Session 4 – Class, Income + Food


Developing Your Project Proposal

  • In this session, we will focus on issues of class and income as they relate to and shape food insecurity and inequity in the food system. We will deconstruct Meiwald and Ostry's (2014) paper on housing, income and food insecurity in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. We will also deconstruct the article to identify and relate aims, objectives, research questions and methods to prepare your group to develop your own project proposal. In tutorial, we will discuss strategies for working with/through/around uncertainty and reflect on the term "failure" as it relates to LFS 350, work in the community, and societal values more broadly.


After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Articulate the ways in which income and class relate to food insecurity
  • Articulate the importance of a proposal in the development and implementation of a community food security project
  • Identify strategies for embracing uncertainty
  • Complete the sections of your project proposal (Introduction, Background & Significance, Methods)

Key Terms + Concepts

  • Income
  • Class
  • Food insecurity
  • Project proposal development

Required Readings + Resources

  • Miewald, C., & Ostry, A. (2014). A Warm Meal and a Bed: Intersections of Housing and Food Security in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Housing Studies, 29(6), 709–729. Retrieved through the UBC Library Website.

Income, Class and Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is defined as the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints. The Canada Community Health Survey, administered by Statistics Canada, has three classifications of food insecurity based on participants' responses regarding presence of food insecure situations in the household over the last 12 months:

  1. Marginal - Worry about running out of food and/or limit food selection because of lack of money for food.
  2. Moderate - Compromise in quality and/or quantity of food due to a lack of money for food.
  3. Severe - Miss meals, reduce food intake and at the most extreme go day(s) without food.

As stated in a recent PROOF publication, "nearly one third of households reliant on social assistance as their main source of income are severely food insecure, indicating serious levels of food deprivation. The rate of severe food insecurity among social assistance recipients is 11 times higher than the rate nationally." Below, Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, PROOF leader, explains how the problem of food insecurity is far greater and more complex than most Canadians realize.

Writing a Proposal

A project proposal explains the What, How and Why of your project. Conceptualizing, articulating, and receiving feedback on your proposal will help ensure that all stakeholders are clear on the objectives, procedures, and expected outcomes of your project. A well-written project proposal clarifies what you are trying to achieve together. And, equally important, it outlines what isn't to be included in your project, preventing a phenomenon called scope creep, which often leads to frustration and feeling overwhelmed. Further, your proposal will be a good place to return to when the realities of the term start to interfere with the group's vision, also known as scope change, which is inevitable (and something we will explore in more detail in later course sessions).

There is no single resource that will guide you through the challenging process of conceptualizing, articulating, and completing a project proposal. It is a matter of creating drafts, receiving feedback, and refining your work to the point where your group is happy with the final result and/or the deadline is 5 minutes away. In lecture, we will de-construct "A Warm Meal and A Bed" from the required readings to re-create a project proposal. We will take apart the various steps of the process (e.g. introduction, background and context, and methods) to demonstrate how to move from an idea into a clearly written proposal.

Tutorial Session

In your tutorial session, your group will...

  • Discuss and prepare your proposal, section by section

Next week you will receive feedback from your TA on your proposal and have time to refine your work.

Additional Material

“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is a five-part series exploring how our understanding of the causes of poverty are formed not by facts, but by myths, media, and the tales of the American dream. Host Brooke Gladstone traveled to Ohio, a state that encompasses all types of poverty -- rural, inner city, and rust belt -- to hear from individuals who are poor how they got that way, and to understand, under current policies, why they are likely to stay that way.