How can a community-maintained, sustainable food growth and sharing ecosystem be developed for the benefit of all human and non-human members of a given community?
We first had to identify the
Woburn is a community in Scarborough that faces an issue of access to nutritious foods because of the absence of nearby food sources such as grocery stores, food banks, farmers’ markets etc. and this problem could be solved by providing a means of having food within the community.
We also identified potential stakeholders which included: Woburn community members, York University, the C4 students, C4 project partners, and the C4 teaching team.
As connectors, we thought of ways to connect the community to what they might need to solve this challenge.
A catalogue of food crops that can be grown in the community at specific seasons.
Providing a breakfast club for the children at school.
Challenges : This program already existed in Woburn before the COVID-19 and is not very effective and sustainable.
Finding volunteers within Woburn to get produce from farms in Stouffville on their way back from work.
Challenges: Woburn does not have a lot of community members with cars, hence it is not not a sustainable solution within Woburn.
A platform that connects the Woburn community to grocery stores, foodbanks, restaurants etc. that are about to throw food away and sell them at a subsidized price.
Challenges : This solution did not meet the needs of the Woburn community which was community gardening.
An online workshop with a master gardener, Sovann, teaches them about making an indoor edible garden and also provides information on creating a future workshop.
Challenges: Online workshops might not be as successful in Woburn because they might not be accessible to all community members.
We evaluated and weighed our options, stating the challenges we would face if we decide to pursue them. Then in order to provide clarity, we reviewed what we had so far to ensure the idea we chose met the needs of the community. Using a democratic management style, we incorporated participative leadership in our decision making process.
We understood that what we are trying to achieve is to provide a socially sustainable and eco-conscious impact on the Woburn community.
Hence we decided to connect the Woburn community with Sovann by creating a pilot online workshop and also include information on how to make potential future workshops taught by him. We also want to provide information on where and how to get gardening resources and equipment.
The Woburn community has access to a number of resources to pursue their gardening and plant-growing interests as found below. Hours may vary and may not be accurate according to Google given that many businesses have made changes to their operating hours in response to the pandemic.
Address: 1774 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON M1H 2V5
Located in: Town Centre Plaza II
Address: 1455 McCowan Rd Unit 1, Scarborough, ON M1S 5K7
Alpine Lawn & Garden Equipment Inc
Address: 2921 Kennedy Rd, Scarborough, ON M1V 1S9
Garden Centre at the Home Depot
Address: 428 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON M1R 4E6
Bailey’s Home Hardware
Address: 85 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON M1R 4B7
The Home Depot
Address: 2911 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M1J 2E5
Located in: Cedarbrae Mall
Address: 3553 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1H 1B2
Lowe’s Home Improvement
Address: 800 Warden Ave, Toronto, ON M1L 4T7
Villacci’s Garden Depot
Address: 53 Comstock Rd, Scarborough, ON M1L 2G6
Homeland – Toronto’s Garden Centre
Address: 750 Danforth Rd, Scarborough, ON M1K 1G5
Address: 3003 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1M9
Urban Green Building & Landscaping Supplies, Patio & Interlocking Stones Toronto
Address: 450 Birchmount Rd, Scarborough, ON M1K 1N3
Greystone Walk Garden Centre (Plants)
Address: 2 Greystone Walk Dr, Scarborough, ON M1K 5J2
Some of the most impactful outcomes from this project was the workshop that we were able to see come to life. This workshop was a great experience that shows how a team, although having challenges, was able to debate and agree on a final project goal and see it through. Another great achievement was actually connecting with the community, where we were able to visit Woburn, complete a virtual workshop and obtain feedback about how such projects can facilitate the gardening goals of the community of which we derived a workshop guide which can be potentially used by other community members in the future for other similar events. Teaching something new is a huge accomplishment and through the workshop we were able to see how important this can be for students and families in the community. The website which is a collaboration amongst the other teams in the class was also a great achievement which illustrates the growth of each team and how each project compliments each other in providing resources that can benefit the community in a sustainable and efficient manner as it concerns healthy nutritional food growth, preservation and connectivity.
Although we have had challenges where some of our ideas were not able to come to fruition, we always persevered as a team. Perhaps one thing we may have changed about the project was maybe trying to get the workshop started sooner. In addition although we were able to visit the Woburn site for advertising of the flyers for the workshop as well as obtaining photographs of the site, perhaps there could have been more visits to the site that may have allowed more discussions with the community members, however one challenge posed for this was the arrangement of transportation and time availability of the team members.
We learned about commitment, collaboration and mutual respect within this project and team setting. All these components along with adaptability helped the group to preserve through the setbacks faced that in the end proved vital in the successful completion of the project.
We are not sure about long term plans of our project as our solution addresses short term objectives but our legacy plan involves long term prospects. We have had a self help group model in the secondary sector which has proved to be the most reliable problem solving solution system. A self help group comprises community members coming together to solve a problem in a particular society.
For example: Woburn community members grow food in the months of summer and fall, and consequently sell them to earn capital, which then can help to scale up. Now in terms of scaling up, if someone grows organic food they can charge high prices for that to high end restaurants and then give the revenue back to the community to scale up. This is how our legacy plan can continue.
The foundation is something that the next C4 teams can work on and in the later year we can appoint a community leader who is experienced and has the intellect to carry on the leadership.
We will make a framework for the legacy plan and make sure the new C4 team keeps in touch with our team.
The flyer advertising the pilot workshop
The event registration form
The post-workshop feedback form
Thank you cards front and back
How to produce a workshop: a guide (To view online | To print)
Webpage layout lead
Isaac Ebhodaghe, Tammy Ly
C4 Journey Narrative
Oyindesola Oladiran, Isaac Ebhodaghe
Andras Orioli, Tammy Ly, Sovann Muon