Growing Bridges: Improving Regional Food Security by Increasing Engagement with the McQuesten Urban Farm

Challenge:
How might we motivate and encourage residents of CityHousing to engage with the McQuesten Urban Farm?
 Youth Programming

Youth Programming

Student Names:
Jethro Krause, Muhammed Aydin, Kathleen Eva & Ikra Saeed

Staff:
Jocelyn Strutt (Project Manager, Neighbourhood Action Strategy)

Instructor:
Kate Whalen

Course and Department:
Sustainability 4S06, Academic Sustainability Program, McMaster University

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Partner: McQuesten Urban Farm

 Neighbourhood Programming

Neighbourhood Programming

In addition to providing educational, recreational, and employment opportunities, McQuesten Urban Farm aims to tackle the problem of food insecurity through providing fresh, local and affordable produce to residents of the McQuesten neighbourhood and the City of Hamilton. However, volunteer and consumer engagement with the farm is lacking in the community, particularly among those of lower socio-economic status. As a result, the farm’s impact is not realizing its full potential in addressing food security issues or educational opportunities.

Students Jethro, Muhammed, Kathleen, Ikra completed secondary research to gain a stronger understanding of demographics specific to CityHousing and food insecurity in Hamilton, as well as the history of McQuesten Urban Farm. They then brainstormed potential research questions for community feedback in order to identify a solution that will meet the needs of the McQuesten neighbourhood community. Finally they built relationships with residents involved in the McQuesten Urban Farm living in CityHousing, and worked with the Neighbourhood Action Strategy who connected them with community experts.

Next, the students will engage community members by developing partnerships with local community organizations' existing networks and test their hypothesis as to what the root causes are for the community disengagement with McQuesten Urban Farms. They will do this through implementing pilot programs and solutions that can work alongside existing programs in order to create more long-term sustainability. 

An urban farm  can provide not only access to healthy food, but employment for residents, educational programming, and community development opportunities.
Problems today are being tackled through implementation of technology, when sometimes there are much simpler and more effective methods through community engagement.