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.
- 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.
A New Community Garden for Riley Park. (2015, July 7). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from https://www.lmnhs.bc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/INITIAL-CONCEPT-7-7-2015.jpg
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 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/point-of-view-affects-how-science-is-done/
Garden Beds and Commons Garden Access. (2018). Riley Park Community Garden. Retrieved 7 February 2018, from https://www.rileyparkgarden.org/membership/
(2018). Lmnhs.bc.ca. Retrieved 7 February 2018, from https://www.lmnhs.bc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/INITIAL-CONCEPT-7-7-2015.jpg