Garden Gaps and SWOT: The vision for growing food in Hastings Sunrise


The Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network (HSCFN) wants to assess and inventory the existing community gardens and urban agriculture in Hastings Sunrise (HS) to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to food production in HS. Students working on this project will have two main tasks: develop, implement, and analyze a survey of HS gardeners, and review the BC school curriculum to identify how gardening education can be integrated. While some work can be done remotely, students will be expected to visit various community centres, neighbourhood houses, schools and gardens in Hastings Sunrise, which is located in the Northeast corner of Vancouver. This project is especially relevant for students majoring in food and the environment or plant science and/or who want to learn more about urban agriculture, food environments, and education.  For this project, you need to be knowledgeable about growing food and able to create and use a survey. Throughout the project, you’ll learn about survey analysis, the BC curriculum and successful community garden models.

Full Project Description

Garden Gaps and SWOT: The vision for growing food in Hastings Sunrise

Organization name: Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network (HSCFN)

Mission of organization: Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network is sponsored by Hastings Community Association. Visit for more information on the role and mission of NFN’s (Neighbourhood Food Networks).
Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network was formed in 2012, to help connect and support the Hastings Sunrise community, towards the access of healthy, affordable food. We have a rich, long history of food programs and activities at our community centres and neighbourhood houses, and HSCFN connects them with other community food and garden initiatives, to help strengthen capacity for a viable and resilient food system for Hastings Sunrise.

HS CFN is a member of the VNFN (Vancouver Neighbourhoood Food Network). NFN’s are part of the Greenest City action plan as a strategy to increase access to local food.
The role of HSCFN is to:

  • Build individual and community capacity
  • Learn about the needs of the community and to identify gaps in programs, services and information
  • Provide insight, share best practices and bring service providers together to build a just, sustainable and resilient food system in Hastings Sunrise.

Description of project opportunity: HS CFN Garden Project: Based on the philosophy where we are growing gardens by collaborating and sharing our collective knowledge and expertise, we want to assess and inventory the existing gardens that are on school and public property and the urban agriculture activity in HS. This includes Templeton High School and the 7 elementary school gardens; Hastings Community Learning Garden (at HCC), Frog Hollow and Kiwassa NH; EYA Pollinator projects, Inner City Farm and the community gardens.
We want information from existing gardens to include a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) or gap analysis; their current and future education ideas, roles, challenges, funding etc.

This includes assessing the BC curriculum and how the lessons taught in elementary school integrate into the high school and elementary schools (and how other gardens can support this need).
Skills required:

  • Survey development
  • Knowledge of community gardens and growing food.
  • Outgoing and capacity to make phone calls, setup meetings and interview community members.

Skills to be developed through the opportunity:

  • Cultural competence, leadership, problem solving
  • Knowledge of the BC Curriculum for Indigenous content (as it relates to food)
  • Research of models (or follow up on the bibliography provided by the UBC Community Engagement Librarian as part of their current information gathering) as it relates to the project
  • Survey analysis and making recommendations
  • Community capacity building
  • Capacity to collaborate with the UBC LFS 350 class project doing the same survey in Little Mountain-Riley Park.

Project location: Project will take place in Hastings Sunrise community: community centres, neighbourhood houses, schools and gardens. Some work is done on the phone and email.
Days of week and hours project will take place:
Some evening meetings and weekend (October 4) to help with the Sustenance Festival Event at Hastings Community Learning Garden. The project scope should fit the hours recommended by the course.
Primary contact for the students:

  1. Kim Del Valle Garcia, Hastings Community Learning Garden Coordinator
    Address: 3096 East Hastings
    Website: under redevelopment
  1. Joanne MacKinnon, Coordinator HS Community Food Network (backup and liaison to the same project at Little Mountain Riley Park

Experiential components to enhance student engagement

  • Sustenance Festival at Hillcrest on 4
  • Garden work parties at the schools and community centre
  • Education for the classes.

Learning outcomes:

  • Survey and research analysis on best practices for commons access gardens and how to increase community capacity building through gardens
  • Asset mapping of who is growing food and where in HS; and the current support infrastructure such as pollinator projects
  • Increased knowledge on the range of growing food options in a community and strategies on how to increase accessibility by residents to this activity.
  • Knowledge of models and processes on how to achieve a cohesive community plan for growing food.

Organizational Outcomes:

  • Have a baseline analysis of the existing public and school gardens in HS to better understand how we can work collaboratively and in partnership, sharing resources and expertise.
  • Identifying the gaps and opportunities for partnerships;
  • Models and processes recommending how the gardens in HS can share resources, expertise, space and funding to increase the overall community’s level of food security and our residents access to fresh produce.