Update: CFS Hub project list 2012-2014

Food Secure Canada has updated their website with respect to projects that the CFS hub has supported over the past two years. Please click this link for the 2012-2013 project list, and this link for the 2013-2014 projects. Information of these projects are now available on the CFS hub page on the communityfirst.org website.



CCPH Afterthoughts

How does power operate in community-campus engagement (CCE)? To what extent do the various ways that we convene CCE within CFICE allow us to work within power relations responsibly in order to get the work done effectively?


What big questions! Still, these are the questions I have been sitting with over the last few days at the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health conference in Chicago.


I have heard stories about the power of academic researchers – those who hold the purse strings of research projects that are intended to be “community-based”. I’ve seen academics cry as they speak of their inability to get their institutions and funders to get resources to community participants. I’ve heard about the informal navigation of power relations to ‘get things done’ by ‘bending the rules’. I’ve heard about the precarious position of student research assistants in projects. I’ve heard it ‘all depends’, that different forms of agency matters, that language matters, and that context matters.  


These observations led me to want to break open the dichotomy of campus/community and really unpack the different types of agents involve in this work, the forms of power each has access to, as well as their vulnerabilities in these relationships. I’d like to see a table that includes public health institutions as well as networks of grassroots activists, students, professors, university research officers, and institutional funders and more. What forms of power does each of these actors encounter and/or mobilize in their day to day practices?  Geri started such a table… maybe we can keep developing it collectively?


In the CFICE story-telling session and workshop on Thursday, we were given a lot of great ideas from participants at CCPH about how power ‘works’ in CCE, whether or not power-sharing needs to be explicitly addressed in this work, and some of the strategies that folks use to address questions of power in order to be fair to one another as well as effective.  On the functioning of power, I found participants grounded in different theoretical approaches. For some power is ‘held’ by specific actors, for others it is ‘web-like’ and relational. Others envision power through metaphors like a merry-go-round. Power can mean churning around in circles without any sense of who is doing the spinning or why.


In the midst of all of this talk of power, we heard lots about how people work within power-relations to get the job done as best they can. These strategies included the informal ones, such as the centrality of relationship building and then working through the back channels of universities and other institutions to make CCE happen well. We also heard about formal mechanisms for ensuring power is shared, like partnership agreements, contracts with RAs, data-sharing agreements and the establishment of partnership principles. What a lot of great ideas to collect and examine for lessons!


These discussions led me to wonder about the strengths, and the limitations, of the various models that I see at work in CFICE.  Again, another table comes to mind. I see so many forms of community-campus engagement, with different constellations of actors and roles. How capable are these various models at implementing the insights we’re learning about how to share power responsibly (both formally and informally)? Are some better, or at least more transferable, than others? What are the limitations of our models?  (And what new models can such an examination get us to?)


Among the models I see at work in CFICE, we have a Violence Against Women hub that actively tries to keep its community partners out of the messiness of an academic research project with lots of institutional burdens. I understand why they do this, but does it mean that some important decisions don’t include the perspectives of key voices? I don’t know, but it may be worth further discussion by those most affected. Then we have the ‘brokerage’ models, which are varied in CFICE. The TCCBE has a particular way of working that sees their organization very much ‘between’ community and university. Connie Nelson and her team at the Food Security Research Network in Thunder Bay see themselves as working ‘in community’, bringing particular resources and capacities (e.g. mobilizing courses and students), but defining directions alongside others with a shared vision of the future. Then there is Katherine Piggott at Region of Waterloo Public Health  who plays a facilitator role setting up internships and student placements. Her work is different structurally from the TCCBE and FSRN, but there are lots of similarities too. All work among other actors as ‘gate-keepers’ maybe, but are also ‘bridge-builders’ and ‘conveners’ (Katherine’s preferred word) of the work. Finally, we have various people who do the bridge-building work on their own, off the sides of their desks. Trish and I at Carleton both do this in different ways.


The questions I set out at the top are really too big. There are various ways of thinking about power, different constellations of actors involved, and many ways of undertaking the work of CCE. Still, I feel like there is a question in all of this that we can tackle together as a way of starting the cross-hub analysis. Such work will allow us to see if we even have the vocabulary to talk with each other, and whether we’re gathering the data needed to make comparisons among models. It would build the space for dialogue so that we can learn from one another’s experiences and figure out what we’re getting from such a huge project that can ‘contribute’ to the bigger debate about whether and how CCE can do its part for progressive social change.


How can we hone our questions about power in CCE so that we have something we can really chew on together?

Reflections on power I community campus engagement – penned on May 3, 2014 by Peter Andrée, co-lead of the Community Food Security hub




Free Webinar! Community Change: Six Simple Rules in Evaluating Collective Impact

The concept of Collective Impact has captured the imagination of would-be change makers who are eager to be more than the sum of their parts. There are examples of Collective Impact efforts across North America focusing on everything from nutrition, early childhood development, homelessness, poverty, and gang violence. The dramatic expansion in the number and variety of collective impact initiatives has led to more and more people asking, “How do we evaluate collective impact efforts?” Thankfully, there are decades of work in assessing many other approaches to community change – and some promising emerging practices specifically focused on Collective Impact – upon which to build.

On May 23rd, 2014 RDI will present Mark Cabaj, the President of the consulting company From Here to There and an Associate of Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement, via webinar. Mark’s current focus is on developing practical ways to understand, plan and evaluate efforts to address complex community issues (e.g. neighbourhood renewal, poverty and homelessness, community safety, educational achievement and health). Mark served briefly as the Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) in 2001. He was the coordinator of the Waterloo region’s Opportunities 2000 Project (1997-2000), an initiative that won provincial, national and international awards for its multi-sector approach to poverty reduction. Mark lives in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) with his wife Leann and their children Isaiah and Zoë.

Municipal Managers, Community Economic Development Officers, Local Leaders, Development Practitioners, Municipality Staffs and Managemnt, Students and Faculties, and everyone interested in Community Engagemnt and Collective Impact.

When: Friday, May 23, 2014 (please RSVP by May 22, 2014)
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (CST)
For more information or to register contact Rural Development Institute at:
204-571-8585 / 800-571-8585

Healthy, & Resilient Communities Conference Official Program

The official program for the Healthy, & Resilient Communities conference in Ottawa at the end of May is now available. Here you will find all of the information regarding the proceedings of the conference starting on the 28th and ending on the 30th.

Click here to download the Healthy, & Resilient Communities Official Program.

Also, a reminder that registration for the Healthy, & Resilient Communities Conference is open. To register, please follow the link here: https://cfice.wordpress.com/healthy-resilient-communities-registration/


Larissa Barry-Thibodeau’s Undergraduate experience

Even though the overall trajectory of Larissa Barry-Thibodeau’s undergraduate experience is unique, it will hopefully not remain that way for long as community-based research is increasingly endorsed as a pedagogical tool, even for undergraduate students. To be sure, Larissa’s undergraduate experience was common in some ways, such as her decision halfway through her degree to switch her major to Geography. This decision eventually led to her involvement in community-based research, under the joint-supervision of a Department of Geography and Environmental Studies faculty member and MA graduate student, respectively, Patricia Ballamingie and Steph Kittmer.

Please view the following article for the full profile on Larrisa!

Highlights from CCPH 2015: From Rhetoric to Reality

Highlights from CCPH 2014: From Rhetoric to Reality  (Conference Program)

Personal Context:  Director of the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning-  a not for profit organization partnering with Carleton University  in a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded research grant.  First time attendee of CPPH I thank the organizers and presenters for providing an excellent opportunity to learn and network.  See you at C2UExpo 2015, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, May 25-29, 2015.


It Shoulda Been Me- Site Visit  to eta Creative Arts Foundation

  • Gut-wrenching tear inducing, and a powerful vehicle for making a difference by using theatre arts for behavioural health interventions.
  • Site visit to participate in a theatre production delving into the issues of living in the midst of street violence, family violence, survivor guilt, gender issues, and seeking help to find a way out of the cycles of violence.
  • A powerful play, made more so by the sharing by the audience afterwards of their stories. The play touches the heart and the mind.
  • They shared a bit of their world by sharing one way of finding solutions by reaching youth.

Achieving the Anchor Promise

The Democracy Collaborative, Great Cities Institute

  • Focused on the role of educational institutions’ role in community and economic development. Institutional hiring practices, spending decisions, and mission to contribute to the economic and social well-being of their community were explored.
  • Something for Canadian communities and educational institutions to explore more fully- Community engagement is broader than teaching and research activities.

Asking Permission to Come Ashore

A community builds on the metaphor of the healing journey by canoe to create culturally grounded interventions. http://healingofthecanoe.org/about/   Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFJVOoN2yE0


It’s All About  Relationships (check out photos from the conference )

University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Boldness Project

  • A demonstration of how powerful community can be when community organizations work together to define their agenda and engage with academic institutions to share resources.
  • Winnipeg inner city organizations in collaboration with their educational institutions tackle multiple issues.
  • Research project is different in that the applicant for the SSHRC grant is a not for profit organization

This is a Very Unusual Circumstance and any Future Requests Would Have to Be Pre-approved.

Pictou Landing Native Women’s Association, Dalhousie University

A deeply moving sharing of personal stories of involvement in a research project initiated by the Women’s Council on a reserve to address concerns of pollution impacts from a local paper mill.

A small Canadian rebellion–What do the words mean and other conversations? 

Spent time with the Canadian group digging deeper on what we really mean when we use words like: community, engagement, respect, partnership, trust and others.  Also reflected on the various networks for community engagement and their role in supporting community engagement, what changes do we want to see, and what are some things to do to get there.

New words and phrases:

Cultural Humility replaces Cultural Competence

Theatre of the Oppressed http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org/en/index.php?useFlash=0

Pimping their pain- pseudo change rather than systemic change.

Webinar by the CFS Hub: The Story of the Seed

The Story of the Seed:Working Together for Food Justice in Guelph
Hosted by:
 Food Secure Canada
TIME: THURSDAY MAY 22, 2014 FROM 1:00 PM TO 2:00 PM ET

Join us to hear how a coalition of community partners in Guelph, Ontario have come together to create The Seed – a project informed by local research and community consultation, and inspired by the Community Food Centre model. This webinar is part of a series offered through a collaboration between Food Secure Canada and Carleton University on the Community Food Security Hub of the CFICE Project (Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement).

Sign up here