Vancouver Food Asset Map: Convenience Retail Food Stores

 

 

 

 

 

Project Summary

Purpose

Overall this project is intended to gather and update information about convenience retail food stores that are utilized by food insecure people to access low cost food across the city of Vancouver to update the Vancouver Food Asset Map (VFAM) and to get feedback from those using the Map in their job setting to support food insecure individuals or families. http://www.vch.ca/public-health/nutrition/vancouver-food-asset-map

Areas of Focus

  • Online food asset maps
  • Strategies for supporting food insecure individuals and households
  • Municipal-level, multi-partner collaboration on health-related issue

Skills

  • Online food asset mapping
  • Public consultation
  • Data collection in public setting

Location

  • Students will meet with the VCH public health dietitian and with community service providers in the Vancouver community. Some of the work can be done on the computer and by phone.

Background Information

Mapping food assets is a useful method for bringing forth the strengths, gaps and areas for improvement in local food systems. Also, community service providers can use these maps to help their clients access food, enhance food literacy and build community connections.

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 https://foodsecurecanada.org/resources-news/resources-research/mapping-food-matters-resource-place-based-food-mapping, "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/


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.

Our VCH strategic priorities is a guiding framework is for operational planning, priority setting, and identifying opportunities for strategic investment of time, people and financial resources. (Information available at: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/strategy )

Primary Contact

  • Kathy Romses, MA, RD
  • Public Health Dietitian
  • Email: Kathy.Romses@vch.ca
  • Address: Evergreen Community Health Centre, 3425 Crowley Drive, Vancouver, B.C., V5R 6G3
  • Phone: 604-872-2511 local 3318
  • Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Monday – Thursday, phone or e-mail

Project Description

Overall this project is intended to gather and update information about convenience retail food stores that are utilized by food insecure people to access low cost food across the city of Vancouver to update the Vancouver Food Asset Map (VFAM) and to get feedback from those using the Map in their job setting to support food insecure individuals or families. http://www.vch.ca/public-health/nutrition/vancouver-food-asset-map

The convenience stores subcategory of the Retail Food Stores or Markets Stores category of the VFAM is defined as: “Stores that offer a limited choice of food items, often including snacks, soft drinks and other mostly processed products. Some stores also sell a limited assortment of canned goods, produce, bread, egg and dairy products. Stores typically focus on selling non-food items and include pharmacies, dollar stores or non-grocery department stores with choices from at least 2 food groups from Canada’s Food Guide.” People dealing with food insecurity may shop at these types of stores for a variety of reasons including; low cost, convenient location, lack of transportation, and a lack of cooking and/or storage options. Students will be involved in adding and checking the accuracy of convenience store information.

In addition, students will be interviewing service providers or other individuals using the VFAM in their job setting to collect their feedback on the Map and the ways they are using the Map as early indicators of use-value.

The key student deliverables include:

  1. Update and add to the convenience store section of the Retail Food Stores or Markets Excel document. This will involve reviewing City of Vancouver and VCH Environmental Health reports, researching information online and/or contacting convenience store owners, to ensure that the information is correct and formatted consistently. Students will be provided with instructions on how to add data and update the Excel document.
  2. Write a summary report of feedback received from interviews with service providers or other individuals using the VFAM in their job setting.

Skills Preferred

  • Good verbal and written and communication skills (for speaking with convenience store owners and service providers either in-person, by email or by phone)
  • Skills in collecting current, accurate, consistent information using a variety of approaches (e.g., internet searches, in-person, by email, or by phone)
  • Good computer skills
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
  • Interest in supporting those who are food insecure

Skills to Be Developed

  • Online food asset mapping
  • Interviewing and obtaining feedback from community service providers who are using the VFAM in their jobs

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

  • Date/Time: Wednesday, September 20, 2-3 PM
  • Location: Raven Song Community Health Centre, Room 101 - 2450 Ontario Street, Vancouver, BC, 604-709-6400

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • If it fits with their schedule, students will have the opportunity to show parents, students and staff how to use the VFAM tool and obtain feedback at the Van Tech Secondary School grade 8 welcome event on Monday, September 25 from 6-7:30 PM.
  • Students will have the opportunity to interview community service providers who use the VFAM in their job setting to support food insecure individuals or families.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about…

  • the complexity of sharing accurate information about community food assets with the Vancouver community and interviewing skills for getting feedback on the initiative from community service providers.
  • 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 community support for accessing food assets.

Students will develop a…

  • sense of the current food assets available in the city of Vancouver.

Organizational Outcomes

  • Students will help with updating the convenience store sub-category of the Vancouver Food Asset Map.
  • Students will provide us with a report that compiles the information gained from the use of the VFAM from community service providers as early indicators of use-value.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/Fall2017/VFAM_convenienceretail