“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
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:
|Week 7+ 8||
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|
The University of Memphis. (2018, January). Module 5: Capacity building for sustained change. Retrieved from U of M website http://www.memphis.edu/ess/module5/page3.php
TEDx Talks. (2014, December 6). Food, race and justice Malik Yankini TedxMuskegon [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=97&v=miukaKDL-Cs
BISK Education. (2018). [Teamwork Image]. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.michiganstateuniversityonline.com/resources/leadership/baking-teamwork-into-the-company-culture/#.WpeCHKjwbIV
Past, Future, Present Signpost [Digital image]. (2017, June 27). Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://presbyterian.ca/2017/06/27/new-legacy-fund-endowments-resource/past-future-present-signpost/