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


The Dress for Your Rights! program:
Expressive Arts Contest for 2023

The challenge:

To create something of value and beauty from the kinds of scrap fabric, damaged old clothing, and fashion supplies usually perceived as garbage… AND/OR!

To create a piece of art (in any format/genre) that makes a thought-provoking commentary on sustainable fashion.

The categories:

  • Fashionable—Clothing (for example designs, prototypes, etc, of repurposed and/or radically altered/mended clothing—including costumes! etc)

  • Functional—Items for practical use (for example, shopping bags, reuseable lunch kits/cutlery and napkin rolls, etc)

  • Fabrications—Linens (for example, quilts, pillow covers, décor such as bunting, etc)

  • Fun—Toys (for example, stuffies, games, dolls, doll clothing, costumes)

  • Freaky-deaky and/or fantastical—Surprise us!

  • Funk That—Not crafty? Create any kind of expressive art in any form or format (for example, writing, visual art, theatre, film, dance, music, textile sculpture, tactile art, etc, or combination/hybrid/mashup) that will convince people to take action and change their fashion habits to make our home, the Earth a happier, healthier place.

  • Fundraiser—Like to be in charge? Develop and deliver a fundraiser to support educational initiatives for sustainable fashion.

Overview of contest rules*:

  • Use ANY fabric, yarn, and accessories you can find**—as long as you don’t purchase it new for this contest (purchasing from thrift shops is fine!)—including, but not limited to…
  • Scrap fabric, old clothing, old sheets, towels, table cloths, tea towels, napkins, curtains, costumes, etc. AND/OR Yarn, wool, roving, pieces of knitting, pieces of weaving, etc. AND/OR Buttons, beads, ribbon, lace, elastic, accessories like belts, shoes, jewellery, etc

What can you win?  Prizes! Fame! Glory! The chance to display your creative project!

For more details and regular updates, check out the Dress for Your Rights! page on the UFV Food and Agriculture Institute website. Questions? Email


Contest opens: January 4, 2023
Submission deadline: 
February 22, 2023
Winners announced: 
March 1, 2023

If you need a grab bag of items to work with, just let us know. We’ve got plenty to share!

Download the Media Release Form Here

Flood Stories Expressive Arts contest - WINNERS! 

University of the Fraser Valley

1st place written category: Sarah Brown's creative essay on the Chilliwack River flood 2021

1st place visual art category: Brianna Plett, sculpture, Our Lost Paper Memories (artist statement) 

1st place photography category: Cobi Timmermans, Lake Bottom series (special mention photo)

2nd place written category: Sha Scholtens' poem titled Waterlogged

2nd place visual art category: Victoria (Vivi) Vergara, painting, Hope for Farmers

2nd place photography category: Adam Magalhaes, photograph

3rd place written category:  
Emili Kaplin's short fiction titled I Drowned in the Flood (artist statement) 

3rd place visual art category: Jenna Cowie-Randle, graphite, ink and pencil crayons

3rd place photography category: Jennifer Martel, photograph, Flood and Fire

Kindergarten - Grade 7

1st place written category: Clara Fairbairn's poem titled Sandbags

 place visual art category: Barrowtown Elementary collaboration project, mosaic pathway

st place "other" category: Greendale Elementary Division 4 & 5 mapping project

2nd place written category: 
Greendale Elementary, class submission Division 8, written scripts of flood stories (unable to post accessible link)

2nd place visual art category: 
Greendale Elementary, Ms. Durflinger's class, Helping Hands

2nd place "other" category: 
Greendale Elementary, Division 7, creative video submission, (unable to post accessible link)

3rd place written category: 
Audrey Kaszonyi, creative writing, (unable to post accessible link)

3rd place visual art category: 
Susan White's Grade 2/3 class, honorable mention to Bhavdeep Malhi

3rd place "other" category: 
Greendale Elementary, Division 1, photo essay

Grades 8 - 12

1st place written category: (no submissions)

1st place visual art category: 
Jessica Boon, Hysterics (artist statement)

2nd place written category: (no submissions)

2nd place visual art category: Julia Janzen, painting

3rd place written category: (no submissions)

3rd place visual art category: Finn Toews


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

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 Blog Posts

Read the 2022 posts from the Flood Stories team. 

Visit Page


Dress for Your Rights! 

 Visit the Dress for Your Rights! pilot program page. 

Visit Page


Dig for Your Rights!

 Visit the Dig for Your Rights! pilot program page. 

Visit Page

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

 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.

Connect with Dr. Superle to schedule an interview and/or workshop, get more information about the artistic projects and/or gala, and discuss ways to collaborate.


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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