Community Food Circles - Capacity Building and Community Engagement
Community food security, environmental scan, asset mapping, gap analysis, coalition building, community outreach, neighbourhood food network, community food programs
Mission and Vision of Organization
The HSCFN was formed in 2012, and is a member of the VNFN (Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network). NFN’s are part of the Greenest City action plan as a strategy to increase access to local food. Please visit http://vancouverfoodnetworks.com for more information on the role and mission of VNFN’s across the city.
The HSCFN works to help connect and support the Hastings Sunrise community towards the access of healthy and affordable food. We have a long, rich history of food programs and activities at our community centres and neighbourhood houses and we work to connect these programs with other community food and garden initiatives to help strengthen the overall capacity for a viable and resilient food system within Hastings Sunrise.
The role of HSCFN is to:
- Build individual and community capacity
- Learn about the needs of the community and identify gaps in programs, services, and information
- Provide insight, share best practices, and bring service providers together to build a just, sustainable, and resilient food system in Hastings Sunrise
Guiding Principles + Values
The HSCFN’s core belief is that access to safe, healthy, and affordable food is a basic human right.
- Primary Contact Person(s): Heather Escobar (HSCFN Coordinator) and Shayna Huang (Food & Garden Coordinator at Hastings Community Centre)
- Email: Heather - firstname.lastname@example.org; Shayna - email@example.com
- Address: 3096 East Hastings St. Vancouver, BC
- Phone: 604-718-6222
- Website: www.hscfn.com
- Best time(s) method(s) to contact: Email
The HSCFN is now in its third and final year of the Community Food Circles (CFC) project.
The aims of the CFC project are:
- To strengthen collaboration among food security Service Providers
- To identify gaps in our programs and services
- To determine how to address the needs in our community
In Year 1 (2016-17) we trained 8 community members as facilitators who went on to conduct focus groups to get a sense of the needs of our community.
In Year 2 (2017-18) the network followed through with the results of these focus groups by organizing five workshops with a goal to teach food skills to the community:
- Fall 2017 at Thunderbird - Food Bank Challenge (6 LFS students participated)
- Spring 2018 at Hastings - Two Food Waste Workshops (2 participants at first workshop, second workshop cancelled due to no-shows)
- Spring 2018 at Frog Hollow - Canning Workshop (9 participants)
- Spring 2018 at Kiwassa - Food Hub Workshop (9 participants)
Year 3 of the Community Food Circles project began in the Fall of 2018, the LFS group worked closely with Hastings Community Centre and Thunderbird Community Centre to facilitate nutrition workshops. This term the network has requested that the students spend time at the other three agencies - Frog Hollow, Kiwassa and CityReach.
HSCFN’s goal for the Fall 2018 project is to expand its outreach and engagement in order to build community capacity and ensure the sustainability of the network. Some possible outcomes include working with agency partners to:
- Maintain and develop food security programming and resources
- Increase engagement through outreach efforts - both in person (i.e. posters) and through website and social media to showcase the work of the HSCFN and its member agencies in the community
- Identify grassroots community leaders who are interested in gaining relevant food/nutrition experience or education in order to fulfill a personal or career-related goal
- Make connections to bridge gaps, strengthen the network, and build community
Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)
- Food security and nutrition
- Social media and Wordpress knowledge
Student Assets and Skills (to be developed)
- Experience in collaborative community development processes
- Networking and capacity-building in a non-profit setting
Criminal record check required?
- Not required
The project will take place in the Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood in East Vancouver. The work could be affiliated with any of the 5 HSCFN agency partners (Hastings Community Centre, Thunderbird Community Centre, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House and CityReach Care Society). All of these locations are accessible by public transit and bicycle.
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
Could include evenings and weekends, depending on each agency’s programming.
Project/Partner Orientation Materials
Students should read previous LFS 350 group reports and blogs to get a better understanding of the CFC project. Additionally they could attend an HSCFN Steering Committee meeting and/or visit the 5 community agencies. They should also check out the websites of each of the partnering community agencies:
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
Organizing and participating in hands-on food and garden programming (i.e. community garden harvests, food banks, workshops, meals etc) will help the students to connect more with the agencies and community members and get a better understanding of the neighbourhood’s successes and challenges.
- I hope students will learn about the complexities of food security work - both the challenges and the successes
- I think students will come to appreciate the dedication and passion of each member involved that really shines through in our network
- Through this project, students will develop an understanding of how different community groups can work together to build the capacity of a neighbourhood in order to grow and learn together.
We hope to improve our outreach and engagement with the community by supporting community leaders, promoting food and garden programming and sharing information among agencies and through social media.
More broadly, this project advances our organization’s goals by helping the network to make connections and identify strengths and weaknesses in our food security work.