Farm2School BC – Can You Dig It






Project Title

Can You Dig It! – Revitalizing Lower Mainland’s Community Gardens through an Environmental Scan (2 of 2)

Project Description

Can You Dig It (CYDI) is a community garden initiative that was launched in 2009 to create opportunities for individuals and community groups to connect with their local communities through food and gardening. CYDI has created and supported 39 community gardens on public and private lands throughout the Lower Mainland, engaging over 40 partner organizations and 1,700 gardeners. Unique to CYDI gardens is that each one donates a portion of their yield. The garden’s membership decides what portion of their yield and to whom they would like to make their contribution. Some choose local food banks, on site donation boxes, mini market stands, while others choose low cost grocery stores. CYDI gardens grow more than food; they cultivate positive relationships, transform land into welcoming growing spaces for all participants to experience a deeper sense of pride and belonging, while developing new skills and paving the road for sustainable local food systems.

Project Goal

The desired outcome of this project is to gather information (including internal/external networks, activities, communication platforms, contacts) about the CYDI community gardens across the Lower Mainland, which will be used to help the management team make informed decisions regarding the future direction of the initiative. PHABC has been advocating, promoting and supporting food security initiatives, programs and policies for over 60 years. Our organization recognizes that community gardens help create vibrant and healthy communities that help reduce food insecurity, while promoting food literacy, sustainable food systems and healthy local economy.

We would like to propose that one group gather information from ~20 CYDI gardens.

Skills Preferred + To Be Developed

  • Well organized, independent and attentive to detail • Ability to collect, analyze and process large data • Strong verbal and written communication skills

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Most of the work associated with this project will take place and time when students are available. We trust that students will coordinate and manage their own time and schedule while meeting the needs of CYDI stakeholders.

In addition, the students will meet with PHABC’s project manager three times throughout the semester to ensure that students are on track, and to provide support where needed (September, October, December). Students can also request for additional meetings or contact the manager during weekdays.

There will also be a CYDI external stakeholder engagement meeting in late October (date TBD). We would like to extend the invite the students to attend this specific meeting (3-4 hours).

Project Location

There are 39 gardens across the lower mainland. All sites are accessible by transit if needed. Where capacity and interest permits, students have the flexibility to visit the on-sight gardens. But most of the information can be collected through phone calls, emails or web search.

The full CYDI community garden list and address will be provided at a later date

Project / partner orientation

Orientation can take place in September at a time of students’ availability with the project manager. Full details about the initiative (history, activities, stakeholders) will be provided and the project process/details can be discussed to meet the needs of the LFS students and PHABC.

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students



CYDI was originally launched by posAbilities, a non-profit Community Living Association group with the intention of using the initiative as a platform to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their neighbours through gardening. Since then, the initiative has grown significantly and is currently crossroads to expand beyond the original vision. As such, the program was dormant for the last six months as posAbilities was looking for a new home for the initiative. PHABC was selected to be the best fit for the initiative and our two organizations are currently working together to fully transfer the CYDI portfolio under PHABC in the near future.

As such, we anticipate challenges for students, as there are gaps in our communication, information, capacity and engagement with CYDI partners. Nonetheless, students who wish to take on the project can also expect to be a part of an exciting reboot of CYDI version 2.0 with a rare opportunity to nurture and be a part of the future of CYDI.

Organization Information


Public Health Association of BC (PHABC)

Mission + Vision

  • Vision: A fair and healthy British Columbia for all.
  • Mission: PHABC Promotes health, wellbeing and equity for all British Columbians through leadership in public health.

Guiding Principles + Values:

  • Approach: As a member-driven organization, we fulfill our mission through advocacy, collaboration and engagement activities, education, and research throughout the spectrum of public health practice and systems including prevention, promotion, protection and policy.
  • Identified priorities: Eliminating poverty; reducing health/socioeconomic inequities; addressing climate change and healthy environments; contributing to a sustainable, equitable economy; and preventing violence.
  • To view our goals and objectives, please visit: PHABC 2016 Strategic Plan

Primary Contact

  • Contact Person(s): Richard Han
  • Email:
  • Address: #210-1027 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8V 3P6
  • Phone: 778-681-4181 Website: &
  • Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Email

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  • I hope...students will learn about how community gardens contribute to vibrant communities, and support the wellbeing of individuals
  • I think...students will come to appreciate the dynamic operations and managements of different community gardens
  • Students will ability to conduct an environmental scan (gathering information, synthesizing data, analyzing results and making practical recommendations)

Organizational Outcomes

  • Better understanding of the current status of CYDI community gardens (including identification of opportunities and challenges) • Recommendations to support the future directions for the initiative • Identifying strategies to sustain, strengthen and scale the initiative