Farewell

Who knew that 3 months could fly by so fast! We are already on our fourth and final blog post. To wrap up our blog, we have taken a moment to reflect and share the different challenges that arose these last few months.

  • What were the challenges we faced as a group?

Over the course of the 3 month project, we faced several barriers and obstacles we had not anticipated.

Facing the Unknown

We entered this project being uncertain what was to be expected of us. Being told to jump into the project without much experience in working with a community partner was daunting at first, especially knowing we were going to continue the works of previous LFS 350 students. We had little time to figure out our roles as members of this project, and forming a mutual understanding with each other so we can dive head first into the incoming timeline.

Workload and Timeline

Many of our group members were juggling multiple courses during our time together. Midterms and assignments stacked up with the demands of the almost weekly due dates, making our time management skills ever so crucial. To further add to the stresses, delays in communication with the community partners have not helped.

Communication

Communication between team members outside of physical meetings was a concern when we met the first time – the fear of a ghost member dropping off the radar. Another concern we envisioned was the silence that plague many group teamwork. Speaking out and stepping up during group meetings, as well as sharing the spotlight and allowing others to express their thoughts. Giving each group member an even share of ideas. Lastly, communication between the community member and ourselves. It has been a struggle getting ahold of the community partners for both permission to integrate their food programs, as well as for an interview. With some community partners not responding to their emails for days at a time, or even outright not responding, keeping up with our project schedule has been difficult.

 

    • So what? How did we face the challenges?
      In order to be able to complete our project successfully and still be able to enjoy the entire process, we knew we had to deal with the challenges one way or another.

Facing the Unknown: Trusting and supporting one another

Because all of the group members knew at least one other member before LFS350, there was a good level of comfort and trust that existed within the group from the very beginning. Having had to jump immediately into the project without any prior knowledge on the project itself and the past work done by the group from the previous term, we learned that we had to support each other on understanding what needed to be done. Furthermore, we had to trust each other that when one of us had an arising confusion or conflict, they would communicate it and allow the other members to support them. For example, when it was time for us to conduct our interviews, it was initially determined that we would go in either a pair or a trio. However, when one of us got stuck because of a last-minute time change in the interview by a community partner, other members provided support by changing their personal schedules and stepping in to help conduct the interview.

Workload and Timeline: Dividing up tasks and knowing when to be or not to be flexible

Juggling multiple courses, including LFS350, was not an easy task for any of the group members. As a group, we agreed that we would always divide up the tasks for assignments early on, so each of us could do our respective parts at our own pace. We set a firm deadline on when we would finish our respective parts by, so it would ensure that the editor in our group had enough time to edit the work sufficiently before the assignment deadline. We knew that some parts of our project needed firm deadlines, but other parts, such as scheduling interviews with the community partners, needed to be flexible. We made sure to complete as much work as we could before the week of conducting interviews. This allowed us to have multiple free interview time slots that the community partners could choose from during the week of conducting interviews.

Communication: Learning when to to reply promptly and when to wait patiently

From having worked on numerous group projects before, we understood the importance of communicating with each other in person and online in a prompt manner. Since everyone was active on Facebook, we made a group chat on Facebook messenger where we would frequently check and share information regarding our project. Throughout the course of the term, it was difficult to find time when the entire group was available to physically meet up and discuss our project progress out of class time, so we all agreed upon the use of group video call meetings during those weeks. Regardless of meeting up in person or online, since most of us knew each other before LFS350, we naturally discovered with time that we were all comfortable with speaking out, allowing each other to share their opinions, and reminding each other to complete certain tasks. We understood that our community partners are busy and it is not always realistic to expect prompt email replies from them. Therefore, we agreed that we would always be patient when waiting for their replies, and after a certain number of working days, we would send them a follow up.

 

  • Now what?

Having the chance to reflect on the journey of our project, as well as the outcomes of our project, we realized that we learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and the community. Looking back at the three months we spent on the project, each of us developed a further sense of trust and level of comfort with each other. In addition to that, we were able to improve our collaboration, communication, and creativity skills. Helping to construct a food asset map was a new experience for each one of us and we hope that we were able to improve the Richmond Food Asset Map and the engagement of Richmond community members in their community.

We are extremely grateful that the dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health were always more than willing to help us with the problems and questions we had all throughout the project. Passing off the Richmond Food Asset Map to next year’s group, we hope to have provided a good platform and base for them to work from because there are always more food assets emerging in Richmond. Since the Richmond Food Asset Map is still relatively new and developing, we also hope to see next year’s group spread more awareness of the map by conducting more interviews and getting feedback. If we were able to go back in time and change one thing about our project, we would want to have the opportunity to conduct more interviews because we believe this would be beneficial to further develop and spread awareness of the Richmond Food Asset Map.

With the final tasks for our group being to showcase our final infographic and complete our final group report, we hope to end on a positive note. We invite fellow classmates and members in the community to come see our 3 month journey and to learn more about the Richmond Food Asset Map by coming to our station at the sharing session! Thank you for following us on our journey. We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog posts as much as we have enjoyed working together as a group.

 

Signing off for the last time,
Tim, Michael, Emily, Selena, Licca

Blog 3 – The Graceful Dismount

“The universe doesn’t waste anything. Sometimes, we just don’t have standing to see how events or experiences are important.”  ― Adrián Lamo

Let us give you a little update on how our community project is progressing! We had a lot of fun visiting the Vancouver Coastal Health Office and hearing some of the feedback healthcare professionals have on the Food Asset Map. Here is a timeline that highlights all of our weekly objectives and achievements so far.

Week 9 (Feb 25th – March 3rd)

Weekly Objectives:

  • Finalize excel file and obtain permission from various community partners
  • As a group, create the Moments of Significant Change in terms of our experiences and new knowledge and skills

Achievements:

  • Contacted community partners to obtain information regarding food assets and to gain permission to post information onto the Richmond Food Asset Map
  • Completed two Moments of Significant Change graphs

Week 10 (March 4th – March 10th)

Weekly Objectives:

  • Obtain feedback for blog post 2 and revise blog post 2
  • Send updated excel file to Anne

Achievements:

  • Contacted certain community partners in person to ask for permission in posting information about their food assets onto the Richmond Food Asset Map
  • Completed excel file and sent it to Anne to include it on the Richmond Food Asset Map

Week 11 (March 11th – March 17th)

Weekly Objectives:

  • Complete blog post 3
  • Update the revised blog post 2 onto our group blog
  • Start interviewing community partners and gather feedback about the Food Asset Map

Achievements:

  • Updated blog post 2
  • Completed blog post 3 and is waiting for our Teaching Assistant’s feedback

During Week 8’s tutorial session, our group was asked to create a chart describing our moments of change through the lenses of both knowledge and skills, and experiences and emotions.

Moments of Significant Change: New knowledge and Skills

Understanding the Project + the Community

The first time we were introduced to our project, we did not know what to expect regarding the workload. However, we felt more comfortable after meeting with our partner and VCH Dietitian, Anne, who gave us background knowledge and details of the last group that worked on this project. As we progressed, we started to reach out to community partners, sharing our goals and asking for permission to use their information via email and phone. By the responses from our community partners, it was evident those who shared the same values were eager to provide us with permission to share their information onto the Richmond Food Asset Map (RFAM). By further communication with the partners that declined our request, we understood that some organizations shared different views and or were more interested in applying their resources to a more specific community in need. Moreover, communication proved to be a challenge between our groups and potential community partners given delayed responses and unsuccessful calls. To speed up the communication process, Michael actually drove to a community partner to speak to the manager directly. These struggles embody the difficulty society has in addressing global issues such as food security. As we have discussed in our lectures, transdisciplinarity and the collaborative work amongst stakeholders and organizations is crucial in addressing community food security.

Applying our knowledge to our project

Understanding where our community partners stand in the fight against food security and food justice made us realise we have only scratched the surface of the problem. Despite the development of the RFAM, more work is needed to address inequities in race, gender, and class that contributes to community food security. Our work this semester is only one step into a much greater journey towards achieving food justice in Richmond.  Our goals of uniting the entire Richmond community, inclusive of vulnerable groups, to access food assets is no small feat; however, it is the beginning of a much greater movement.

Moments of Significant Change: Experiences and Emotions

Overall experience and feelings about the project

Overall, it has been a great experience in which we were given the opportunity to network with various organizations and learn more about the different programs that are offered within the Richmond community, especially since majority of our members live in Richmond.  We felt a great sense of satisfaction when we were able to discover new food asset that we weren’t able to find, an example of this is Nanaksar Gurdwara Gursikh Temple, that offers free food to the community on a daily basis.  Even though we felt like there was a lot of uncertainty prior to finding the various food assets, the project was not as difficult as we first expected. Although there was difficulty communicating with organizations, this experience taught us that some ways of communication are not as effective as others – driving to the centre and speaking to them in person is much more efficient than leaving a message and never hearing back. Despite the positive and negative emotions we felt from the time we met our community partner until we got our proposal back and up until now, we persisted and were able to accomplish a lot and retrieve feedback on a timely matter. Our experience so far has left us satisfied with our progress, but eager to discover our findings as we approach the end of our project

Our Graceful Dismount

“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” ~ Proverb

In order to successfully complete this project, we will aim to use these following strategies:

1. Effective communication among group members

We believe that prompt communication within a group is key to successfully complete tasks. Responding to each other within 24 hours has allowed us to share ideas and information during our group discussions, resolve any confusion that may have come up part way through assignments, and provide help to each other on tasks if necessary.

2. Divide tasks among group members efficiently and evenly

For all of the assignments involved in our projects, such as completing blog posts, communicating to community partners and VCH dietitians, and conducting in-person interviews, our group has and will allocate the different tasks involved in completing the assignments efficiently and evenly. We decided that assignments can be completed quickly and successfully if the tasks are divided evenly and in a way to match the strengths of each member. For instance, Selena is the member with the most experience with blogging and working with html coding, and thus we delegated the task of editing and uploading all of the blog posts to our group blog to her.

3. Use calendar for planning of meetings and due dates

As all of us are taking many other classes in addition to LFS 350, it is easy for us to confuse group meeting times and deadlines for assignments. In order for us to stay organized and be able to visualize all deadlines to a project in one glance, our group decided to use an online calendar.  Having access to this calendar guarantees that every single one of us in the group can keep track of what needs to be completed to ensure the successful completion of our project.

Our project has been successful thus far thanks to these 3 strategies, hence we are feeling hopeful about the remaining weeks.

That’s all from us for now, our next blog post will be our last blog post so stay tune as we reflect on our achievements and struggles throughout the term!

BLOG 2

LFS 350 Group 3 – Proposal Feedback Feb 21 2017 with RW and AS comments.docx

It’s been a while but we have come back to update you on our overall objective and achievements we made in the past weeks! Check out our detailed outline below. After you look at what we accomplished so far, make sure you read about our moment of significance as it brings up a very important issue that we learned in class that we think everyone should be aware of. Lastly, we will be telling you what the next step of our project is and how we are going to achieve those goals. What are we waiting for, let’s get started!

Weekly objective and Achievements

Week 3 (Jan 22nd – Jan 26th)

Objective:

  • Complete Blog post 1 and introduce ourselves to our community partner

Achievements:

  • Developed our team’s code of conduct and assigned roles for each person
  • Met with Anne on January 22nd to discuss the goals, deadlines and expectations of the project
  • Gained access to documents pertaining to the project
  • Wrote and posted Blog post 1

Week 4 (Jan 29th – Feb 2nd)

Objective:

  • Develop a rough draft for our proposal that will be submitted the following week

Achievements:

  • Delegated responsibilities of the proposal to each group member
  • Created a proposal draft
  • Did a 5 minute presentation about our project in tutorial on Jan 29th 2017 and received feedback from our teaching assistant (TA)

Week 5 (Feb 5th – Feb 9th)

Objective:

  • Complete our proposal and submit it to our TA on February 9th

Achievements:

  • Completed and submitted the proposal after receiving feedback on the draft

Week 6 (Feb 12th – Feb 16th)

Objective:

  • Finalize the proposal

Achievements:

  • Received feedback from our TA on February 15th and revised our proposal based on her suggestions

Week 7 (Feb 19th – Feb 23rd)

Objective:

  • Revise proposal and send it to Anne by February 20th

Achievements:

  • Sent the revised proposal to Anne on February 20th and received feedback from Anne and Rani on our proposal
  • Contacted our TA to clarify a specific part of our proposal concerning ethics

Week 8 (Feb 24th – March 2nd)

Objective:

  • Complete blog post 2
  • Contact organizations to obtain information on food assets in Richmond

Achievements:

  • Discussed changes to the proposal as a group according to the feedback from Anne and Rani
  • Clarified deadlines associated with the project
  • Identified appropriate food assets in Richmond and emailed the organizations responsible
  • Wrote blog post 2

Moment of significance using what, so what, now what framework

What

One significant moment that occurred in the course so far is learning about the misconceptions people have on the word feminism. Common misinterpretations of the term feminism regard women as being superior to men and disempowering men. Feminism is generally associated with giving women power and rights they previously lacked. Even though that is factually correct, there is so much more to feminism. Feminism is a “strategic orientation towards improving gender relations”(Allen & Sachs, 2012). The idea surrounding feminism is to address the social norm that is set on the general public by social media about how women and men should act. It is about giving both men and women equal rights and power to pursue whatever they want without judgement.

So What

By acknowledging this idea, we will have a better understanding of the term “feminism” and appreciate the work and effort people have done in the past to create the social norm that exists today. Furthermore, understanding the movement behind feminism and how it applies to the food system helps to identify gaps between genders that are apparent in paid and unpaid labour. An increase in awareness for gender equality and feminism also comes a rise in racial equality. As such, the feminist movement has raised awareness on multiple societal issues and has allowed more people to approach issues in an unbiased manner.

Now What

In conclusion, it is our role to not only correct past injustices against genders, but also to teach others of feminism, which supports the improvement of gender relations. With an improved understanding of feminism, we will be equipped with the knowledge to apply a feminist lens to various fields such as the food system to tackle issues such as labour rights and malnutrition. With regards to our project on the Richmond Food Asset Map, our community partners have taken a feminist and unbiased approach to their services. These food assets are open to everyone, regardless of gender, income or status with some programs catering to the elderly and even to children. Overall, we believe knowledge regarding the values of the feminist movement will garner more participation and promote further improvements and actions towards gender equality in all areas not limited to the food system.

Upcoming objectives and strategies to achieve them

  1. Gather and submit information on food assets in Richmond to Anne Swann by March 5th
    • We will do this by separating the different kitchen and food programs Anne has told us about and contact these groups individually
    • We will also look towards contacting potential locations that may offer such services such as churches
    • Compile data into one excel file and submit to Anne
  2. Begin conducting interviews evaluating the usage of the Richmond Food Asset Map by March 12th
    • We will conduct interviews in either groups of 3 or in pairs and each group will be responsible for doing at least 3 interviews

References:

Allen, P. & Sachs, C. (2012). Women and food chains: The gendered politics of food. Taking food public: Redefining foodwaysin a changing world, 23-40

Post 1: Project introduction

Introduction:

Hello everyone, welcome to our blog! From the left we have Timothy Wong, Michael Chang, Emily Yuen, Selena Chua, Licca Zhu.

In the following sections, we will take you on a little journey to let you know more about each of us individually, what motivated us to work on the Richmond Food Asset Map and what a food asset map is. Without further delay, here is our first member, Timothy Wong!

Timothy Wong

My name is Timothy Wong and I am a third year student in the Nutritional Sciences Major. Aside from my current studies, I have am interested in food, traveling and hiking. This past year, I studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong as an exchange student whilst visiting Japan and Korea, gaining new experiences and insight. Aside from viewing food from a nutritional and biochemical standpoint, I find it intriguing to look at food from a food systems perspective, which LFS 250 has enabled me to do. With my previous experiences and knowledge, I hope to fulfill my role as a community member through tackling issues present in the community food system.

Michael Chang

My name is Michael and I am a 3rd year student in the Food, Nutrition and Health major. During my free time I like to tinker with mechanical and electronic objects.

Everyone should have the right to food, no matter where you are in the world. Richmond, being a relatively new and fast growing city, should have structured ways of delivering food to those who need them.

This project peaked my interest from its simple idea of feeding everyone through the use of communication, distribution and teaching. I hope to learn these very skills and apply it back to the community, in addition to talking to and teaching the community partners about the project and resources available to them, so that food can reach everyone in the city.

Emily Yuen

My name is Emily. I am a 3rd year student majoring in Food, Nutrition and Health with hopes of getting into the Dietetics major. My interests include hiking and playing Ultimate Frisbee. In the future, I hope to help different families know what to eat in order to achieve adequate nutritional status as well as how and where they can access these food products. Through this project, I wish to become more aware of the different locations where families in Richmond will be able to access food and learn food skills to help them reach adequate nutritional level.

Selena Chua

My name is Selena and I am a third year FNH student. As a student in LFS, I have not been actively participating in my faculty in my first two years of being here. Through this course, I hope to become more active in LFS and make more friends in the faculty. Being an efficient communicator, I hope to be able to use this to my group’s advantage in approaching food assets in this project.

Licca Zhu

My name is Licca and I am  a 3rd year student in the Food & Nutritional Sciences Double Major who likes to travel and spend time with close friends. I find it interesting that the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food can be extremely diverse and that there are a variety of ways to work with food. I realizef that not everyone in a community has the opportunity to work with food possibly because they are unaware of places providing food resources and because of that, I hope to positively contribute to the Richmond community through collaboration with Vancouver Coastal Health!

 

Goals and Reasons for Choosing this Project

In this project, we will be working together with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) in producing a simple to use food asset map that will be accessible online. Part of the project requires locating possible food assets, such as community kitchen programs, food skills workshops, and public kitchens, and contacting them in getting permission to include their information on the food asset map. In addition, after VCH produces the map, we will get feedback from the community partners and VCH staff members on how to improve the map.

By the end of this project, we hope to provide the community partners and agencies with the necessary tools to allow locals to access the community’s food assets, and to determine possible gaps that exists in the current food assets map. We would also like to raise awareness to the community members about the food assets and programs available to them. Through LFS 350, we hope to gain a better understanding of the food related programs that are available in the Richmond community to help families of low socioeconomic status as well as gain experiences in working with community partners and learn to develop professional relationships.

There were various reasons for choosing to work on the Richmond Food Asset Map as our project for LFS 350. Each of us have personal goals that we would like to achieve through this project. For example, Emily stated that she wanted to learn more about the job of a dietitian; while Licca wants to learn about the different resources available, especially food skill workshop availability to help one of her neighbourhood friends. As a group, we hope to develop a tool that will benefit people of the community to have greater access to food related programs. Moreover, some members of our group members live in Richmond and are eager to positively contribute to their local community food system.

 

Project Objectives

  • To develop a simple map as a tool for members of the community to identify and locate food assets available to them in the community

  • To raise awareness of public food assets, including community kitchens, food skills programs, and kitchen spaces, where the members of the Richmond community can gain education and training, as well as participate in social gathering opportunities

  • To allow members of the Richmond community to quickly and easily pinpoint gaps in the local community

Pictures showing the community working together in the kitchen

Community Organization

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is a health authority striving to support the healthy lives of community members by providing care, education, and research (“Strategy,” n.d.). Within VCH, registered dietitians promote healthy attitudes toward food and eating through sharing evidenced-based information and education to community members (“Food Asset Map,” n.d.). The dietitians, along with their partners, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks, UBC Land and Food Systems’ students and instructors, the City of Vancouver, and Fresh Roots, create food asset maps in local communities to allow community members to become knowledgeable in the available support with health and food (“Food Asset Map,” n.d.).

First Impressions: Integration of Food Justice and Asset-Based Community Development

Ernesto Sirolli (2012) highlighted many ideas in his TED Talk that aligned with the principles of Asset-Based Community Development and food justice. Through this project with Vancouver Coastal Health to develop a food asset map for Richmond, many of these principles and ideas will be put into effect. Much like how Sirolli (2012) stated that success cannot be achieved alone, our project to create a food asset map for the community relies on collaborative work between us, the students of LFS 350, and Vancouver Coastal Health. Moreover, our work as students is to connect with community partners, such as community centres and local churches, to identify food assets that are available and help Vancouver Coastal Health develop a food asset map that is accurate and easy to use. Our project is a prime opportunity for voices of community members to be heard and for us to actively listen rather than paternalize (Sirolli, 2012) to collectively contribute to the improvement of our food system.

With regards to food justice, the development of the Richmond Food Asset Map will result in promoting food security in the community and tackling inequalities in socioeconomic status, which has been a major cause for food insecurity (Cadieux & Slocum, 2015). Furthermore, in the development of this tool, communal reliance and control is heavily emphasized, allowing for members of the community to freely access the city’s food assets (Cadieux & Slocum, 2015).

With these ideas and concept in mind, we hope that our work with VCH this semester can contribute to the bigger picture of solving food insecurity in families in Richmond.

References

Cadieux, K. V., & Slocum, R. (2015). What does it mean to do food justice? Journal of Political Ecology, 22, 1-26.

Diversecity Photo. Retrieved Feb 06 2018 from http://www.dcrs.ca/services/settlement-services-and-community-programs-department/food-security-program/

Food Asset Map. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vch.ca/public-health/nutrition/food-asset-map

Greater Vancouver Food Bank Picture. Retrieved Feb 06 2018 from https://www.foodbank.bc.ca/our-programs/community-kitchens/

Sirolli, E. [TED]. (2012, November 26). Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [YouTube]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM

Strategy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vch.ca/about-us/strategy/

Vancouver Coastal Health Logo. Retrieved Feb 06 2018 from http://www.vch.ca/