Learning more about community food assets is a central directive of the City of Vancouver’s Food Strategy. This project is a continuation of six Fall 2015 student projects, expanding to more areas within Vancouver. Using a standardized survey, questionnaire, and observations, groups will document the type, condition, and use of publicly accessible kitchens in the city in order to inform the City's plan for community kitchen improvements. Each student group will be assigned an area to conduct site visits and interviews with kitchen staff and then will make recommendations to improve the use and quality of existing programming. Kitchens are not located within city facilities, so students need to be comfortable visiting other public locations. This project is especially relevant for students majoring in food and the environment or food, nutrition and health and/or who want to learn more about food environments, education, food policy and food literacy. For this project, you need to be organized, able to work independently, and have some experience in a kitchen environment. Food Safe training is an asset. Throughout the project, you will develop observational, interviewing, and analytical skills and will learn how to complete a kitchen assessment.
City of Vancouver Social Policy Department – Food Strategy Implementation Team
Creating a system for producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable is a City of Vancouver priority. The Food Strategy helps the City address Vancouver’s food challenges and align the food system with broader City plans and processes through five main goals:
- Support food-friendly neighbourhoods
- Empower residents to take action
- Improve access to healthy, affordable, culturally diverse food for all residents
- Make food a centerpiece of Vancouver’s green economy
- Advocate for a just and sustainable food system with partners and at all levels of government
For more information on the City of Vancouver’s Food Strategy, visit http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/vancouvers-food-strategy.aspx
- There is no primary contact for this project
The Vancouver Food Strategy and the Greenest City Action Plan call for an increase in food assets by a minimum of 50% over 2010 levels by 2020. Among these food assets are publicly-accessible kitchens. These are sometimes used for community food programming such as “community kitchens”, cooking classes or skill-building workshops. In some cases, they are used for commercial activities (e.g. catering, start-up businesses, or large-scale meal provision).
The condition of kitchen facilities is highly variable and affects what type of foods or programming can be provided, as well as how many people can participate. As a result, there is need for an assessment of the types, locations, the state of kitchens, and experiences of kitchen staff. The research will be used to assist in planning infrastructure and capacity / coordination recommendations.
The project will be to visit and assess the type, condition, and use of publicly accessible kitchens. The project will also require analysis and recommendations based on the findings, to improve the use and quality of kitchen programming.
- Kitchens to be contacted and visited will include those that are or may be available for community food programming at locations other than city-facilities such as community centres, neighbourhood houses, and family places. These sites would include religious and cultural spaces.
- Strong verbal communication skills
- Organized and able to work independently
- Able to use Microsoft Excel
- Understand kitchen basics / know how to cook
- Understanding of sustainable food systems, and role of food in community development processes
- Additional assets: Food Safe training, experience cooking with or facilitating a Community Kitchen, knowledge and connection with social facilities (e.g. churches, religious sites)
Skills to Be Developed
- Kitchen assessment skills
- Observational and analytical skills
- Interviewing and communication skills
Each student group will be assigned one or more neighbourhoods. Many of the neighbourhoods to be visited will be on the west-side of Vancouver. Bus service is available.
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
Timing is flexible based on student and facility schedules.
Experiential Learning Opportunities
- None available for this project although students are encouraged to volunteer at a community kitchen in their assigned area if possible.
Student will be able to...
- Articulate how a municipality engages with public food assets in order to promote a healthy, sustainable and just food system.
- Describe the breadth of community food infrastructure and programming available in specific neighbourhoods in Vancouver.
- Recognize opportunities and challenges of providing food-based programming.
The research will allow for better decision making about support for existing and future kitchen facilities and programs through:
- Baseline research on existing kitchens used by different agencies including kitchen condition and current usage
- Identification of opportunities and barriers for improving the use of kitchen facilities for community food programming purposes as well as for food businesses.