Building Connections with our Food Insecure Community
Community food security, food insecurity, community food programs, community garden, urban agriculture, outreach, survey, vulnerable populations
Mission and Vision of Organization
The Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network (LM RP NFN) is sponsored by Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. Visit www.lmnhs.bc.ca for more information on the role and mission of NH’s. Our Neighbourhood Food Network 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 Vancouver Neighbourhoood Food Network. Neighbourhood Food Networks (NFNs) are part of the Greenest City Action Plan as a strategy to increase access to local food.
We have three priorities:
- RP-LM Community Garden Project
- Food Asset Map
- Increasing community awareness around our work and food security issues
Guiding Principles + Values
The Riley Park Community Garden has been a priority project for the community. It is a food security project of LMNH. 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 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. The garden will allow our vision to be implemented by:
- Creating a hub for discussion, ensuring that the garden green space is community-based, both in theory and practice;
- Using public spaces for skills development;
- Creating discussion space where community members leverage collective expertise and local resources; and
- Supporting food literacy education.
Through the garden, it is the volunteer's hope to address some of our community’s challenges while bringing each and everyone of us closer together.
- Primary Contact Person(s): Joanne MacKinnon; back-up contacts are Dr. Art Bomke and Varouj Gumuchian (community volunteers)
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: 3981 Main Street, Vancouver
- Phone: 604-879-7104
- Website: lmnhs.bc.ca and rileyparkgarden.org
- Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Email preferred; evenings and weekends; Mondays and Thursday mornings
In 2017, we built the garden as a food security project. Garden beds are given to groups who serve those who are food insecure or who themselves may be insecure (preference); we built a Produce Library with the intent to leave produce harvested from the garden to serve those in need in the community; we participate 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. This project aims to evaluate our current activities and recommend strategies and best practices for 2019 to have greater impact. The research stage is also to contact organizations, groups and faith based groups in LMRP who are serving vulnerable populations; to share with them what we are doing; to document their activities; to identify gaps in programs and services; and to identify areas of opportunity.
Our intent is to leverage our current activities to outreach to the broader community. Up to 6 community groups would be contacted (some have been identified and include the new Temporary Modular Housing complex in Little Mountain Housing site). The Neighbourhood House wants to expand our network to identify best practices for how to build capacity for those who are food insecure and are not engaged in our food and garden programs. A survey has been drafted by the Fall Term LFS students and needs to be implemented and the data analyzed.
Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)
- Empathetic, outgoing and capacity to make phone calls, setup meetings and gather information from community members
- Capacity for research to learn from, identify best practices and make recommendations
- Capacity to work with our volunteers and staff to create and administer a survey and analyze the results.
Criminal record check required?
LMNH (Neighbourhood House) is at 24th and Main accessible by transit. Community groups and faith-based groups are easily accessible by transit.
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/Partner Orientation Materials
- Orientation is by participation in our garden meetings and events, and events at LMNH
- The garden website, rileyparkgarden.org is very useful as is the newsletter
- The core volunteer group is accessible and open to provide guidance and direction. This includes Dr. Art Bomke, Professor Emeritus with the UBC LFS faculty.
- Review the Fall 2018 LFS350 student group Infographic
- Request the Fall 2018 LFS350 student group report from your TA, as this project will focus on implementing the survey developed by the previous group
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
The garden has a few events (potlucks and education) to help organize; our final volunteer wrap up in November; community kitchen and the community meal programs to assist; and family/ immigrant drop-in Saturday programs to assist
I hope students will learn about
- Food justice and equitable access to food
- Building community capacity
- Leveraging successes to expand our network
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
Through this project, students will develop a
- Hands-on experience how food connects community
- 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