Each 2014 UBC student Intern brought unique gifts and knowledge to the Indigenous Research Partnerships. Read about each of their experiences below.
Paulina Naylor – Feast Bowl Intern
May – December 2014
Hello all, my name is Paulina Naylor, and I am currently finishing my second year in the Food Nutrition and Health program in Land and Food Systems at UBC. I cannot wait to get the summer started, and I am extremely excited to begin my Feast Bowl internship! I have been working with the Feast Bowl since last May, and so far I have learned so much about the UBC Farm, growing and harvesting food, and working in a community kitchen. As well, it has been such a delight meeting new faces every Feast Bowl, and collaborating with other volunteers in the kitchen has been such an educational and rewarding experience. Now I am looking forward to taking everything I have learned so far and applying it to an internship!
During my internship, I plan to do a lot of work in the Indigenous Health Garden and at the Feast Bowl. Primarily I am interested in learning how the food in the garden can be maximized for use in the Feast Bowl and for other purposes in the community. However, I am also interested in exploring the relationships between food, agriculture, and the community, and discovering ways to connect those three. I am looking forward to this unique experience and I hope to come up with some great ideas by the end of the summer!
My internship with the Feast Bowl, which started in May, has taught me more about community kitchens, gardens, and the community than I could have ever imagined. In a nutshell, the purpose of the internship was to study the relationships between food, the community, and local farms and gardens and see how these relationships could be strengthened through the Feast Bowl. The internship also entailed learning about community kitchens, Aboriginal food systems, and ways to optimize food grown at the Indigenous Health Garden. My internship, I’ll admit, started off slowly. I was uncertain whether I would achieve the learning outcomes I set out for myself at the beginning. In the summer, I spent time gardening in the Indigenous Health Garden where I was able to conceptualize the kinds of plants grown in the garden, appreciate the tremendous amount of effort involved in gardening, and understand the limitations of the Feast Bowl with respect to the success of the crops in the garden. Spending time in the garden was by far one of the most rewarding tasks I accomplished all summer. Further along my internship, I was able to study other community kitchens and compare them to the Feast Bowl in order to make recommendations on how the Feast Bowl could be improved. I also attended a community kitchen workshop where I met amazing leaders of community kitchens and heard their struggles and successes of running their kitchens. Even though my internship started off slowly, it gradually gained speed and by the end I had a clear idea of what I learned and what I wanted to explore more.
I want to mention a few highlights of the internship that really stood out to me. One highlight was when I canned relish for the first time in my life! I was surprised at how easy and fun canning was. Another highlight was when I ran my first Feast Bowl meal without the support of another facilitator. Despite how stressful and hectic the day turned out to be, I was able to truly appreciate how difficult leading a community kitchen all on one’s own can be. A final highlight of the internship was baking bannock and a salmon spread for 200 people with the amazing members of the Land and Food Systems Development Team! A few bannock loaves had to be sacrificed due to the fact that they were burnt, but it all worked out in the end.
At the end of my internship I came away with information that can be used to improve the Feast Bowl and its relationship to the Indigenous Health Garden. For anyone interested in taking part in a community garden or a community kitchen program, I can attest to the incredible benefits these programs have to offer. The therapeutic nature of gardening, the connections you make in the community, the friends you meet, the food you learn to cook, and the food you get to enjoy and eat are all positive outcomes I have experienced dealing with community gardens and kitchens. I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given with this internship and I look forward to applying the knowledge I have learned to other aspects of my life.
– Paulina Naylor