Course:LFS350/Projects/2014W1/T20/Proposal

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Version Control

Version Author Role Changes Date
1.0 All Team Members Preliminary draft September 19
2.0 All Team Members Post-Community Partner Meeting updates September 27
3.0 All Team Members Post-presentation feedback updates October 4
4.0 All Team Members Revised Proposal and Charter November 1

Project Background (__ / 10)

The Centre for Sustainable Food systems (CSFS) is a research and practice-based farm at the University of British Columbia that focuses on developing a sustainable food system through a combination of community engagement, market production and academic programs (The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems). The CSFS has a vision of increasing the sustainability of both the global and local food systems, as well as fostering systems that provide a higher level of food security to the populations who depend on them. In 2010, a proposal was developed to push towards a new era of the UBC Farm, which would integrate academic learning and global leadership in sustainability into the fundamental principles of the farm (The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems). Specifically, they want to create guidelines that are accessible to the community for use when solving food system sustainability problems and for their research to be acknowledged as an international resource with practical applications (The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems).


The CSFS has decided to create an archive and information database regarding food systems and related topics. LFS 350 students are given the opportunity to collaborate with the CSFS and document advancements/changes that various food system stakeholders have seen within their fields. An ethnographic video will be created by Team 20 by compiling interviews of four key representatives of the UBC Farm. The video will be ethnographic in nature due to the different professional backgrounds and personal experiences of each stakeholder.


The focus of this project is on a community level, unlike other current research where the focus is on broader regions such as British Columbia or Canada as a whole. Through the exploration of the Vancouver regional food system, specific food security issues will likely be identified, whether they are areas of concern or not. These issues as outlined by Ostry (2010), include sustainability, accessibility and availability of food in the region. It is important to understand that the food system itself plays an important role in the level of food security experienced by its dependants. Understanding the term "food security", which has been redefined numerous times, is also crucial. Initially, food security was defined as whether or not a country had enough food to meet the dietary requirements of its population, whereas today's definition states that a country experiences food security if its food is safe, nutritious, preferable and accessible to all individuals at all times (Pinstrup-Andersen, 2009). By gaining a broader understanding of how the current Vancouver food system functions, it is expected that the amount of food security experienced by the residents of Vancouver will also be better understood, through collaboration with Teams 19 and 21.


The application of systems thinking will allow for a better understanding of how the UBC Farm fits into the systems that Teams 19 and 21 are researching, as well as how all three systems come together in the regional food system. It is important to note that this project is at its initial stages of the route towards enhancing food security, where discovery of discrepancies between different stakeholders is inevitable and smaller food systems within the region must be compared. This initial stage known as "initial food systems change" serves to identify areas of improvments which may be used by future students or interested individuals in this field for future stages, "food systems in transition" and "food systems redesigned for sustainability" as described by McCullum et al. (2005). Specifically, the current state of the UBC food system will be captured in the ethnographic video to allow the CSFS to share recurring themes of food security that may become apparent with other organizations that also invested in tackling these issues.

Stakeholder Summary (__ /5)

Name, Role & Organization Responsibilities
LFS 350 (students/researchers)

Angelina Lam, Allie Stephen, Alice Wyche, Hamidreza Armani, Megan Paul, Mackenzie Shopland, Jenny Huang and Gurjot Dhaliwal

  • Connect with community partner and through collaboration determine a research focus
  • Determine which research method is appropriate
  • Identify relevant stakeholders to interview
  • Determine the phases of project and follow through with activities in each phase
  • Evaluate the process of the project
  • Develop proposal/charter
  • Presentation of Proposal
  • Use "Systems thinking" to create systems model
  • Periodically update status of project through documentation (ie. Status Reports, Scope changes, Version Control)
  • Create an ethnographic video as a final product
  • Update Wiki page
  • Summarize the project in a written report
Community Partner- Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Hannah Wittman Associate Professor, UBC

  • Provide clear understanding of how the research focus will be different for teams 19, 20 and 21
  • Address concerns through emailing or meetings if required
  • Provide clear purpose and reasons behind the creation of the project and ethnographic video
  • If required recommend appropriate stakeholders
  • Approve and sign off the Charter/Proposal or any changes made
  • Provide feedback on final product
Interviewees/ Stakeholders


Academia: Arthur Bomke, Professor Emeritus, UBC

Community Engagement: Veronik Campbell, Academics Program Manager, UBC Farm

Indigenous Integration: Hannah Lewis, Aboriginal Programs Liason, UBC Farm

Market: Amy Frye, Director, Centre for Sustainable Food System

  • Share stories and provide insights on their perspectives of the changes made to the food system
  • Provide expertise in their field of knowledge
  • Address the questions asked by student team members and work to provide an answer they think are best suitable
  • Suggest all information they think are necessary for the best possible understanding of their unique roles

Purpose and Research Question (__ / 20)

Research Purpose

The purpose of our project is to create an ethnographic video with a retrospective approach in which we will capture the perspectives of stakeholders involved with the UBC Farm about how the farm has become to what it currently is. The four interviewed stakeholders will share their involvement with the UBC Farm through their specific disciplines of either market production, academia, community engagement or indigenous programs. The aim of the ethnographic video is to provide an educational resource that is easily accessible for the general public and for those who are interested in developing sustainable food systems. It will also work to develop a deeper understanding of the food system at the UBC Farm and to make connections among the four different perspectives. The ethnographic interviews will provide insights into the development and changes made over time in the food system at the UBC Farm.

The long term goal is to use the ethnographic video as a time capsule to capture current thinking, opinions, and experiences regarding the UBC Farm and its connected systems (H.Wittman, personal communication, September 24, 2014). Ultimately, the video will be used in collaboration with Teams 19 and 21 to provide insight into the larger food system. This project provides multiple opportunities such as combining findings, enhancing knowledge in terms of food security issues and identifying common themes and differences through various perspectives of the food systems.

Research Question

Through the perspectives of key actors in the disciplines of market production, academia, community engagement and indigenous program, how has the UBC Farm changed in the past years and how did these developments affect its position in the current Vancouver regional food system?

Methods (__ / 20)

Background

As suggested on the LFS 350 Project Description page, we will conduct our research through ethnographic interview and data analysis as used in qualitative research. Ethnographic interview is a type of qualitative method in which data is collected in the form of an interview and the social interactions within various groups is studied. The purpose of our ethnographic interviews is to gain insight into the changes in the food system at the UBC farm by making connections to four different perspectives: academia, community engagement, market, and indigenous.

Interview Design and Approach

Initially, we selected potential stakeholders for the interview through the UBC Farm Website based on whether their expertise is in academic, market, community engagement and indigenous aspects as these are areas of our research focus. However after discussion with our TA, we realized most of the staff would not know of the changes made from the past to the current UBC Farm because they have not been employees at the farm long enough, so we turned to our community partner, Hannah Wittman, for advice. She suggested appropriate stakeholders who she knew worked longer at the farm. Therefore our final selection process of stakeholders were based on not only their expertise but as well as the duration of their experience at the farm. By interviewing experienced stakeholders it would enable us to acquire historical information on understanding the development and changes in the food system over time. Prior to the interviews, the UBC Farm Website will serve as an initial research resource to obtain background information.

During the interviews, we will ask a total of ten questions. There will be five general questions that focus on the changes of the food system in terms of sustainability and these questions will be common to groups 19 and 21. It is important to ask questions common to groups 19 and 21 in order to contribute to an overall analysis of CSFS to compare the different food systems in the region and how they fit in through systems thinking. The remaining five questions will specifically focus on the stakeholders' direct area of expertise on the farm, their viewpoints on current state of the UBC farm and whether the UBC Farm is involved with initiatives that help address local food security issues. As part of the requirement of this project, the interviews will be recorded in the form of a video. The videos will be analyzed for findings that reflect similarities and differences in themes discussed in each interview.

Interview Questions

5 General Questions to be asked for each interviewee

  1. Tell me about your role in the UBC Farm. How has your personal role evolved in the Vancouver Food System?
  2. Is there any aspect of your work that you feel touches on issues of sustainability? Tell us about these.
  3. What do you see as the biggest challenge to the sustainability of the current food system in the Lower Mainland?
  4. What significant changes over the past 40 years have impacted the UBC Farm most significantly?
  5. Where do you see the UBC Farm in the future?


Stakeholder-specific questions

Market

  1. Could you tell us about the market at the UBC farm and the purpose of this market?
  2. What significant changes has occurred in the market over the past few years?
  3. What happens to leftover produce that is not sold at the market?
  4. Food security is an issue in the Greater Vancouver Area, does the market or UBC farm have any programs that address this problem?
  5. What is the demographic of the people who buy from the farm or attend market events?
  6. How is profit distributed throughout the farm? Which parts of the farm need more/less funding?
  7. How is the price of each food item determined? Which variables are taken into account when deciding price? (Are prices compared with local farmers, supermarket prices?) i.e. accessibility, organic

Academia

  1. What internship, practicum and volunteering opportunities are available?
  2. What are the learning objectives of these academic programs?
  3. Why were some of these programs created?
  4. What changes have been made to these programs, why
  5. What are the areas of research and how do they contribute to the overall goal of Centre for Sustainable Food Systems?
  6. As we know, UBC Farm is a model farm and is developing guidelines for sustainable agriculture. How do other farmers use this knowledge? Can you give me an example of a farm that has applied methods developed and modified by the UBC Farm? How applicable is the research conducted at UBC farm to commercial farming priorities?
  7. Food security is an issue in the Greater Vancouver Area. How does the internships, practicums or volunteering programs at the UBC farm address this problem?
  8. What are the links between on-farm research here at UBC and research by faculty members outside the Lower Mainland (e.g. model Dairy Farm)?

Indigenous Programs

  1. Could you tell us about the historical role of indigenous agriculture at UBC Farm?
  2. What are the traditional practices and crops grown? Have these methods changed over time?
  3. We read about the DTES community engagement on the website and is wondering if you could provide us more information regarding this project? Could you tell us about the purpose, methodology and the results of this program?
  4. How are the Indigenous views and traditions reflected in Centre for Sustainable Food Systems objectives?
  5. Food security is an issue in the Greater Vancouver Area. How has it affect the indigenous traditional food systems?

Community

  1. What are the current relationships between the UBC Farm and the surrounding community?
  2. How are the UBC Farm and the community partners contributing and benefiting from this partnership?
  3. How have the relationships changed throughout the past few years?
  4. How are you increasing community engagement at the UBC Farm? What are the outreach approaches and events planned to achieve this?
  5. Are spaces available for the community to use to become engage with the UBC Farm? How do these spaces benefit the UBC Farm and the community?
  6. How is the community or society influencing the UBC Farm?
  7. Food security is an issue in the Greater Vancouver Area. How will community engagement at the UBC Farm address food security?

Data Analysis

The components of Qualitative Data Analysis will be categorized into data documentation, data classification, and data evaluation (Schutt, 2012). To document the data, we will note down what is said or write down questions we have during the interview to serve as textual data. This way, we will become more familiar with the answers that are provided by the stakeholders. After completing the process of documentation, we will categorize the textual data into specific themes that relate to our research question (Schutt, 2012). Upon completion of the classification of the textual data, we will discuss the rationale behind the choices of the classification of the theme and evaluate the significance of the themes to provide a plausible answer to our research question.


Advantages and Disadvantages

While our aim is to collect data through ethnographic interviews, this qualitative research approach has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of collecting data in the form of ethnographic interviews is that it allows us to capture the thoughts and experiences of the stakeholders in their own words, while interacting with them to establish a positive relationship. On the other hand, a disadvantage associated with ethnographic interview is reliability. Although the stakeholders provide important primary data, the interview cannot be easily replicated in the same natural setting. In addition, data obtained from a small number of sources about a large area of expertise may be biased. It may be the case that ideas become generalized and not necessarily reflective of the field in general. Also, as we are conducting interviews with four different stakeholders it is difficult to control certain variables as each individual’s response will be different. Furthermore, the advantage of using data analysis is that it allows us to categorize data and narrow down to specific themes (Kodish & Gittelsohn, 2011). It is also relatively more flexible compared to other research approaches (Kodish & Gittelsohn, 2011). However, researcher bias may occur if questions are asked to obtain desire response. Also, coding of terms may be required to avoid confusion during analysis and that all researchers (team 20 members) have the same understanding (Kodish & Gittelsohn, 2011).


Method Ethnographic Interview (Data Collection Method) Qualitative Data Analysis
Advantage
  • Capture the thoughts, experience, social and world context from the stakeholders.
  • Interact with the stakeholders and establish a positive relationship.
  • Categorize data → narrow down to specific themes (Kodish & Gittelsohn, 2011)
  • Relatively more flexible compared to other research approaches
  • Data is from primary sources


Disadvantage
  • Reliability → small number of sources related to each wide field of expertise can lead to generalization of ideas.
  • Validity → difficult to control external variables because each individual’s response will be different.
  • Limited amount of questions and time may result in incomplete documentation of stakeholders' perspectives
  • Respondent bias exists as it is from different perspectives and personal opinions of the stakeholders
  • Misinterpretation of the interviews
  • Researcher bias may occur if questions are asked to obtain desire response
  • Coding of terms may be required to avoid confusion during analysis and that all researchers (team 20 members) have the same understanding (Kodish & Gittelsohn, 2011)


Strategies in Minimizing Errors/Bias

In order to obtain data that is reliable with validity, we have set the following criteria to help minimize errors or bias that may exist:

  • Developing open-ended questions
  • Asking questions that are relevant to the research question
  • Refrain from manipulating interview answers by adopting a neutral position, perspective or mindset during interview
  • Choosing appropriate stakeholders

Procedures, Equipment, Team Responsibilities

Research Procedures

  1. Create research question
  2. Develop interview questions
  3. Obtain consent
  4. Conduct interviews
  5. Analyze interviews
Equipment/ Resources Needed Team Responsibilities
  • Video Camera
  • Audio recorder
  • Computer video editing program
  • Computer
  • Video recording
  • Note-taking
  • Interviewing

Ethical Responsibilities

  • To respect interviewee's privacy
  • To maintain confidentiality of interview answers by making inferences
  • To avoid moulding interview responses
  • To present collected data with honesty
  • To respect team members' ideas and input
  • To complete the TCPS2 Core course
  • To provide reference and citations when appropriate

Deliverables (__ / 5)

Deliverables:

  • Proposal (Wiki and PowerPoint)
  • Ethnographic video
  • Written report
  • Systems model

All our deliverables will follow criteria provided by LFS 350 instructors and that information presented are cited and consent is provided for the ethnographic video. Filming equipment will be borrowed from the UBC tech support facility.

Success Factors/Criteria (__ / 10)

Our research will result in an ethnographic video that our community partner (CSFS) can make accessible for the general public as an educational resource.

Indicators that will be used to measure success:

  • Quality of the video (captivating the right content and targeted for the right audience)
  • Address any errors or bias through analysis
  • Choice of stakeholders for the interviews
  • Clear understanding between Team 20 and the community partner
  • Communication with our community partner when needed
  • Stakeholders are properly represented and provided consent
  • Whether video will be used as an educational resource in the future

Success will be indicated by the final product of the ethnographic video which will be judged by our community partner, teaching team and ourselves. The satisfaction of our community partner regarding our competency throughout the whole process of our project, including conducting interviews and delivering our results, will be a large factor in our success. In terms of the written report, our success depends on how we use our data and our ability to analyze and whether or not our results provide a conclusion that is reflective for our research question. Lastly, our ability to work as a group and skills that we develop will also be a determinant for our success in this project. Specific skills that will be used to measure our success would be our ability to create a proposal, to incorporate feedback from our community partner and teaching team, as well as building lasting relationships with our community partner and interviewees.

Scope Change

Having met with our community partner, Hannah, and coordinating with Teams 19 and 21, the scope of our project has been set to stay within the UBC Farm. With these tight boundaries, we will focus on the changing food system from the perspective of the farm through a retrospective approach.

Communication Plan (__ / 5)

Communication methods used within Team 20:

  • Google Docs
  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Facebook Group
  • UBC Wiki

In terms of communicating with our community partner, Hannah Wittman, and stakeholders of the UBC Farm emailing will be used unless other communication methods are preferred by these individuals.

Action Item Deliverable Dates Accountable
Weekly Updates Progress report Wednesday Provide feedback for each team member and provide support for each other's concerns
Technical Team 20 Meeting (in person) Proposal/Video Wednesday Discuss project plans, develop presentation and proposal, conducting interviews, edit video, writing report, analysis
Information sharing between Team 20 members Project related information Ongoing, Daily, When required Team 20 members are to provide information before due dates and support each other
Meeting/Information sharing with Hannah Research focus/proposal When requested Address concerns and raise relevant questions for Hannah's feedback and guidance
Contacting Stakeholders Schedule interview/conducting interview Ongoing from mid Oct-mid Nov, depends on stakeholders' availability Be prepared, ask for consent, conduct interviews

Milestones (__ / 5)

Milestone Event or Deliverable Target Date Responsibility
Milestone 1 Meeting with Community Partner, Hannah Wittman Wednesday, September 24 All
Milestone 2 Proposal Presentation Wednesday, October 1 All
Milestone 3 Initial Charter and Proposal submission Saturday, October 4 All
Milestone 4 Submit Research Proposal to Hannah Wednesday, October 15 All
Milestone 5 Contact stakeholders and conduct interviews Wednesday, November 12 All
Milestone 6 Revised Charter and Proposal submission Saturday, November 1 All
Milestone 7 Data Analysis, Video Editing Monday, November 24 All
Milestone 8 Final Project Presentation Wednesday, November 26 All
Milestone 9 Final Report Submission Wednesday, December 3 All

Approvals (__ / 5)

The following individuals hereby approve this Project Charter:

Role or Title Name and Signature Date
Team Member Hamidreza Armani October 31
Team Member Gurjot Dhaliwal October 31
Team Member Jenny Huang October 31
Team Member Angelina Lam October 31
Team Member Megan Paul October 31
Team Member Mackenzie Shopland October 31
Team Member Allie Stephen October 31
Team Member Alice Wyche October 31
Community Partner Hannah Wittman (approved interview proposal which is a concise

version of the research proposal with interview questions)

October 18

References (__ / 5)

Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. About. Retrieved October 3, 2014, from http://ubcfarm.ubc.ca/about/1

Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. Guiding Principles. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://ubcfarm.ubc.ca/about/

Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. History. Retrieved October 3, 2014, from http://ubcfarm.ubc.ca/about/history/

Kodish, S., & Gittelsohn, J. (2011). Systematic Data Analysis in Qualitative Health Research: Building Credible and Clear Findings. Sight and Life, 25(2), 52–56. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://www.sightandlife.org/fileadmin/data/Magazine/2011/25_2_2011/systematic_data_analysis_in_qualitative_health_research.pdf

McCullum, C., Desjardins, E., Kraak, V., Ladipo, P., & Costello, H. (2005). Evidence-based Strategies To Build Community Food Security. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(2), 278-283. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from https://connect.ubc.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-2376564-dt-content-rid-9204021_1/courses/SIS.UBC.LFS.350.001.2014W1.36591/Evidence-Based%20Strategies%20to%20Build%20Community%20Food%20Security.pdf

Ostry, A. (2010). Food for thought: The issues and challenges of food security. Public Health Association of British Columbia. Retrieved from: http://www.phsa.ca/NR/rdonlyres/2AC7CD45-6815-4DA2-8EE4-A26AD6FB9278/71548/FoodforThought_IssuesChallengesofFoodsecurity.pdf

Pinstrup-Anderson, P. (2009). Food Security: definition and measurement. Springer, 1(1), 5-7. Retrieved October 29, 2014 from http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/366/art%253A10.1007%252Fs12571-008-0002-y.pdf?auth66=1414885418_26704d4ed9d08bcd3cbc51fef285ca1f&ext=.pdf

Schutt, Russell K. (2012). Quantitative Data Analysis. Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research (ch.10). USA: Sage Publications, Inc. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/43454_10.pdf

Writing Quality (__ / 10)

For a proposal report to receive full writing quality marks, it should be well organized and easy to read. It should address all of the topics articulated in the assignment details above, and it should be free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.