Inclusive Engagement in Urban Farming and Food Initiatives
Urban farm, urban agriculture, winterizing, food assets, asset-mapping, interviews, food stories, community garden
Related Course Concepts
Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities
Mission and Vision of Organization
Gordon Neighbourhood House strives to ensure that the West End of Vancouver is a vibrant and active community, where everyone is empowered to play an active role in civil society.
As a place-based community organization, we work alongside our community, sister organizations, local businesses and policy-makers to animate and support dynamic programs, services and initiatives that respond to the needs and dreams of the community.
Guiding Principles and Values
Gordon Neighbourhood House uses food to nourish our community in a variety of ways, including the facilitation of intercultural exchange and dialogue, community capacity-building, and community development.
Our Food Philosophy is detailed on our website:
Our Food Philosophy Principles:
- An understanding that food brings us together and can act as vehicle for community-building.
- A recognition that all members of our community have a Right to Food based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while also acknowledging that we as a community enjoy various levels of access to food.
- A commitment to sharing fresh, non-expired, healthy, and locally-sourced food whenever possible.
- A commitment to sharing food that is nutrient-dense, low in refined sugar and sodium, and not overly-processed.
- A commitment to working toward increased access to food for those who are nutritionally vulnerable.
- A commitment to providing opportunities for increased food literacy and community capacity-building for our neighbours.
- A commitment to sharing foods that reflect the diversity of our community, city, country and world.
- An awareness of the impact that our food choices have on the environment.
- A commitment to the reduction of our organizational ecological footprint by minimizing packaging and ongoing composting.
- Support for the development of urban farms and healthy food cooperatives.
- Primary Contact Person(s): Joey Liu
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 604-683-2554 ext 205
- Address: 1019 Broughton St
- Website: gordonhouse.org
Preferred Method of Contact
- Best method(s) to contact: Email
- Best day(s) to contact: Mondays, Wednesdays
- Best time(s) to contact: Afternoons
Gordon Neighbourhood House is a Good Food Organization, and our approach to food is encapsulated in our Food Philosophy. We manage 2 farm sites and 10 community herb boxes located throughout the West End. They are on spaces that have been repurposed to grow food, so the farms are in raised beds, generally hidden in pockets around apartment buildings. All of the space is gardened collectively with volunteers on the Urban Farm Team. The produce from the farms largely goes back into other food initiatives at Gordon Neighbourhood House, for example the Community Lunch and affordable produce markets. The community herb gardens are open access to the public.
Students will assist the Farmer/Community Programmer with a variety of our urban farming and food initiatives:
- Winterizing Urban Farms: Students will visit the 2 farm sites and some of the herb boxes, and assist with planting garlic, harvesting fall crops, watering and winterizing the gardens.
- Data Collection and Reporting: Students will help capture some stories from Urban Farm Program and Community Herb Box Program volunteers and participants as the growing season winds down.
- Community Based Research: Students will help research existing and ongoing projects within and outside of Vancouver that can help encourage more inclusive and diverse food practices at Gordon House. If there is interest, students can use what they learn to enhance an existing food program or event occurring within their project timeline.
- Food Asset Mapping: Students will help edit and update existing program information for the Vancouver Food Asset Map.
What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?
- Growing food within the urban context
- Community engagement and development
- Measuring and capturing impact
- Increasing inclusive practices to provide dignified food
Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)
- Interpersonal skills
- Basic knowledge or interest in growing food and/or gardening
- Experience working with people experiencing challenges
- Willingness to dive in and learn by doing
Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)
- Trauma-informed and strengths-based practices in a community environment
- How to welcome people with dignity
- Gardening skills
Is a criminal record check required?
If a criminal record check is required, when should the process be initiated?
At the first community partner meeting (September 18, 2019)
Gordon Neighbourhood House (1019 Broughton St, Vancouver) in West End neighbourhood
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
Monday and/or Wednesday afternoons, Friday morning/afternoons
Project/Partner Orientation Materials
Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:
- Our Food Philosophy can be found on our website
- Vancouver community leaders on the role of food in cultural inclusion and engagement (2018 Vancouver Park Board report)
- We are listening: Engaging patients and families on the Patient, Family, and Community Inclusion Policy and toolkit (Provincial Health Services Authority report)
- Let's mobilize: How to start a community action program (Community Food Centre Canada resource)
- Request the relevant past LFS350 student reports from your TA
Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials
The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:
- Building and garden tour
- In-person community orientation
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
- Students can support our bike-powered affordable mobile market called Gordon Greens (Thursdays 9am-12pm), or the Produce Market at the Community Food Hub (Fridays 9:30am-12:30pm).
- We also offer Community Lunch volunteer positions (Mon-Thurs 10:30-2pm), but this would require more regular participation.
I hope students will learn about...
- Urban food production and winter farm management, Community engagement and development, building inclusive practices for organizations
I think students will come to appreciate...
- The importance and challenges of growing food in an urban environment, as well as the supports neighbourhood houses provide to the community.
Through this project, students will develop...
- Skills engaging with diverse populations and people from all walks of life.
Intended Project (Short Term)Outcome
- As our urban food assets are supported by students, healthy growth of land and plants leads to increase in nourishment of community
- Volunteer and participants' voices and feedback are heard through the evaluation process
- Knowledge / resource base of inclusive projects/practices is increased through research
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?
The students' research and evaluation findings will support the maintenance of our urban farm through:
- Support with our urban farm planning and capturing impact
- Support with research for inclusive practices
How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?
- Supporting our goals to provide access to food via our gardens, and creating connections with volunteers and members that increase dignity and sense of belonging for the West End community.