Riley Park Community Garden






Project Title

Ramping Up Food Security: Connecting Assets to Needs

Project Description

This project aims to evaluate our current food security activities, with the garden as the hub, and provide recommendations and reference best practices for our 2019 season. The garden: after three years of community consultation, the garden was built in 2017. The Garden Committee (volunteers) works with groups to provide education, resources and identify those in need to be recipients of the harvest. This includes working with the Settlement Team at LMNH, SPEC, UBC Rewilders, Master Gardeners, Farmers from the Market, Metis forager for native plant work etc. Other activities included hosting tastings, show and tell of produce; hosting lunches and potlucks both culturally specific and themed; and education / workshops for new gardeners and on seasonally specific content. We also built a Produce Library with the intent to leave produce harvested from the garden to serve those in need in the community; and participated monthly in the Farmers Market Donation Station. We’ve had many successes, however, we know we are not reaching a number of community people who are insecure including the working poor.

Project Goal

Our goal is to increase the alignment of the gardens food security activities and purpose with the Little Mountain Riley Park food system and the community. This includes establishing a baseline of the level of awareness of the garden, its’ intent and activities; documenting programs and activities in the community offered by groups serving the vulnerable and food insecure; identifying the gaps in programs and services; and identifying areas of opportunity. Interviews will be with staff and program participants including the Syrian Drop In Program, Newcomers Community Kitchen, Summer Campers and Pre-Teen programs at LMNH; the Farmers Market; Coast Mental Health (Temporary Modular Housing complex); City View Baptist Church; CityHeights and Little Mountain Court (social and senior housing in community). The LMRP NFN (Neighbourhood Food Network) needs to gather data to support our next 3 year Strategic Plan. The outcomes from the project will be a document to help us formulate our Strategic Plan.

Skills Preferred + To Be Developed

  • Empathetic, outgoing and capacity to make phone calls, setup meetings.
  • Capacity to formulate (or draft) interview questions, to conduct one on one and small group interviews; for research on best practices; to analyze the data to create a meaningful set of recommendations.
  • Capacity to work with our volunteers and staff in formulating the interview questions and working on the project.

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Prefer Mondays and Thursday mornings for meeting. May be some evening and / or weekends to meet with community members.

Project Location

Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) is at 3981 Main St. (at 24th Ave) and is accessible by transit. Community groups and faith-based groups are easily accessible by transit.

Project / partner orientation

Orientation is by participation in our garden meetings and events; and events at LMNH. Our website, is very useful as is the newsletter. Our core volunteer group is accessible and open to provide guidance and direction. This includes Dr. Art Bomke, professor emeritus with the UBC LFS faculty.

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

The garden has a few events (potlucks and education) and our final season wrap up in November to help organize. Students may assist in the community kitchen, community meal and family/ immigrant drop-in Saturday programs.


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

Organization Information


Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society

Mission + Vision

The Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network (LM RP NFN) is sponsored by Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. Visit for more information on the role and mission of NH’s. Visit for information on NFN’s. Our Neighbourhood Food Network (NFN) works with community members, businesses, and organizations to ensure that all our residents have access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritious food. Growing food, eating together, sharing around the table connects us to each other and to our community. LM-RP NFN 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 LMRP NFN has three priorities: 1. Riley Park Community Garden Project 2. Food Asset Map 3. Increasing community awareness around our work and food security issues

Guiding Principles + Values:

The Riley Park Community Garden has been a food security priority project for the community. It is envisioned to create community space and social cohesion through participation, education, and events. We promote food security by supporting neighbourhood organizations and charities with food grown by our volunteers. The community told us they want a garden based on commons design principles guided by the eight design principles for sustainable management of Common Pool Resources. The garden intends to be purposeful as reflected by the planting plan and the garden bed allocations. Priority for beds are for groups, families, immigrants and newcomers who are food insecure, vulnerable or feed those who are insecure. The garden project responds to a community need for a collective public space where people can engage in co-creation, feel a sense of belonging and ownership, and increase networks. Long term sustainability depends on the development of social capital and the intention to grow produce that may be given back to the community.

Primary Contact

  • Contact Person(s): Joanne MacKinnon / back up is Dr. Art Bomke and varouj gumuchian (community volunteers)
  • Email:
  • Address: 3981 Main Street, Vancouver
  • Phone: 604.879.7104
  • Website: ;
  • Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Email
  • Email preferred; evenings and weekends; Mondays and Thursday mornings

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about…

  • developing and administering a questionnaire and analyzing the results
  • research techniques to find relevant best practices
  • better understanding of the complexity and challenges of community capacity building

I think students will come to appreciate…

  • the challenges of finding and helping those who are food insecure in the community
  • working with various community and faith based groups with many agendas

Students will develop a…

  • hands-on experience how food connects community

Organizational Outcomes

  • through outreach to inform other community groups of our activities, we will learn of their activities and how we may work together
  • strategies to increase the success of our food security activities that is the produce library, farmers market donation stations and growing for community
  • an updated contact list and food and garden asset list for the community