11. South Vancouver Family Place: Engaging Neighbours through Community Composting


Project Title

Engaging Neighbours through Community Composting

Organization Name

South Vancouver Family Place


Compost system, leaf management, healthy soil

Related Course Concepts

Food security, Asset based community development

Organization Information

Organization Name

South Vancouver Family Place

Mission and Vision of Organization

Our mission is to support families with young children in building healthy relationships and community networks, by providing services and programs in a welcoming, nurturing and respectful environment. Along with being a support resource for young families we offer the following programs: Drop In Family Resource Programs Preschool Programs Other Parent Support Programs

Guiding Principles + Values

Statement of Diversity We acknowledge and embrace a diverse spectrum of families and create and inclusive environment for all.

Contact Information

Preferred Method of Contact

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

Project Description

Context: What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

South Vancouver Family Place (SVFP) is adjacent to Bobolink Park, which is home to many ornamental chestnut trees. Every fall, the trees drop large amounts of leaves on and around SVFP, clogging storm drains and posing a slipping hazard during rainy winters. Leaf management is a recurring strain on the organization's resources, and this is usually considered a burdensome issue.

SVFP sees the opportunity to use the leaves as a community engagement and educational opportunity for program participants and students from the nearby David Oppenheimer Elementary School. The yearly abundance of leaves offer a chance for community members to learn about composting, forest ecosystems, and ways to build healthy soil. In the longer-term, finished compost could increase food growing in the neighbourhood by enhancing SVFP's on-site garden beds, and/or being offered to local residents for their home gardens.

Main Project Activities

The overall project is anticipated to take place in multiple phases, with Phase 1 (February-April 2020) focusing on an assessment of SVFP's current composting system (what currently exists? Does it work well?), capacity (e.g. staff and volunteer knowledge), and recommendations. The assessment can be accomplished through a site-tour, informal conversations with staff and volunteers, and/or observing waste management practices during a food-based program. Based on this assessment, students will:

  • Collaborate with SVFP team to develop design recommendations for a large-capacity compost system suitable to the organization's needs
  • The recommendations should include a list of any necessary materials and price list
  • Build the compost system (if time and resources permit)

*Future phases of the project are anticipated to include: building the compost system, training SVFP staff and volunteers in its use, and developing workshops or other community engagement/educational workshops for local students and other community members

Expected Project Deliverable(s)

  • Develop design recommendations for a large-capacity compost system suitable to the organization's needs
  • The recommendations should include a list of any necessary materials and price list
  • A built compost system (if time and resources permit)

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Interest or knowledge in composting and building healthy soil Interest community engagement
  • Communicating complex information in accessible ways
  • Understanding of/experience applying principles of asset based community development

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

  • Designing composting systems that are suitable for a specific context
  • Actively listening to community members to ensure the work is both suitable and asset-based for the context
  • Communicating complex information in accessible ways

Are there any mandatory attendance dates (e.g. special event)?

  • TBD

Is a criminal record check required?

  • Yes

If a criminal record check is required, when should the process be initiated?  

  • At the first community partner meeting (January 22, 2020)

Project Location

  • 7710 Nanaimo Street, Vancouver, BC

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • Flexible - to be discussed with community partner

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

  • There are many way to volunteer with South Vancouver Family Place. There are opportunities to be part of the Board of Directors, Playroom Assistant or Garden Helper. Please see a staff member for more information. Please ask!

Required Reading

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:

  • Site tour
  • Volunteer orientation

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • the practical challenges facing small community organizations

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • how their theoretical knowledge can be applied to enhance the work of community organizations

Through this project, students will develop...

  • a greater appreciation for asset based community development

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project Outcome (Short Term Outcome)

  • SVFP will be better prepared to turn their annual leaf challenge into an educational community engagement opportunity

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

  • The project contributes to our organizations mission by supporting families with young children and other community members to build healthy relationships and community networks. This project enhances SVFP's services and programs which strive to create a welcoming, nurturing and respectful environment.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/W2020/SVFP