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Food and Agriculture Institute

The Flood Stories

Learn more about Dr. Superle's projects -- Dig for Your Rights!, Flood Stories, and Dress for Your Rights!

Led by Dr. Michelle Superle, the Flood Stories project engages farmers in the Fraser Valley who were affected by the November 2021 extreme flooding events, inviting them and their families to share their experiences in spoken, written, and artistic format. The project uses a narrative approach
(developed in consultation with narrative therapy expert, Dr. Stephen Madigan) to better understand how Abbotsford farmers have been affected by floods and what they need to begin thriving again.

The results from this work will inform recommendations, which government (at different levels), community associations, non-profits, and academic institutions can adopt to better support Abbotsford farmers. The project also aims to highlight and raise public awareness around the importance of local farmers, the challenges they experience, and the supports that would help them thrive. The specific activities and objectives for this project are below.

Flood Stories UFV today
UFV Today- 'Flood Stories to be on display at The Reach' - January 20, 2023

Flood Stories 2, photo by Robert Newell

Flood Stories Project Objectives

To provide a platform for Abbotsford farmers affected by the flooding to share their experiences

To enrich public understanding of farmers’ experiences of the natural disaster and its consequences

To celebrate Abbotsford farmers’ contributions to local food security

To help support farmers as they strive to make their homes and farms viable again 

To engage UFV community members and Abbotsford school children in artistic celebrations of Abbotsford farmers’ contributions to food security 

To provide opportunities for processing experiences of this natural disaster


Dr. Michelle Superle discusses the Flood Stories on Global News.

Flood Stories Project Activities

Invitations to Abbotsford farmers affected by the flood to share their stories of the experience: Farmers and their families will be invited to describe their experiences of the flood and the impacts of its aftermath through verbal interviews, written responses, and/or artistic responses. Farmers and family members will have the choice as to whether they would like their stories to be shared publicly (e.g., webpage, reports, articles, blog posts). Those who wish to share their stories publicly will have the option of being anonymous or identified.

"Writing as a Way of Healing” workshops: Farmers, members of the UFV community, and other community groups affected by the flooding will be invited to attend free workshops to help them work through and make sense of their flood experiences. The workshops will utilize a narrative method designed to cultivate resilience in people who have experienced traumatic situations. The method does not require participants to be writers; the technique is basically journaling.

Submissions of artistic projects: Members of the UFV community and Abbotsford school children (K-12) will be invited to submit artistic projects related to flooding. These projects will be shaped around the questions - what was your experience of the flood, and what do you appreciate about your local farmers? Submissions can be developed using a variety of medium, including (but not limited to) written (poetry, fiction), visual (sculpture, drawing, film, photography), textile/tactile (fashion design, felted figures, knitting), auditory (musical composition), kinesthetic (choreography, dance), taste (recipes), and digital (multimedia).

Sharing the Stories: Stories and images of artistic submissions will be shared on the project webpage. In addition, in collaboration with various community groups, these works will also be displayed on UFV campuses, in local galleries, and in Abbotsford municipal spaces (i.e., community centres, libraries, schools, etc). The project will produce articles, blog posts, and presentations for disseminating with a wide variety of audiences, including scholarly, government, non-profit, and community groups.

Gala celebration of Abbotsford farmers: Abbotsford farmers, school children, and members of the UFV community will be invited to attend a gala event (fall 2022) at the UFV Abbotsford campus. The gala will showcase excerpts of flood stories from farmers who wish to share their work publicly in written, visual, and verbal formats, as well as artistic submissions.

More from the Flood Stories Team

Flood Stories Blog Posts

Dress for Your Rights! Pilot Program

Dig for Your Rights! Pilot Program

Dr. Michelle Superle is also a contributing author in Edible Magazine.
To see a complete list of Superle's most recent articles please click here.

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