My First Garden is a proposed community program promoting intergenerational family communication and learning through neighbourhood gardening.
Food is an essential need for our survival. However, due to the lack of food education, development of industrial farming and dependence on oil-vulnerable food transportation methods, people across generations have been disconnected from local and natural food systems.
In order to prevent communities from facing fatal consequences due to the lack of local food resilience, service or program should be designed to strengthen the bond between community individuals where they can co-create new social possibilities.
social design, service design
food resilience, food education, community-based design, intergenerational learning
Danni Peng, Cindy Wu, Banban Zhao
In Vancouver, there are many existing community gardens and experienced seniors with a vast amount of knowledge about food and gardening. However, seniors often lack access to platforms and have limited opportunities to discuss and share specific interests outside of their usual social groups. The project focuses on exploring the necessary infrastructure and service model of a community garden to promote conviviality of seniors and youth on the topic of food resilience and gardening in Vancouver.
How it works
Joining the garden
Families that are interested in participating are asked to invite another family they know to join the program together. This will be an opportunity to foster relationships for community families. If families couldn’t find collaborators, the garden will help them to find and form groups.
All the family gardeners will participate in the first gathering, where families will meet their collaborators and together become assigned to a specific gardening space where they are responsible taking care.
The gardening supervisor will provide a set of different seeds (that is in season and easy to grow for beginners) for the families to choose and plant.
After receiving the seeds, families will then plant them together after listening to the garden supervisor’s instructions. The two families who share the same gardening space will create a schedule to take care of the garden collaboratively. They can help each other to take care of their garden when one of the family can’t come to the garden.
The garden will also be open for the secondary school’s students to join. Academic volunteer credits will be given to students, therefore benefiting and encouraging them to participate in this system.
Volunteers will be responsible to supervise and do work in the school gardening space if the supervisor is unavailable. If the supervisor thinks the volunteer is qualified with sufficient experience, then the volunteer can help out family gardeners if they have problem in gardening.
Each month there will be a planned meeting, where all gardeners (families and volunteers) are invited to participate in. Gardeners will interact and do different activities together in the garden (potlucks, DIY lessons, making organic fertilizers, food preservation workshops etc).
The garden will invite guest speakers and learn more about gardening and local communities. Volunteers will take care of the children by running engaging activities (such as a bug searching trip in the garden) to keep the little gardeners entertained.
The origami seed packaging is designed to be both a package and an informative poster that the children can take home. After the seed is being taken out, children can unfold the package and discover planting instructions and a variety of information about the plant.
A set of plant signage will be used to help gardeners to identify different crops. Since the target audience of our design are elementary school children, we personified the plants with facial features and birth dates. We also provided space for gardeners to fill in their names. By doing so, we encourage the gardeners to develop personal attachment with the plants, and thus creating motivation to take care of their crops.
A bulletin board will be in the garden with a set of posters for gardeners to see and learn the basic knowledge of gardening. They also provide opportunities for family interaction since the instructional posters are also designed to be visually engaging for storytelling.
A checklist was designed to help student volunteers to complete their tasks in the community garden. Volunteers will check the boxes if they see any included conditions in the checklist, and will hand the form back to garden managers.
Online platforms were designed to enhance the communication between the garden members and to document the program’s process.