Course:Course:LFS350/Projects/F2020/VillageVancouverPermaculture

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Overview

Project Title

Westside Permaculture Corridor

Organization Name

Village Vancouver Transition Society

Keywords

Community food resilience; Community based agriculture; Regenerative agriculture; Permaculture principles; Plant signage

Related Course Concepts

Food security, Asset based community development, Cultural identities, We operate within the lens of community food resilience. We believe that community resilience can't be achieved if food injustice, economic inequity, racism, sexism,etc. exists in a community.

Organization Information

Organization Name

Village Vancouver Transition Society

Mission and Vision of Organization

Village Vancouver is the official Transition Initiative for the city of Vancouver and a hub for communities throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Village Vancouver coordinates, organizes and facilitates individuals, neighbourhoods and organizations to collaborate in taking actions that build sustainable, resilient, and just communities, cities and bioregions. We envision Vancouver as a vibrant city at the leading edge of resilience and sustainability, where residents know their neighbours and participate in collective actions to minimize their ecological footprint. The focus is on quality of life issues including local food production, distribution, and access, a full-employment local economy, renewable energy, and low-impact transportation. Residents participate actively in their governance and work with civic, business, labour and voluntary sector groups in planning and carrying out activities that respond to changing conditions and that contribute to a high quality of life for all in Metropolitan Vancouver. A central focus of our planning work is the creation of an Energy Descent Action Plan, a set of defined milestones on the path toward fossil fuel independence. Village Vancouver inspires a transition to a resilient, regenerative, just and sustainable culture by encouraging, facilitating and supporting individuals and organizations to take actions that help people to adapt to changing ecological conditions and contribute to a high quality of life for all. We hold the provisions of The Earth Charter as the core principles of our understanding of sustainability and peaceful co-existence.

Guiding Principles + Values

Action: encouraging, facilitating and supporting action towards a just, sustainable, and resilient future for Vancouver Adaptation: anticipating and responding to current ecological circumstances including climate change, peak oil and social and economic injustice,inequity, and instability Innovation: encouraging an exchange of ideas that fosters innovative responses and solutions to current conditions Collaboration: creating the space for those with bridging interests to find common ground and the will to work together in support of just, resilient and sustainable communities Shared leadership: supporting the emergence of leaders in all walks of life, in local neighbourhoods and throughout Metropolitan Vancouver

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Ross Moster
  • Email: [[1]]
  • Phone: 604.761.0224  
  • Address: 1388 Laburnum St., Vancouver BC V6J 3W3
  • Website: www.villagevancouver.ca  

Preferred Method of Contact

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

Preferred Platform(s) for Remote Collaboration

  • Zoom

Project Description

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

Cultivating Community Food Resilience & Wellbeing: Creating a Westside Permaculture Corridor 2019-21 is a three year Village Vancouver project funded by a Greenest City Grant from the City of Vancouver. Village Vancouver is part of the worldwide Transition movement, whose focus is on creating community based responses to the climate emergency, contextually recognizing that we’re rapidly using up key non-renewable resources on the planet, and that economic and other inequities (including structural injustice and racism) inevitably contribute to greater societal problems, and need to be remedied in order to achieve meaningful change. The Transition movement is rooted in Permaculture Ethics (Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share), which can be a powerful tool for positive community and ecological change. Village is one of the most active Transition initiatives in the world, typically engaging in over 400 activities a year, most of which revolve around food. (For example, we maintain several seed libraries and give away hundreds of thousands of seeds a year, offer over 150 food and gardening related workshops annually, and run a Westside Food Festival.) Our goal with this project is to create a Permaculture Corridor in Kitsilano and adjoining Westside communities, consisting of a series of garden sites of various sizes. Currently five Village Vancouver gardens/gardening spaces and five other gardens/gardening spaces are involved, and we’re always looking to add more sites. The corridor will demonstrate regenerative, resilient, accessible, community based agriculture in action.

Main Project Activities

Last year, an excellent team of ENVR 400 students worked on the educational component of the project, creating general educational and plant signage, a walking tour, and even “permaculture bingo”. This year we’re working on expanding and deepening the breadth and depth of the project. We’re expanding the variety of plants in our gardens (including, for example, adding native plant beds), looking to convey additional information to garden visitors, working on better demonstrating key permaculture elements, and looking for new locations to add to the corridor. LFS 350 students engaged in Corridor work would continue to focus on the educational components of the project, as well as helping us build our capacity to add new sites and potentially expand existing sites. This would include creating additional general educational and plant signage, deepening walking tour content, researching key aspects of permaculture sites (e.g. guilds, stacking functions, and regeneration), and creating Tell-us-about-your-site and gardening volunteer forms. As with last years' project, Village Vancouver will supply funding for the student project, as needed. Project Activities (details): A. Educational 1) We've been adding and will continue to add new native and other plants (and plant beds) to our permaculture project gardens. Students would research and create educational signage for these plants and plant beds . We anticipate that this will be about 80 new plant signs (to supplement the 80 signs created by students earlier this year). 2) We've been expanding and will continue to add new elements to our gardens which we'd like to highlight with larger signage. For example, a sign highlighting native plant beds, or a sign highlighting how stacking functions (making use of understories/overstories), enhance a garden Examples of other signs would include information re: pollinator attractants, seed saving, and dye plants. Students would research and create educational signage for these elements. We're still working out which new signs we'd like as the gardens evolve (for example, we have a proposal into Vancouver Parks to almost double the space of our Aberthau garden), but anticipate a need for 10-12 more signs (to supplement the 10 signs created earlier this year). 3) Updating the walking tour. There are three elements to this. One element would be to incorporate talking points regarding any new elements we add in existing gardens. Another would be to take some time to deepen/broaden the level of information re: some of the existing elements of the walking tour script so that participants will come away with an even better understanding of the project. The third would be to create scripts for any new gardens we add to the project/tour. (There might also be a 4th element, which would be to create new subsets of the tours, as, if there are new gardens added, a single tour would be rather long, and thus not to everyone's taste.) B. New Site Selection Help identify potential new sites while working remotely. Students would gather information from potential sites, via the creation of an online Tell-us-about-your-site form, which include a request for pictures about the site, as well as using VV social media (website, facebook, twitter, etc.) to put the word out that we're looking for new sites. This would be supplemented by visits to potential sites by myself or someone else from Village Vancouver. This would be followed by discussion with the students regarding the suitability of each potential new site. As with creating new signage and expanding the walking tour elements, this process would require students to gain some familiarity with basic permaculture concepts, and to be able to utilize this knowledge in thinking critically about a potential site's suitability, including the pro's and cons, as well as the challenges each potential site might present. (In permaculture, these can be a bit different, For example, one of the 12 permaculture principles is to Use Edges and Value the Marginal, so a site that might be seen as "difficult" or "less than ideal" through a non-permaculture lens, might be seen as desirable when viewed through a permaculture lens.) C. Volunteer Participation Create an application for prospective volunteer gardeners who wish to participate in our project.

Expected Project Deliverable(s)

See Project Activities for project deliverables (new plant signage, additional larger signage re: new garden elements, updated/expanded walking tour script, help identify (remotely) potential new sites, including development of a new site application form, and create a volunteer application form).

Intended Project Outcome

1. Additional and improved signage improves the demonstration and educational value of the gardens and corridor and enhances the walking tour experience; 2. Creation of a new-site form helps facilitate the addition of new gardens; 3. Creation of a garden/project volunteer helps facilitate the addition of new volunteers.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • A genuine interest in the project topic, and a desire to see it succeed.
  • An ability to use online observation, and do research based on scientifically sound principles, to create tangible and practical educational materials. (Student need not be "scientists".)
  • Good work habits.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently in a timely manner.
  • Additional language abilities, especially Mandarin or Cantonese

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

  • Ability to understand and think critically about permaculture principles. Ability to explain somewhat complicated concepts in simple terms, suitable for audiences with different levels of knowledge and understanding.

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

  • Not at this time.

Is a criminal record search (CRS) required?

No

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

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Flexible


Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

My understanding is that students who wish to do in-person volunteer activities (outside of classwork), are permitted to do so. As such, students who wish to, can talk to us about volunteering in our gardens. Students who wish to engage in volunteer volunteer activities at home (or otherwise off site) are welcome to help us make seed packets for our seed libraries.

Required Reading

Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Updated answer: Permaculture: A Designers Manual by Bill Mollison, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins, The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times by Rob Hopkins, Village Vancouver website (www.villagevancouver.ca), Future Scenarios: How Communities Can Adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change by David Holmgren, Transition Network website (https://transitionnetwork.org/), ENVR 400 2019-20 project report: An Educational Permaculture Experience in the Vancouver Westside Community Corridor. We'll try to have copies available of some of the books for students to borrow if they wish to, as well as  information and pictures of existing Village Vancouver gardens associated with the project.

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

Examples of existing plant and other garden signage and other existing project related materials.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

1) Permaculture Design concepts, The Transition movement, Village Vancouver, and using food (especially growing food) as a tool for fostering positive social and ecological change and community resilience in the face of the climate emergency, limited planetary natural resources, economic inequity, and racism,and other "isms";

2) the value of engaging in concrete, tangible actions which help build resilient, sustainable, and just communities (i.e. help "us" get from "here" to "there"); and

3) the role that the Corridor plays in Village Vancouver's Neighbourhood Food Network work, especially our Westside Neighbourhood Food Network.

I think students will come to appreciate...

1) The value of Permaculture Design, The Transition movement, and Village Vancouver, and the power and viability of local, community based initiatives (especially food based initiatives) as tools for building community resilience and creating meaningful change;

2) the power of "doing";

3) the value of Neighbourhood Food Networks, including the Westside Neighbourhood Food Network.

Through this project, students will develop...

1) An ability to understand and think critically about permaculture principles;

2) the ability to explain somewhat complicated concepts in simple terms, suitable for audiences with different levels of knowledge and understanding; and

3) the ability to better understand how growing food and other related tangible actions.helps manifest positive change on a local level.

Organizational Outcomes

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

The Westside Permaculture Corridor is a key component of our neighbourhood and broader based work to help build community resilience (especially community food resilience) in Vancouver and the region. This project will help to strengthen the educational component of the project.

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