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:

Proposal

Our Weekly Objectives

TIMELINE

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.

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