The Farewell

Figure 1. Thematic calendar created for Riley Park Community Garden


Welcome to our last blog post of the term! As the end of the semester quickly approaches, we are wrapping up the final deliverables to our project. It has been an exciting adventure working with the Riley Park Community Garden and we have learned so much along the way. This blog post will outline a moment of significance we had throughout the course and describe how our team worked together to accomplish our project.


A moment of significance for our team in this course was during the infographic event; as our group collected together in the nest to look at our completed poster. We all took a second to reflect on the past three months of hard work, from the initial meeting to finalizing our project deliverables there were so many uncertainties we had to tackle as a group to create a cohesive project. The result of our project included a map of the garden, a thematic calendar and five different lessons plans that can be carried out in the garden for students in the neighbouring schools. There were moments in our project where we were unsure of about how our deliverables were connected with the course objectives but as we dive deeper into the course materials and lectures, we slowly recognize the importance of holding food literacy workshops for students in community gardens as a way of generating community food security (Reis, 2016). In addition, another setback in which we would have liked to tackle as a team was to execute one of the lesson plans. Due to the time constraint, and the difficulty of bringing a class into the garden, we were not able to pilot a lesson. As so, a reflection of the timeline throughout the course proved to be a significant moment for the team because we were finally connecting the ideas from the course to our project.


Figure 2. A map of Riley Park Community Garden


So what?

There have been many ups and downs in our project, but we persevered through the challenges to accomplish our deliverables for our community partners at Riley Park Community Garden. As the weather starts to warm up, hopefully the community garden will have a chance to reach out to the local schools around the Riley Park and Hillcrest community to invite different classes to the garden and to carry out the lessons we have created. Although, our team was not able to execute the lesson plans, we were hoping that our project would be a resource for local teachers and educators to use in a lesson or even as inspiration to create their own lessons. This project allowed us to bring forth the theoretical concept of “asset-based community development” to facilitate workshops using the lessons plans as a way of reconnecting the students in the local community. One of the overarching idea of asset-based community development is to collectively distribute the leadership within the community as a way of expanding the social engagement within the community (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). And so, Riley Park Community garden has the ability bring together educators and youths of the community into the garden to empower both parties to generate discussions around the importance of creating a secure and sustainable community garden.


Now what?

Moving forward, our group is looking to remain in touch with our community partners in hopes to receive some feedback on our project deliverables. Furthermore, the next step in this project is invite students from the neighbouring schools to facilitate educational workshops in the community garden. There are so many opportunities that these workshops that can extend to benefit the community, whether it is through reconnecting individuals with nature, research, or just simply create a welcoming environment, it all encourages the practice community engagement.

For students coming into a project like this, my advice to you is stay organized and be patient. Not everything is going to go as planned. Deliverables can change midway through the project but staying on top of upcoming deadline made the project much more manageable. And so, what worked best for our group was to break down the project. This allowed us to work in a more efficient and organized manner. Above all else, my last advice is to be patient. Everyone is busy and sometimes group work can get frustrating but being patient with your group as well as your community partners will guarantee a much more successful finish.

A few last words, this project required us to remain flexible and adapt to all the new challenges during the course of the project. We identify that setting a clear objective to outline our project deliverables was something that really helped us move forward towards our goal. And although group work is never easy, working together allows us to use our different specialities in each of our majors to contribute to the project. Working with Riley Park Community Garden has been an absolute pleasure and we’re hoping our final project will be able to make a difference in the community.

A group photo with our infographic


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.

Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

“I would say that without a certain amount of anxiety and risk, there’s a limit to how much learning occurs. One must have something at stake. No emotional investment, no intellectual or formational yield” (Shulman, 2005, p. 18)

Hello again!

We would like to share with you our progress since our last blog post, and the next steps to completing our project with Riley Park Community Garden. We will also be reflecting on the Moment of Significant Change workshop, and share our emotional and developmental progress. Lastly, we will describe how we intend to successfully complete our project.


Weekly Objectives and Achievements:

Objectives Achievements
Week 8
  • Identify moments of significance in the project thus far
  • Revise blog post #2
  • Handed in revised blog post #2
Week 9
  • Meet with our community partner, Tamara
  • Plan our ‘graceful dismount’
  • Blog post #3
  • Brainstorm lesson plan topics and create 5 lesson plans
  • Met with Tamara and gained clarity on community project
  • Drafted lesson plan templates
  • Team meeting: divided work, and set due dates for completion of lesson plans
  • Completed blog post #3


Moment of Significant Change Workshop:

What: The moment of significant change workshop was an opportunity for us to reflect upon our progress this term. Although a majority of our group was unfortunately missing, we met outside of class to discuss moments of significance and graph our progress together. Figure 1 provided below shows how we have emotionally progressed as we experience moments of significance and Figure 2 depicts how our group has developed skills and knowledge throughout the term. The start of the term was an emotional high. Each of us felt excited about the project we had at hand and eager to get started. In contrast, our skills and knowledge were essentially nonexistent. This was important because it signifies our starting point. Another key moment of significance was meeting with our community partner for the first time. Our excitement quickly turned into uncertainty as we felt overwhelmed and had minimal skills and knowledge to address the issue. This was a key point because our initial uncertainty forced us to sit down and formulate a plan of action. Moving forward, the blog posts and proposal report were opportunities for us to develop our skills and apply our growing knowledge. These moments often were accompanied by frustrations, confusion and ambivalence. However, a greater understanding of our project and goals prevailed and we successfully developed skills to move forward. In the end, we hope to finish the term feeling accomplished and proud of our work, and confident in our new-found skills to tackle uncertainty.


Figure 1 – Emotional Progression

Figure 2 – Progression of Skills and Knowledge


So What: This reflection time was important because it gave us a chance to think about how our community project is connected to our learning and development as students in LFS 350. For example, in the most recent week we discussed race and ethnicity, and how it is intertwined with food justice. This topic made us immediately think of the “Rewilding” Bed at Riley Park Community Garden. This bed makes up a significant portion of the garden that is dedicated to growing indigenous plants. Essentially, this opens the door for conversations centred around indigenous food sovereignty and decolonization as we discussed in lecture. Beginning dialog about what was here before us and how the land and food system has been shaped by colonialism is important to achieving food justice (Dring, Lim & Mendes, 2018). Riley Park provides a space for that conversation to happen. Looking deeper, there is an opportunity at Riley Park to further address issues of food justice. As discussed in the article, “Parallel Alternatives: Chinese-Canadian Farmers and the Metro Vancouver Local Food Movement,” colonialism and racism has affected the lives of many Chinese-Canadian farmers, which continues to shape our local food system (Gibb & Wittman, 2013). At the Riley Park Community Garden, there is an opportunity to recognize the history of discrimination against Chinese-Canadian farmers similar to how the Rewilding Bed recognizes the injustices against indigenous people. Furthermore, incorporating traditional Chinese crops and farming practices into the space has the potential to encourage cultural diversity that reflects the diversity of the Vancouver region.

Riley Park Facebook Page:


Now What: Taking the time to reflect on our experiences in this course has allowed us to apply the knowledge we have learned in class in the context of our community project. However, as the term is quickly coming to a close, it is time to discuss our strategy for successfully completing our project. Ultimately, our strategy is to first divide and conquer to get our work done. We will then come together to ensure that our work is cohesive. Below is a chart of objectives and strategies that we plan to follow for the last few weeks together as a team.


Upcoming Objectives and Strategies:

Objectives Strategies
Week 10
  • Create an initial draft of the final infographic
  • Prepare for final presentation
  • Revise blog post 3
  • Attend lecture and tutorial about creating infographics and create a draft as a group
  • Divide work with regard to the presentation — decide who says what and who will complete the poster
  • Revise blog post #3 using TA feedback
Week 11
  • Final presentation of infographic
  • Complete final project
  • Practice poster presentation before-hand to ensure all group members are prepared
  • Divide up work for the final project and set due dates
Week 12
  • Review/polish and hand in final project
  • Blog post #4
  • Review the final report using suggestive editing and constructive criticisms to ensure the final outcome is complete and cohesive
  • Complete blog post #4 by reflecting on our experiences throughout the term to identify a moment of significance



Dring, C., Lim, S., & Mendes, W. (2018). Race colonialism and the food system [PDF document]. Retrieved from:


Gibb, N. & Wittman, H. (2013). Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement. Local Environment, 18, 1-19. 


Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved March 22, 2018 from 




Blog Post #2: Progress So Far and Looking Ahead

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin


Welcome back!

We’d like to share our progress so far on our community project with Riley Park Community Garden and keep you posted on what’s to come from our team! We will outline our weekly objectives and achievements so far, share a moment of significance and lay out our upcoming objectives and strategies to achieve them. Take a look at our Proposal Report for some detailed insight on our project framework and trajectory.

Weekly Objectives and Achievements:


Objectives Achievements
Week 5+6
  • Formulate a cohesive outline of our project
  • Collaborate on a detailed document mapping out our project
  • Created a Proposal Report
  • 1st blog posting
Week 7+ 8
  • Identify moments of significance in the project thus far
  • 2nd blog posting

Moment of Significance:
What: A turning point in our project happened right after we met with our community partners. Walking into our meeting, we were naively expecting to be given a few small, concise deliverables to accomplish that would be explained with clear guidelines and we’d be on our way. After all, this is how assignments are approached in a classroom setting. In the real world, however, there are no rubrics to follow and we quickly realized that our expectations weren’t realistic. Our meeting was filled with countless exciting big ideas like the garden’s history and development, past projects, current events at the garden, relevant community stakeholders and more! It was up to us to figure out exactly how we could integrate ourselves into the existing world of Riley Park Community Garden and how we could add to it in a meaningful way.

So What: It’s these uncomfortable moments of uncertainty and ambiguity that truly challenge teams. However, this degree of freedom in our project allows us to be creative and cater to our individual strengths within the group. Valuable learning comes from feeling overwhelmed and working as a team to focus in on the most important details and create realistic and actionable goals. This is a skill that is invaluable outside of the classroom and gets better with practice.

Now What: We decided to employ a capacity building mindset to our project which can be defined as an approach that identifies community strengths and builds on them while valuing local community and expert knowledge and focusing on shared leadership, resources and learning (The University of Memphis, 2018). We demonstrate this in our project proposal which includes the context of Riley Park Community Garden, how our deliverables build on the work already being done and how we plan to collaborate as a team to maximize our learning and utilize the resources available to us

Community Gardens and Food Systems Issues:

Our meetings with our community partners Tamara and Joanne have opened our eyes to the far-reaching effects that community gardens have on a neighbourhood. Joanne was proud to share with us the diversity of the individuals that use the garden including new immigrants who are looking for community involvement. Tamara shared with us that native plants in the garden are used for re-wilding which is focused on reintroducing nature into city life and reminding us of what Vancouver looked like before it was a city. These native plants historically and currently serve important medicinal and nutritional purposes for indigenous people in the area. In Malik Yankini’s TEDx talk on Food, Race and Justice, he criticizes current intervention strategies in the food movement that involve well-funded white led projects that come into minority communities to plant gardens and teach nutrition education (TEDx Talks, 2014). While he acknowledges that these efforts are often well meaning, these incoming groups often assume that they know what is best for these communities which perpetrates concepts of white supremacy (TEDx Talks, 2014). It is our view that Riley Park Community Garden avoids this ineffectual strategy in combating food justice issues by offering a space where all people regardless of age, race or class can come together and be masters of their own learning and experiences by actively creating a beautiful garden in their own community while also reaping its benefits from fresh vegetables and fruit to physical activity and social connections.

Upcoming Objectives and Strategies:

Objectives Strategies to Achieve Upcoming Objectives
Week 9
  • Get more details on specifics of deliverables from our community partners
  • Complete 6 lesson plans to be conducted in Riley Park Community Garden with a focus on place-based learning
  • Group meeting to discuss division of work
  • Meeting with Tamara on Monday, March 5th at UBC Botanical Garden to determine deliverables
  • Collect resources for lesson plan creation
  • Collaborate on lesson template to be used by all group members
  • Allocate division of work to each group member to complete based on strengths, previous experience and background knowledge
Week 10
  • Create map of Riley Park Community Garden
  • Create calendar of themes
  • Conduct a workshop at the garden (if possible)
  • Initiate draft of infographic
  • Find effective online tool for creating visually appealing map that can be used by garden visitors
  • Find online program to create visual calendar of themes
  • Use community partner’s contacts to find local teacher willing to bring students to participate in workshop and follow 1 template to carry out a lesson
  • In tutorial session, brainstorm ideas as a group on infographic development and layout

References (articles+videos):

The University of Memphis. (2018, January). Module 5: Capacity building for sustained change. Retrieved from U of M website

TEDx Talks. (2014, December 6). Food, race and justice Malik Yankini TedxMuskegon [Video file]. Retrieved from

References (images):

BISK Education. (2018). [Teamwork Image]. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from

Past, Future, Present Signpost [Digital image]. (2017, June 27). Retrieved February 28, 2018, from





This term, we will be working with the Riley Park Community Garden, a project of the Little Mountain Riley Park Neighborhood Food Network. The Little Mountain Riley Park (LM-RP) Neighborhood Food Network works with community members, businesses, and organizations to ensure that all our residents have access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritious food.  The mission of the Riley Park Community Garden is to “create community space and social cohesion through participation, education and events” and “promote food security by supporting neighborhood organizations and charities with the food grown by our volunteers” (A New Community Garden for Riley Park, 2015). The garden has been in operation for just one year and was been granted funding in 2018 to develop and provide a place-based education curriculum for children using the garden, which is where we come in.

We are excited about this opportunity to work directly with a community partner in Vancouver and develop our professional skills, increase our ability to work effectively in a group setting and build a design and implementation mindset that will be help us in our future careers. Our reasons for choosing this project are diverse but common themes include a desire to work with children, interest in developing food literacy curriculum, and passion for alternative forms of education and teaching. Our group comes from a diversity of academic backgrounds and we’re looking forward to the unique opportunity this presents to incorporate a variety of perspectives and knowledge into our final deliverables.








From left to right…

Chiara Cameron is an Applied Animal Biology major who chose this project because she loves working with children. She also interned with Marin Organic for a year where she developed and carried out lessons in the garden.

Emily Lane is a Food, Nutrition and Health major who chose this project because she is interested in pursuing a career as an elementary teacher, wants to learn more about how to integrate food literacy into the BC elementary curriculum and enjoys working with children.

Sophie Lynn Draper is a Global Resource Systems major who chose this project because of her interest in food literacy education and curriculum development as well as her prior experience interning at the Brooklyn Grange as a garden educator.

Cianna Vit is a Food, Nutrition and Health major who chose this project because she is considering education as a focus in her future career, enjoys working with children and is interested in the opportunity to merge her interests in urban gardening and alternative forms of education.

Winni Ding is a Food, Nutrition and Health major who chose this project because she wants to take part in developing creative lesson plans for young people and connect individuals within the community who are passionate about our food system.

Project Deliverables:

  • Create a calendar of workshops
  • Create 5 lesson plans (1/ group member)
  • Deliver 1 lesson plan

Initially, the scope of the project seemed daunting but we are excited about the creativity and design-thinking that we will be able to incorporate into our deliverables. The Riley Park Community Garden is an interconnected community hub that works with a great number of schools and programs throughout Vancouver and it is humbling and thrilling to feel that we may be able to make a small impact. Watching Ernesto Sirolli’s TED Talk reminded us of the importance of listening and the way that change is never the product of one person’s actions. The articles by Dixon (2014) and Bang (2014) are also relevant in terms of how we move forward with our project. Dixon reminds us of how powerful stories can be, and how conveying genuine individual perspectives and insights is a great tool for connecting with an audience and often a foundational aspect of community building. We were reminded of the relevancy of this point at our first community meeting when Joanne, who informed us of how the garden community became vibrant in just a year, not because of any top-down approach but because of the passion of individuals in the surrounding community. Finally, Bang informs us to be cognizant of perspective and to think about how our individual experiences and biases will influence the underlying narrative in our deliverables. During our group debrief after our first meeting with our community partner, we noted how easy it is to think we have the answers, and to assume other people’s desires and intentions align with our own. Realizing this made us remember how important it is for us to listen and be adaptable, especially when someones perspective is different, because that is how we will learn.

Moving forward, we will make sure to put the needs and perspectives of our community partner a priority and ensure that we work as a unit. Working as a unit for us entails open and honest communication, respecting the strengths that each team member brings to the table and being humble about the knowledge and experience that we do not yet have. Furthermore, we’re trying to be as well versed as possible on the history of the garden and surrounding community as well as the goals of our community partner to ensure that we are utilizing the principles of asset based community development.

References (articles):

A New Community Garden for Riley Park. (2015, July 7). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from

Dixon, B. A. (2014). Learning to see food justice. Agriculture and Human Values, 31(2), 175–184

Bang, D. M., Carol D., & Lee, M. (2014). Point of View Affects How Science is Done. Scientific American. From

References (images):

Garden Beds and Commons Garden Access. (2018). Riley Park Community Garden. Retrieved 7 February 2018, from

(2018). Retrieved 7 February 2018, from

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