As of today, I have 18 surveys left to do and then another 14 that need additional information from respondents. This week my field assistant was able to get our third interview for one of the community gardens (one more to do now and he will be done with his work), and I was able to interview a very wonderful company managing many gardens on the island in a variety of settings. The meeting with the company owner was really wonderful because we got to talk about the UA movement in Montreal a little more generally and also her motivations and vision with her company. Still, I am feeling a little scared with about 8 weeks to go in my field season and still so many important actors not responding to my many emails and phone messages.
Last week’s meeting for the 7 gardens didn’t go as well as planned. Even though I had been talking to the organizer since April and a few of the schools for 2 months, and every single person had been contacted 3 weeks prior and 3 days prior, they still didn’t have the information. It was really frustrating because they would say it was too much to answer on the spot but if they knew earlier they could have. Well, I did tell them earlier. In addition to this disappointment, only 4 of the 7 garden representatives were present and it will not be possible to do it with the missing gardens as the program is over. It just seems like I haven’t found the “optimal” way for people to easily and fully complete the survey. Going to the garden does help as I can measure everything and hope examples of the inputs used are on-site, but that still isn’t perfect. I did get to visit one of the surveyed gardens, which was good, and also see a few gardens I visited in the spring in the neighborhood (although that doesn’t actually give me data to work with).
On a positive note, today and tomorrow I am taking part in a training fellowship about science communication and outreach (with COMPASS). This should be extremely valuable for my as a scientist in general, but also for this Montreal UA project specifically. As soon as I get a preliminary analysis of my data, I want to put together a one of 2 page bilingual report and send it to all the people who filled the survey out. So far, I think one of the core ideas I need to work on is how to build from an anecdote or example story and then quickly related to the interesting global implications of P and then back down to local solutions. The training has been extremely engaging and I can’t wait to continue tomorrow.