22. Sustenance Festival – Amplifying Community Voices







Project Title

Amplifying Community Voices: Food, Culture, Politics

Organization Name

Vancouver Park Board - Sustenance Festival


Food movement, food sovereignty, inclusion, racism, stories, culture, representation

Related Course Concepts

Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Gender and/or sexual orientation, Cultural identities, Racism, Colonialism, Indigenous food sovereignty

Organization Information

Organization Name

Vancouver Park Board - Sustenance Festival

Mission and Vision of Organization

The Vancouver Park Board’s Culture Plan strives to develop, enliven, enhance, and promote arts, culture, and cultural diversity in our city in ways that benefit our citizens, creative community, businesses, and visitors. Centered around World Food Day, Sustenance Festival is a project of the Park Board and is a celebration of the intersections between art, culture and food. It is a city-wide festival featuring food-inspired workshops, exhibitions, talks, walks, dances and more – all taking place in community centres and public spaces throughout Vancouver. The Park Board’s mission is to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit all people, communities, and the environment.

Guiding Principles + Values

  • Nurturing community engagement (also called public engagement, public participation, or public involvement) is a fundamental civic goal.
  • We believe that people who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process;
  • We promise that the public's contribution will influence the decision;
  • We promote sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers;
  • We seek out and facilitate the involvement of people potentially affected by or interested in a decision;
  • We seek input from participants in designing how they participate;
  • We provide participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way;
  • We communicate to participants how their input affected the decision.

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Erica Isomura
  • Email: erica.isomura@vancouver.ca
  • Phone: 604-257-8106
  • Address: 2099 Beach Ave, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4
  • Website: http://sustenancefestival.ca/

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

Now in its 10th year, Sustenance Festival is an annual arts, culture, and food festival organized by the Vancouver Park Board. Since 2016 the focus of the Festival has been on intercultural connections and amplifying voices from underrepresented communities. This included a year-long process of research and relationship-building, including interviews with key community leaders from 2017-2018.

Students will:

  • Transcribe recordings of these interviews (two interviews each)
  • Mark 2-3 compelling and important quotes from each interview
  • Develop blog posts based on each interview
  • Attend events (number to be decided in conversation with community partner) during the 2019 Sustenance Festival and create blog posts about the events

What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

The underrepresentation of particular populations/groups in Vancouver’s food movement reflects broader issues of exclusion in the dominant food movement across North America. These same groups also experience disproportionate effects of structural inequalities (such as racism and poverty), resulting in complex experiences of food insecurity; they are more likely to take up dangerous or underpaid food-related labour, experience higher rates of diet-related illnesses, and are more often the target of nutrition education interventions (Slocum, 2006; Alkon, 2013).

Sustenance Festival is an opportunity to shift away from exclusion and needs-based approaches, towards asset-based and celebratory engagement with underrepresented groups. Parks staff and partners are seeking to better understand and address under-representation of marginalized groups from the “food movement,” so that Sustenance Festival can become a stronger example of intercultural food systems engagement. Approaches to this work include identifying barriers to participation, and seeking out existing community food initiatives that have not been recognized as part of the dominant food movement.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Understanding of asset-based community development
  • Understanding of/interest in storytelling as food justice and decolonizing praxis
  • Familiarity with, or interest in blogging

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Understanding of asset-based community development
  • Understanding of/interest in storytelling as food justice and decolonizing praxis
  • Blogging and writing skills

Is a criminal record check required?


Project Location

Work location is flexible; in-person meetings can be arranged at Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) or Park Board Head Office (2099 Beach Ave.)

Preferred Days of Week and Hours


Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • N/A

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

We are looking for volunteers for the September 19 art exhibition launch of Feasting for Change at Roundhouse Community Centre. Volunteering at this event will provide important context and insight into Sustenance Festival and is strongly encouraged.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • The connections between food, stories, and justice

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • The never-finished process of community development

Through this project, students will develop...

  • An understanding of barriers to participating in the “food movement,” and a greater awareness of diverse forms of food systems participation

Organizational Outcomes

Project (Short Term) Outcomes

  • The voices and wisdom of community food leaders from underrepresented communities will be highlighted in a mainstream setting, helping to counter negative stereotypes and deficit-based perceptions of marginalized communities.

Medium Term Outcomes

If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?

  • This project contributes to the celebration and inclusion of diverse community food traditions alongside artists, activists, community groups, and social service organizations across the City of Vancouver.

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

  • This project contributes to the development, enlivening, enhancement, and promotion of arts, culture, and cultural diversity in our city in ways that benefit our citizens, creative community, businesses, and visitors -- helping to make Vancouver a city for all people.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/F2019/SustenanceFestival