9. Riley Park/Little Mountain: Community Garden Harvest Matchmaking


Project Title

Community Garden Harvest Matchmaking

Organization Name

Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society, Riley Park Community Garden


Community garden, community food security, neighbourhood life, horticulture

Related Course Concepts

Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities

Organization Information

Organization Name

Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society, Riley Park Community Garden

Mission and Vision of Organization


To develop and facilitate social, educational, cultural and recreational programs and initiatives that strengthen neighbourhood life for a diverse group of community members.


To connect, engage and empower community members to create a vibrant, inclusive and caring neighbourhood.

Guiding Principles + Values

Core Values

  • Diversity - We value diversity of backgrounds, circumstances and opinions and strive to include all members of the community as equals.
  • Responsiveness - We are responsive to the ever changing needs of our participants and stakeholders by being open, flexible and proactive in how we meet their needs. Integrity. We operate with a high level of integrity, transparency, honesty and respectfulness in everything that we do.
  • Engagement - We stimulate staff, volunteers and neighbours to listen, connect, partner and engage with our programs and one-another
  • Accessible - We provide welcoming, affordable and accessible services.
  • Caring - We strive to provide a fun, caring, and safe space that fosters compassion and respect.
  • Excellence - We strive for excellence in everything we do by delivering innovative, professional and effective programs that make efficient use of our limited resources.
  • Empowerment - We empower our participants, staff, volunteers and the greater community through learning, skill development and teaching.

Philosophy of the Riley Park Community Garden

As a Good Food Organization, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) is working towards food security for all neighbourhood residents. The Riley Park Community Garden is one of our community food security projects.

Our garden is envisioned to create community space and social cohesion through participation, education, and events.  We promote food security by supporting neighbourhood organizations and charities. 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. Our garden supports the food programs at LMNH and the residents of tə cecəw (The Beach), the supportive modular housing unit located at 37th Ave. and Main St..

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Joanne MacKinnon
  • Email: joanne_mackinnon@lmnhs.bc.ca
  • Phone: 6048797104
  • Address: 3981 Main Street
  • Website: www.rileyparkgarden.org

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact:Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings

Project Description

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

The demolition of the Riley Park Community Centre in 2012 saw a need for an alternative community gathering point. As such, the approval of Vancouver Park Board to proceed with the development of a community garden was well received from the local community.  Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) staff gathered a group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers with diverse experience in horticulture, landscape architecture, art, and soil science to work on the community garden, which is now known as the Riley Park Community Garden.

Our main garden supports the food programs at LMNH, with a separate garden site supporting the residents of tə cecəw (The Beach), the modular housing unit located at 37th Ave. and Main St.. This project will help us be more coordinated and intentional in what we grow, and how and to whom we distribute the produce. We need to be more clear with our intention as a community food security project to grow and use the produce to its fullest capabilities. The project provides more clarity on which community partners could use this produce, and how to get the produce delivered to the agencies and their food programs. Presently, we harvest mostly on Saturdays, and have challenges distributing produce (delivery or pickup). We want to create a more direct line to the agencies and coordinators of the food programs with clear communication about what is in season and how we logistically will get the produce to the programs for their use.

The Community Garden Harvest Matchmaker Project continues the work of Fall 2019 LFS350 students. This part of the project will focus on increasing the garden's capacity to support community members who are experiencing food insecurity, increase collaboration with agencies working with vulnerable residents, and strengthening the food security intentions of the community garden.

Main Project Activities

The students will continue the project started by the LFS 350 Fall 2019 class. The project will require students to:

  • Survey coordinators at LMNH who were not reached by the Fall 2019 LFS students (most program coordinators at LMNH have now completed the survey)
  • If time permits, survey program coordinators at Little Mountain Court, The Beach (TMH) and Cityview Baptist Church
  • Develop an inventory of neighbourhood food programs and the sources of their food (priority on LMNH programs; others if time permits)
  • Make recommendations to the Garden Volunteers on what we should be growing to serve the LMNH food programs and other local food programs
  • Develop a partnership agreement with two urban farmers in our area to procure and purchase their excess harvest (the farmers have already been identified)

Expected Project Deliverable(s)

  • A spreadsheet showing food program produce needs and current produce sources
  • A spreadsheet showing when we can grow food in the garden to match our production with program needs
  • A partnership agreement with the two urban farmers

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Survey administration
  • Evaluation and interpretation of survey results to make effective recommendations
  • Capacity to draft a Partnership Agreement
  • Crop planning knowledge and ability to develop an accessible "planting plan" for Garden volunteers
  • Strong communication skills

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

  • See above; the project will further develop students' skills and capacity in the areas mentioned

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

  • Not at this time

Is a criminal record check required?

  • No

Project Location

  • Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, 3981 Main St, Vancouver BC
  • Riley Park Community Garden, 50 East 30th Ave., Vancouver BC
  • Little Mountain/Riley Park neighbourhood

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • Flexible/self-directed

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

  • There are many volunteer opportunities at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House and Riley Park Community Garden. 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

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • issues and challenges with matching food grown with those who are food insecure in the community, issues with distributing food to Agency partners; important food assets for seniors and finding them in the community; creating partnerships with urban farmers as a healthy food source for our LMNH programs

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • the benefits that a community garden can bring to the residents, how a garden can contribute to a healthier diet for those who are living in poverty, community partners who can get involved and contribute to our food security goals.

Through this project, students will develop...

  • leadership, research skills, project planning, communication skills

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project Outcome

  • Our garden is planting more produce to meet the needs of the LMNH food programs
  • An inventory of the food programs at LMNH will facilitate more coordinated food procurement and intentional garden planning
  • Partnership agreements with local urban farmers will support more consistent produce procurement for LMNH programs during the 2020 growing season

Medium Term Outcomes

  • By supporting more coordinated and intentional garden planning and production, this project will support more coordinated community food security efforts that increase the amount of fresh, local produce included in the food programs at LMNH. The Garden increasingly becomes a gathering place where residents connect, engage and self-empower to create a vibrant, inclusive and caring neighbourhood.

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

  • We want the community garden to reflect our core organizational vision to work towards food security for all residents, and to practice ecological sustainability and asset-based community development.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/W2020/RileyPark