Blog 4 Farewell

So now it’s the end of November and we have worked together for almost three months.  The whole experience has been significant to us in many ways so we are sharing both from the perspective of teamwork and learning about ourselves (Overall group experience) as well as the ups and downs of the course/project itself (Overall project experience )


Overall Group Experience

“ We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” Martha Grimes

WHAT were the challenges?

Time flies and this semester is almost at an end.  As a group and as individuals, we encountered many new experiences and challenges.  


On that first day, as we looked forward to meeting our group members, everyone felt uncertain.  We had very little time then to learn much about each other before we had to assign roles and move forward with tasks.

Workload and Stress:

This course entailed a heavy workload.  At some points, especially during midterms, most of us felt stress as we studied for and sat exams, while trying to keep our project on schedule.

Skills and Strengths:

We each came to the group with  beliefs about our own skills and our own shortcomings; our past group experiences; and our expectations for each other and for the team.  We all wanted to participate in creating the best experience possible but it wasn’t clear at first how that would look, if our skills would be important or valued, if others had the knowledge and experience in areas we lacked and if we could fit it all together to be a cohesive team where everyone’s contribution was respected and appreciated.


There was uncertainty and doubt about when to speak out or step up and when to hold back or allow others to shine.  Some of us were naturally more talkative and inclined to take the lead while  others were quieter, weighing up the right time to contribute or volunteer for a task.


SO WHAT?  How did we overcome the challenges?

After our first tutorial, we began to feel comfortable within the group and keen to step into this exciting project and by the end of the semester, we agreed that we had a great time working together.

Uncertainty: Encouraging each other

Being forced out of our comfort zones had unexpected benefits.  It made us work harder,  think of different ways to approach tasks and challenge ourselves.  We didn’t know enough about each other to assume anything or simply let someone else do it.  After all, nothing might get done.  So, we reached out with the knowledge and experience we had and encouraged others.  When phoning community partners was a daunting task for some, other group members teamed up to help or share the task.  When interviewees were not available at the times we had expected, we stepped in for someone else, we changed our schedules, we went in pairs.  Every time someone was uncertain, confused or stuck, someone would always reach out to try to help that person out.  When the whole team faced uncertainty, as we did with the infographic, or an unexpected outcome, as we did with the feedback interviews,  everyone shared in the responsibility, the humour and ultimately, the learning that ensued.

Workload and Stress: Divide and Conquer

By the time midterms were upon us, we had developed a rapport and were able to more easily take on and complete tasks.  We survived blogs 2 and 3 and drafting the project proposal  by using strategies such as assigning each part of the whole task to one individual and  brainstorming the outline for each part  in all upcoming tasks every time we met in person.  That way, we divided the work so it was more manageable and we left the meeting with a clear idea of how our part would fit within the whole.  We made certain that every person played a role in every task, whether it was writing, designing, interviewing, emailing, filling our excel spreadsheets.  That way, all of our ideas were considered and everyone benefitted from the group’s co-operation.

Skills and Strengths: Learning to step up and learning when to let go

It turned our that our team was composed of people proficient in writing, communicating, designing, keeping the project on task, note taking, technology  or adapting to any role that was needed.   Everyone attended every meeting and own our comfort levels in certain skills became clear.  At first, we didn’t necessarily volunteer for what we thought we could do but gradually, we became more confident and offered to take on certain roles.  At the same time, we became comfortable about letting go of control and trusting in each other to complete each part of the task.  It became clear to all of us that everyone’s contribution was valuable and essential for the best outcome.

Communication:  Styles are different

From the beginning, we all understood the importance of communication in a group project but throughout the weeks, we had to discuss and clarify more issues small and large  than we could have imagined.  Facebook messenger was a lifeline to get messages back and forth, links to documents, ideas, pictures, ask and answer questions.  In person communication was extremely important too and every chance we got, we sat down as a group and went through what was done and what was upcoming.  Even with many text messages and emails, some things are better discussed in person and those sessions helped us to solidify our approach and make sure we all understood each other that  we were all on the same page.  We saw the importance  of as much communication as possible in different ways to ensure everyone’s needs were met.



Three months have passed and we are finally coming to the end of term and it’s time for us to show what our group achieved to the public and write up our final report.  As we present our infographic next week, we will be showing the Richmond Food Asset Map but also the collaboration and teamwork that was involved.  LFS 350 threw us in at the deep end with a heavy workload and many, diverse tasks but the confidence that we have gained in our own skills and strengths and well as our ability to work effectively within a team will serve us well in the future wherever our careers ake us.  Although the term ends soon, what we’ve gained throughout the whole course will be with us for a long time, even forever.


Overall project experience

“In any project, the  most important factor is the belief in success” William James

WHAT were the challenges?


At the beginning phase of joining VCH on Richmond Food Asset Map (RFAM), all of us including the assigned community partners, were new to this project. We were the first group of UBC students  launching this project into Richmond whereas, in Vancouver, the process had started several years ago. During the first meeting, the atmosphere was a little tense.  No one was sure what we were expected to accomplish, exactly what our goal was and how to set up the map where there was none. At this phase until the next phase, we just moved one step at the time since the future project was still a blur to us.

Deadlines and Stress:

The most challenging part during the process was getting the email replies and the setting the interview with other community partners before the deadline caught up with us. During phase one, we had to contact all existing food assets within our categories in the Richmond community. Emailing was not difficult since we had a template to follow; however, the waiting period for the replies with the knowledge that the deadline was approaching was stressful. Issues arose that we hadn’t anticipated.  The email template was lengthy and wordy and not sufficiently clear for representatives of the food assets to understand that we needed current information and their permission to appear on the map.  Our time was tight and we had to balance politeness and patience with further attempts at contacting people with further emails or phone calls.

Communication and Scheduling:

More obstacles came up at phase two, when we had to set up times for the interviews with selected community partners. The interview phase allowed us three weeks period including emailing and interviewing. Some of the community partners only replied to their emails during office hours  and some worked part-time.  Their limited availability often conflicted with our class times.


SO WHAT?  How did we overcome the challenges?

Uncertainty: Don’t expect to (ever) know all the answers.

We began to learn to accept uncertainty and live  with it.  Instead of leaving individual group members work out their own assigned tasks, we often brainstormed ideas as a group to minimize any confusion. Moreover, as the project moved forward, we learned how to effectively communicate with our community partners  when our group encountered issues that required their clarification.  We realized that they were new to this process too and bumps in the road would arise for us all.  We made plans but when things took an unexpected turn, we learned that we could adapt our own strategy or at the very least, gain some knowledge and experience that could be passed on to the next group.  For example, contacting community members to get information, approval or set up meetings almost always took much longer than we had anticipated so allowing enough time for this part is important.  We had to learn and accept that some organizations did not want to take part in the project nor appear on the map and not everyone embraced the project as we did.

Deadlines and Stress:  Encourage, adapt and think out of the box

As deadlines approached, we encouraged and helped each other but sometimes, we simply couldn’t deliver on time.  We could not complete the interviews in the two weeks we had anticipated and we requested an extra few days from VCH to deliver a comprehensive feedback summary.  They were willing to allow us the extra time and our report was completed.

We also learned to step up and provide our community partners with alternative solutions that we thought of to solve the problems that both our group and our community partners have never encountered before. For instance, in the second phase of our project, our community partners expected us to conduct in-person or phone interviews with other organization directors for feedback on the RFAM. However, due to time constraint and conflicts with our school schedules and despite repeated attempts, we had trouble  setting up meetings with some directors.  Rather than giving up getting feedback from those organizations, we suggested to our community partners obtaining feedback by phone or by email and ultimately, we received one very detailed response to our feedback questions via email.  We had to adapt to circumstances but were tenacious and did not give up.

Communication and Scheduling:  Sometimes it’s  worth the trouble

Although we were facing all these challenges when we were working on the project, our group did an amazing job in communicating and expressing our feelings about the project with each other.  Although arranging the interviews was troublesome with difficulties in communications and scheduling we managed meet with most organizations and conduct a quality interview with them. Because of the face to face meeting, we obtained a lot of valuable comments about the map and insights about the community.  We were pleasantly surprised about the depth of knowledge, the enthusiasm for the Richmond Food Asset Map and the thoughtful feedback we received.  Having been initially  disappointed that we could not give out surveys to a larger number of people, we saw the value in qualitative feedback that we received.



We will be holding a booth in UBC next week to deliver our presentation to the people passing by, with our infographic exhibited. There will be one or two people in the group talk, but all of the group members will be there to attract people, answer questions and show support to the speakers. After the presentation, there will be only one assignment left for us to do as a group in LFS 350, which is the final project report. With the experience of collaborating for 3 months, we believe we can wrap this up in style.

We accomplished a lot by starting this project in Richmond and getting the community members engaged and excited about the idea of a food asset map for their community.  The people that we interviewed represented many organizations with diverse groups of clients and we are now aware of how much knowledge is out there, far from academia.  Richmond has many resources and assets and a variety of rich cultural  backgrounds.  Moving forward, we must ensure that all segments of the community are invited to be heard.  There are many layers in the community and in our short time there, we only felt we touched the surface. Knowledge, food and social networks and experience reside with the members of the community itself and our advice to the next team here  would be to talk to people as soon as they can to learn from them how to help the community with issues such as food security.  As a team, we have learned skills that will help us in the real  world from the VCH dietitians, community members of Richmond and from each other.  Moving on is bittersweet but we are confident that we will leave the project in good hands.

“Overall, our team spirit has provided us incredible strength and motivation in completing this project”  (quote from a member of our group)



James, W. (1956). The will to believe: and other essays in popular philosophy. New York: Dover Publications.

Martha Grimes > Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

Blog 3 Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

“I never fall off, I just dismount with style!”

What have we achieved so far?

Finally, we were able to gather the information about our food assets.  Everyone had anticipated this moment and we were excited to get started.  We divided up the list of known resources among us and, for the past two weeks, we each contacted several organizations by email and/ or phone to ensure all information was current and to obtain their permission to be part of the food asset map. Our research also resulted in discovering assets not currently listed.  All the pertinent information was collated and organized onto excel spreadsheets that were provided by our VCH partners.  Updates to information were highlighted in red and every email, phone call  and request for permission was logged.  By the evening of November 1st, the compilation of our assigned food assets was completed and submitted to our community partner, on time.

Some of our group members went to volunteer with Richmond Food Bank on Sunday of Week 8 to build a  ”can-struction”.   We used hundreds of cans to build a giant peanut butter jar and had lots of fun!   The goal of this exhibition is to raise public awareness of food bank and fill up the food bank shelves using all the cans donated by sponsors, schools and community members. . We look forward to more opportunities to participate in community events.

Week 9 ended with our mid point check in which was a teleconference held with Rani and Anne on Friday November 3rd. The Richmond Food Asset map was live, based on the information we gathered, and it looked awesome! We are eager to start Phase 2 in the coming weeks. VCH has already approved  a list of organizations that we will visit and conduct a presentation on how to use the map and obtain feedback. After the teleconference, we were all clear about our next steps.

So far, we can check off…

  • Proposal done
  • Gathering, updating and collating  free/low-cost meal/grocery information, done
  • 3 meetings attended with our community partners (two telephone conference + one meeting in person), done
  • Our first  opportunity to volunteer in our community, done
  • 3 blogs to share our journey, done.


Our Weekly Objectives


Phase 1
10/9 -15 (week 6) The proposal will be checked with the Instructor and community partners. Proposal will be edited to reflected to feedback and resubmitted.
10/16-29 (week 7 & 8) activite All organizations from a current list provided by VCH as well as additional organizations in Richmond that provide similar services will be contacted by email and/or telephone.
All organizations will be asked for permission to have their contact information publically available online.
10/30- 11/5 (week 9) All of the pertinent information will be put into an Excel spreadsheet by November 1st and submitted to our community partner for the compilation of the Richmond Food Asset Map.
There will be a mid-point check in with VCH through teleconference on November  3rd
Phase 2
11/6- 11/19

(week 10 & 11)

Interviews will take place with individuals from specific organizations (list provided by VCH) where group members will provide instruction on the use of the asset map.
After instruction and  a trial of the asset  map, interviewees will be asked a series of predetermined questions to provide their feedback on the usefulness of the map.  Answers will be recorded on evaluation forms.
11/20- 26 (week 12) All of the interview information, data collected  and evaluation forms will be gathered and submitted to our the community partner.
11/27 – 12/3 (week 13) The infographic presentation will be held in the open space on campus on Nov 29th
The final report of the community project will be submitted via Canvas on December 3rd.  A copy of the report will also be proved to VCH by this date.


Moments of Significant Change


New knowledge and skills


Getting to know our community:


In the first seven weeks of our project, we started to get to know about our community on paper.  Discussions with the VCH dietitians about the Richmond area and our own research on demographics and current food assets helped us form our ideas on what might be important in this multicultural community.  In the last two weeks, we have gained a new perspective by communicating directly through emails and in phone calls with community members representing various organizations.   When we shared our vision, we discovered how those on the front line, those who were serving free meals and distributing groceries, would react to our invitation for inclusion on the food asset map.  We learned that each organization had different goals, target audiences and capabilities.  Some greeted our proposal enthusiastically, but, others, after some consideration, declined  our offer.  It became clear to us that we were mapping out free or subsidized food assets, most of the work was done by volunteers.  Promoting their services on line caused concerns about whether they could meet the needs of additional people.  This was a valuable insight for us.  Current information, conveniently catalogued and available in the click of a mouse, was not without risk and some community organizations were uncertain that the asset map provided a net benefit.


Connecting our knowledge to to our community:


Our learning about the many inequalities in the food system has often touched upon the issue of food insecurity.  Although Richmond appears fairly affluent at first glance, there are some in the community for whom access to adequate, affordable and culturally appropriate food is challenging.  We discovered that, due to financial constraints, the free community meal programmes  are well attended  and some are even at full capacity  The Richmond Food Bank feeds over 2200 people each week, 32% of whom are children.  Our volunteer experience with the Food Bank, which involved raising awareness about the need for donations, also helped us make the connection between “food justice” and “food insecurity” in theory and the very real need for secure access to appropriate food for those in the local community.  We realize that “food insecurity” is not just a phrase appearing in the news, but a serious issue that impacts a huge number of people worldwide. As  university students in a developed country, we may have felt that food justice issues or food insecurity did not apply to us but our classroom learning, reading and project are helping us to see that we are all connected to those issues and realize how intractable some of the problems are.


Moments of emotional significance:


At the outset, as a group we felt uncertain, with lots of mixed feelings as to how our project might unfold. Some of us were nervous and others were excited to start our collective project. After meeting with our community partners in week 3, everyone gained more confidence and our emotions finally passed the neutral line!


As the next couple of weeks passed, our emotions plummeted as tasks such as blogs and the project proposal were assigned to us. In this stage, we faced several obstacles. Everyone had different writing styles and different strengths, we had to consider input from various sources and we were still figuring out the most efficient and best way to work together as a group. The pressures came not only from the project as those  weeks were also midterm weeks for all of our group members. Fortunately, all our hard work was rewarded with positive feedback so you can see that there is a sudden upward surge in week 5.


We were happy to know that both our TA and the community partners approved our proposal. This allowed us to move to the active phase of the project, where we could apply our theoretical plan, the proposal, to the real life situation. To our surprise, not all the organizations chose to be incorporated into our project. We were suddenly forced to face several rejections and our enthusiasm cooled  a bit from the excitement of the proposal feedback. It was significant for us to reassess what we were doing and its value to those in the community.  We had imagined that every organization would be to be represented on the map, without considering that some volunteer organizations are only just able to meet the needs of their current clients.  Unlike business such as grocery stores, increased visibility may be a challenge for those offering free food.  We understood and respected this position and it enhanced our understanding of the differences among food assets in a community,.  So, after adjusting to this emotional law, we are moving upwards again, excited to begin phase two.


Strategies for Successful Project Completion


Although we have only made it through phase 1 of the project, this phase would not have been successful without group encouragement and communication skills.

1.Team Encouragement

Phase 1 of the project involved a lot of first time experiences.  For example, we met our community project partners for the first time in week 3; we wrote a group blog post for the first time;  and we had a teleconference with professionals outside of school for the first time. As a group, we all found that doing things for the first time always caused us fear and anxiety because of all the uncertainties and unknowns. However, instead of avoiding all these challenges, we provided positive emotional support to each other and encouraged each other to be adventurous.


Our effective communication skills within the team, with community partners and with the food assets have helped us in problem solving and conflicts resolution. When talking to our community partners and the majority of the food assets, although they are easy to approach, they are often busy with their day jobs, so prefer our conversations to be concise. Effective communication skills are not only essential for connecting with our community partners and food assets, but also important in group discussion. When we do any group assignment, we always brainstorm ideas, listen to everyone’s opinion and give each other feedback for improvements. These discussion helps us hear diverse ideas within the team which enhances our creativity and innovation.


In phase 2, as we go in pairs to present the new Richmond Food Asset Map and interview interested parties, we will continue to build on the skills we have earned.  Working as a team, we will continue to encourage each other, communicating with respect and always listening and learning from each other and from those in our community.


“The past is where you learned the lesson.  The future is where you apply the lesson.  Don’t give up in the middle”

Blog 2 Richmond Food Asset Map

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie

PDF of project proposal:


Our Weekly Objectives


Phase 1
10/9 -15 (week 6) The proposal will be checked with the Instructor and community partners. Proposal will be edited to reflected to feedback and resubmitted.
10/16-29 (week 7 & 8) All organizations from a current list provided by VCH as well as additional organizations in Richmond that provide similar services will be contacted by email and/or telephone.
All organizations will be asked for permission to have their contact information publically available online.
10/30- 11/5 (week 9) All of the pertinent information will be put into an Excel spreadsheet by November 1st and submitted to our community partner for the compilation of the Richmond Food Asset Map.
There will be a mid-point check in with VCH on November  3rd
Phase 2
11/6- 11/19

(week 10 & 11)

Interviews will take place with individuals from specific organizations (list provided by VCH) where group members will provide instruction on the use of the asset map.
After instruction and  a trial of the asset  map, interviewees will be asked a series of predetermined questions to provide their feedback on the usefulness of the map.  Answers will be recorded on evaluation forms.
11/20- 26 (week 12) All of the interview information, data collected  and evaluation forms will be gathered and submitted to our the community partner.
11/27 – 12/3 (week 13) The infographic presentation will be held in the open space on campus on Nov 29th
The final report of the community project will be submitted via Canvas on December 3rd.  A copy of the report will also be proved to VCH by this date.


What have we achieved so far?

For the past two weeks,  the majority of our group effort has been directed towards compiling a comprehensive and clear proposal. The proposal has been constructed to align with the objectives set out by VCH public dietitians, Anne and Rani and who represent our community partner, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).  Moreover, the proposal will serve as a guideline for us to develop an  action plan for the establishment of Richmond food asset map  along with our community partner.  In the proposal, we discussed the significance, objectives and intended benefits  of creating a food asset map for Richmond.  In addition, methods and strategies to achieve the objectives of the project are stated in the proposal.

After the completion of the proposal, our group held a teleconference with Anne and Rani to discuss our proposal and establish the steps we need to take in the forthcoming weeks. During the conference, Anne and Rani have given us valuable feedback on our proposal and advised us  on how to best to move forward with our project. With their advice and feedback, we established a series of weekly objectives to assist us in putting on plan into action.  

Overall, as a group, we look forward to building the Richmond Food Asset Map, making a difference in the Richmond community and overcoming any challenges as a group.

So far, we can check off…

  • Proposal done, aligned with our partner’s objectives.
  • 2 meetings attended with our community partners (one telephone conference + one meeting in person) done.
  • 2 blogs to share our journey, done.


What has been significant to us?

In order to turn this massive Food Asset Map Project into reality, our group had to work hard to compile a thorough proposal which required integration of different opinions. Integrating all the ideas, not only from our group members, but also from our teaching assistant and community partners made the process complex, time-consuming and, at times, difficult. However, since we aimed to develop the proposal as a guideline for our future plan, we needed it to be as thoughtful as possible. Agreement among everyone involved would be crucial to our long term success.

So, how did we transform our ideas into action plans? First, we discussed  our draft proposal with our teaching assistant who gave us some valuable feedbacks. From there, we went through a series of project revisions through the use of  a Google doc that is shared among group members. We shared our proposal with Anne and Rani and later set up a teleconference with them to listen to their feedback, clarify some points and  answer their questions. This helped to ensure that everyone involved in the project was on the same page and assure us that our proposal meet their expectations.  Most importantly, after a walk through of our revised proposal, Anne and Rani agreed to let us move to the implementation of our project and to begin contacting the community members in Richmond.

As a result, our proposal is now ready to go and is waiting for us to be transformed into actions. We feel well prepared and informed because of the teleconference and discussion with our teaching assistant. We also believe that our community partners feel the same way and have confidence in us.

At times, we have found it difficult to make connections between our project and the lecture material. Although our project involves components of the food system, such as food security in a community based setting, it is not always easy to associate food related issues in terms of race, gender, or other minority groups directly with our project or implement some of the ideas in practical terms.

However, we did want  to reflect our learning in our project design. So, we started by contemplating the significance of our roles within this community-based project, considering  what gap(s)  we are trying to fill.   For instance, we tried to design the project using the concept of asset-based community development, in the hope of  maximizing  the community capacity. To achieve our goal of bridging the gap between community members and their resources through participation with local organizations, we felt that communicating by meeting in person and talking on the phone rather than by email only was essential.  So, we have met in-person and by telecommunication with our community partner and we anticipate a great deal more in-person communication and hands-on learning with community organizations through the interviews we will conduct in the second phase of our project.  The idea of helping the community members recognize and appreciate their neighbouring resources hands on, gave our group a sense of physical engagement and excitement.  We also felt more immersed in the community after Anne and Rani told us more about Richmond itself and its unique demographics.   Although linking our learning to the real physical project can be difficult, we are enjoying the process of overcoming the challenge and shaping our project into something realistic enough to be put into action.


So what did we learn?

The feedback we received from our teaching assistant and community partners gave us an insight into whether we were on track with our project  .Overall, we did a good job completing the initial part of the project. However, there were a couples of suggestions that we needed to take into consideration. While we are compiling proposal, we had to be more logically clear with every sentence we put it down. Each idea had to be closely  related to the project and our goals. In addition, we learned that we had to illustrate why our project was  important based on the background of the community in Richmond.

Furthermore, our community partners provided clarity about each task in the project. Anne and Rani reminded us about the existence of scattered information (e.g. from brochures that are already developed) relating  to free food or low cost food in Richmond.  It was their expectation that we take advantage of that resources, confirm the information and finally gather them in one useful tool (the food asset map).  We agreed upon how to make contact with those organisations and businesses:  email (optimal) or phone or in person.  Issues about requirements  of written and oral consent were discussed and we realized that further clarification of this would be  necessary after we checked UBC requirements/protocol with our instructors  Finally, we learned  that when we go  in pairs to meet with the interviewees who are selected by community partner, we will be delivering a presentation showing them how to use the map. In addition,  they will answer our questions, fill the evaluation interview form, and give us feedback of the map.  This objective was significantly different from the one we had envisaged and that had been included in our original proposal. After making the necessary changes we feel clear about what we are going to do overall, and ready to move to the next step of our project.


Now what?

So , with our proposal in hand, we are ready to move forward into the community with a keener awareness of the challenges of the task ahead.  Already, our experiences have taught us some important lessons.


  • Adapt and be flexible.

“The best laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry”  -Robert Burns.

Throughout this process, we have had ideas, drafts, plans and we have realized that the process involves continual change.  Sometimes, incremental changes, other times big changes due to differences in understanding or a new context or environment.  We need to adjust meetings to fit with schedules, in-person meetings may change to on the phone, and dates may have to altered at times. As we learned in lecture, we need to embrace uncertainty and be confident that we can use our experience and skills to deal with whatever may arise.


  • Communication is Key

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world”  -Tony Robbins

It turns out that, however clear things appear to one person, they may be interpreted differently by another.  Our teaching assistant made this point to us with an exercise where one person had to draw what another described, with interesting results.  In much the same way, we discovered, at times, that group  members had different understandings of our objectives and our community partner certainly did.  We needed effective communication in writing and through talking and listening to clarify exactly what we intended to convey to others.  We need to continue to regularly checking our understanding and others to ensure we stay on the same page.


  • Details details details

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail” – Charles R. Swindoll

At the outset, the project looked straightforward.  Although we were starting the process of asset mapping in Richmond, it was not a completely new concept.  The Vancouver map was up and running and various tools were available to us.  However, we realized that there is a large gap between a concept and a completed project.  In that gap are the details, hammered out one by one.  Goals needed to become objectives and to achieve those objectives we needed a method.  The method involves many steps, timelines and dates, each one important to keep the project on task.  We are aware now of the importance of clarifying all the details so we can work together effectively as a group.


  • No man is an island

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson

As we move into the next phase of our project,  the skills and strengths  of everyone in our team are becoming apparent.  Everyone is a team player, plays a part in every task, shows up for every meeting.  We are deep thinkers, talkers, organizers, writers, planners, do-ers.   We have different technical and interpersonal skills.  Everyone is a valuable member of the group and we need to go forward learning from each other, listening to each other and appreciating the different qualities we have to share.


Upcoming objectives and strategies

Our next objective is to collect information from the community organizations in Richmond and secure their consent for releasing information publicly. We have agreed to reach out to them first by email, including our phone number in the email in case they prefer contact by phone.  Our goal  is have all the information gathered and entered into an Excel spreadsheet to be passed to our community partner, VCH by November 1st. VCH will be responsible for inputting the data into the  Richmond Food Asset Map.

After the map is available,  we will train individuals from community organizations  to use the map and get feedback from them on its perceived usefulness. A list of the selected organizations will be given to us by VCH and we will schedule in person meetings with them or in pairs. During the meeting, we will provide instructions about how to use the map, and after they have tried it, we will give them a series of questions about their experience using of the map. The results will be submitted to our community partners and included in our final report .

At the end of November, our team will give a project infographic presentation representing a summary of our project and  deliver our final project report in early December.

UBC LFS 350 Group 15

“The beginning is the most important part of the work” (Plato)

First Impression…

So, here we were the six of us…coming together to build something new. We didn’t know each other…strengths, skills, interests…but we did know that we all have something in common…commitment to our chosen project. On that first day, we tried to learn each other’s names, agree on a plan and assign roles. Some of us were quieter, others more talkative but we knew we all were part of a team and each of us brought unique qualities so we started as we meant to go on, appreciating our assets and solving the puzzle of how we could fit together, working as a cohesive team to benefit our chosen community of Richmond.

So, who are we?
Kun Yu

Kun Yu

3rd year student, majoring in Food Science and Nutritional Science

I enjoy cooking, exploring healthy and low price food, outdoor activities etc. I try to cook most of meals by myself in a healthy way and choose healthy ingredients. I have a passion for sharing homemade dessert and recipes.



Selena Chiang

Selena Chiang

3rd year student, majoring in Food Nutrition and Health

Growing up in the urban cities has increased the distance between myself and the agricultural world. The world continues to increase its interest in health and nutrition, and the key factor, food, cannot be left out. As a result, I chose Food, Nutrition, and Health as my major.



          Yue (Sherry) Qin

3rd year student, majoring in Food Market Analysis

In terms of sports, I enjoy dancing and swimming. In terms of food, I obsess about meat and spicy flavor, and salmon avocado roll is my life.





                     Jacqueline Clark


 3rd year student, majoring in Food Nutrition and Health

I love to be active, enjoying road cycling, running, hiking. As a long time vegetarian, I have always been interested in understanding the reasons people choose the foods they do, and the many roles of food in our society and relationships.



Ting-Wei (Kelly) Huang

                    Ting-Wei (Kelly) Huang

3rd year student, majoring in Nutritional Sciences

My interests are badminton, sketching, painting, and cooking. I enjoy cooking at home and eating together with my family. Being able to provide my family health and delicious food makes me happy.


San Tan

San  Tan

3rd year student, majoring  in Food Science

I am a foodie. I enjoy exploring the city and trying new food.

Why did we choose this project?

We all had different reasons for choosing to begin the Richmond Food Asset Map. Some of us were hoping to provide an informative and useful tool for the community and others were interested in Richmond, in particular.

The Map

Food asset maps are relatively new. Their aim is to provide a “current, easy to use and easily updated” tool that will help “build…support for community members dealing with food security” (Romses et al, 2017). Vancouver has led the way in BC and recent community feedback indicated that 86% of people who had tried the map had found it easy to use and 78% said that they would use it in the future. We hope that through this project, we will have a better understanding of the available food assets in Richmond and use our knowledge to create a map that improves food accessibility, especially for lower income community members. We believe that building the map, starting with the locations and information on free/low cost meals will allow community organizations to provide current information to their clients and direct them towards better meal choices at an affordable cost.

Why Richmond?

Richmond is a diverse community with over 70% of its population considered a visible minority ( the highest of any municipality on BC). Those identifying as Chinese represent 47% of that number while South Asian and Filipino represent 8% and 7% respectively (Statistics Canada 2016). According to FAO, every person should have “access to …nutritious food that meet …food preferences” (Rome Declaration, 1996). We are interested in Richmond as a community that presents unique challenges in ensuring that members has nutritious and culturally appropriate food. One of our group members, San, currently lives in Richmond would like to discover how accessible food is there, from an objective perspective.

While Richmond is famous for its plentiful food options and restaurants, we wondered how accessible those choices were to the whole community, especially those who are food insecure. The cost of living in Vancouver is acknowledged to be high and healthy food options are no exception to this. So, while food unites us in that we need to survive and it often plays a central role in social and cultural activities, it can also divide is into the “haves and the”have nots”.

Richmond Food Bank feeds over 2200 people in a typical week, 32% of whom are children ( Richmond Food Bank Bank, 2017). We felt it was important to use this opportunity of asset- mapping to improve the health and wellbeing of community members through improved access to affordable, culturally appropriate nutritious food.

So what are our goals?

In the short term, we hope to better understand the wide variety of food assets in Richmond, using our knowledge to contribute to a new, easy to use mapping tool that can help individuals and community organizations to improve their accessibility to free and low cost foods. In addition, we are optimistic that the reciprocal sharing of knowledge and information with several community organizations will lead to feedback that will help us evaluate the new map. In the longer term, we hope that our part in the project will provide a wider variety of culturally appropriate, nutritious food choices, especially for those on a lower income, thus improving the health of the Richmond community.

What are the objectives of our project?

  • To create a current and user friendly tool for the local community members in Richmond for locating community food assets.
    To decrease food insecurity by building capacity and support food access.
  • To make it easier for Richmond community partners to view and advocate for community food assets strategically.

The Project

In collaboration with the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network, the City of Vancouver, Fresh Roots and UBC Land and Food System students and instructors, public health dietitians in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) have created the Richmond Food Asset Map project. Our role in the project is to gather updated and comprehensive information about the following food assets across the city of Richmond : free/subsidized/low cost grocery items; free/low cost meals.

Our Community Partners

The VCH public health dieticians are a group of Registered dieticians who work for VCH. VCH is a government branch that provides provincial health services for British Columbia. The work of the VCH public dieticians not only includes promoting healthy eating and active living in the province, but also engaging in community projects that improves food security.

The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (NFN) is platform for community members, organizations and government agencies to work together on community-based projects that focus on food justice and resilience. It supports and promotes farming locally, food security and food system education.

The Fresh Roots is a non-profit organization that works to improve food security in communities. The organization has dedicated its work on the creation of schoolyard market and educational farm in schools and communities. Its work emphasizes on engagement and empowerment of youth through improving the relationship between teens and local food system. Additionally, the Fresh Roots collaborates with other community organizations to help improve accessibility of food and initiate positive changes in the current food system.

The City of Vancouver, as a municipal government constantly measures the state of its local food system through tracking the number of farmers markets, community food markets, food trees, and community gardens. This useful dataset obtained by the City of Vancouver is included in the Vancouver Food Asset Map. Moreover, the City of Vancouver releases the Food Asset Map on its official website, so that the map is more accessible to all members in the community.

Second impressions

Our second face to face meeting took place in Richmond,with Anne Swann and Rani Wangsawidjaya, two VCH dietitians who talked us through the specifics of our project.

It was clear immediately that we were at the start of a process. We are the one of the first two groups to develop a new tool in Richmond, the food asset map. We are part of a much bigger project, an ambitious goal, to create a food asset map for the whole of Vancouver Coastal Health. The city of Vancouver has lead the way and other communities, such as the North Shore and the Sea to Sky corridor have mapping projects underway. It was exciting to know that we would set the tone for the Richmond map. In truth, we are developing a tool without knowing exactly who will use it and and how it will be used. The principle of the Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) is that through recognition of strengths and assets of a community, positive action for change is inspired. In the case of the Richmond Food Asset Map project, in addition to improving food accessibility, the development of the Richmond Food Asset Map aims to allow the community to recognize its food asset and improve or adjust on already-existing assets, as needed. The development of a community project is similar to building a business. As Ernesto Sirolli mentions in his TED talk, “there’s only one thing that all the successful companies in the world have in common, only one. None were started by one person.” (Sirolli, 2012) The collaboration of different community organizations, members and government agencies is essential for the development of this community project, since each partner contributes its own unique knowledge and experience to the project.

We were told a little about Richmond’s demographics such as the fact that, on average, this community eats fewer than average servings of fruits and vegetables and has a higher child poverty rate (25%) than BC as a whole. As Ernesto Sirolli pointed out in his TED talk, finding out about community’s history, and knowing about the community is an important part of the process. Anne explained that the statistics reflected pockets in the community that were perhaps not be as well served as they might be.Patricia Allen, in her discussion of justice in the food system noted that since food affects everyone, it is an excellent vehicle to use in striving for equality and social justice. (Allen, 2003). We hope that we can help community organisations to access to food in Richmond so it is more equitably distributed.

Mahtie and Cunningham (2003) discussed “bonding and bridging social capital” . In our project, many resources already exist and it is our job to bridge the gap between those in the community and the resources, and between different community organizations. Mathie and Cunningham (2003) suggested in their paper on asset-based community development that “communities are helped to build an inventory of their assets”. We will be doing that. Quite literally.

Our role is to facilitate the use of resources that already exist by developing a user friendly map. In bridging social capital, we discussed different method of communication and how to seek out new information. We were told that often word of mouth is best where we can link different people and organisations in the community for the benefit of all. Everyone in the process and the community has a valuable and important contribution : information, resources, skills, and feedback

We left with a better understanding of what we would like to achieve, aware that uncertainty was in our future and we would need to learn and adapt.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” (Helen Keller).


Allen, P. (2008). Mining for justice in the food system: perceptions, practices, and possibilities. Agriculture and Human Values, 25(2), 157-161. doi:10.1007/s10460-008-9120-6

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Keller, H. (2016). THE STORY OF MY LIFE. Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified.

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. doi:10.1080/0961452032000125857

Most Needed Items. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2017, from

Rome Declaration on World Food Security. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2017, from

Romses, K., Stephens, T., & Tran, R. (2017). Vancouver Food Asset Map helps users find food easily. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice & Research, 78(3), 163.

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