A Case Study in School-Based Garden Education
Edible Garden Project
Urban garden programming, Food literacy, Place-based learning, Interview, Research and report
Related Course Concepts
Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality
Edible Garden Project
Mission and Vision of Organization
EGP mission: To work together to meet the grassroots needs of our neighbours, especially our most vulnerable residents, to build a safe, healthy, and strong community. EGP vision: Our vision is an inspired culture that celebrates and experiences growing and sharing fresh, healthy food for all in the North Shore community.
Guiding Principles + Values
- To cultivate a network of people growing and sharing local food on the North Shore - To increase access to fruits, vegetables, and garden space for those most in need on the North Shore - To increase land used for fruit and vegetable production on the North Shore - To increase knowledge and skills relating to food gardening, thereby increasing community capacity to grow and share locally grown fruits and vegetables - To advise on and support policy development around urban agriculture
- Primary Contact Person(s): Stephanie Korolyk
- Email: []
- Phone: 250-891-1098 (cell)
- Address: 225 2nd St E, North Vancouver, BC, V7L 1C4
- Website: www.ediblegardenproject.com
Preferred Method of Contact
- Best method(s) to contact: Email
- Best day(s) to contact:Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
- Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons
Preferred Platform(s) for Remote Collaboration
- Email, Google Meet, Phone, Zoom
Context: What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?
The Edible Garden Project (EGP) is a program based within the North Shore Neighbourhood House focused on food security and sustainability. We connect people with fresh, healthy food by cultivating a network that grows and shares food while supporting sustainable regional agriculture. Urban green spaces (i.e. gardens and farms) provide multifunctional solutions based in nature for cities to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. Additionally, they create a sense of belonging, cultural identity and social cohesion for community members. One of the main components of the organization is “Education”. We aim to teach community members about the importance of local food systems through getting involved and immersing them in the process of growing food, every step of the way. This occurs in a number of ways: school-based programs, adult workshops, farm visits & tours, volunteer drop-ins, internships, and more. As a non-profit organization, our various programs rely heavily on volunteers and grant funding in order to operate. Many other organizations, both locally and distantly, run similar hands-on learning programs based around growing food, urban agriculture, and empowering communities to increase local food security and connection. One of our programs in particular – the Edible Garden Education Program – happens across school gardens each year on the North Shore. In the 2019/20 school year, we visited 6 different schools once a month, conducting curriculum-connected, experiential activities teaching kids to grow food and flowers over the course of a school year. Each month there is a different theme (eg. pollinators, soil (vs. dirt), spring planting, seeds, etc.), along with pre- and post-program information and related activities. This program has suffered in the past few years from a number of factors: lack of continuity in the Education Coordinator position, lower than ideal volunteer turnout (but many amazing volunteers nonetheless!), the challenge of getting teachers involved outside of EGEP program time, and regular garden maintenance (especially during summer).
Main Project Activities
Students will first assess the current state of the EGEP within the organization, identifying both strengths and areas needing improvement. This will involve both interviews/meetings, and research about the EGP in general. By conducting a scan of similar place-based learning environments, students will be able to summarize the best practices from other organizations doing similar work. This could include yearly rotations of themes/lessons, how the program is run (are volunteers relied upon?), funding sources, and so on. W e would like to learn what the features are of a resilient, effective, and fun garden-based program for elementary-aged students, specifically on the North Shore. If possible, we would also like to starting dreaming about where the EGEP could grow into the future. A future LFS 350 group could also use the results of this project to plan programs further in a more concrete sense.
Expected Project Deliverable(s)
- Students will create a report/summary outlining their analysis of garden-based programs, with a focus on activities happening around Metro Vancouver. They could be located at a farm, school, community garden, or park, but should be centered around growing food, and food literacy.
- The report will outline the current state of the EGEP, research and analysis from the scan, and any recommendations resulting from the key findings.
Intended Project Outcome
With school-based education programs postponed until January 2021 at the earliest, this is a great opportunity for EGP’s Education Coordinator to work in collaboration with UBC LFS students to assess and evaluate the current state of the EGEP, and other similar experiential education programs. This research will immediately contribute to our understanding of where the program is succeeding, and identify where we could improve, especially in relation to the resilience and consistency of program delivery.
Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)
- - Research and critical thinking - Communication - Organization - Basic garden knowledge, and/or interest in local, urban food systems
Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)
- - An ability to translate many data points into a final product which is easily communicated and understood - Visually representing information - Making recommendations based on the review, after assessing and ranking information in order of importance and relevance - Understanding the importance of food security, and community resilience through local food systems, even in urban environments - A holistic and “systems” approach to tackling globally relevant problems on a local scale (food security on the North Shore)
Are there any mandatory attendance dates (e.g. special event)?
Is a criminal record search (CRS) required?
If a criminal record search is required, when should the process be initiated?
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
Anytime. Any meetings, interviews, etc. will ideally occur during regular weekday business hours, with Wednesdays and Thursdays being most convenient on EGP's end.
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
- Students can help with our educational programming in schools once they restart in 2021 (ideally), or at Loutet Farm (where we are currently welcoming small groups, starting Sept 2020) - Hands-on farming experience can be gained by helping with farming activities through harvest or regular drop-in shifts - More info here: https://ediblegardenproject.com/get-involved/
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:
- 1st Flexible Learning Day: Introduction meeting, and interview with EGP’s Education Coordinator
I hope students will learn about...
- -How a non-profit organization runs hands-on programming, and the differences in experiential learning across many different programs with similar goals. Students will learn about the different steps involved with executing such programs: budgeting, planning, training, material, curriculum connections, networking, evaluations, updating, etc. // -The importance of local food security (and food justice, and food sovereignty), and how teaching kids at a young age can spark a lifelong relationship to food systems, while better understanding their inherent and important role within those systems
I think students will come to appreciate...
- -How buy-in and input from participants, leaders, and community members can sincerely impact a program’s longevity and success // - The impact of outdoor learning, and the diversity of learning outcomes that may occur outside of the classroom // - The impact of sharing knowledge about local diversity and regional adaptations on a community’s resilience, thereby helping to mitigate local effects of climate change.
Through this project, students will develop...
- The ability to do research and learn more about local non-profit efforts to increase learning and understanding of food-related issues in our communities. Students are participating in a long-term initiative, contributing valuable information to our non-profit organization. Through their research, students will develop a solid understanding of the many varied ways in which local organizations operate, interact, and contribute to their communities. They are often found filling in gaps where programs otherwise would not exist, and are fantastic examples of people coming together, rallying around a common interest and passion. Taking a “systems-based” approach to identifying areas of growth and success will result in a more resilient organization and wider community, and I hope students finish this project developing that holistic approach.
How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?
EGP is striving to create a food culture on the North Shore that celebrates and experiences growing and sharing fresh, healthy food for all – especially our most vulnerable residents. One of the three pillars of our organization involves teaching others of all ages, with a major focus on elementary-aged students. The students of LFS 350 have a chance to develop a well-rounded review of local hands-on, food-based programs operating with a similar scope and scale as the EGEP. This is an incredibly powerful tool for us in building resilience into the organization and furthering our mission: Building food security on the North Shore is at the heart of our organization, and this project informs one more facet of that.
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