Blog Post #4

Farewell

 

The end of the school year is approaching and for some of us, the end of our undergrad! As upper years, we’ve experienced academic highs and lows, and group projects of all kind. This group project in particular, was definitely one of the most memorable experiences our undergrad.

 

In this blog post, we’d like to share with you the final moments of this community-centered effort:


What?

Probably the biggest moment of significance we’ve experienced thus far was our Infographic presentation. Not only did we get to showcase a term’s worth of effort, but we also got to interact with classmates and various visitors to learn about all of the projects and activities that everyone worked so hard on!

 

Here is our infographic!


So what?

The moments leading up to our presentation were full of plenty of group discussions. In order to create a meaningful infographic poster that was both engaging and insightful, we had to refer back to our course concepts. This included our AER papers and our lectures/discussions on ethnicity in the food system, asset-based community development, and the local Vancouver food movements.

  1. We used the AER outlines to give our poster and clear and definite structure. This way, no matter how the infographic was graphically designed, the message it conveyed was preserved.
  2.  Secondly, we drew upon our discussions on ethnicity to provide context to our poster. As the Sustenance Festival aims to promote a more inclusive and culturally diverse food movement, we felt that the points made in class helped to strengthen the project’s significance. In our interactions with other students, we were also able to refer back to the Chinese-Canadian farmers topic that Colin referred to in class.
  3. Next, we used the idea of asset-based community development (ABCD) to provide an introduction to our project. Since our podcast project was driven by the Sustenance Festival’s community listening campaign in 2017, we felt it important to emphasize their asset-based approach in an intriguing hook to audiences. With many of the participants being our fellow classmates, we believe that using a class-discussed concept like ABCD would be a surefire way to connect with them.
  4. Finally, in our talks, we related our project to the other projects in LFS 350 by integrating them into the local Vancouver food movement. By putting things into perspective, we believed that audiences would be better able to how all our combined efforts were somehow working to change the food system.


Now what?

Although we had finished the infographic and presentation, we will still use it as a reference and going to write our final report based on the content we put in the infographic. With the final report coming up, we’re working extensively on writing it! However, due to some drawbacks (in script approval), our group is also focused on writing our scripts and compiling our podcasts. Since we have already identified the significance, method, purpose, and implication when we were completing infographic, it will not take us long to continue finishing them in the final report.

 

Parting Reflections

This project was a unique and challenging learning experience that taught us how to work with community partners, diverse teammates, and social issues surrounding food. We hope to these podcasts will be a tool used to open people’s minds towards cultural activities within the Vancouver food movement.

 

Firstly, we’d like to thank our community partners: Brenda, Steph, and Rebecca for their cooperation and efforts towards inclusivity in Vancouver. We also want to thank Tori, our TA, and Will, our professor, for guiding us on this journey. We had a lot of fun working on this and look forward to the development of future projects for the Sustenance Festival!

 

Blog Post #3: A Graceful (?) Dismount

These past few weeks have been full of hard work. We finally narrowed down our podcast content, we wrote our podcast script, we recorded our podcast at  VPL’s Inspiration Lab, and we had so much fun.  Each group member really brought their A-game to our VPL recording session, which felt really rewarding, especially with all the ambiguousness that came with our last blog post (recall: hell week).* Not only were we able to record and finish one of our two planned podcasts, we were also able to start planning the script for our next and final podcast.**

Our first podcast looks at the main goals of the Sustenance festival, delving into the barriers to inclusion for marginalized groups. We go over the main findings from the interviews that were conducted by the festival, focusing on the key messages and identified issues of selected groups, tying them back to the theme of sustenance. The purpose of this first podcast was to introduce our themes, attempting to tell a story surrounding the importance of community participation and engagement and their role in the festival. We found ourselves referencing class material while we were writing our podcast script.

The lecture topics, although very concise, were revelatory for the majority of our group members. We all felt that this information (especially topics surrounding gender and race) was key to talking our community project, even though it made us a bit uncomfortable. We felt it was imperative to be educated about these concepts, as we wanted our narrative to be impartial and objective. Our group  resonated with the paper ‘Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement’, as we found that many of the unrepresented groups interviewed by the festival had were participating in alternative cultural food movements.

When our group spent some time reflecting on last week’s ‘moment of change’ graph, were all pleasantly surprised to find that our expectations versus reality for that week were very different. We found the experience of recording our first podcast to be extremely rewarding and found that writing the script allowed us to solidify the knowledge we learned in class. Our ‘moment(s) of change’ occurred while we were writing our podcast script. The concepts that we were focused on in class were some what open-ended and vague, so when we all sat down to focus on producing our script which was focused on inclusion and race, we were able to apply the concepts from lecture. This became significant for our group, acting almost as an ‘Aha!’ moment in the sense that we suddenly became more aware of our positionality and the cautiousness that we must have in our script. Speaking on behalf of the Sustenance Festival as well as for multiple under-represented groups is an honour, and this process has solidified the fact that we must take it seriously.  The moment of change activity allowed our group to refocus on past failures and past successes. Our morale for the past few weeks has been extremely low and it was very encouraging to be able to check in as a team and to address why we felt this way. You can find our updated graph (which includes expectations vs. reality) below:

You can find a link to our weekly objective schedule here. Minor tweaks to the weekly schedule for week 3 include the following:

  1. We had an extremely positive experience recording our podcast at VPL’s inspiration lab, so we will continue to use it as our venue for the next podcast recording.
  2. After receiving our marks for the AER outline, we collectively would like to report that our “anticipation of a rewarding experience” has declined slightly, along with our hopes and dreams.
  3. We are still planning to finish up our script for podcast #2 on the weekend of the 18th, as we are aware that our group presentation is March 26th.

 

In terms of our group achievements, we managed to be extremely proactive and to accomplish all of the tasks we had set out to do, including:

  • Finished individual AER outline
  • Finished writing script for podcast #1
  • Finished recording podcast #1

Here are some of our group strategy to help us complete our task this week:

  • We had already made a schedule last week and clearly knew what was our objectives this week(which are the tasks we accomplished ↑).
  • We made the appointment for the use of the recording room and prepared the scripts before we recorded the podcast. Also, a webchat group discussion helped us improve individual parts in the podcast.
  • Finally, no matter we had had lunch or not, we all arrived at the VPL on time and recorded our podcast and the rap successfully.

For the following weeks we will:

  • Avoid meeting on busy days (eg. dues, quizzes) but keep in contact more often online.
  • Complete tasks earlier.
  • If we cannot hold a meeting with every member present, we can do some smaller group meetings(better than none).
  • Stick to the schedule if possible.
  • Finally, breathe and smile.

 

*Extra special shoutout to Jeff, who works at the VPL Inspiration Lab and was able to organize our session!

**We also found time to record a food justice RAP SONG. Which can be found below.

(Disclaimer: THIS RAP WAS NOT PLANNED, it was a true freestyle and a happy accident).

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #2: Progress

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” 

– Robert Collier

We’re now at week 8. Coming back from reading break should have seemed like a luxury, but the majority of our group has come back only to be buried in multiple commitments and tasks (thus, this week has earned the adoring nickname of ‘Hell week‘). After dealing with a slight rejection (and major discouragement) in receiving feedback from our project proposal, which can be found here: Sustenance-Festival-Proposal.

 

After our week 8 check-in, we were able to regroup and reflect on our moments of significance throughout this course:

Visually, we interpreted and grouped our collective moments in the form of a chart, shown below:

We’ve listed some individual thoughts and feelings below..

Luisa:

What? — I think finding out my project and meeting my group was a big one for me. I was super excited to learn that I got to work on such a creative project with both familiar and new faces!

So What? — From there, I got a clearer picture of our group dynamic and what it would be like working together. I find this was really important since we got to clearly outline what our expectations were for each other, the project and ourselves. So far, it seems like everything is in line with those.

Now What? — Fortunately, our teamwork has been effective since we clarified everything at the beginning. Now, I hope to continue working well together and close in any gaps in our collaboration. For example, we will be outlining our weekly objectives so to enhance communication and group vision, so that all of us have a united and planned the idea of how we’re going to approach the upcoming weeks.

Jeff:

What? —  For me, meeting with our community partners has been the most significant moment in the project thus far.  

So what? —  Getting out of the classroom and into the community on repeated occasion with the intent of building a relationship and accomplishing a goal with Vancouver Park’s employees feels both rewarding and as though it meets my ambitions for my current stage in my education.

I came to the second meeting with a deeper knowledge of not only the Sustenance Festival but of our community partner and the individuals we are working with.   I found this allowed for richer and slightly more personalized conversations surrounding how we can reach our goals for the project.

Now What? —  Moving forward I feel the majority of our communication with our community partners will be virtual.   Here, the key to being successful will be carrying that same dynamic conversation from real life into our online conversations.  Also, bringing that same energy and knowledge to the recordings of the individuals found in the material we will be weaving into our podcast.

 

Nian:

What? — Meeting with our community partners and our groups in a busy, crazy mids&dues’ week is both a relief and an exciting moment this term so far.  

So what? — After meeting and discussing with Stepho and Branda, we are more clear about the objectives and how we can improve our project. It is a great chance for me to learn more about Vancouver and why and how the project can change or influence current situation. Although we haven’t started to record the podcast, I am pretty confident that our group will make the podcast attractive and can help others better understanding the Vancouver Sustenance Festival.

Now what? — We have done the schedule of our project and now it is the time for us to implement it. It is true that we don’t have much time left and all of us are busy working, studying and preparing for the project. I hope everything will be fine!

Our second meeting with our community partners!

 

The big NOW WHAT?

Starting this week, we’ve outlined our weekly objectives and strategies to achieve them for this project. They can be found here.

Weekly Objective Schedule

Week #  Objectives  Strategies
Week 1 (February 26)  1. Finish blog post (Feb 28)

2. Meeting with community partner (Feb 29)

3.  Finish AER outline (Mar 1) – individual

4. Podcast script (first podcast) done by end of week (March 4)

1.  Planning time outside of class with group to work on different elements of blog post.

2. Emailing and continued communication to organize planned meeting times.

3. Searching for linkages and different areas to connect to throughout the week and past lectures.

4. Preplanned ideas on structuring podcast format from group meeting on Monday morning, and reviewing interviews provided by community partner to choose which exerts we will include.

 

Week 2 (March 5)  1. Record first podcast on Monday March 5th

2. Write blog post 3 (Mar 11)

3. Write script for 2nd podcast (Sunday)

1. A recording studio has been booked for us on Monday March 5th to record our first podcast!

2. The weekend of March 10th & 11th will be used to distill our experiences recording our first podcast and documenting the progress of our project in the form of a blog post.

3. The script for the 2nd podcast will be written on the weekend of  March 10th & 11th.

 

Week 3 (March 12)  1. Record 2nd podcast on monday 12/tuesday 13

2. Finish AER report (Mar 18)

3. Write script for 3rd podcast (sunday 18)

1. As a a group we have yet to decide whether we will continue to use the Vancouver Public Library’s Inspiration Lab as a recording venue.  If we have a positive experience we will continue to use it otherwise we may personal equipment or equipment made available through the Learning Centre.

2. As individuals we will organize time to write our AERs.  We all anticipate it to be a rewarding experience.

3.  The  script for podcast 2 will tentatively be written on the weekend of March 17th & 18th.  This depends on whether we can schedule an interview with a community leader and collect the audio before March 19th.

 Week 4 (March 19)  1. Record 3rd podcast on (monday 19/tuesday 20)

2. Final adjustments to any podcasts (wednesday 21)

3. Practice for presentation (thursday 22/friday 23)

 

1. Whether or not we record a 3rd podcast is unsure.  We may have to limit the series to 2.  This time may be used to record podcast 2 if our interview with a community partner cannot happen before March 19th (See previous week).

2. We plan to meet as a group on campus and listen to the podcasts together, make notes and edit on Wednesday March 21st.

3. A meeting room will be rented as a space for us to practice our final presentation of the project on either Thursday  March 22nd or Friday 23rd.  We will finalize this closer to the date.

 

 Week 5 (March 26)  1. Group presentation (March 26)

2. Write 4th and final blog post (March 30)

 1. Rock it!

2. Final blog entry will be written March 30th, distilling the entirety of our experience in the course.

Blog Post #1: New Beginnings

 

“WHY IS THE FOOD SYSTEM SO WHITE?”

– From our group discussion with Brenda (Vancouver Arts Parks Board Programmer) and Stephanie (UBC LFS 350 Coordinator and Intercultural Coordinator/Developer with Parks Board)

The dominant discourse of food is publicly conveyed throughout our society, and especially in our city. It’s difficult to resist the bombardments of public call-outs, insisting each of us eat a certain way and think a certain way about the food system. It’s easy to only see one side of Vancouver’s food system sphere, but when one ventures to the other side, it is a whole new world. We are aiming to deconstruct and delve into this world and to see what is seemingly hidden from the public eye.

COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS –

Group Interests:

Although we all have different interests individually, we do have one thing in common: the idea of wanting to make something that would be left on the internet for the world to see and learn from. Podcasting and blogging are interesting ways to document our experiences and learning, and are becoming increasingly relevant in the social media landscape of today. With our journey forward, working with the Sustenance Festival, we are super excited to get started and to leave our mark on the community!

Collective Goals:

As a group of like-minded students and active participants in the Vancouver food system, we are hoping to gain an understanding of the unsung heroes of the food system. We are hoping to actively learn and get our hands dirty, and most of all we are hoping to make a difference. After meeting with our community partner, the Sustenance Festival, we were delighted to learn that their goals align closely with ours. We are excited to participate in the hidden discourse of the food system narrative!

Reasons for being here:

We all had our own reasons for choosing the participate in this project, but overall we were all drawn to the podcast aspect. This way of being able to communicate different issues and ideas related to food through social media and create a long lasting impression that can benefit the community was something that we found to be worthwhile and an exciting challenge.

What we hope to gain:

Each of us comes from different backgrounds but just like our aptly named blog, we all share the desire to make a difference. We have all experienced undergrad in much the same way, learning theoretically through the same learning environments year after year. This is an exciting opportunity to experience active learning, where we can produce a deliverable and release it into the local food system and watch it flourish and grow.

BIG PICTURE IDEAS –

Project Objectives:

As a group our objectives lay primarily in participation and the documentation of the Sustenance Festival as it strives to meet its 2018 goal of diversifying the local food movement.  Feedback from community members and past participants raised concerns around a lack of diversity in festival goers and a need to bring in members of various ethnic and socio-economic groups so as to provide a more accurate reflection of Vancouver’s population.  Vancouver Parks, working in partnership with the Sustenance Festival, form the pair of community organizations we’ll be working with directly.  Our method of documentation will be primarily through a series of podcasts, a format that’s recent increase in popularity means our work will hopefully reach a wide audience.  Our goal is to produce a few episodes that contain archival footage of interviews with members of Vancouver’s various ethnic groups discussing their thoughts, feelings and ideas around the local food movement.

First Impressions

When we first heard about the Sustenance festival, we were happy to find they shared a similar spirit as ours in regards to their outlook on the festival.  We immediately noticed the strong emphasis it had on community and community development. Speaking with Brenda and Stephanie then helped up to really understand their asset-based approach to this and community building.  It seems their approach starts with the question, “what do you have to offer” as opposed to “what is it you need?” What we found was that the team at Sustenance wanted to empower the local community by focusing on each of their groups’ strengths and what they could contribute in highlighting food justice in Vancouver.

 

In addition, we noticed their strong responsiveness to community feedback. In Ernesto Sirolli’s TED Talk, he emphasized that what international development needed was not a team of foreign experts that looked at what was missing, but a team of listeners that focused on what they had. Communities need teams that work for them, putting their interests first, not work with them. Sirolli stated that the only time he actually saw any of his projects make long-lasting impacts was when he decided to “shut up and listen.” We saw this exact attitude in Brenda and Stephanie, who noticed that their Sustenance festival was not having the reach they had hoped for. Rather than continue on their project and say “this is what they need and this is what we want to do,” they instead listened to community members and tried to incorporate their wants and needs into the project. Knowing that our community partners put people first gives us the confidence to work more with them in the weeks to come.