Vancouver Food Asset Map – Free or Low Cost Meals

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Project Summary

Purpose

This project focus is an on-going development of a Vancouver Food Asset Map and has 3 main goals.

  1. To provide a tool to community members and agencies for locating community food assets that is current, dynamic, and easy to use.
  2. To build capacity and support food access for community members dealing with food insecurity.
  3. To make it easier for Vancouver community partners to view and utilize community food assets strategically

Areas of Focus

  • Food Asset Maps
  • Strategies for supporting food insecure individuals and households
  • Municipal-level, multi-partner collaboration on health-related issue
  • Community organizations and schools
  • Free or low cost meals

Skills

  • Food Asset Map development
  • Public consultation
  • Data collection in public setting

Location

  • Location will vary based on the food assets and neighbourhoods you are involved with. Some work can be done over the phone or computer, whereas other work will involve visiting locations in Vancouver (all locations are expected to be accessible to the public and by transit).

Background Information

Mapping food assets is useful method for bringing forth the strengths, gaps and areas for improvement in local food systems. The city of Toronto has created Food by Ward initiative to help

  • Grow the City of Toronto’s appetite for using food assets to solve city problems;
  • Make it easier for City staff and officials to see and use community food assets strategically, and;
  • Inspire, support, and guide community Food Champions in their work.

Further, food maps can highlight the unequal distribution of assets within a city or region, allowing for a way to consider the barriers communities face to making sure all residents have access to good food. As stated in a report by Food Secure Canada, "food system mapping encourages a vision of locally-based food self-reliance. This is not with the intention of withdrawing from the global community. Rather, by growing our abundance at a local level we can encourage and support others to do the same. With full bellies and hearts, we can all participate in creating a culture of peace and plenty locally and globally."

Vancouver’s cost of living is high and the population is extremely diverse. Communicating about food assets and other health and community supports with vulnerable families who are difficult to reach and for whom English is a second language is challenging. The free Google mapping application is being used to share information with community members and partners and will help with future strategic planning. The BC Food Security Gateway website includes more provincial and local food security documents: http://bcfoodsecuritygateway.ca/

This project is a continuation of work completed by another course at UBC in the Sociology Department, ASTU 360 - Community-Based Research and Knowledge Creation. Students collaborated with staff from Vancouver Coastal Health (and other project partners) to create the initial categories of the map and begin the process of locating and entering food asset data into spreadsheets. Next term, six more LFS 350 groups will continue the partnership and build off of your efforts.

Organization Information

Name

Vancouver Coastal Health

Vision + Mission

Vision: We will be leaders in promoting wellness and ensuring care by focusing on quality and innovation.

Mission: We are committed to supporting healthy lives in healthy communities with our partners through care, education and research.

(Information available at: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/strategy/)

Values + Goals

Values:

  • Service: We will provide outstanding service and respond to needs in a timely and innovative manner.
  • Integrity: We will serve openly and honestly in a caring and compassionate environment.
  • Sustainability: We will focus on effectiveness, efficiency, best practices and health outcomes, holding ourselves responsible for results

Goals: We are guided by four organizational goals to achieve our vision.

  1. Provide the best care
  2. Promote better health for our communities
  3. Develop the best workforce
  4. Innovate for sustainability

Strategic Framework: People First

  • Our people first strategy shapes how we approach our vision, mission, values and goals.

VCH's Strategic Framework is a guiding document for operational planning, priority setting, and identifying opportunities for strategic investment of time, people and financial resources. While many of our Communities of Care, regional programs and corporate departments have their own, complementary strategies, this Framework represents the vision, values, goals and objectives that we all have in common.

(Information available at: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/strategy/)

Primary Contact

  • Teya Stephens, MSc, RD
  • Public Health Dietitian
  • Email: teya.stephens@vch.ca
  • Address: South Community Health Centre, 6405 Knight Street, Vancouver, B.C. , V5P 2V9
  • Phone: 604-301-2253
  • Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Tue – Fri, phone or e-mail

Project Description

Overall this project is intended to gather information about community food assets across the city of Vancouver. This information is being used to update a Vancouver Food Asset Google map. Vancouver Coastal Health Public Health dietitians are working with community partners to create the mapping tool. The key end users of the map are community members dealing with food insecurity.

  • Students will be involved in gathering information on the following food assets: Free prepared meals/snacks are provided by various organizations and groups in the community; low cost prepared meals/snacks are provided by various organizations and groups in the community; and both low cost and free prepared meals/snacks are provided by various organizations and groups in the community.

The key student deliverables include:

  1. Update an Excel document of a food asset category with information on available food assets in the city of Vancouver. This part of the project will most likely involve researching information online and contacting community partners, organizations and businesses, to ensure that the information in the excel document is correct and formatted consistently. A discussion script, including an introduction to the tool and guiding questions, will be provided to UBC students for them to use when contacting food assets. Students will also be provided with instructions on how to add data and update the excel document.
  2. Work with interested community partners and organizations ( e.g. neighbourhood houses, neighbourhood food networks, family places and community centres) to trial the Vancouver Food Asset Mapping tool with community members and gather their feedback. Feedback forms will be given to students to provide to, or use with, community members when gathering feedback.
  3. Write a summary of feedback received from community partners and organizations and/or community members. Provide recommendations for next steps for the project, based on both the overall map and specific food asset category assigned. (Feedback and recommendations will hopefully be used to assist Vancouver Coastal Health and future LFS 350 students to improve the mapping tool).

Skills Preferred

  • Good computer skills
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
  • Good verbal communication skills (for speaking with members of the public and organizations either in-person or over the phone)
  • Skills in collecting current, accurate, consistent information using a variety of approaches (e.g. internet searches, phone calls, in-person)

Skills to Be Developed

  • Food food system analysis
  • Food asset assessment skills
  • Observational and analytical skills
  • Interviewing and communication skills

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Timing is flexible. Students may need to work during business hours in order to contact some community partners. However, most of the work can be organized to fit the student’s schedule. Students need to arrange a mutually suitable time with community partners to pilot test the tool in community settings..

Project/Partner Orientation

  • We recommend students allow for an in-person introduction meeting so that data collection can be explained. Students may also benefit from a second follow-up meeting to ensure they are completing data collection Excel tables correctly.
  • Students should also allow for an in-person meeting to receive instructions on how to trial the map with community members and use the feedback forms to gather information from community participants.
  • Draft Web page for Vancouver Food Asset Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XEmhBp-1P0xxH7ZPFMc76sBFb2U&usp=sharing

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • Students will have the opportunity to trial the Vancouver Food Asset Map tool with community partners, in order to obtain feedback from end users to be used towards improving the tool. We hope that this opportunity to trial the map provides students with an opportunity to engage with members of the Vancouver community, learn about the experiences of community members with available food assets, and assess the usefulness of a future publicly available food asset mapping web-based tool.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  • I hope students will learn about… the complexity of sharing accurate information about community food assets with the Vancouver community.
  • Students will hopefully also gain experience using an online mapping tool to share information with a broad audience.
  • I think students will come to appreciate… the amount of work and effort that has been put into place throughout the city of Vancouver in order to improve food security among community members.
  • Students will develop a... sense of the current food assets available in the city of Vancouver.

Organizational Outcomes

  • We hope the students help us work towards achieving our 3 project goals.
  • We hope the students provide us with community feedback and recommendations on how to improve the Vancouver Food Asset Map.
  • We hope the information the students provide will help us learn more about existing food security initiatives in Vancouver and where potential gaps exist.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/Fall2016/VFAM_free_lowcost_meals