be contacting them in a few weeks
  • Familiarize ourselves with each of the businesses we will be contacting by learning about their history, background and mission
  • Formulate a standardized set of questions to ask business and community partners
  • Go to Little-Riley Mountain Park and actually start contacting businesses



As busy as we have been these past weeks, our group managed to stay in contact with Joanne as we encountered, and now continue to maneuver through, an unexpected hurdle. We were notified that our original project plan with Hastings-Sunrise Community Food Network was put on hold, and that some major changes may occur. Although this news was not ideal, we worked to embrace the changes and the uncertainty that comes with collaborating with real community projects.

Over the course of the past week we worked together and finished our proposal, which reflects our project plan prior to the change, as we only found out what our new role would be after the proposal was due. Fortunately, we are able to maintain the same guiding principles that we outlined in our proposal, and apply our research to our new project plan.

This past Monday we met with Joanne to discuss the new project focus. We are eager to begin the new project, and feel that collectively we can do something great with it. Being able to readily shift the scope of our project so drastically and take it in stride is a major accomplishment that can be difficult for students when a grade is at stake. It is important to acknowledge that this project is not only about our grade, but also about a community and that real people are counting on us to get the job done.



Last week, we were advised that our initial project with HSCFN Community Food Circles, was not going to proceed as planned, and therefore our project assessing food access and barriers would not come to fruition within the timeframe of the semester. After some discussion with Joanne, we will now be working with the Little-Mountain Riley Park Food Network (LMRPFN) on the Nourish Your Neighbourhood (NYN) initiative. Based on preliminary information, we will be designing a checklist of possible fundraising ideas and will be directly contacting and distributing them to local businesses in Vancouver. Several businesses have donated in past fundraisers; we will contact both previous and new prospective businesses to participate. These businesses will have the opportunity to communicate their capacity to participate for the next NYN fundraising campaign, occurring in October 2016, through these checklists. A few of the items on our checklist include:

  • Direct monetary donations
  • A portion of proceeds from a given sale item
  • Proceeds from a private ticketed event
  • Donation of garden tools and equipment
  • Gift baskets


So What?

While we were told to expect uncertainty and embrace it with flexibility, our group was not expecting to have an entirely different project halfway through the term. However, when the timeline of our original project shifted and it no longer aligned with the class dates, we were unsure for a period of time about how to proceed with our work. But, our group is very excited about the new project that we perhaps have even more interest in and welcome the chance to put our efforts towards it. The NYN is a fundraising campaign in support of food security with a particular focus on access to food, that will invite local businesses in the Little-Mountain Riley Park neighbourhood to participate in their own chosen way. Comparable to the interdisciplinary approach that we discussed in the first plenary session, each business will have the opportunity to share their addition to the project. Although the businesses will all be related to food, each one of them has a niche and a unique input to the fundraiser, whether it be a popular dish they will offer the proceeds of for a day, or produce specials that will encourage customers to put their money towards improving food security in the area. We will work together with the organizations to find contributions that are in line with their company interests as well as the interests of the fundraising campaign to eliminate the “blind spots” for a well-rounded set of fundraising offerings.


Now what?

As a result of this shift our group is going to need to gain knowledge on how to make a successful survey and will need to prepare a survey in time to distribute it to businesses before our project deadline. In the next few weeks we will be working as a group to learn about surveys and the LMRP neighbourhood businesses based on previous data from past NYN campaigns. In addition to the hard-skills needed to accomplish this project, our group will also need to put effort into exploring the community dynamics and discovering how different sectors can work in their own way to support food security.


Blog Post #1 – Beginnings




Kaycee Morison:
I am a third year UBC, Food, Nutrition and Health Major student with an interest in sports nutrition. I am originally from Bragg Creek: a small town located on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta. Growing up, sports played a major role in my life, whether it was when I was running cross-country, track or playing soccer. As a result, good health and nutrition were critical in ensuring optimal performance. This sparked an interest in foods that are beneficial for muscle growth and retention. In the past I have worked for Nutrikids, a Vancouver-based organization that implements food and nutrition related lessons to elementary students in the Vancouver area. I have also attended Eat2Run training and workshops that demonstrate meal planning and dietary choices specifically targeted for athletes. I enjoy working with others and believe that by working with the Hastings Sunrise community I will be able to strengthen my connections to the Vancouver area. Outside of school, I enjoy running, playing soccer, cooking and snowboarding during the winter months.

Kasha Foster:
IMG_1750I am in my third year studying in the Global Resource Systems program within the Land and Food Systems (LFS) faculty with a focus on sustainable agriculture and food systems. I grew up in North Vancouver and agriculture has always been an important part of my life. LFS has helped me appreciate the importance of all aspects that influence our complex world food system, and as a result, I have been able to expand my ability to understand the foundations of our food system from multiple disciplinary angles. In the past I have worked with the Strathcona Community Center’s Garden Project to improve children’s education of gardens and nature during the after-school programs offered at the center. I have also worked with the North Shore Neighbourhood House (through the Edible Garden Project) with the weekly Food Hub and the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (BCFMNCP). I thoroughly enjoy working with members of communities across Vancouver and cannot wait to learn more about the Hastings Sunrise community. Apart from learning about the food system, I enjoy gardening, cooking, jogging, volleyball, playing with my dogs, and just being outside.

Mitra Nowroozi:mitra
I am a 3
rd year Food, Nutrition and Health student at UBC. My main interests lie within maternal, fetal, and pediatric nutrition both in Canada and internationally. The Land, Food & Community Series courses have helped me branch out from my predominantly lecture-based major into the world of interdisciplinary systems and community engagement. It has broadened the context around food and nutrition to include food security, sovereignty and access – important concepts I had not considered prior to the series. I have held many work and volunteer positions surrounding food and cooking. One example is through SFU Enactus, developing and presenting nutrition workshops and hands-on cooking tutorials to low-income, often single mothers at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House and The Salvation Army. I have also had the privilege to teach and cook with children through The Dirty Apron Cooking School. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family, going hiking, rock climbing, watching space movies and learning the piano.

Sarah Bond:
This is my 3
rd year aIMG_5237s a student in Land and Food Systems at UBC, and I am focusing my studies on nutrition and food security. I am originally from a small farming town in eastern Ontario, where I have previously worked with community food initiatives, including an internship with Nourish Project. I have organized and ran food literacy workshops aimed at populations vulnerable to food insecurity, volunteered frequently at a student run non-profit café, and most recently worked at the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems with the children’s programming. I hope that this project will strengthen my knowledge in food system issues that are relevant to Vancouverites, and explore techniques to better utilize the assets within the communities we work with. Aside from schoolwork, I am often found practicing or performing with my dance team, soaking up any hint of sunshine, or reading a good book.

IMG_0027Grace Tan:
I am a 3rd year Nutritional Sciences student and was born and raised in Vancouver. My passion has always been in community work and I have been fortunate enough to spend the past few years enjoying opportunities that combined my interest in nutrition with my love of people. I have worked closely with the West 1 Community Schools Team leading after school cooking programs aimed at supporting vulnerable children, and acting as Kitchen Coordinator at their Healthy Eaters and Leaders Summer Camp where the campers gain nutrition education through experiential learning opportunities such as cooking and gardening. I believe it is important to build positive relationships with food at an early age so that we are nurturing healthy, happy, and responsible food citizens for the future. When I am not doing any of these previously mentioned activities, I like to fill my time trying new restaurants, cooking, and spending time with my loved ones.



“I became quite proud of our project… because, you see, at least we fed the hippos!” (E. Sirolli, 2012). 

The quote above is an excerpt from the TED Talk “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”, by Ernesto Sirolli. Sirolli made this statement with respect to the failure of his agriculture project in Zambia (instead of feeding the community, the crops were eaten by hippos), and how he believes the project’s of other NGOs in the region failed even worse. Sirolli is trying to make the point that listening to the needs of the community before attempting to help them is key to success. We found this quote particularly insightful because as mentioned above in our bios, we have all worked with community projects and understand the barriers to successfully achieving the results we set out to achieve prior to the project. We also have been learning about Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) (discussed later in this post), which aligns with this video and has given us our own passion to help the Hastings Sunrise Community by listening to their needs and wants.



            As a group, we chose the Hastings Sunrise Community Food Circles project because we believe it will strengthen our interdisciplinary skills as well as our connection to the Vancouver community. We believe that by participating in this project we will be able to develop our food security knowledge by reflecting on past personal experiences and by integrating our education from various food related disciplines. Combined with our interests in promoting food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture, the Hastings Sunrise project is ideal because it encompasses all of our passions into one engaging experience. Those of us involved in food and nutrition will be able to use our nutrition and health knowledge to determine what food is suitable for ensuring healthy individuals in the Hastings Sunrise area. While, those in food security and global resources disciplines will be able to use their knowledge in developing sustainable food practices that are environmentally conscious. Within this project, our goal is to further develop our communication and interpersonal skills so that we can implement these skills into future careers.  Furthermore, we intend to gain a better understanding of how food insecurity affects those in the Hastings Sunrise area and what can be done to combat this issue.  We can do this by building new relationships within the Vancouver community and finding what food can be locally sourced. By doing this, we hope to improve access to affordable, sustainable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food for individuals living in the Hastings Sunrise community.



               Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network (HSCFN) is a food systems initiative focused on the area of Hastings Sunrise in North East Vancouver, which has emerged from the city-wide group, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network (“Who We Are”, 2015). This community level food network was formed in 2012 in order to connect key players in the food system within this area, and therefore strengthen individual initiatives such as community gardens or food programs (“Who We Are”, 2015). Objectives of the network include connecting and supporting its residents towards accessing affordable and healthy food within their community. Through our work with Hastings Sunrise, we will aim to identify the barriers of accessing food by attending both the training of facilitators and the facilitator-run focus groups with the residents. There, we will observe commonly expressed barriers and issues that residents face with regards to accessing food, attending programs and we will compile our data from the focus groups run atWHAT five different agencies, Hastings-Sunrise, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, Thunderbird Community Centre, and The Warehouse and produce both an individual and collective report on these agencies. This report will outline these barriers and general themes that arise from the focus groups and suggest ways to support members in reducing these food gaps. HSCFN can then utilize this information to direct their support and funding, and be able to better address the needs of the community as a whole, while also attending to the diversity between neighbourhoods (J. MacKinnon, personal communication, January 18th, 2016).



              This week we met with Joanne MacKinnon, the Food Network Coordinator for the Hastings Sunrise Community. Prior to our group’s first meeting with Joanne we were uncertain about what roles we would have in this community project because we were slightly unclear about the project itself and there appeared to be many opportunities for involvement available to our group. Joanne gave us a thorough overview of the different components involved in the Hastings-Sunrise Community Food Network and provided us with a better understanding of the project goal: what are the barriers for community members to accessing healthy food and how can we better serve these members with respect to those barriers? The focus groups and final reflection of the Food Circle project is in-line with the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) because we are tasked with assisting community members (the facilitators) with engaging and listening to other community members who are categorized as part of the ‘hard-to-reach’ populations. Instead of the staff of the Food Circle trying to fix the issues that they are encountering by themselves, they have chosen to reach out and ask the participants and non-participants in the community what they want to see and how the program could improve.



          As discussed in the TED Talk “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”, by Ernesto Sirolli, listening to the community you are trying to help is a very important step in offering aid (E. Sirolli, 2012). The community responded with requests for workshops for activities such as cooking or gardening, but despite efforts to engagement for all community members, the workshops still did not reach every target population. Thus, the Food Circles steering committee is taking a step back and asking community members at focus group meetings if people wish to be helped at all, and if they do, then how can we help achieve better access to healthy food (E. Sirolli, 2012). These focus group sessions take on an asset-based approach rather than deficit-based by following several guiding principles of ABCD, such as actively listening to community members, allowing them to contribute, and bringing facilitators and focus groups from all five of the agencies participating in the Food Network.


Who We Are. (2015). Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network. Retrieved January
20, 2016, from http://hscfn.com/who-we-are/

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! (2012, November 26). Retrieved January 24, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM