Harvesting Community Stories: discovering community perspectives on urban food production

Summary

Inner City Farms, an urban farming social enterprise in Vancouver, would like to know more about the relationship between community members and nearby gardens. Students working on this project will interview and collect stories from landowners and community members about food system topics that touch on social, ecological and economic elements of urban agriculture. Interviewing will take place mainly in East Vancouver, near Hastings and Pandora (easily accessible by bus). This project is especially relevant for students majoring in plant science or food and the environment and/or who want to learn more about food environments, food sovereignty and urban agriculture. For this project, you need a solid understanding about sustainable food systems and the role of food in community development processes. Fluency in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and/or Punjabi is a major asset. Throughout the project, you’ll learn about qualitative data analysis and will develop cultural competence and communication.

Full Project Description

Harvesting Community Stories: discovering community perspectives on urban food production.

Organization name: Inner City Farms

Mission of organization: Inner City Farms (ICF) is an urban farming social enterprise in Vancouver. ICF seeks to provide healthy, sustainable and just vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers to households, restaurants and community organizations in the city. ICF aims to create public growing spaces that contribute to vibrant communities in Vancouver and help young and new farmers get their hands dirty and learn about the food systems, even though we are all living in an urban environment. ICF cultivates less than an acre of land in multiple locations across Vancouver. All of the land under production is within city limits. We partner with land providers (home owners and local businesses) to convert front and back yards, as well as urban spaces into productive vegetable gardens. Natural farming methods are rigorously observed; no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers are ever used, and in all our actions, we try to seek sustainability in earnest. Vegetables are hand picked, and made available to the community primarily via a harvest share commonly referred to as a CSA (community supported agriculture) share. Shareholders gather weekly at our marketplace to meet and greet with their farmers and fellow shareholders, learn about their food and how it was grown, share their own experiences and recipes, and pick up their share of fresh vegetables that were harvested just that morning.

Description of project opportunity: ICF would welcome the opportunity for a group of students from the department of Land and Food systems to interview and collect stories from landowners and community members about their relationship with the gardens in their neighbourhood and with their neighbours. This project will provide students with the opportunity to engage with a variety of citizens and landscapes in Vancouver and discuss food system topics that touch on social, ecological and economic elements of urban agriculture.

Skills required:

  • Food system knowledge (e.g. nutrition, food production, food market analysis)
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Ability to communicate in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and/or Punjabi.
  • Organized and able to work independently
  • Able to use digital voice recording and production equipment
  • Understanding of sustainable food systems, and role of food in community development processes (br />

Skills to be developed through the opportunity:

  • Cultural competence and communication
  • Interviewing and qualitative data analysis
  • Application of food system knowledge in a cross-cultural context.

Project location: Project will take place mainly in East Vancouver, near Hastings and Pandora St. There are several buses that service this area of the city.

Days of week and hours project will take place?: To be determined

Primary contact for the students:
Camil Dumont, Head Farmer and Chiyi Tam, farmhand extraordinaire.
Email: cdumont@innercityfarms.com
Phone: 778.886.7597
Website: www.innercityfarms.com

Experiential component to enhance student engagement:
There will be lots of opportunity to get involved in food production and distribution activities, helping ICF harvest and manage the farms. To be discussed in person.

Learning outcomes:

  • Describe the biophysical and social complexity of urban food production
  • Relate community experiences with urban farming to the development of healthy, sustainable, and just food systems.
  • Connect their classroom concepts and theories with real life examples (with real people!)
  • Articulate personal and professional development from learning experiences in the community

Organizational Outcomes:

  • An informed understanding of neighbourhood and community perspectives on their farming activities.
  • A deeper knowledge of how ICF activities relate to other disciplines in the food system
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/2015T1/innercityfarms