Course:LFS350/Projects/2014W1/T18/Report

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The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems & the Dunbar-Southlands Neighbourhood
Community Connections

Summary

Our research team worked with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at UBC Farm to explore the current state of, and opportunities to strengthen food security in the Dunbar-Southlands community. Dunbar-Southlands is high socio-economic neighborhood, located a short distance from the UBC Farm with no current food system collaborations between them. We framed our research based on the question: “What opportunities for collaboration presently exist between the UBC Farm and Dunbar-Southlands related to food security?”. We collected qualitative data in the forms of asset inventories, community mapping, observations, and initiation of interviews with community stakeholders. Limitations to our methods included: the inability to conduct interviews with stakeholders or community residents, inability to assess food security quantitatively and complete a community scan of the entire neighborhood. The results of our research indicated that opportunities for collaboration are present, and should be directed towards community wide food system educational services. Upon analysis of emergent themes, potential gaps in food security related to access and utilization may be present. However, due to the high average income of residents, food security is of less concern. Food literacy and citizenship require renewed attention in light of sparse and inconsistent food system engagement and educational services by the collective community. We recommend that the UBC Farm use the contacts from our asset inventory and continue to pursue collaboration with the stakeholders with whom we have initiated contact and we recommend the Dunbar Community center in particular.

Introduction

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (2014), food security is a state where all people always have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their needs for an active and healthy life. Presently, food security is a growing challenge with the increasing population, and rising costs of food, transportation, and agriculture (CIDA, 2011). The state of food security is divided into four broad categories: availability, access, stability, and utilization (FAO, 2014). Academic research on issues surrounding food security is a critical part of advancing knowledge and understanding, that can then be extended into practical applications towards solutions to complex food system issues (CIDA, 2011).

The UBC Farm is a 24 ha area of land on UBC’s Southern Campus. The Center of Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS), located at the Farm, is a research center with the goal of understanding and transforming local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future (CSFS at UBC Farm, 2014). One of the ways in which the CSFS strives to achieve this is through collaboration and engagement with local communities. Currently, the CSFS has a variety of programs and initiatives for community engagement. However, CSFS has indicated a lack of information on their end regarding the current state and emerging needs of the constituents of the Dunbar-Southlands community (Personal communication, Victoria Hodson, Oct 3rd 2014). The Dunbar-Southlands is a large and high income earning ( average approximately $146,000) community with a total population of 21,310, lying on the South Western region of Metro Vancouver (Statistics Canada, 2011). The northern "Dunbar" portion is mainly residential, including parks, schools, and a centrally located community center at the southern end of the main shopping district of Dunbar St. The "Southlands" portion is distinctly more land based and is comprised of territory and a reservation belonging to the Musqueam Nation, as well as several golf courses, horse stables, farms and gardens (City of Vancouver, 2014). The aboriginal population represents less than 2% of the population, but owns a significant proportion of land within the community (Statistics Canada, 2011).

In light of the unknown state of needs Dunbar-Southland faces combined with the close proximity of the UBC Farm with the community, collaboration between the two groups would be mutually beneficial. The research we conducted sought to provide the CSFS with information on potential stakeholders or initiatives. This would then form the basis of a mutually beneficial partnership supportive of community engagement in order promote food systems awareness. It was our goal to enable a dynamic symbiotic relationship to enhance community food security within the Dunbar-Southlands Community.

Please find our systems diagram of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems here http://prezi.com/yq55sc_fjvmx/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Research Question

One of the main goals of the CSFS is to facilitate education initiatives in order to enhance the Farm’s role in the wider community with particular interest in discovering issues that pertain to regional food systems and food security (CSFS at the UBC Farm, 2014). However, there is currently no existing partnerships or collaborative community engagement projects underway between Dunbar-Southlands and UBC Farm, despite their close proximity. Furthermore, scholarly research is currently quite sparse regarding the regional food system of this neighborhood. Dunbar-Southlands has a unique demographic makeup, physical environment, and cultural history. In light of this, our research group was interested in assessing this particular community food system in regards to food security. This research is also important in its contribution to a more holistic understanding of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Food System. The question with which we framed our research was:

What opportunities for collaboration related to food security presently exist between the UBC Farm and the Dunbar-Southlands community?

In order to understand this, we came up with three research questions that when answered help fulfill the overarching goal of our research:

  1. What currently exists in Dunbar-Southlands in relation to the the community food system?
  2. What do stakeholders and community assets identify as gaps within their community food system?
  3. Do these gaps pertain to the objectives and resources of the Farm?"

In order to address these questions, we assessed the community with observational measures of food security in relation to the FAO’s 4 pillars, with the inclusion of the cultural component, as it pertained to existing the community's food retail services, educational programs, and community initiatives.

Research Methods

Initially, mixed methods and deductive analysis were to be used for our research. However, upon feedback from the LFS 350 teaching team and discussion with Victoria Hodson, our partner from the UBC Farm, we altered the scope of our research. Food Security became the overarching theme to the research topic, and qualitative methods alone were chosen due to the infeasibility of collecting quantitative data. Inductive analysis was then chosen due to the varying types of qualitative data that we would be collecting. Our methods followed a Pragmatic Paradigm as the theoretical framework, which enabled us to use various methods to better address and understand the research (Creswell, 2003). This framework also allowed emerging themes to guide the research process and determine the results (Creswell, 2003). The specific data-collecting methods we employed included interactive mapping, community scanning, asset inventories, interviews, and a literature review.


We began mapping with preliminary internet based research to determine the boundaries and locations of food system related initiatives and businesses of Dunbar-Southlands. These locations were labelled and categorized on an online interactive google map which was accessible to whole research team and edited throughout the research process. (I) This initial mapping helped us determine the direction for our community scan.

To conduct the community scan, our research team divided into 3 groups in order to maximize the area covered while observing the different regions of the Dunbar-Southlands community by foot. Throughout the scan, observations were made for any components related to the community food system food security, including schools, main streets, food businesses and the Dunbar Community Center. Observations were recorded in form of pictures and notes, which were uploaded to a group facebook page and google drive for sharing and discussion.

The data was then categorized into an Asset Inventory using an online spreadsheet platform available to all team members. An asset inventory is a community assessment tool that facilitates cataloguing of qualitative observational data of existing components within a community deemed to be valuable ( Rotary, 2014). (II) This method was suggested by our CSFS partner Victoria Hodson.

We initiated a series of interviews with stakeholders and school representatives that we selected from our list of assets. Candidates were contacted by phone or in person. A base set of interview questions was compiled for the interviews. These questions were reviewed by the teaching team and edited accordingly. Additional questions and changes were made to cater to the different types of stakeholders targeted for interviews.Categories of the targeted stakeholders included: Schools, Grocery stores, the Musqueam nation, and the Dunbar Community Center.

To ensure interviews were conducted ethically, consent forms and the project proposal were sent to contacted candidates beforehand. In the end, two interviews were conducted, one with Victoria Hodson representing CSFS at the UBC Farm and one with the program director of a festival that occurred at the Dunbar Community center. However, the latter interview was not included on this report as the information obtained was deemed not specific enough for our research question.

Inductive and thematic analysis was used to deduce the emergent themes throughout the data collection process and once all the data was obtained. This analysis prevented preconceived notions and allowed us tailor our methods to the emerging themes (Creswell, 2003). Themes were assessed first individually, then as a group to diplomatically select those that seemed most relevant as findings.

Lastly, a literature review regarding the initiatives and practices of other university farms, with goals similar to that of CSFS at the UBC Farm was compiled. (IV) This is a deliverable requested by our CSFS partner, and was used to contextualize our research.

Findings & Results

There exists an opportunity for collaboration between the UBC Farm and stakeholders in the Dunbar-Southlands community on issues of food security. Statistical evidence indicated a socio-economic demographic that is able to afford fresh, healthy food for an active lifestyle. Observations in the community revealed few community gardens or agriculture projects, little promotional material for food education, a deficit of large grocery retailers, a plethora of restaurants, and a few dispersed specialty shops. For a comprehensive asset inventory, see Appendix IV.

Emergent Themes via Inductive Thematic Analysis:

  1. The socio-economic status Dunbar-Southlands is higher than average and food as well as food related services cater to this fact.
  2. There exists some major food distributors and several independent speciality stores, but their locations are not evenly dispersed, and are potentially difficult to access for some residents,
  3. Some food related initiatives and programs do exist within the community but they are not well advertised and there lacks consistent food programing at the Dunbar Community Centre.

Discussion

The significance of the themes we found has lead us to conclude that this community faces some gaps pertaining to food security in regards to two of the FAO’s pillars: access and utilization (FAO, 2005). Access is affected by the geographically widespread nature of the community combined with elevated prices of food and food system services, such as workshops. Low income, elderly, and periphery dwelling residents are recognized as more vulnerable and face the most difficulty in access (City of Vancouver, 2012). The pillar of utilization is also affected by a lack of community services providing the means to use and/or learn food skills, such as community kitchens, cooking classes or workshops.

However, our assessment of food security and findings for collaborative opportunities were limited given our time and resource constraints, which only enabled us to collect qualitative data through observation of food system related services. We were unable to conduct interviews with potential collaborating stakeholders to determine their willingness to collaborate and opinions, as well as that of community members in regards to the services they use or would use. We were also unable to determine the prevalence of individual or household food insecurity for this community separate of Vancouver as a whole.

Despite these limitations, the potential gaps we assessed, combined with the low percentage of vulnerable groups determined through statistics, have lead our research team to infer that although food security does require further research, the more pressing issue facing this neighborhood worth addressing is community Food Literacy and Citizenship (City of Vancouver, 2012). Food literacy and citizenship are intertwining concepts related to food security, and in Dunbar’s present state, stem directly from the existing gaps in the FAO’s pillar of utilization. The food literacy of Dunbar citizens is of concern because of the few existing collaborative efforts to promote learning and engagement directly within the community’s food system. This lack of initiative and programming is most prevalent at the Dunbar Community Center, a centrally located arena for widespread community education. Without the knowledge and skills concerning the utilization of food, as well as the food system as a whole, the ability to become mindful food citizens is hindered (TEGS, 2011).

Although food citizenship and literacy are topics not included in our research question, they are still prerequisites in achieving food security and thus important factors to consider. Additionally, these factors not only apply to food security at the community level, but nationally and globally as well. The behaviours employed by food citizens support the development of a “democratic, socially and economically just and environmentally sustainable food systems” (Wilkins, 2005). It is this type of system fostered through food citizenship that will help enable the provisionment of all community residents with adequate food to meet their needs and enable food security (McCullum et al., 2005).

Conclusion

Although we were unsuccessful at answering one of our research questions pertaining to what members of the community identify as gaps within Dunbar-Southlands, we believe our findings are still important and relevant to food security for this community. The research we conducted also serves as stepping stone for initiating collaboration within Dunbar-Southlands, a key component within the first stage of McCullums et al., (2005) framework for building community food security. Furthermore, our research elucidated significant gaps in regards to food literacy and citizenship, separate but connected food system factors that otherwise may not been detected.

Therefore, we conclude that opportunities for collaboration between the UBC Farm and this community do exist, and especially so in regards to education and community engagement. We believe that the Dunbar Community Center in particular should be targeted for collaboration, due to its centrality and lack of consistent food-related programming.

We believe also the schools without community gardens be contacted to initiate food system education. This could be in the form of either garden projects, classroom and outdoor workshops or field trips involving the Farm as an educational tool to enhance food literacy. If these actions are taken, it is our hope that community wide food literacy increases, fostering food citizenship and thereby contributing to the food security of Dunbar-Southlands as a whole.

Appendix

I. Asset Map

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zkvTpkF_vXyY.kW2AnzYYkDmw&authuser=0&hl=en

II. Asset Inventory

File:Asset Inventory- FINAL.xlsx

III. Interview Questions

Schools

Food service programs.

  1. Do you offer food service programs? (breakfast/lunch program, morning program...?)
    1. If yes, please describe the program.
    2. What are the objectives of the programs?
    3. What are some specific examples of food that is offered? (Look for nutritional content and local/organic )
    4. What are some reasons for offering these foods? (Nutrition, cost, convenience...)
    5. To what extent do you believe the program(s) have impact with for the Students?
    6. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
  2. If No, what are some reasons for not offering food service? (lack of funding, no time, etc, we can relate this to food insecurity)


Education (food system initiative):

  1. Please describe your food education programming.
    1. If yes:
      1. Please describe the program (Field trip, school garden...)
      2. What are the objectives of the programs? (analyze to see if they pertain to food security and food system).
      3. Where does these program(s) take place? (Ie. are they inside classrooms or outside, field trips )
      4. What are some specific examples of activities students participate in the program(s)?
      5. To what extent do you believe the program(s) have impact within the community?
      6. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
    2. If No:
      1. Would you consider implementing any food education programs?
      2. If no, what are the reasons for not implementing food education program?
      3. If yes, would you consider working with UBC farm?
  2. To what extent do you believe students understand the importance of nutrition and food system in which they are apart of?


Community Initiatives

Food service programs

  1. Do you offer food service programs? (breakfast/lunch program, morning program...?)
    1. If yes:
      1. Please describe the program.
      2. What are the objectives of the programs?
      3. What are some specific examples of food that is offered? (Look for nutritional content and local/organic )
      4. What are some reasons for offering these foods? (Nutrition, cost, convenience...)
      5. To what extent do you believe the program(s) have impact within the community?
      6. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
    2. If No:
      1. What are some reasons for not offering food service? (lack of funding, no time, etc, we can relate this to food insecurity)
  2. How well is the community served through public food services (food banks, charities, etc)?
  3. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
Programs the Farm offers include:
  1. On site Farmers market Tuesdays and Saturdays
  2. CSA - Organic locally produced food delivery
  3. Wholesale produce - Restaurants participants such as Vijs and UBC
  4. Farm Wonders - Hands on Science and Food system education at the farm
  5. Workshops - Include cheese making, fermentation, cooking classes


Education (food system initiative):

  1. Do you have any programs related to food system education? Are they inside community centre or outside of community centre?
    1. If yes:
      1. Please describe the program.
      2. What are the objectives of the programs? (analyze to see if they pertain to food security and food system).
      3. Where do these program(s) take place? (Ie. are they inside community centre or outside)
      4. What are some specific examples of activities in the program(s)?
      5. To what extent do you believe the program(s) have impact within the community?
      6. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
    2. If No:
      1. Would you consider implementing any food education programs?
      2. If no: what are the reasons for not implementing food education program? (Ex funding..not thinking of it?)
      3. If yes: would you consider working with UBC farm?
Programs the Farm offers include:
  1. On site Farmers market Tuesdays and Saturdays
  2. CSA - Organic locally produced food delivery
  3. Wholesale produce - Restaurant participants Vijs +UBC
  4. Farm Wonders - Hands on Science and Food system education
  5. Workshops - Include cheese making, fermentation, cooking classes


Musqueam Nation

Food service programs.

  1. Do you offer food service programs within the Dunbar-Southlands area?
    1. If yes, please describe the program.
    2. What are the objectives of the programs?
    3. What are some specific examples of food that is offered? (meals, snacks , local, organic)
    4. What are some reasons for offering these foods? (Nutrition, cost, convenience...)
    5. If No, what are some reasons for not offering food service? (lack of funding, no time, etc, we can relate this to food insecurity)
  2. How well is the community served through public food services
  3. Can you describe any gaps in the services?

Education (food system initiative):

  1. Do you have any programs related to food system education?
    1. If yes:
      1. Please describe the program.
      2. What are the objectives of the programs? (analyze to see if they pertain to food security and food system).
      3. Where do these program(s) take place? (on or off musqueam land)
      4. What are some specific examples of activities in the program(s)?
      5. How would you describe the impact of these programs?
      6. Can you describe any gaps in the services?
    2. If No:
      1. Would you consider implementing any food education programs?
      2. If no: what are the reasons for not implementing food education program? (Ex funding..not thinking of it?)
      3. If yes: would you consider working with UBC farm?
Programs the Farm offers include:
  1. On site Farmers market Tuesdays and Saturdays
  2. CSA - Organic locally produced food delivery
  3. Wholesale produce - Restaurant participants Vijs +UBC
  4. Farm Wonders - Hands on Science and Food system education
  5. Workshops - Include cheese making, fermentation, cookie classes


Dunbar Community Centre

  1. Do you offer any regular/seasonal/year-round food and nutrition-related community programs and/or events? (workshops, fair, children’s program, community council, etc)
    1. Name a few (and describe them)
    2. What are the objectives of the programs?
    3. Are they successful in terms of attendance and participation of community members?
    4. What are the general demographics for attendees, if known?
  2. If not, would you consider implementing any food education programs? If not, why?
  3. Tell us about the Sustenance Festival
  4. What are the general demographics for the community centre frequenters?
  5. Would you be interested in collaborating with the UBC Farm to promote community food security/sustainability/healthy eating e.g. by organizing and hosting workshops?

IV. Literature Review

Many North American agricultural institutions with school farms, like the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC, have launched food-related projects that seek to promote food literacy, security and sustainability in the local community and to ultimately, improve the local food systems towards sustainability. Two farm-based institutions worth mentioning are the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming at the University of Guelph in Ontario and the Centre for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University in Michigan. The former is located on a 2.5 acre farm dedicated to teaching and urban (certified) organic farming, using permaculture farming techniques (GCUOF, 2014), while the latter boasts of a 10 acre certified organic teaching and production farm (CRFS, 2014). Both the facilities offer laudable programs designed to effectively educate local communities about their food systems and to support local farmers and food producers.

Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (2014) welcomes volunteers, organic enthusiasts and planters from both the university and the community to help out and learn about organic farming at the urban farm. The facility also offers workshops on gardening and other food practices (GCUOF, 2014). The produce grown at the farm is usually sold at Guelph’s Weekly Fall market open to the University as well as the local community (GCUOF, 2014). Like UBC’s CSFS, Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (2014) seeks to foster hands-on learning about sustainable food production, through outreach programs such as Garden2Table which aims to educate local school students about where their food comes from and how it is grown. As part of the Garden2Table program, the Centre also collaborates with local food restaurant operators and food service workers that are interested in food sustainability to demonstrate to local school students, sustainable food preparation methods and healthy recipes that incorporate locally grown foods, namely, from the organic farm (GCUOF, 2014). Furthermore, the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (2014), in collaboration with the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, strives to make not only food production but also restaurant food preparation and service more sustainable, by helping local restaurant operators to improve their businesses.

Michigan State University’s Centre for Regional Food Systems (2014) offers similar programs with an aim to foster food literacy and food citizenship in the community and to create a more locally-based regional food system in Michigan. With the support of major corporations such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this facility in turn, provides financial and technical assistance as well as training to local farmers and supports the development of local organic farming, by particularly providing opportunities for the community to connect with local farmers (CRFS, 2014). For example, they help individuals and institutions such as schools, hospitals and supermarkets to obtain access to affordable local foods (CRFS, 2014). Moreover, farmers are invited to schools to teach children about growing their own food (CRFS, 2014). The CRFS (2014) has also successfully collaborated with food councils and various stakeholders in the region to promote food initiatives and influence food policy implementation in the local community, further contributing to the community food sustainability effort.

The Centre For Sustainable Food Systems at UBC may still have room for further development in terms of community food projects and initiatives that the facility offers. The Centre can strengthen existing initiatives and programs in certain areas and also introduce new projects, drawing inspiration from the various programs that the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming and the Centre for Regional Food Systems offer. For instance, based on the Garden2Table program, the CSFS can further develop the current Children’s Program by inviting both local farmers and local food service workers to teach children about growing their own food, sustainable cooking methods and recipes, in addition to the local Aboriginal culture and gardening practices.

V. Statistics

Dunbar Age Statistics
Dunbar Ethnicity Statistics
Dunbar Income Statistics

References

Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Sage Publications. (pp. 3-23)

City of Vancouver. ( 2012). Vancouver Food Strategy. Retrieved from http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/vancouver-food-strategy-final.PDF

"Dunbar Village Neighbourhood Profile. (2009) BIZMAP MARKET AREA PROFILES. Retrieved from:

http://www.vancouvereconomic.com/userfiles/dunbar-neighbourhood.pdf

Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming within Department of Plant Agriculture. (2014). About. Retrieved from https://gcuof.wordpress.com/about/

Kodish, S., & Gittelsohn, J. (2011). Systematic Data Analysis in Qualitative Health Research: Building Credible and Clear Findings. Sight and Life, 25(2), 52–56.

Mansfield, B., Orrego, E., Harlap, Y., Valley, W., Rojas, A., & Chapman, G. E. (2011). Toward food system sustainability through school food system change:

Think&EatGreen@School and the making of a community-university research alliance. Sustainability, 3(5), 763-788. doi:10.3390/su3050763

McCullum, C., Desjardins, E., Kraak, V. I., Ladipo, P., Costello, H. Evidence-based strategies to build community food security. Journal of the American

Dietetic Association, 105(2), 278-283. Retrieved from the University of British Columbia LFS 350 Connect Site.

MSU Centre for Regional Food Systems. (2014). About. Retrieved from http://foodsystems.msu.edu/about

Queen Elizabeth Elementary School Garden. (2014). Queen Elizabeth Elementary School Garden. Retrieved from http://qeschoolgarden.blogspot.ca/

Rotary. (2014) Asset Inventory. Retrieved from http://district5110.org/community-assessment-tools/

Statistics Canada. (2011) Census Local Area Profiles 2011. Retrieved from:

http://vancouver.demo.opendata.junar.com/datastreams/86992/census-local-area-profiles-2011/

Vancouver School Board. (2013). Lord Kitchener Elementary Builds an Outdoor Classroom, Food Garden and Green Space. Retrieved from

http://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-news/lord-kitchener-elementary-builds-outdoor-classroom-food-garden-and-green-space

Wilkins, J. L. (2005). Eating right here: Moving from consumer to food citizen: 2004 presidential address to the agriculture, food, and human values society.

HydePark, New York, June 11, 2004. Agriculture and Human Values, 22(3), 269-273. doi:10.1007/s10460-005-6042-4

Woolley, P. (2011). Advocates Push for School Lunch Program Funding in B.C. Straight. Retrieved from

http://www.straight.com/news/advocates-push-school-lunch-program-funding-bc