This project will support the surge in gardening as a means to address food insecurity challenges.
Project Dates: 2020 - 2022
Funding Amount: $3,000
Students Hired: 1
The coronavirus pandemic is amplifying some of our nation's most pressing problems, including food insecurity, hunger and isolation. This applied research project is engaging with local residents in the Comox Valley to support the surge in gardening as a means to address these challenges. The research will investigate what benefits this pursuit brought to residents, what helped them get started, what barriers they have faced in relation to gardening, and what else they need or needed to succeed, and to evaluate whether mentoring can improve skills, enhance food access, and build social relationships. This knowledge will help us to support communities as we move forward into a prolonged period of pandemic living.
Jen Wrye, Lead Researcher
Jen Wrye is a broadly trained sociologist with expertise in food studies, animal-human relations, teaching and pedagogy and social justice studies. Jen joined North Island College in 2012 to teach introductory and second year university transfer Sociology courses after holding teaching appointments at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Jen sits as co-chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee at NIC, institutional representative of the BC Committee of Universities, Colleges & Institutes Professional Developers, and Director of LUSH Valley Food Action Society. She is working on research projects related to teaching and food security in the Comox Valley. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Jen relishes living in another storied, working people’s town, Cumberland, B.C.
Siskin de Balasi Brown, Research Assistant
Siskin is a non-binary student and parent living on K'ómoks territory. They have a background in Early Childhood Education and have been a North Island College student since 2020, where they’ve studied Sociology, Gender Studies, Geography and Spanish. They are also a student at the University of Victoria where they intend to pursue a Bachelors of Social Work.