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Are BC municipalities planning for food? : an evaluation of official community plans Youmans, Jason Jul 31, 2014

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     ARE B.C. MUNICIPALITIES PLANNING FOR FOOD?  AN EVALUATION OF OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLANS by JASON YOUMANS B.A., The University of Victoria, 2005 A PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF APPLIED SCIENCES  School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this project as conforming  to the required standard  ………………………………………..  ………………………………………..  ………………………………………... THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2014 © Jason Youmans, 2014   I  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC). I am grateful for SSHRCC’s contribution to this project, my education, and its continued mandate to enhance Canada’s understanding of modern social, cultural, technological, environmental, economic and wellness issues.  I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Mark Stevens (SCARP) for helping guide the work, Dr. Maged Senbel (SCARP) for his thoughtful feedback, and Brent Mansfield (UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems) for his assistance in developing the evaluation protocol.  Finally, I must thank my SCARP colleague Torill Gillespie who, without complaint, helped hone and test the project’s evaluation protocol on more sample OCPs than she’d probably care to remember.   II  Executive Summary This project was undertaken to assess whether—and how—municipalities in British Columbia are incorporating food systems planning into their official community plans (OCPs). A literature review of current trends and recommended best practices in local government food systems planning, as well as research into the state of the food system in British Columbia communities and readings on plan quality content analysis, informed the development of a plan evaluation protocol that was used to assess 30 randomly selected official community plans from municipalities across the province. Application of this 61-item protocol tests whether OCPs include specific examples of planning related to food systems across four categories: fact base, goals, policies, and implementation/monitoring. Statements in each plan that corresponded to one of the evaluation protocol items received a score of 1. Each protocol item was scored only once for each plan, allowing for a maximum score of 61 for any plan. The author also undertook basic inferential statistical analysis to assess whether any correlation could be found between a municipality’s food system planning score and four independent variables.    Results from the 30-plan evaluation suggest that British Columbia municipalities are not using their OCPs to plan for food in a manner that is either broad or deep. Where they are planning for food, examples come most often in the form of general policy statements about supporting a sustainable local food system or supporting urban agriculture, rather than targeted statements about the policies governments intend to enact to achieve the sustainable food system they aspire to, or how they will measure progress on the path towards their food system goals. Sample plans in the study generally scored highest in the policy category, while very few provided a strong food system fact base on which to build their goals and policies. Only two plans demonstrated targets for any of their chosen food policies by which success could be measured. The protocol evaluation results show that none of the sample municipalities scored above 80 percent in any of four planning categories, so at best even those who scored highest on the evaluation protocol are planning only moderately well for food systems in their OCPs. The author’s inferential statistical analysis revealed only one moderate positive correlation score between food systems planning score and any of the four independent variables tested; a Pearson’s R value of 0.50 between a municipality’s food systems planning score and its population size.  Constraints limiting the reliability of this study pertain to issues of subjectivity. First, the plans were coded by a single researcher, rather than using the double-coding method prescribed by planning academics (e.g. Krippendorff, 2004; Baer, 1997). This means the results are based on a single researcher's interpretation of the evaluation protocol and the differentiation between general and specific statements within the sample plans. Second, despite being informed by the literature on the III  subject and contact with experts in the field, the evaluation protocol remains a subjective list of what an OCP that plans for the food system should contain. Whether there are too few or too many items, or whether all items should be equally weighted as they are in this study, is a matter for debate.   The low scores achieved by most sample municipalities in this study suggests that food systems planning is not  commonly or comprehensively incorporated into the OCPs of British Columbia communities despite the food system’s intersection with numerous subjects typically considered to be in the planner’s purview. Recognizing this fact, the most important recommendation to emerge from this research is that the province's towns and cities would all benefit from the inclusion in their OCPs of a goal to create a more self-reliant food system and a supportive general policy in each of the five food systems areas—production, processing, distribution, access, and waste. The inclusion of such a goal and policies would provide elected officials a touchstone with which to guide their decision making in situations, for example, when a community group comes before them to request a zoning change to allow backyard chickens, or city staff recommend implementing curbside food-waste pick-up. In the absence of such policy statements in their guiding OCPs, elected officials may hesitate to allocate the resources or make the regulatory changes required to strengthen the local food system.              IV  Table of Contents 1. Introduction           1 1.1 Context           1                                                                                                                                                                                            1.2 Purpose           2 2. Detailed Project Description        4                                                                                   2.1 Background          4                                                                           2.1.1 The Food System         4                                                     2.1.2 OCPs and Food System Planning       5           2.1.3 Planning and the Food System       7                                  2.1.4 Planning for the Food System       8                                 2.2 Methods                     10                                                                                    2.2.1 Data Sources                   10 2.2.2 Coding Methodology                                                          12 2.2.3 Coding Process                                                                      13 2.2.4 Score Calculations                                                                14 3. Results                                                                                                    15 3.1 Overall Scores                                                                                    15 3.1.1 Fact Base                                                                                        16 3.1.2 Goals                                                                                     17 3.1.3 Policies                                                                                18 3.1.4 Implementation and Monitoring                                             19 3.2 Protocol Item Frequency                                                                   20 3.3 Correlation Test Results                                                                 21 4. Conclusions                                                                                            21 4.1 Discussion                                                                                        21 4.1.1 Plan Evaluation Results                                                            21 4.1.2 Correlation Test Results                                                         23 4.2 Limitations and Future Research                                                        24 4.3 Recommendations                                                                             25 4.4 Conclusion                                                                                          26 5. References                                                                                                   27 6. Appendices                                                                                              32 6.1 Food Systems Plan Evaluation Protocol                                                 32 6.2 Scatter Plot Graphs                                                                               34  V  Tables and Figures Table 1: Data Sources – B.C. Official Community Plans Table 2: Overall Evaluation Scores (Total and %) Table 3: Fact Base Scores (Total and %) Table 4: Goals Scores (Total and %) Table 5: Policies Scores (Total and %) Table 6: Implementation and Monitoring Scores (Total and %) Table 7: 10 Most Frequently Scored Items Table 8: 10 Least Frequently Scored Items  Table 9: Correlation Matrix      1  1. Introduction  1.1 Context From rising energy costs to climate change, from dwindling farmland to pesticides and pollutants, and from hunger to obesity, our relationship with food seems to grow increasingly complex all the time. And yet, as Pothukuchi and Kaufman noted 15 years ago, food was “notable by its absence” from the mainstream planning efforts of local governments during the 20th century (2000,113). This “puzzling omission” seems all the more so when one considers that “the multifunctional character of the food system means that it has profound effects on a host of other sectors — including public health, social justice, energy, water, land, transport and economic development — and these are all sectors in which planners are deemed to have a legitimate interest.” (Morgan, 2009, 341). Steel writes in Hungry City that we have failed to see the potential of food planning because food is “too big to see.” (2008, 307). However, in publishing their seminal 2000 article, The Food System: A Stranger to the Planning Field,  Pothukuchi and Kaufman asked the planning community to confront the reality that food matters in the profession’s practice, and enumerated the reasons one would expect local government planning to consider food. A selection of those are:  Along with clean air, water, and shelter, food is vital to life  Many city residents are employed in some aspect of the food system  City households spend 10 to 40 percent of their income of food  Food waste is a significant amount of the waste that our cities produce  Many health problems have a food component  Household trips to grocery stores constitute a significant portion of urban transportation trips Despite this clear rationale for the inclusion of food in our land use and community planning decisions, food has to date been a matter largely left to the private sector, a mere consumer good at the mercy of the vagaries of supply and demand. But the market has proven itself unable to deliver citizens a food system that is either effective or equitable, prompting one critic to observe that “consumer sovereignty is one of the great food policy myths” (Lang, 1999, 219). Riches, meanwhile, notes that “food-policy experts have been arguing that too many people are no longer in control of what they eat, whether or not they have sufficient income” (1999, 205). The private sector has, in critic Michael Pollan’s opinion, provided us with little more than highly processed, highly packaged, “edible food-like substances” delivered by a small but increasingly powerful handful of multinational corporations (2009, 17).1                                                           1 The American Planning Association offers a more nuanced assessment of global agri-food business, writing, “Today's industrial food system is a product of significant scientific and institutional advances over the previous centuries, 2  In some ways, the food system is “the place where the local meets the global (Gottlieb, 2001, 186), and today a collision of global and local issues are putting greater strain on local food systems than ever before. In British Columbia in 2008, about 9 per cent of surveyed youth said they experienced hunger “some of the time” (Smith et al., 2009, 15). This is consistent with the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, which found that 9.2 percent of Canadian households reported food insecurity, with this prevalence rising to almost 50 percent in the lowest income group (PHSA, 2010, 6). At the same time, and despite the creation of the British Columbia Agricultural Land Reserve to shield it from development, the province loses an estimated 600 hectares of prime farmland every year to development (Smith, 2012, 25). And while there is more to the food system than what's on people's plates or planted in the fields—as will be discussed in the following pages—the foregoing statistics paint a picture of a food system beset by problems.  Today’s food system imposes costs on all levels of government, from chronic disease caused by poor diet to landfills unnecessarily brimming with food waste—and these costs manifest themselves most visibly at the local level (McAllister, 2004). In the face of this problematic food system, however, and typically without a clear mandate from senior levels of government, local governments in North America and around the world are taking steps to improve the local food system for the good of their citizens and the environment. (Food Systems Planning and Healthy Community Lab, 2011; Sonnino, 2009).  This project was conceived to test whether local governments in British Columbia have answered Pothukuchi and Kaufman's more than decade-old call to integrate food systems into the guiding planning documents of our towns and cities, and to look specifically at how well they are doing so.    1.2 Project Purpose The food sector is an important part of the British Columbia economy. The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture notes that in 2010 total farm cash receipts from the sale of crops, including grains, oilseeds, field and greenhouse vegetables, tree fruits, berries, grapes, floriculture, nursery, forage and other crops, amounted to nearly $1.2 billion. Total livestock receipts, from the sale of cattle, hogs, poultry, eggs, dairy, honey and other animals and animal products that same year amounted to another $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, aquaculture farm gate sales, from farmed salmon, trout, clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops, totaled more than $418 million. An estimated 33,900 people were                                                                                                                                                                                              and generally provides an abundant and safe supply of food to most people in the country. It has paralleled developments in mass production and economies of scale in other industries and is characterized by the use of significant amounts of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and new shipping technologies.” (2007, 3)  3  employed in B.C.’s primary agriculture and aquaculture production activities, during this period. (Fast Stats, 2010). However, primary production is only one part of the food systems equation, as what gets produced must also be processed, packaged, transported, warehoused and sold. All told, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, from production to retail, the provincial food supply chain is estimated to generate more than $40 billion in revenue and employ almost 300,000 workers (Year in Review, 2010). However, under the veneer of a robust food production supply chain are troubling realities. Approximately 45 percent of food consumed by British Columbians is imported from elsewhere in Canada or around the world. Our reliance on imported food is particularly evident in relation to fruits and nuts (95 percent imported), followed by vegetables (75 percent imported) and fish (65 percent imported) (PHSA, 2010, 21). This matters, says the British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority, because “Relying heavily on food imports negatively affects food security as it weakens the local agricultural economy, reduces support for the local food production and distribution sectors and potentially exposes British Columbians to disruptions in the global food system.” (PHSA, 2010, 33).  A report from the Island Farmers Alliance suggests that 50 years ago Vancouver Island produced about 85 percent of all food consumed on the Island. In 2004 it was estimated that number had dwindled to 10 percent (MacNair, 2004, 6).  Anticipating impending impacts from climate change on global food production, the International Food Policy Research Institute notes that “Higher temperatures eventually reduce yields of desirable crops while encouraging weed and pest proliferation. Changes in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and long run precipitation declines. Although there will be gains in some crops in some regions of the world, the overall impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to be negative, threatening global food security” (2009, vii). Closer to home, The B.C. Agriculture Climate Change Plan says that “it is likely that climate change will increase uncertainty and the [financial] costs associated with weather damage of B.C.’s agricultural operations … many farms [in B.C.] are experiencing increasing input costs and pressure from global commodity prices” (British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, 2010, 13). Demonstrating the local impacts of these wider issues, a study undertaken in the remote Haida Gwaii, where 90 percent of food is imported from off Island, found that “Local grocery stores have reported cost increases of approximately 20% in basic groceries since 2009.” (Misty Isles Economic Development Society, 2011, 19 ).  This report goes on to suggest that because of increasing fuel prices, rising B.C. Ferries fares, and increasing food and grain prices, retailers in the Haida Gwaii anticipate steady increases in the cost of food.  Against this backdrop of global pressures are the numerous ways that food intersects with the 4  everyday work typically associated with city planning, though heretofore largely overlooked by the planning profession. Where people live (apartments vs. houses, rural vs. urban, transit service levels) impacts their ability to produce and access food. Where food processing facilities are located impacts neighbours. How food waste is disposed of impacts the lifespan of our landfills. Farmland is being lost to suburban development. Water—both fresh and salt—and the commercial fish they support are vulnerable to run-off from the impervious surface cover in our towns and cities.  This project, then, begins from the premise that local government planning impacts the local food system and that municipalities can improve, or further degrade, the food system with the plans they make and policies they implement. And while local governments in British Columbia may implement policies in a variety of ways (resolutions, decrees, budget allocations, committees and task forces, etc), greater buy-in and longevity results when municipal goals and policies take direction from the OCP. By examining the integration of food systems planning into the OCPs of B.C. municipalities using content analysis, this project helps answer the following research questions: (1) What proportion of British Columbia municipalities are incorporating food systems planning into their OCPs? (2) How well are British Columbia communities incorporating food systems planning into their OCPs based on the inclusion of (a) a fact base to support decision making that strengthens the local food system;  (b) goals and objectives to strengthen the food system; (c) policies to support the local food system and; (d) implementation and monitoring strategies to ensure food system-related policies are implemented? The paper begins with a survey of literature covering both food systems planning and plan evaluation. From this follows a discussion of the plan evaluation methodology employed and the results of the evaluation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the evaluation results and offers recommendations for improving local government food systems planning in British Columbia.  2. Detailed Project Description 2.1 Background 2.1.1 The Food System Before embarking on a discussion of food and its relationship to municipal planning, it is important to acknowledge that food encompasses more than what’s served on our dinner plates. Much recent debate from global to local levels has focused on the notion of “food security,” which the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization defines as the condition “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their 5  dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”  (2013). And while reduced to its most important aspect, food provides the energy we require to live, its associated issues and impacts resonate beyond our kitchen tables. As with so many issues, the food we eat is but one component in a larger food system that intersects with the many other systems characterizing modern life. The food system consists of the following five elements (Raja et al., 2008):  Production: The use of natural resources and human resources to grow edible plants and animals in urban, suburban, or rural settings.  Transformation/Processing: The transformation of raw food materials through value-adding, processing, manipulating, and packaging to create a usable end product for consumption.  Distribution: The direct or indirect distribution and transportation of processed and unprocessed foods to wholesalers, warehouses, retailers, and consumers.  Access and Consumption: The availability and accessibility of foods and their subsequent purchase, preparation, ingestion, and digestion.  Waste/Resource Recovery: The disposal of food-related materials, waste, and by-products and their subsequent disposal, reuse, or recycling A systems-based approach to understanding food means that local government, when contemplating how best to plan for food, should not focus so narrowly on the idea of food security for its population that it loses sight of the totality of ways that food impacts the municipality, and that the municipality impacts food.  2.1.2 OCPs and Food Systems Planning Whether intended or not, official community plans influence the local food system. Policies in those plans and the regulations that emerge from them can help determine the pace of agricultural land loss, the location of grocery stores, the proximity of processing facilities to homes, and what becomes of food waste once it's scraped from the plate (Hodgson, 2012). Although writing of comprehensive plans in the United States, researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab observe that “Official plans have a profound and lasting influence on the health of communities’ food systems and on residents’ ability to access healthful and affordable foods” (2011, 3).  Among local governments in British Columbia, some jurisdictions have chosen to address food systems within increasingly popular “Integrated Community Sustainability Plans” while others are doing so in standalone food systems plans or strategies.2 However, OCPs remain the most important                                                           2 The City of Kamloops is an example of the former, while the City of Vancouver has done the latter.  6  place to look to understand whether—and how—municipalities in the province are committing themselves to food systems planning, for it is the OCP that forms the policy foundation on which future policy documents and regulations are supposed to build. As Buholzer notes, “Official plans are often referred to in legal texts as the constitutions of land use regulation. This metaphor is intended to convey the notion that official plans are expected to enshrine principles that are above the daily politics of rezonings, variances, and development approvals” (2001, 41).  OCPs, like comprehensive plans in the United States, are long-range policy documents intended to address a wide variety of interconnected social, environmental, and economic topics; provide legal, political, and logical rationale behind a community’s development and settlement patterns; and shape long-term decision making for a jurisdiction over a 20- to 30-year time frame (Hodgson, 2012; Berke et al., 2000). While elected officials are not bound to implement the policies enshrined in their OCPs, they are bound to not do things that are contrary to the OCP policies. Section 884 (2) of the British Columbia  Local Government Act states that “All bylaws enacted or works undertaken by a council, board or greater board, or by the trustees of an improvement district, after the adoption of . . . an official community plan . . . must be consistent with the relevant plan.”  And while food is not among the subjects an OCP is required to address, a plan may, at the discretion of the local government, include, as per Section 878 of the British Columbia Local Government Act:  (a) policies of the local government relating to social needs, social well-being and social development;  (c) policies of the local government respecting the maintenance and enhancement of farming on land in a farming area or in an area designated for agricultural use in the community plan;   (d) policies of the local government relating to the preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity. Thus, while there is no requirement to address food systems in an OCP, there is significant latitude to do so, and in doing so a municipality can establish its commitment to the policy area. Evans-Cowley argues that not only could food systems be included in comprehensive planning (and by extension OCPs), but that it should be included, writing “food is an essential element of sustainability and . . .  considering the intersection of food with economic, equality and environmental sustainability concerns should be a part of comprehensive planning efforts” (2011, 23). And the inclusion of policies that would support food systems planning, says the City of Vancouver’s Wendy Mendes, are decisions that “affect whether opportunities to grow food in the city are supported; whether a city’s most vulnerable populations have access to nutritious and affordable food; whether neighbourhoods have grocery stores or farmers’ markets within walking distance; or whether strategies exist to divert food waste from landfills” (2008, 943).  7  Why a local government should choose to plan for food in its OCP—or any topic not explicitly mandated by the Local Government Act—is a function of the complex interplay that informs the agenda of any representative government: public pressure, champions among politicians and staff, catalyzing events, etc. Mendes notes that local governments appear so far to have waded into food systems planning in the name of “either ‘sustainability’ or ‘quality of life’ on the one hand, and anti-hunger politics on the other” (2008, 943).3  At the very least, once a commitment is established, elected officials then have the advantage—as far as food systems planning advocates are concerned—of guiding policies before them with which to orient their decisions when topics related to the food system come up for discussion and resolution.   2.1.3 Planning and the Food System While generally absent from the mainstream planning agenda, food has not gone completely overlooked by the thinkers that have informed the practice over the past century. Ebenezer Howard's garden cities, could be construed as an attempt to marry food production and urban life, an idea more recently revived by Duany and Plater-Zyberk’s notion of agrarian urbanism (Howard, 1960; Duany Plater-Zyberk, 2011). Lewis Mumford, meanwhile, lamented the farmland lost to urban development (Mumford, 1963).  To a certain extent, planning theory and practice can be held partly responsible for some of the problems that plague our food system. At its worst, planning has helped facilitate the segregation within urban centres of social strata and racial groupings, with the poor and minority races typically underserved compared to their more affluent, whiter neighbours (Arnold, 2007). In many cases though, it was the simple inability to see the logical outcome of planning built around the automobile, resulting in vast tracts of farmland being allocated to housing, and walkable, mix-used, food-focused neighbourhoods absent from the mainstream planning agenda for most of the 20th century’s latter half. Only in the recent decade has food systems planning begun to carve out a defined place in the practice.  A 2008 study by the American Planning Association demonstrated the degree to which interest in food systems planning among its membership is growing. In 2000, Pothukuchi and Kaufman found that only 38 percent of planners in 22 cities agreed that “planners should get more involved in food system planning in the future” (2000, 117). In the APA’s 2008 study, however, its authors found that about 70 percent of respondents believed that the preparation and modification of comprehensive                                                           3 Mansfield and Mendes offer the following explanatory factors that can lead to the implementation of food systems policies: I)  Structural: 1. Formally Mandated Role of Food Policy, 2. Staffing Support and, 3. Integration of Food Policy into Policy and Regulatory Frameworks. II) Procedural: 4. Joint-Actor Partnerships and, 5. Citizen Participation Mechanisms. (2013). 8  plans to include community and regional food issues should be an area in which the planning profession should be significantly involved. A slightly higher percentage (73 percent) than that, meanwhile, felt the same way about preparation and modification of zoning codes to regulate location of food retail (Raja et al., 2008).  However, this survey also demonstrated that food systems planning has yet to leap from planners’ wish lists to their work programs, as 71 percent of survey respondents reported that their planning organizations had no or minimal involvement in food and healthy eating issues, while only 22 percent of respondents reported that their planning organizations were “moderately involved” in preparing or modifying comprehensive plans to include issues related to food (Raja et al., 2008).  The disjuncture between planners’ desire to be involved in food systems planning and actually incorporating it into their work was again revealed by a recent survey from Hodgson on behalf of the APA in which only 80 of 843 survey respondents indicated that their comprehensive plans explicitly addressed an aspect of local or regional food systems (2012, 25).  Despite the still lacklustre survey numbers around planners’ involvement with the food system, the figures are trending upwards. It is in this vein that Sonnino observes that, “city governments are trying to achieve what global and national policies have not been able to achieve by establishing new links and new relationships between different stages and actors of the food chain” (Sonnino, 2009, 431). 2.1.4 Planning for the Food System The reasons municipal governments should plan for food are compelling. How planners should best do so, however, elicits a range of opinion in the literature. Campbell (2004, 350), for example, proposes that planners should:   Collect and analyze data on the local or regional food systems  Participate in specific community food projects  Revise local land-use plans and regulations to promote the local food system  Facilitate the development of food policy councils Various other authors too have offered their perspectives on appropriate intervention areas for planning for the food system. Redwood, on this topic, writes that In addition to improving the nutritional health of city residents, urban agriculture can enhance the vitality of urban communities by encouraging collaborative activities that foster relationships of trust and mutual support. He adds that from an environmental perspective, urban agriculture minimizes the ecological impacts of food production by reducing costly and inefficient transportation from distant areas and by re-using waste. (2009, 153).  9  Numerous organizations, including the American Planning Association (2007) and the British Columbia Provincial Health Services Association (2010), as well as planning scholars, have recommended approaches to planning for all of the food system’s five thematic areas in recent publications. Recommendations common to many of those documents are as follows:    Production: Policies that support zoning to limit subdivision of agricultural land; policies that allow urban agriculture in more zones; policies that support dedication of public land for the purposes of food production; policies that support requiring food production space in new developments; using public resources for the education and promotion of locally produced food; planning department analyses of the viability of, challenges to, and other aspects of local food production   Transformation/Processing: Policies that support zoning to allow and appropriately site processing facilities; policies that support zoning that allows food processing as a home-based business; ensuring food processing activities are captured in economic development policies   Distribution: Factor food access and food distribution into transportation policies; Ensure OCPs recognize food system activities as desirable civic uses in neighborhoods, and provide sufficient space, infrastructure, and inter-modal transportation access for such uses.    Access and Consumption: Encourage “Buy Local” policies for public institutions; policies to support zoning that allows farmers markets; policies to consider distance to grocery stores when approving new development; encourage mixed-use design; policies to use recreation and community centre programming to engage and teach about healthy food choices; policies and programs to support edible landscaping initiatives; policies to support zoning that impedes unhealthy food.    Waste/Resource Recovery: Policies to implement curbside organics pick up or other food waste recycling options; offer subsidized compost bins; require food waste collection or composting in new development; study local food waste volume and composition; Beyond the explicit weaving of food systems into local government planning initiatives, it is also important to recognize the link between land use planning and the ecological systems that produce not only the plants and animals that feed us, but also the myriad plant and animal life that directly and indirectly sustains those plants and animals that feed us. Urban development destroys ecosystem integrity, and that loss of ecosystem integrity exacts a significant toll, particularly on the pollinators that propagate many of our food crops. In a similar vein, impervious surface cover in the form of roads, parking lots and roofs changes drainage patterns and overloads important fish-bearing streams and shellfish areas along shorelines. Thus, policies that support ecological conservation might be considered policies that indirectly support the local food system (Beatley, 2000).  In addition to the regulatory powers local governments possess to develop land use policies and regulations to support the local food system, they can also, as for any social issue beyond the sidewalk-and-sewer spending expected of them, use their redistributive power, organizational capacity, and infrastructure to fund, coordinate, or simply provide meeting space for organizations 10  working on building a stronger local food system.  A decade ago, Campbell observed that these latter areas were where she saw planners most frequently inserting themselves, writing that, “ With the exception of a few planners in the vanguard of food systems work, the field’s role lies in the realm of facilitation, consensus building, and other bridging activities . . .” (2004, 346).  And of course, planners can make plans. The benefits of including food systems in comprehensive plans (read OCPs) are significant, argues Raja, who says, “Inclusion of food issues in a comprehensive plan ensures that, along with ensuring adequate housing, jobs, transportation, etc, a community is positioned to have a well-functioning community food system in the future—one that provides access to healthful and affordable foods for all residents” (2008, 22).  Hodgson’s recent survey work for the American Planning Association provides a snapshot—albeit based on anecdotal evidence—of how planning for food systems in comprehensive plans can influence food systems outcomes. Among planners employed by local governments in the United States whose organizations are in some way involved in the food system, approximately 34 percent of respondents reported that the food system-related goals, objectives, and policies had positive impacts or made positive improvements to the community, including the creation of new community gardens, grocery stores, and farmers markets, as well as changes in land-use regulations and the promotion of locally grown food (2012, 25).  While Hodgson’s survey results don’t suggest that the inclusion of food system elements in comprehensive planning documents guarantees success on the ground, the reasons to incorporate the food system into British Columbia’s plans as explored in the foregoing pages are too numerous to ignore.  2.2 Methods 2.2.1 Data Sources This plan quality evaluation project employs content analysis, described as developing an evaluation protocol by defining categories for analysis and having one or more evaluators or ‘‘coders’’ use that protocol to read and ‘‘score’’ the written communication (Norton, 2007, 433). While the results of plan quality analyses don’t necessarily predict outcomes or plan effectiveness, they can help planners “design holistic planning frameworks, and ensure stronger plan consistency and integration that should result in more effective plans and better outcomes” (Schilling, 2011, 49). Thirty sample OCPs were analyzed in this project, the list of which is found in Table 1 below. The sample was drawn from the Government of British Columbia municipal population database which 11  contains the names and demographic information on a total of 160 municipalities in the province. Only municipalities with OCPs adopted after 2005 were included in this study, so the pool of candidate municipalities was actually smaller than 160,4 since communities with pre-2005 OCPs were discarded if drawn during the sample lottery. The decision to exclude pre-2005 OCPs was rationalized that since it was only in the year 2000 that Pothukuchi and Kaufman called on local governments to incorporate food policy into their planning initiatives, the likelihood of finding substantial food planning activities prior to 2005 would be low. Additionally, the literature review undertaken for the current study showed that food systems planning began to emerge with greater frequency and depth in journals and non-scholarly reports around 2008, suggesting a mid-decade uptick in food systems planning that further supports 2005 as a reasonable date from which to commence research.    Table 1. Data Sources: Sample Official Community Plans (OCPs)   Municipality  Population OCP Adoption Year  Municipality  Population OCP Adoption Year Slocan New Denver Port Edward McBride Port Alice Montrose Sicamous Port Hardy Gibsons Spallumcheen Whistler Summerland North Saanich Terrace Comox  439 520 563 690 829 1050 2901 3730 4461 5147 10,620 10,855 11,107 12,182 13,504  2011 2007 2008 2008 2010 2008 2009 2011 2005 2011 2011 2008 2007 2010 2011  Central Saanich White Rock Fort St. John Langford Mission Port Coquitlam New Westminster Prince George Victoria Nanaimo North Vancouver (D/of) Delta Saanich Kelowna Richmond  16,172 19,211 20,992 31,195 37,614 58,517 68,534 76,286 84,360 87,515 89,437 100,337 114,013 122,455 199,949  2008 2008 2011 2008 2008 2005 2011 2011 2012 2008 2011 2005 2008 2010 2012   Prior to sampling, the populations of all160 municipalities were organized in ascending order of population. This list was then divided into a three-strata sampling frame with one group of communities with populations between 0 and 10,000 residents5, one group of communities between 10,000 and 50,000 residents6, and one group of communities with populations of more than 50,000                                                           4 How much smaller is unclear, as the sample lottery concluded when enough municipalities were picked to fulfill the requirements of the project.  5 Of which there were 104 6 Of which there were 35 12  residents7. This population stratification was made on the assumption that population size, which can be confidently linked to in-house planning capacity, might prove a correlate to how well a municipality is planning for food in its OCP. A random online number generator was used to draw a sample of 10 communities from each stratum. OCPs were downloaded from the respective municipal web pages of communities drawn in the lottery. 2.2.2 Coding Methodology A detailed plan evaluation protocol was developed by the author and designed with particular attention to the evaluation of food systems planning in the British Columbia context. Kaiser, Chapin and Godschalk contend that a “good” plan should contain four framework elements: a fact base that establishes baseline information around which policies can be developed and decisions made, a set of goals that a community hopes to achieve, a set of policies to achieve those goals, and finally, an implementation strategy to see those policies put into action (1995). The author used these four content categories as the framework for developing the evaluation protocol.  The evaluation protocol designed for this research builds on two original food systems plan content evaluation projects and the protocols they employed. These studies were undertaken by Evans-Cowley (2011) and Hodgson (2012), and were in turn informed by the work of leaders in plan quality evaluation. Hodgson's study on behalf of the American Planning Association is particularly robust and her extensive food policy planning research helped her develop a protocol that serves as a template worthy of replication. Despite the comprehensive nature of Hodgson's protocol, it required further amendment to ensure it was appropriate to evaluate municipal food policy planning in British Columbia and within this project’s scope. Both Hodgson and Evans-Cowley carried out their research in the United States, and their evaluation protocols contain items of little relevance to a Canadian researcher—such as items related to food stamps and quality of food sold at liquor stores—so items were omitted and others added more germane to the British Columbia food system. This attempt to incorporate regionally significant food system evaluation items is evident in the following items of this project’s evaluation protocol: 31) Score 1 if plan suggests a policy to support non-agricultural food production 32) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to support recreational and/or commercial seafood fisheries 33) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to support non-timber forest products 34) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to support hunting and trapping of wild game 40) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to improve access to traditional foods for First Nations residents8                                                           7 Of which there were 19 8 This item was explicitly recommended for inclusion by the American Planning Association’s Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning with the rationale that . . . recent Native American history has included forced 13  Content and technical feedback on the evaluation protocol was provided by instructors at UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems and UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning. The evaluation protocol was then tested by the author and another SCARP graduate student on several plans outside the project sample to identify flaws in its preliminary iterations and refine it before deployment.9  Ultimately, the plan evaluation protocol came to contain 61 items across the four thematic categories; fact base, goals, policies, and implementation/monitoring. See Appendix 1 for complete evaluation protocol and item frequency results. The first 14 items assess the “food fact base” on which the plan under analysis is built, while the next 7 capture the food-system-related goals established by the plan. The following 35 items capture policies, both general and specific, that one would expect to find as part of good food policy planning in an official community plan, while the final 7 items of the plan include ways by which one might expect a local government to implement and monitor their food systems policies.   2.2.3 Coding Process ATLAS.ti qualitative data management software was used to code the plans. Each item in the evaluation protocol was scored on a 0/1 basis, with a 0 assigned where the item was not present in the plan, and a 1 assigned where it was. Items in the evaluation protocol are organized so that an item that demands a general statement on a particular topic is followed immediately by one or more items that demand a more detailed, precise, or quantified statement on that topic. The goals/objectives section of the protocol does not use the “general/detailed” scheme of the other three content categories; a goal is either stated, or it is not.   In the fact base section of the protocol, a “general item” was almost always followed by a “detailed” item. Item 4, for example, says “Score 1 if plan recognizes that access to healthy foods for low income people is a problem,” while Item 5 says “Score 1 if plan quantifies the degree to which access to healthy foods for low income people is a problem.” The author scored 1 for Item 4 if an OCP statement was similar to the phrasing of the item itself. To receive a score of 1 for item 5, the author required a statement that provides data, such as the number of food bank visits in the municipality, or the proportion of low income people in the municipality and proportion of their monthly income spent on food.                                                                                                                                                                                               relocations of tribes and dependence on non-native foods (including lard, refined flour, and sugar) leading to a disconnection with traditional food sources and an erosion of traditional food practices that are at the heart of native community life and rituals (2007, 16).  9 Unfortunately, circumstances allowed for the double-coding  of only eight of the 30 sample plans used in the project. Most planning scholars with plan content analysis experience see double-coding as the means to achieve greater consistency in the interpretation of evaluation items across a set of plans. (Krippendorff, 2004)  14  In the policy category of the protocol, items are organized thematically, with a general statement on a given theme, followed by one or more specific items that demonstrate ways by which the general policy can be achieved. For example, in the protocol's policy category, one finds Item 41, which reads “Score 1 if plan suggests a policy to support a sustainable food system.”  OCPs received a point for this code item if they contained a reasonably vague statement about supporting a sustainable food system, basically echoing the code item itself. Item 41 is then followed by Items 42 to 45 which are on the theme of “sustainable food systems” and state: 42) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to educate stakeholders about sustainable food systems 43) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to support ecologically sustainable food production practices 44) Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to facilitate the reduction, reuse or recycling of food waste 45) Score 1 in plan makes a specific policy commitment to reduce the impact of food system on climate change Items 42 to 45 represent specific policy commitments in support of Item 41's general policy of supporting sustainable food systems. To receive a point for any of items 42 to 45, the author would require a statement identifying an action to be taken or a statement of how the policy is to be achieved. North Saanich, for example received a point for both items 41 and 44 for its OCP statement that the municipality would “Continue and expand recycling programs with the Capital Regional District, support the Capital Regional District organics (food and garden waste) recycling, and explore connections between local agricultural growers fertilizer needs and organics recycled topsoil” (77). The plan received a point for item 44 because it is clearly a specific policy commitment to facilitate the reduction, reuse or recycling of food waste. It also received a point for Item 41, since by providing a specific policy commitment to support composting and recycling, implicit within that is a policy to support a sustainable food system. The basic rule of using this protocol, then, was that where a point was awarded for a detailed or specific item, so too was a point awarded for the general item under which the specific item was listed. Thematic headings are highlighted in bold in the evaluation protocol attached as Appendix 1.  Several items in the implementation and monitoring section of the protocol contain a similar general/detailed pattern. Item 57, for example, says “Score 1 if plan briefly lists private sector coordination initiatives around food systems,” while Item 58 says “Score 1 if plan describes in detail private sector coordination initiatives around food systems.”  By using this general/detailed approach, it is hoped that all examples of food systems planning would be captured, from the vague to the specific. Furthermore, it is hoped that the 0/1 scoring scheme 15  would reduce the subjectivity inherent in the 0/1/2 scoring method frequently applied in plan quality analysis.  2.2.4 Score Calculation Once plan coding was complete, the author used Microsoft Excel to carry out a selection of operations based on the scores achieved by each municipality. First the total score for each municipality was summed in order to rank them by total score. The total score for each municipality was also converted into an overall percentage score by dividing each municipality's score by 61 (the maximum possible number of points it could have achieved) and multiplying by 100. The author also calculated total scores and percentage scores for all municipalities in each food systems planning category; fact base, goals/objectives, policies, and implementation/monitoring. This determined whether plans that achieved a high total score achieved high scores across all categories, or whether certain municipalities scored better in some categories than others. Additionally, a calculation was made of the frequency with which each code item occurred across all plans, in the form of both a numerical and percentage score. The percentage score was calculated by dividing the number of times each protocol item was scored, and dividing that number by 30 (the total number municipalities in the sample) and multiplying by 100.   Finally, some basic inferential statistics were undertaken. The author used Microsoft Excel’s statistics function to obtain a Pearson's R score determining if there was any correlation between the total protocol score a municipality received and its population, median family income, and percentage of its workforce employed in food-related industries as defined by the British Columbia statistics agency. While not the central theme of this study, the Pearson’s R calculations provided the author with a rudimentary understanding of what factors do, or do not, influence a municipality’s OCP food systems planning score based on readily available data.  3. Results 3.1 Overall Scores  While some municipalities such as Richmond and Victoria scored reasonably well—51 and 49 percent of protocol items respectively—the author was surprised to find that many communities do not yet appear to be meaningfully planning for food in their official community plans (see Table 2). Possible explanations for this will be explored in the discussion section of this paper, but in a province where food production looms large in its economy and its politics on both land—exemplified by the creation 16  of the Agricultural Land Reserve—and on water—as evidenced by wild and farmed fisheries up and down the coast—one might expect to find more attention to food in the high level planning efforts of local government. Richmond received the highest overall food policy planning score with 31 out of 61 protocol items present in the plan, or 51 percent of all items. Montrose and White Rock scored the lowest, with 0 of 61 food systems planning protocol items present. The mean total score was 12.5, a value between Kelowna’s 13 items and Summerland’s 12. The median percentage score was 21 percent of protocol items.   3.1.1. Fact Base The OCPs of most municipalities in the study—77 percent—contained at least one fact related to the food system. However, the mean fact base score across the 30 sample municipalities was low—just over 2—or 15 percent of protocol items in the fact base category. Some municipalities used their food fact base to inform policy later in the plan, while most clearly did not.  The City of Victoria had the strongest food system fact base, with 8 out of 14 protocol items present. Victoria scored points where no other municipalities did, such as by recognizing that access to healthy foods for low income people is a problem (Item 4), and by quantifying the proportion of the municipal waste stream composed of food waste (Item 9).  The most frequently scored fact base protocol item among the 30 sample municipalities was Item 2, “Score 1 if plan recognizes that the food system represents an important part of the local economy.” Such a recognition was found in 57 percent of sample plans. Examples of plan statements that received a point for this item include McBride, whose OCP says,  “Along with forestry, farming and agricultural support have traditionally been one of the main industries supporting the Village of McBride” (7), and Sicamous, whose OCP says, “The District recognizes the importance of local food production and supports efforts to improve the local agricultural economy” (4-3). The second most frequently occurring fact base protocol item was Item 6, which states “Score 1 if plan recognizes that food system activities are a major land use.” Thirty-three percent of sample OCPs scored a point for this item. Most plans in the sample that received a point on the forgoing stated the area of Table 2 Overall Score (Total and %) Municipality Total  Score % Score Richmond  Victoria Langford Prince George Central Saanich Nanaimo  Terrace  Comox  Mission  Fort St. John  Port Hardy  Saanich  Sicamous  North Saanich  Kelowna  Summerland  Whistler  Delta  Gibsons  McBride  Port Alice  Spallumcheen  North Vancouver (D/of) New Westminster  Slocan  Port Coquitlam  Port Edward  New Denver  Montrose  White Rock 31  30  24  22  20  20  18  18  17  16  15  15  13  13  13  12  10  10  9  8  8  8  8  7  5  4  3  2  0  0 51% 49%  39%  36%  33%  33%  30%  30% 28% 26% 25% 25%  21%  21%  21%  20%  16%  16%  15%  13%  13%  13%  13%  11%  8%  7%  5%  3%  0%  0%  17  agricultural land in municipal boundaries. Delta for example, recognized in its OCP that 46.2 percent of its land base was used for agricultural uses (1-5). Port Edward, on the other hand, received a point for this item for its OCP’s acknowledgement that, “Although the fishing industry has declined over the years and is no longer the primary employment for local residents, fishing and fishing related waterfront industry is still the predominant industrial land use in the District” (46).   No plans in the sample quantified the degree to which access to healthy foods in their community is a problem (Item 5), nor quantified either the impact of the local food system on climate change nor the impact climate chance is  predicted to have on the local food system (Items 11 and 13).  3.1.2 Goals  Seventy-three percent of OCPs (22/30) in the sample contained at least one goal related to the food system. The City of Nanaimo has the highest number of goals related to the food system at 71 percent (5/ 7). Fort St. John, Victoria and Richmond tied for the second highest number of food systems goals with 57 percent (4/7). The mean score for goals and objectives was 1.6, or approximately 23 percent. The most frequently occurring goal was Item 16, “ . . . to create a more self-reliant community food system,” which was found in 50 percent of the 30 sample plans. Whistler received a point on this item for its stated goal to “”Support and value sustainable, secure local and regional food systems” (7-8). The second most frequently occurring goal was Item 20, “. . . to preserve agricultural land,” which was found in 40 percent of the sample  Table 3 Fact Base (Score and %)   Municipality Score (X/14)  % Victoria Richmond Central Saanich Port Edward Sicamous Summerland North Saanich Terrace Comox Delta Kelowna Port Alice Port Hardy Gibsons Langford Mission Prince George Saanich McBride Spallumcheen Whistler Fort St. John Nanaimo Slocan New Denver Montrose White Rock Port Coquitlam New Westminster North Vancouver (D/of)  8 6 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  57% 43% 29% 21% 21% 21% 21% 21% 21% 21% 21% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%   Table 4 Goals (Total and %)   Municipality Score (X/7)  % Nanaimo Fort St. John Victoria Richmond Port Hardy Central Saanich Langford McBride Spallumcheen Whistler North Saanich Comox Prince George Saanich Kelowna Slocan New Denver Sicamous Summerland Terrace Mission Delta Port Edward Port Alice Montrose Gibsons White Rock Port Coquitlam New Westminster    North Vancouver (D/of)  5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   71% 57% 57% 57% 43% 43% 43% 29% 29% 29% 29% 29% 29% 29% 29% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%  18  OCPs (12/30 plans). The District of North Saanich received a point for this protocol item for its stated goal to “Preserve and protect Agricultural Reserve Lands and support initiatives of the Agricultural Land Commission” (4).   No OCP in the sample contained Item 18, a goal “. . . to support food systems that are equitable and just.”   3.1.3 Policies  In British Columbia, it is clear that food has made the mainstream planning agenda, insofar as 90 percent of OCPs (27/30) in the study contained at least one food systems related policy. However, the mean score across all sample OCPs for food systems-related policies was only 8.2, or approximately 25 percent of protocol items. This results could be interpreted in a number of ways. Assuming all protocol items are of equal weight, it indicates that there is little breadth in how municipalities are planning for food in their OCPs. However, as explored in later sections of this paper, some protocol items may be of greater importance than others, in which case municipalities may well be adopting the key OCP policies that lay the groundwork for food systems improvements in the community and foregoing those of more narrow impact.  The City of Richmond had the highest number of policy protocol items, with 61 percent (20 out of 33). The City of Langford had the second highest number at 58 percent (19 out of 33). The OCPs of Port Edward, Montrose and White Rock did not contain a single policy related to planning for food systems in those municipalities.   The most frequently occurring policy protocol item among the sample municipalities was Item 41, “ . . .suggests a policy to support a sustainable food system.” This item was found in 73 percent of the sample OCPs (22/30). The City of Prince George received a point for this protocol item for its statement that “The City should consider acquiring lands to support sustainable food systems” (182).  The second most frequently occurring policy item was Item 28, “. . . suggests a policy to support  Table 5 Policies (Total and %)   Municipality Score (X/33)  % Richmond Langford Prince George Victoria Terrace Nanaimo Comox Central Saanich Mission Port Hardy Saanich Fort St. John Sicamous North Saanich Kelowna Gibsons North Vancouver (D/of) Port Alice Whistler Summerland New Westminster McBride Delta Slocan Spallumcheen Port Coquitlam New Denver Port Edward Montrose White Rock  20 19 17 15 14 13 11 11 11 10 10 9 8 8 8 7 7 6 6 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 1 0 0 0  61% 58% 52% 45% 42% 39% 33% 33% 33% 30% 30% 27% 24% 24% 24% 21% 21% 18% 18% 18% 18% 15% 15% 12% 12% 12% 3% 0% 0% 0%  19  urban agriculture.” This item was found in 70 percent of the sample OCPs (21/30). Comox received a point for this protocol item where its plan says, “The town will encourage urban agriculture including the development of backyard gardens as an accessory use on land zoned for residential use” (56).    Four municipalities were unique in containing policy statements found nowhere else in the sample. Port Hardy scored a point for protocol item 33, “. . . makes a specific policy commitment to support non-timber forest products,” for its OCP statement that the Town will “Establish an economic strategy to recognize non-timber forest products” (26). Prince George received a point for protocol item 39, “. . . makes a specific policy commitment to improve the variety of healthy foods available at stores and restaurants.” Its OCP contains a policy to “Support increased consumer access to local and healthy food through local food institutions and retail markets throughout the community” (74). Whistler, meanwhile, received a point for protocol  item 45, “. . . makes a specific policy commitment to reduce the impact of the food system on climate change.” Its plan contains a policy to “Reduce transportation emissions by supporting appropriate opportunities for increasing local food production” (8-5). The City of Nanaimo, meanwhile, scored a point for protocol item 48, “. . . makes a specific policy commitment to support infrastructure for local or regional food distribution,” for its OCP statement that the City would “Initiate further development of community programs related to the production and distribution of food products” (71).    Four of the 33 policy protocol items were not present in any of the sample plans. See Table 8 below  for these items.   3.1.4 Implementation and Monitoring Only 53 percent (16/30) of plans in the sample contained protocol items dealing either with plan implementation or plan monitoring. The City of Victoria and the District of Mission were tied for the highest number of implementation and monitoring protocol items at 43 percent (3/7). The most frequently occurring implementation and monitoring protocol item was Item 55, “. . . plan briefly lists inter-governmental coordination initiatives around food systems,” with 40 percent (12/30) of sample OCPs containing a statement that corresponded to this item. Summerland, for example, received a point on this item for its OCP statement that the Town will, “Engage the federal government’s Agricultural Research Facility to assist with local agricultural and community interests” (35). Most of the OCPs to receive a point on this item contained a statement promising continued cooperation with the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission to preserve and protect farmland.  20  Only two OCPs in the sample—Victoria and New Westminster—contained targets by which food  systems policy success could be measured, thus receiving a point each for protocol item 61. Victoria established a target that “A minimum of 90% of residents are within 400 metres of a full service grocery store by 2041” (119). New Westminster’s OCP, meanwhile, says it will use as a performance measure, an “Inventory of community garden space” (121).  The mean score in the implementation and monitoring category of the evaluation protocol was less than 1 (0.8), or about 3 percent of possible implementation and monitoring protocol items.   3.2  Protocol Item Frequency Protocol items occurred in the sample OCPs with a frequency ranging from 73 percent for the most commonly scored item, to zero for the nine not present in any of the assessed plans. The most frequently occurring protocol items derived from the policy section of the protocol. Seventy-three percent (22/30) of OCPs in the study sample contained a statement that “. . . suggests a policy to support a sustainable food system.” Seventy percent (21/30) of sample OCPs contained a statement that “. . . suggests a policy to support urban agriculture.” Sixty-three percent of sample OCP's contained a statement that “Suggests a policy to preserve agricultural land.” (See Tables 7 and 8 for item frequencies).                                                                                                                                         Table 6 Implementation and Monitoring  (Total and %)   Municipality Score (X/7)  % Mission Victoria Summerland Comox Central Saanich Fort St. John Sicamous Spallumcheen Whistler New Westminster Prince George Nanaimo North Vancouver (D/of) Delta Saanich Richmond Slocan New Denver Port Edward McBride Port Alice Montrose Port Hardy Gibsons North Saanich Terrace White Rock Langford Port Coquitlam Kelowna  3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  43% 43% 29% 29% 29% 29% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%   Table 7: 10 Most Frequently Scored Items   Protocol Item Score X/30 % Score 1 if . . . . . . plan suggests a policy to support a sustainable  food system (P) (41) 22 73% . . .  plan suggests a policy to support urban  Agriculture (P) (28) 21 70% . . .  plan suggests a policy to preserve agricultural  Land (P) (22) 19 63% . . .  plan suggests a policy to support rural  agricultural food production (P) (24) 18 60% . . .  plan suggests a policy to improve access to  food for residents (P) (35) 18 60% . . .  plan recognizes that the food system  represents an important part of the local economy (FB) (02) 17 57% . . .  plan contains an explicit goal to create  a more self-reliant community food system (G) (15) 15 50% . . .  plan suggests a policy to support local food  processing and/or distribution (P) (46) 15 50% . . .  plan makes a specific policy commitment  to preserve agricultural land (P) (23) 14 47% . . .  makes a specific policy commitment to support new opportunities for urban agriculture (P) (30) 14 47% 21   3.3. Correlation Test Results  Of the four correlation tests undertaken, only two returned a positive correlation score. There was a moderate positive correlation score of 0.50 between a municipality's total protocol evaluation score and its total population. There was a weak positive Pearson's R value of 0.39 between a municipality's total evaluation score and the year that its OCP was adopted. There was no Pearson's R value of note to suggest any correlation between a municipality's median family income and its food systems planning score, nor, surprisingly, between the percentage of its population employed in food-related sectors and its food systems planning score. See Appendix II for scatter plot graphs reflecting plan evaluation scores and the four independent variables identified here.  4. Conclusions 4.1 Discussion 4.1.1 Plan Evaluation Results This study asked: (1) What proportion of British Columbia municipalities are incorporating food systems planning into their OCPs? (2) How well are British Columbia communities incorporating food  Table 8: 10 Least Frequently Scored Items Protocol Item Score X/30 % Protocol Item Score X/30 % Score 1 if . . . . . . plan describes in detail inter-governmental co-ordination initiatives around food systems (I/M) (56) 1 3% . . . plan makes a specific policy commitment  to support hunting and trapping of wild game (P) (34) 0 0% . . . plan quantifies the degree to which access  to healthy foods for low income people is a problem in given municipality  (FB) (05) 0 0% . . . plan makes a specific policy commitment  to improve access to traditional foods for First Nations residents  (P) (40) 0 0% plan quantifies how climate change is predicted to impact the local food system (FB) (11) 0 0% . . . plan makes a specific policy commitment  to support local or regional food distribution networks (P) (49) 0 0% . . . plan quantifies the impact of the local food system on climate change (FB) (13) 0 0% . . . Score 1 if plan makes a specific policy commitment to engage under-served populations in local government decisions related to the food system  (P) (52) 0 0% . . . plan contains an explicit goal to  support food systems that are equitable and just  (G) (18) 0 0% . . . if plan describes in detail private sector  co-ordination initiatives around food systems (I/M) ( 58) 0 0% Table 9 Food Systems Evaluation Score Correlation* Matrix  Variable (1) (1) Evaluation Score 1.00 (2) Population .50 (3) OCP Adoption Year .39 (4) Median Income -0.02 (5) % of Population Employed in Food-Related Sectors -0.09 *Pearson’s R correlation co-efficient 22  systems planning into their OCPs based on the inclusion of (a) a fact base to support decision making that strengthens the local food system;  (b) goals and objectives to strengthen the food system; (c) policies to support the local food system and; (d) implementation and monitoring strategies to ensure food system-related policies are implemented. Ninety-three percent of sample municipalities in this study included at least one item from the 61-item evaluation protocol. This, however, is hardly enough to claim that food systems planning is reflected in 93 percent of British Columbia OCPs in meaningful ways. Only 43 percent of sample plans (13/30) included at least one item from each of the four planning content categories (fact base, goals, policies, implementation and monitoring), suggesting that the majority of British Columbia communities are not incorporating food systems planning into their OCPs with great depth. That the official community plans of Richmond and Victoria contain the highest percentage of evaluation protocol items in the sample at only 51 percent and 49 percent respectively, demonstrates that food systems are not addressed with significant breadth either in the development of these documents. This does not mean that food systems are not being addressed elsewhere in municipal planning initiatives—whether in “sustainability plans” or in standalone food systems plans or strategies—but rather that food systems planning in British Columbia is not addressed comprehensively in OCPs. The positive corollary of this, however—and what likely represents a significant departure from OCPs adopted in previous decades as demonstrated by the lacklustre findings of Pothokuchi and Kaufman on the subject in 2000—is that food systems are considered in some way in almost all plans, and are given considerable attention in some of those documents.  The policies category achieved the highest mean protocol score across the sample with 25 percent of protocol items present, while goals was the second highest with an average of 23 percent of protocol items. This suggests that B.C. local governments to some degree recognize the imperative to plan for food systems, and are setting goals and establishing policies to reach those goals. However, the low average fact base score of 15 percent and the dismally low average implementation and monitoring score of 3 percent suggests that the goals being set and policies being established by British Columbia’s local governments around food systems are neither rooted in an understanding of the local food system, nor measurable or undertaken with defined timeframes. The low overall fact base scores are troubling, as most plans fail to acknowledge some of the most pressing food systems-related issues facing local governments deserving of attention and remedy. For example, only one plan—Victoria—acknowledged that “access to healthy foods for low income people is a problem” (22), despite the fact approximately 90,000 British Columbians are helped by food banks each month (Food Banks Canada, 2013). Only two plans—six percent of sample OCPs—contained a statement acknowledging that food waste contributes to the municipal waste stream, despite the fact that when 23  combined with yard and garden waste, food scraps constitute up to 40 percent of the municipal waste stream (University of Wisconsin, 1997).  The most frequently occurring items across the sample plans were broad umbrella statements under which a wide universe of decisions by elected officials could live. As Table 7 indicates, the three most frequently occurring protocol items in the sample plans were: 1) . . . suggests a policy to support a sustainable food system (Item 41) 2) . . . suggests a policy to support urban agriculture (Item 28) 3) . . . suggests a policy to preserve agricultural land (Item 22) Policy statements phrased in these general terms allow city staff and elected officials to make decisions and implement regulations related to the food system  without committing themselves to any specific initiative to which they might later be held to account. One could view this approach through either a positive or a negative lens. It is positive, insofar as sweeping support statements allow municipalities wide latitude to engage in whatever food systems planning initiatives arise from either outside City Hall or from within. However, it could be viewed negatively in that casting such a wide net could also be equated with shirking responsibility to proactively engage in food systems planning. A counter-point to the wide policy net cast by three-quarters of the sample municipalities is Victoria which, by actually setting a target to have a minimum of 90 percent of residents within a full service grocery store by 2041 has established a target by which City Hall and the electorate can measure success and toward which seemingly non-food-related policy decisions (e.g. rezoning approvals) can be oriented.  4.1.2 Correlation Results The moderate positive correlation score of 0.50 between municipal population size and its food planning evaluation score is perhaps unsurprising, as one could infer a link between the size of the tax base, the resource capacity of city staff to devote to incorporating comprehensive food systems planning into an OCP, and perhaps even  a sophisticated political culture both within and outside city hall that would demand food policy planning have a place on the agenda.  It was surprising, however, to find no correlation between the proportion of food systems-related jobs and the incorporation of food systems planning into OCPs, as this issue speaks directly to the importance of the food system to the local economy and livelihoods. Thus an agricultural community like Spallumcheen, with a 22.6 percent of its population employed in some aspect of the food system, can be tied for 14th place among sample municipalities on its evaluation protocol score, while Port Hardy, with 22.5 percent of its population employed in food systems can have the ninth highest score, and Richmond, with only 12.2 percent of its population employed in the food system, can score 24  highest on the evaluation protocol. This finding further supports the aforementioned discovery that population—and by default planning department resources—is the more important contributor to comprehensive food systems planning in an OCP than “closeness” to the food system. So, while Port Hardy’s plan deserves special mention for the fact that the historical and ongoing importance of fisheries and aquaculture permeates its relatively brief plan, the better-resourced Richmond planning department was able to dedicate an 11 page chapter to the subject and achieve a higher evaluation score.  4.2 Limitations and Future Research This study is subject to the same limitations faced by all plan content analyses, namely the consistent application of the evaluation protocol across all plans in light of the variations in language between plans and subjective judgment by coders as to what should, or should not, qualify to earn a point. This problem is all the more stark in this study as circumstances were such that double-coding—which has been shown to reduce subjective application of evaluation protocols in plan content analyses (Krippendorff, 2004)—was not possible. Despite this, every effort was made by the author to apply the evaluation protocol consistently across all plans, as the protocol was tested with a second coder on eight test plans.  A second limitation to the study relates to whether or not the plan evaluation protocol included everything—or indeed too much—to determine whether a given municipality was planning well for its food system in its OCP. Previous food system plan analyses (Hodgson, 2012; Evans-Cowley, 2011) provided a template from which to work, but their studies could be subject to the same examination. Over the course of this research the author encountered policies in the sample plans that were not captured by any items in the evaluation protocol. For example, Prince George’s plan contained a policy to, “Encourage fast food outlets to locate a minimum distance from youth-oriented facilities such as schools and playgrounds” (74). Central Saanich’s OCP, meanwhile, contained a policy to, “Encourage the inclusion of infrastructure that enables people to build community and celebrate food, such as food preparation areas, urban food stands and markets, and places for outdoor eating” (25). This study’s evaluation protocol also failed to capture the inclusion of “buy local” campaigns for municipal governments, which appeared in a handful of plans. Would the inclusion of these items have better helped the author understand whether and how British Columbia municipalities are planning for the food system in their OCPs? Certainly it would have enabled some municipalities in the sample to earn higher scores, but the absence of these items from the evaluation protocol became evident only when the research was well underway. Additionally, Table 8 shows that nine protocol items were not present in any of the sample plans. Their absence could be taken as an indication that they must not be important measures of food systems planning if they were found in 25  none of the sample plans. However, they may well be critically important and it is the plans themselves that fall short. In sum, any evaluation protocol is developed to fit the task at hand, and strives to balance the capture of all important elements without becoming unwieldy. Such is the case with this one. As with any evaluation protocol, the logical follow-up is a return to the OCPs of these same sample municipalities after their next comprehensive OCP update in five years to determine whether incorporation of food systems planning has improved, declined, or plateaued.  4.3  Recommendations Against the backdrop of rising energy prices and greater pressure on individuals and families to access healthy foods, it is disappointing that all OCPs in this study’s sample did not contain at least a goal to create a more self-reliant food system and polices to support urban food production and a more sustainable local food system. The results of this study show that the OCPs of only 15 percent of sample municipalities contained the former goal, while the latter two policies were found in 70 and 73 percent of plans respectively. From reviewing the literature that informed this study and undertaking the plan content research the results of which are discussed here, it is this author’s recommendation that all British Columbia municipalities enshrine in their OCPs a goal to create a stronger local food system and supportive policy statements for each of the five food system categories as follows: 1) Council supports increasing local food production 2) Council supports increasing local food processing 3) Council supports improving local food distribution 4) Council supports improving access to food for residents 5) Council supports improving the sustainable management of food system waste Some local government officials might argue that engaging in food systems planning is beyond the scope of their legislated responsibilities and is therefore not worth their attention. However, because of the non-binding nature of the OCP, all the inclusion of these simple policy statements does is provide a lens through which to view decision making; it enables elected officials to ask themselves each time an idea is pitched by the public, a regulation is proposed by staff, or when a development proposal comes before them, “Does this proposal help us achieve our stated goal of promoting a stronger local food system and is it supported by any of our five food system policies.?” In the absence of a formal direction to use this lens, food systems would be considered only on an ad-hoc, arbitrary basis. Thus, the inclusion in all OCPs of, at a minimum, a goal to create a more robust local food system and policies across the five themes of the food system are recommended and provide a baseline for future planning, regulation, and decision making. All the more desirable of course would 26  be the inclusion of detailed goals based on a relevant fact base and with accompanying implementation plan for all policy statements. However, the simple inclusion of this basic goal and policies provides a stop-gap measure until such a time as the inclusion of food systems planning in OCPs becomes a legislated requirement in the same way that planning for housing and hazard lands are today. Until such inclusion is legislated, a comprehensive approach to food systems planning as reflected in the evaluation protocol of this study is likely to remain a distant, if worthy, aspiration, particularly for smaller municipalities with few planning resources.  4.4  Conclusion Results from the 30-plan evaluation suggest that British Columbia municipalities are not using their OCPs to plan for food in a manner that is either broad or deep. Where they are planning for food, examples come most often in the form of general policy statements about supporting a sustainable local food system or supporting urban agriculture, rather than targeted statements about the policies governments intend to enact to achieve that sustainable food system, or how they will measure progress on the path towards their food system goals. Sample plans in the study generally scored highest in the policy category, while few provided a strong food system fact base on which to build their goals and policies. Only two plans demonstrated targets for their chosen food policies by which success could be measured. The protocol evaluation results show that none of the sample municipalities scored above 80 percent in any of four planning categories, so at best even those who scored highest on the evaluation protocol are planning only moderately well for food systems in their OCPs.  These results can be viewed through lenses both positive and negative. Viewed negatively, the low overall scores suggest B.C. municipalities are not planning well for the food system. On the flipside, 93 percent of sample municipalities scored on at least one item in the evaluation protocol , while the mean percentage score across all sample municipalities was 21 percent of protocol items, despite the fact local governments in British Columbia have no legislated mandate to plan for food. At the very least, food is not “notable by its absence”10 in the OCPs of British Columbia municipalities, though significant room for improvement remains in how those municipalities plan for the food system.                                                               10 As Pothukuchi and Kaufman found it to be in their 2000 survey of U.S. comprehensive plans. (2000, 113).  27  5. References   American Planning Association. Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning. Chicago: APA, 2007.  Arnold, Craig Anthony. 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An Analysis of Factors That Influence Sustainable Development.” Environment and Planning. 36: 1381-1396.  McAllister, Mary Louise. Governing Ourselves: The Politics of Canadian Communities. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004.  Mendes, Wendy. 2008. “Implementing Social and Environmental Policies in Cities: The Case of Food Policy in Vancouver, Canada.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research  32(4): 942-967.   Misty Isles Economic Development Society. Haida Gwaii Agriculture Strategy and Implementation Plan. Queen Charlotte, 2011. http://www.mieds.ca/images/uploads/Final%20Agriculture%20Strategy%20and%20Implementation%20Plan2.pdf Morgan, Kevin. 2009. “Feeding the City: The Challenge of Urban Food Planning.” International Planning Studies. 14(4): 341-348.  Mumford, Lewis. The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1963.  Norton, Richard K. 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Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. London: Chatto and Windus, 2008. 31  Tang, Zhenghong and Brody, Samuel D. 2009. “Linking planning theories with factors influencing local environmental-plan quality.” Planning and Design. 36: 522-537.  Town of Comox. 2011. Official Community Plan Bylaw No.1685, (accessed on March 20, 2013 at http://comox.ca/hall/bylaws/official-community-plan-ocp-bylaw-1685-consolidated/bylaw-1685-consolidated) United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO). http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-home/en/. Accessed March 21, 2013.  University of Wisconsin-Madison Department Of Urban Planning. 1997. Fertile Ground: Food System Planning for Madison/Dade County.  Village of McBride. 2008. Village of McBride Official Community Plan, (accessed on March 20, 2013 at http://mcbride.ca/userfiles/file/admin/McBride%20OCP%20bylaw.pdf).                   32  6.1 Appendix 1: Evaluation Protocol and Item Frequency  33    34  6.2 APPENDIX II: Correlation Scatter Plot Graphs       35        

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