Gordon Neighbourhood House – Urban Farm Hands 101

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Project Summary

Purpose

This project focus is on assisting in the maintenance of the Gordon Neighbourhood House network of urban farms.

  • Work alongside the head farmer
  • Develop site specific recommendations for urban food production best practices, such as soil health and fertility, cover cropping species, disease and pest management

Areas of Focus

  • Urban agriculture
  • Garden management best practices

Skills

  • Urban food production
  • Soil health and maintenance

Location

Special Considerations

  • Students must be comfortable working outdoors in all weather conditions and capable of moderate physical activity.

Background Information

Gordon Neighbourhood House has 4 urban farm sites and 10 community herb gardens in the West End! They are on spaces that have been repurposed to grow food, so the farms are in raised beds, generally hidden in pockets around apartment buildings. All of the space is gardened collectively, meaning we do not give out plots per person, rather we garden together and share the produce. The produce from the farms largely goes back into programming at Gordon Neighbourhood House (Community Lunches, the Community Food Hub etc.). The community herb gardens are open access to the public.

The GNH gardens/urban farms and associated initiatives support our Food Philosophy, and our work as a Good Food Organization. http://cfccanada.ca/good-food-organizations

Organization Information

Name

Gordon Neighbourhood House

Vision + Mission

Vision: As a place-based community organization, we work alongside our community, sister organizations, local businesses and policy-makers to animate and support dynamic programs, services and initiatives that respond to the needs and dreams of the community.

Mission: Gordon Neighbourhood House strives to ensure that the West End of Vancouver is a vibrant and active community, where everyone is empowered to play an active role in civil society.

Principles + Goals

  • Gordon Neighbourhood House offers a wide variety of programs (many of which are related to food).
  • Our Food Philosophy is detailed on our website: http://gordonhouse.org/about-gordon-neighbourhood-house/right-to-food/
  • Gordon Neighbourhood House uses food to nourish our community in a variety of ways, including the facilitation of intercultural exchange and dialogue, community capacity-building, and community development.

Principles:

  • An understanding that food brings us together and can act as vehicle for community-building.
  • A recognition that all members of our community have a Right to Food based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while also acknowledging that we as a community enjoy various levels of access to food.
  • A commitment to sharing fresh, non-expired, healthy, and locally-sourced food whenever possible.
  • A commitment to sharing food that is nutrient-dense, low in refined sugar and sodium, and not overly-processed.
  • A commitment to working toward increased access to food for those who are nutritionally vulnerable.
  • A commitment to providing opportunities for increased food literacy and community capacity-building for our neighbours.
  • A commitment to sharing foods that reflect the diversity of our community, city, country and world.
  • An awareness of the impact that our food choices have on the environment.
  • A commitment to the reduction of our organizational ecological footprint by minimizing packaging and ongoing composting.
  • Support for the development of urban farms and healthy food cooperatives.

Primary Contact

  • Contact Person(s): Susanna Millar
  • Email: susanna@gordonhouse.org
  • Address: 1019 Broughton Street
  • Phone: 604 683 2554
  • Website: www.gordonhouse.org
  • Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Email

Project Description

  • Students are needed to support Gordon House Farmer/Community Programmer Susanna in any and all farm-based activities. This could include weeding, harvesting, planting, over-winter construction, etc. http://gordonhouse.org/programs/farming-initiatives/
  • Students will commit at least one hour of their time each week (individually or in pairs) to beginner gardening tasks in the West End. Schedule to be determined mutually by Susanna and the individual students/pairs.
  • Students will then complete a day of winter planning for the gardens with Susanna (cover crop planting, prepping the herb gardens for winter, etc.)
  • Students will develop site specific recommendations for urban food production best practices, emerging from issues that arise while working alongside Susanna

Skills Preferred

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of plant care
  • Skills or a keen interest in growing food

Skills to Be Developed

  • Urban farming in an institutional context
  • Winter farm management

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • To be determined with Susanna

Project/Partner Orientation

  • Orientation will be with the whole student group; Susanna will orient them to the garden(s) that they’ll be working in, and any equipment they will be using

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • Students will have the opportunity to participate in Produce Markets at the Food Hub (Fridays 9am – 1pm).

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about…

  • Urban food production
  • Community partnerships

I think students will come to appreciate…

  • The importance of growing food in the city in a variety of spaces
  • Challenges around growing food in urban environment

Students will develop a…

  • Better grasp of gardening/farming practices and will also understand the positive outcomes for the community

Organizational Outcomes

  • Support in urban farm maintenance
  • Support at the produce market on Fridays at the Food Hub
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/Fall2016/GNH_UFHands