GNH: Measuring the Impacts of Urban Farming

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
  • Collect data and impact stories from key stakeholders

Areas of Focus

  • Community food security
  • 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.
  • A cleared Criminal Record Check (CRC) will be required for working with vulnerable adults and children (this is a specific CRC)

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): Joey Liu
  • Email: joey@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 will measure the impacts of the Gordon Neighbourhood House Urban Farm Program as the growing season wraps up in the Fall semester. This project includes collecting data and impact stories from key stakeholders. Students will also visit the four farm sites and assist with planting garlic, harvesting fall crops, watering and winterizing the garden.

Goal and Project Scope

The data and story harvesting will be instrumental to assisting the Farmer with completing our Annual Farming Report, and will help inform crop planning and developing meaningful data collection for the Urban Farm Program next year.


Skills Preferred

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Basic knowledge or interest in growing food & gardening
  • Experience or sensitivity to working with vulnerable populations
  • Willingness to dive in and learn by doing

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • To be determined with Farmer

Project/Partner Orientation

  • Orientation will be with the whole student group; the Farmer will orient them to the garden(s) that they’ll be working in, and any equipment they will be using. The Farmer will also introduce them to some key stakeholders.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • Students can dive into learning about our Food Programs and Philosophy by volunteering for the West End Food Festival, organized by Gordon House between September 21-26th.
  • They can also experience first-hand where the farm food goes by participating in our Community Lunches (Mon-Thurs 10-1:30pm), our bike-powered affordable mobile market called Gordon Greens (Thursdays 9:30-12:30), or the Produce Market at the Community Food Hub (Fridays 9-12pm).

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about:

  • Urban food production and winter farm management
  • Community engagement and development

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 an urban environment

Organizational Outcomes

  • Support in urban farm maintenance
  • Support with our urban farm planning and data collection
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/Fall2017/GNHUrbanFarmHands