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What are the perceptions of UBC customers regarding the price of food at UBC? Armstrong, Elisa; Man, Choy Yi; Hussein, Laila; Leah, Kathryn; Massara, Loretta; Sempowich, Meghan 2004-03-31

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       The Sustainability of the UBC Food System Collaborative Project III 2004: Scenario 8 What are the perceptions of UBC customers regarding the price of food at UBC? Elisa Armstrong, Choy Yi Man, Laila Hussein, Kathryn Leah, Loretta Massara, Meghan Sempowich  University of British Columbia AGSC 450 March 31, 2004           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.  Lei Wang        ABSTRACT  2004 is the third year of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Food System C oll aborati ve Project on Sustainabil it y (UBC FS P ). Our team, group four, has been assi gn ed the task of r ese archin g Scenario 8: What are the perceptions of UBC customers regarding the price of food at UBC?  Before ini ti ati ng thi s task, we will first clarif y our proble m defini ti on, define the concept of sust ain abil it y, and articulate our vis ion of a sust ainable UBC food s ystem b ased on our assessment of group three’s model of sustainability from the 2003 UBCFSP.    Based on ou r value assu mpt ions that combine both eco -c entrism and weak -anthropocentrism , our gr oup further de fines sust ai nabl e food produ cts in terms of six aspects of food producti on: product ion, packa gin g, adv ertisi ng, transpo rtati on, distribut ion, and disposal. Furthermo re, b y incorpo r ati ng a comm unit y-b ased approach, a resea rch age nda is developed to identif y the perc epti ons of UBC custom e rs re gardi ng the pri ce of food at UBC and pr acti ces to establi sh full costs and benefits. The resea rch inst ruments include quali tative methods , such as surve ys, open- ended que sti onnaires and cost -ben e fit anal ysis , and qu anti tative methods , s uch as statis ti cal measurements of food milea ge and ac ce ssi bil it y of food and met hods of pa ym ent. A timeline is also provided to help guide futu re resea rch in 2005 and 2006. Finall y, in orde r to help validate our resea rc h, we identif y those stake holders wh o stand to ben efit from our resea rch int o assessin g th e perc epti ons of UBC co nsum ers wit h rega rds to food pricing at UBC.   THE UBC FOOD SYSTEM PROJECT  The students of the Land, Food and Comm unit y III class have been invol ve d in a coll ab orati ve resea rch pr oject for the last thr ee ye ars, in an ef fort to evalu a te the UBC food s ystem in terms of ecolo gic al, social and economi c sust ainabili t y. Each yea r has taken the information gathered in the previous year’s research to create new ideas and initi ati ves for a more sust ainable UBC fo od s ystem.   In the first yea r of thi s pr oject, 2002, the students of the Agricult ural Scien ces 450 (AGSC 450) class were assi gned the task of conc eptualiz ing and conne cti ng the dif ferent inter related aspects of the UBC food s ystem. Durin g the secon d ye ar, 2003, students w e re assi gned the task of developi n g a model fo r evaluatin g the UBC foo d s ystem in terms of its overall sust ainabili t y. The y developed sp ecific indi cators to help determ ine the sust ainabili t y of the food s ystem in terms of soc ial, economi c, and ecologi cal factors. As well , groups develop e d a visi on of what a sust ainable UBC food s ystem consi sts of and made recomm end ati ons as to how we can bett er achieve thi s vision.   Currentl y, the UBC FS P is in its thi rd ye ar of rese a rch and dev elopm ent. Us ing the models of sust ainabili t y from the cl ass of 2003, we have be e n assi gned th e task of critiqu ing and modi f yin g the sustainabil it y models from last ye ar as well as dev elopi ng a plan for res ear ch int o the possib il it y and acceptabili t y of moving th e UBC food s ystem tow a rds overall sust ainabili t y.   GROUP THREE’S MODEL FOR SUSTAINABILITY   Choosi ng a sin gle best m odel to evaluate the susta inabili t y of the UBC foo d s ystem was a difficult task as man y of the models contained asp ects that we felt wer e important. After care full y evaluatin g each of the four best U BCFS P papers and websit es fro m 2003, our group chose group three’s model.  Although group three’s problem definition is not stated clearly in their paper, we fee l that this statement, adapted from their paper, best defines the problem at hand, “In light of our awar eness of globaliz ati on, increas ed population, and its later conne cti on with the food s ystem, we need to tak e a deepe r look at the issues surroun ding sus tainabil it y and ex plore some possible indicators of sustainability within our food system at UBC.” The indi cators that group three uses to ev aluate su stainabil it y ar e divi ded int o social, ec onomi c and ecolo gical factors. Wit hin each of th ese cat e gories, the re are t wo specific indicators that can be measured to help locate the UBC food system on the “Sustainable -Unsustainable” continuu m.   Ecologic al Indicato rs    The indi cators that group three uses to ass ess the ecologic al sus tainabil it y of the UBC food s ystem are as follows:  1) The UBC compos ti ng s ystem which is measu re d quanti tativel y b y the number of compos ti ng bi ns on campus avai lable at residenti al and food service lo cati ons an d consum er aw are ness of them, and  2) The sourc e of food co nsum ed at UBC, which i s measured b y the number of medium and l ar ge siz ed trucks comi n g onto campus .     Although these two sp eci fic indi cators are importa nt for measurin g ecolo gical sust ainabili t y, th e wa ys i n which group thre e prop oses to measure them are not feasibl e.  With regards to the UBC compos ti ng s ystem, we feel that countin g the number of bins on campus and measu ring th e awa reness o f these bins will not accuratel y me as ure ecolo gic al sust ainabili t y sim pl y bec ause ther e ar e numerous compos ti ng bins on cam pus, it does not mean that people ar e nec essaril y usin g them. A bett e r wa y of measurin g thi s indi cator would be to quanti tativel y measu re th e amount of compos t that is being coll e cted in thes e bins by wa y of a volum e  marker on the bi ns or by the wei ght of the compos t collected in the bins. As well , the percent a ge of th e waste produced at UBC that is compos ted inst ead of dep osit ed in a landfill can also be a wa y of quanti tativel y measurin g the ecolo gical sus tainabil it y of the UBC food s ystem.    Although usin g the sourc e of food consum ed at UBC is a good indi cator of ecolo gical sust ainabili t y, th e method by which group thre e proposes to measur e it is not feasibl e. B y counti ng the numbe r of medium and lar ge siz ed trucks comi n g onto camp us, we would not be able to determi ne wh er e the food was comi ng fro m or even if the tru cks were carr yin g food. A bett er measur ement of ecological sus tainabil it y of the source of food consu med on campus is food miles, the dist ance i n miles that a food produ ct has travel ed to rea ch UBC. This can be measured b y sim pl y ex ami ning the food pur chasi ng records at food servi c e outl ets on campus .   Economi c Indicators    The economi c indi c ators that group thr ee uses to measure the sust ainabili t y of the UBC food s ystem are determi ned by th e flow of mone y. Group three feels that a t the core of economic sustainability is “profitability and the ability of a system to maintain a decent standard of living for all participants.” Additionally, “the system must not contribute to radical polarization of wealth since dramatic concent rat ion of wealt h in two han ds cannot sustain a desira ble standard of living”. W it h thi s weakl y anthropoc en tric ideal in mind , group t hree developed the foll owin g two indi cators for me asuring economi c sust ainabi li t y:  1) The profit abil it y of the UBC food s ystem, measur ed by revenu e and the acc essi bil it y of food s ervice providers in t erms of locati on, methods of pa ym ent avai lable and hours of op erati on, and  2) Equity of the UBC food s ystem, measu red b y the number of empl o ye es workin g at fo od service outl ets that are students and/or residenc es of the UBC co mm unit y and the af forda bil it y of food at UBC food outl ets  The criteri a outl ined for t he first indicator is an ex cell ent wa y of measurin g economi c sust a inabili t y. Not onl y does revenu e measu re pro fitabili t y, but accessibility  in terms of locati on and choic es of method of pa ym ent will also contribute to the pr ofit abil it y of a food outl et . These ar e both ex cell ent indicators of sust a inabili t y beca use the y are eas y to determine withi n the UBC food s ystem. Revenue can be dete rmined by ex ami ning the food service outl et ye a rl y revenue reports. As well , it might be worth while to measure qu anti tativel y, consum er awar eness of food servic e outl ets as a part of econ omi c sust ainabili t y.   The criteri a outl ined for t he equit abil it y indi cator are cl ear and con cise . Me asuring th e students’ willingness to pay as well their ability to pay are appropriate ways to determine the afford abil it y of foods in t he UBC food s ystem. Ad dit ionall y, m easurin g the number of students working in UBC food ou tl ets is also another feasi b le wa y of measurin g eq uit abil it y and economi c sust ainabili t y .  Social Indic ators    According to group three, “the goals of a sustainabl e food s yst em should ultimately benefit humans” and, “a socially sustainable food system is one that preserv es and enh anc es the healt h and well - being of the individuals.” The indicators used to measure the social sustainability in group three’s model inclu de: 1)  The ac cessi bil it y of food, measured b y hou rs of op erati on and the variet y of foods avail able that are nutrit ious, safe and cult urall y acc eptable, and 2)  C omm unit y invol vement with the UBC food s yste m, measured b y the invol vement of the UBC Farm in providi n g food as well as the amount of student involvement and ini ti ati ve  The criteri a for a sociall y sust ainable food s ystem include havin g both Alm a Matter Societ y (AMS ) and UBC Food Servic e outl ets located throu ghout campus with hours of operati on that re flect con sumer needs, as well as food outl ets that offer ex panding ethni c varieti es and hi gh quali t y, nutrit ious foods.  The criteri a for me asurin g student involvement wi th the UBC food s ystem are ex cell ent indi cators of social sus tai nabil it y. Group thr ee su g gests me asurin g the amo unt of ingr edients the farm suppli es to food services and comm unal dinners whenev er possibl e. The y do not, however, su ggest that in order fo r the UBC food s ys tem to be consi d ered s ustainable that all foods suppli ed to food se rvices on campus shoul d come from the UBC fa r m as this is unreali sti c. The indi cator s for social sus tainabil it y are set at reali sti c levels and the crite ria ar e att ainable as ther e are no set max im ums for the farm to provide food for the UBC food s ystem  These crite ria can be real ist icall y measur ed to hel p determi ne if the UBC food s ystem is sociall y sust ainable or no t in terms of the criteria outl ined above b y group t hree. As awa reness is the key to achievin g a sust ainable food s ystem, we feel that educ ati on an d awar eness of the comm unit y about the UBC food s ystem is also an important indicator. It can be measur ed quali tativel y throu gh sur ve ys and open ended que sti onnaires and the infor mation the y provide can then be us ed to furth er develop ed pro gr ams to educate th e comm unit y. This requires coll aborati on betwe en all facult ies at UBC as well as food servic e provide rs , the UBC Farm, and sust ainabili t y ini ti ati ve groups such as the UBC Susta inabili t y Office.    The reason we chose group three’s model for evaluating the UBC food system was due to their understandin g that i n order fo r a s ystem to be sust ainable, it does not have to be at 100% working capa cit y. For ex ampl e, group thre e set their social indi cators at 75% for sust ainable when it comes to student involvement and contribution of UBC Farm in the UBC food system. Additi onall y, th e ir values for ecolo gical in dicators wer e also set at values lower than 100% making  the indic at ors more re ali sti c and ac hievable.   In addit ion to choosi ng s ome reali sti c indi cators of sustainabil it y, group thr ee also chos e more than one wa y to measure each of th ese indi c ators. For ex ampl e, econ omi c sust ainabili t y can be me asured b y two different indic ators: profi tabili t y and equit abil it y. These two indi cators can then be m easur ed qu anti tativel y b y sev eral dif ferent factors. It is impor tant to not e that the sust ainabili t y of a s ystem invol ves ex tremel y com plex int eracti ons between a number of different components and stakeholders with in the s ys tem. Group th ree reco gniz es thi s and att empt s to find num erous wa ys to measure th ei r indicators of sust ainabili ty.  Although group three’s indicators and criteria for measuring these are numerous and concise, we feel that the y are not ad equate enou gh to accur atel y locate th e UBC food s ystem on the “Sustainable- Unsustainable” continuum. A lt hough some of th e indi cator s can be used to accur atel y measu re the sustainabil it y of the food s ys tem in terms of indi vid ual economi c, social, and ecolo gic al fac tors, not all are quanti tati vel y me asurabl e which we feel is an important factor in dete r mi nin g the over all sust ainabili t y of the UBC food s ystem. Late r in this paper, we will outl ine our adapted model for sust a inabili t y with indicators that we feel are adequatel y repr esentative of the over all sust ainabili t y of the UBC food s yst em.   THE TASK AT HAND  In te rms of the UBC foo d s ystem, we will be looki ng at cu rrent food pricin g at UBC and its impli cati ons for developi ng ini ti ati ves to adopt more sust ainable fo od pu rchasin g poli cies. Cons umer perc e pti on is an int egral p art of this resear ch and will be centr al in stud yin g the components of our research agend a.   VALUE ASSUMPTION   Paradigms are the lenses through whi ch we or gani z e the gath erin g of infor mation about the world (Roj as & Skura, 2002). They play an important role in shaping our group’s vision of a sustainable UBC food system and guiding us in defining the concept of sustainability and choosing the corresponding indicators.   Due to differ ent academi c back grounds and life ex pe riences, our group ini ti all y had two different v alue assu mpt ions. Several people claimed the y were mor e eco -c entric than othe r philosophies, as their values were in accordance with “the philosophical premise that the natural world has intrinsi c value, be yo nd its si gnif icance as resou rces for th e satisfacti on of human needs, want, and desires” (Rojas & Skura, 2002). They argued that human beings were onl y small part of the wh ole system of the biosp h e re and human beings sho uld be respe ctful of Nature. Mor eover, we cannot live if the system di es; thus, if we take car e of the syst em, it wil l take ca re of us.  Th ese gr oup members put a great er importanc e on the ecologic al aspect o f sust ainabili t y b y id enti f yi ng indi cators th at focus o n assessing the ecolo gic a l im pact of the UBC food s ystem and its role in sust ainabili t y.   A few othe r group memb ers found the philos oph y of weak anthropoc entrism to be more appropri ate in desc ribing the inter acti ons be tween human bein gs and the environment. The centr al belief of wea k anthropocentrism is tha t it is natural for human beings to give themselves more  importa nce than other thin gs in n ature, but the well -b ein g of the human species is inex tricabl y lin ked to the healt h of the bi osphere (Rojas & Skura, 2002).    Under the combi ned valu e assum pti ons of both ec o -centrism and weak -anthropocentrism, and considering our specific scenario focuses on UBC customers’ percepti ons re gardin g fo od prices and sust ainabl e food products our group emphasiz es the concept of a sust ainable food s ys tem that int e grat e s ecologi cal, economi c and social aspects of sust ainabili t y with indicators of equal weight in as sessi ng the sustainabil it y of UBC food s ystem.   GROUP FOUR’S DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABILITY   Befo re reve ali ng our visi on of a sust ainable U BC food s ystem, it is important to define sustainability according to our group’s value assumptions.  Sustainabil it y is a concep t that can be measu red in terms of ecolo gic al, econ omi c, and social indicators. It is def ined as the long t erm via bil it y and cap acit y of a sys tem to endur e over time; specificall y, in ter ms of a food s ystem, its abil it y to sustain food pro ducti on to meet current n eeds, and achiev e human and ecolo gical well -bein g without compromi sing the abil it y of future gen er ati ons and ecos ystems to meet their own needs (Bruntland, 2003). As well , a sust ainable UBC food s ystem shoul d be economi c all y viable and shoul d meet the ne eds of the community for safe, nutritious food while conserving and enhancing the community’s natural resourc es and quali t y of environment.   GROUP FOUR’S VISION OF A SUSTAINABLE UBC FOOD SYSTEM   I n acco rdan ce with our definiti on of sust ainabili t y, we have developed a vi sion of a sust ainable UBC food s ystem. A sust ainable UBC food s ystem is one that:  Ecologic all y:  mi nim iz in g input s such as fertili z ers and pesti cide s  uses local, season al prod ucts when avail abl e   mi nim iz es its ecological footprint by uti li z ing more plant -based foods and reli es less on the use of non -rene wable resourc es  strives to conserve the ec os ystem b y mini mi z ing environmental dama ge an d poll uti on  strives to balance the us e s of natural resourc es  max im iz es pre and post -consum er compos ti ng an d rec ycli n g  Economi call y:  hires local communi t y m embers to work in the fo od s ystem  provides safe, nut ritiou s, high qual it y products at fair and accept able pric es  incorporates effici ent and profit able food se rvice outl ets that are able to reinvest capit al to fu rther enhanc e the sustainabil it y of the UBC comm unit y   Sociall y:  educates comm unit y me mbers of their role in sus ta inable practi ses  provides a vari et y of saf e , nutrit ious, and if avail a ble cult urall y ac ceptable sust ainable food products  encoura ges invo lvement of comm unit y membe rs in the UBC food s ystem through invol vement wit h the UBC Farm and oth er simi lar pro grams th at contribut e to the over all sust ainabili t y of the UBC comm unit y  SCENARIO 8 PROBLEM DEFINITION   The curr ent per cepti ons of UBC comm unit y m embers and consum ers re gar ding sust ainable food products ar e cu rrent l y unknown. In order to proceed with init iatives to chan ge pur chasin g poli cies to reflect ou r vision of a sust ainable UBC food s ystem, consum er percepti on and behaviour wit h regards to food pricin g at UBC must be assessed.  This inf ormation wil l help us to gage cur rent and poten ti al supp ort for purchasin g sust ainable food produ cts as well as ass ess the economi c, social, and ecolo gical costs and ben efits of adopti ng th ese pr act ises. Ulti matel y, the goal of th is scenario is to develop wa ys to further und erstan d the current and potential cust omer support for sust aina ble food products as well as understand custom er behaviour with respect to the pri cing of sustainable food products.    Befo re add ressi n g our re search agend a, it is important to define wh at sus tainable food products ar e. Sustainable food produ cts are t hose that are produced, packa ged, adve rtised, transported, distribut ed, and disposed of in a mann er that reflects our pr inci ples of a sust ainable food s ystem at UBC.  Id eall y, sust ainable food products are thos e that, in terms of, 1)  P roducti on  use mini mal input s (e.g. water)  maintain soil healt h  opti mi z e nutrient rec ycli ng  use integrati ve pest man a gem ent and decre as e the use of pesti cides   are produ ced b y UBC Farm or local farm markets withi n the lower mainland  mi nim iz e overall ecolo gi cal impact  2)  P acka gin g  use mini mal packa gin g with max im um use of compos table organic materials  mi nim iz es inpu t costs to maintain compet it ive food prices  produces the low est level s of waste possi ble b y using rec ycl able materials for packa gin g or packa gin g mad e from rec ycled materials  3)  Advertisement  uses advertisi n g that inco rporates edu cati on about sust ainabili t y iss ues and   promot es plant -based foo ds and eati n g lower in th e food chain  advocates the sust ain abil it y of the UBC food s yste m and builds a strong indus tr y identit y to att rac t lo yal custom ers  offers info rmati on on ways that comm unit y m embers can get involved with improving sust ainab il it y  4)  Transportati on  decre ases food mil es to reduce fossi l fu el use and emi ssi ons to help preserv e the environm ent  uses local, fr esh foods in order to minim iz e harves t - t o -table time  5)  Dist ributi on  uses a centr ali z ed, local dist ributi on center  dist ributes local products to campus in an effi cient manner that decre ases envi ronmental impact  increas es the eas e of acc e ss to food service outl ets by ensu ring th at food outl ets are ev enl y dist rib uted across campus  6)  Disposal  increas es pre and post -co nsum er rec yc li ng and co mpos ti ng  reli es less on non-r ec ycl a ble products such as St yr ofoam  encoura ges the use of reu sable utensil s and contai ners  See Appendix C for the Food Price Breakdown  INDICATORS OF SUSTAINABILITY WITHIN THE UBC FOOD SYSTEM   Now that we hav e provid ed our visi on of a sust ain able UBC food s yst em, we can outl ine specific indicators th at are important in measurin g the contribut ion of food pricing to its over all sustainability. Many of these indicators are similar to those outlined in group three’s model, but have be en modi fied in or der to be appli c able to ou r scena rio.  Ecologic al Indicato rs 1)  The source of food consum ed at UBC, me asured by food miles This indicator ex ami nes where the food consum e d at UBC comes from. It determi nes the food mile s in an effort to det ermine whether or not it can be consi der ed local. Oft e n, products such as produ ce ar e ch eape r when imported than if the y ar e gro wn lo call y. If the UBC food s ystem was to bu y onl y locall y grown produce, the price of food at UBC could potentiall y incr ease. This would affe ct the per cepti ons of UBC custom ers regardin g the price of pur chasing mo re sust ainable food products. 2)  Ecologic al footpr int Food produc ed in an ecologic all y sust ainabl e man ner that dec re ases the use of pesti cides and oth er inputs often requir es more int ensive labour. Thus, food products that are produ ced in an effo rt to decre ase ecolo gical footprint can pot enti all y be more ex pensive which will affect consum er percepti ons of food price s.    Economi c Indicators 1)  P rofit abil it y of the UBC food s ystem In order for the UBC foo d s ystem to maintain fun cti on, it must be profit able for th e stakeho lders invo lved . When the food s ystem is profit able, capit al can be reinvested into the s yste m to further enhan ce its sust ainabili t y. If consum ers ar e pa yin g hi gher pric es for sust ainable food products but do not see an y ben efits of doin g so, their per cepti ons of purchas in g these product s will be affe cted.  Social Indic ators 1)  C onsum er acc eptabili t y and afford abil it y of sustai nable food produ cts This indicator looks at the wil li ngness to pa y as well as the abil it y to pa y for sust ainable food prod ucts. Thi s i s the most important indicator in our scenario. It is important t o note that although peop le might be wil li ng to pay mor e for sust ainable food products, the y migh t not be able to affo rd sust ainable food products . 2)  C onsum er educati on and awar eness of sust ain abl e food products Education and awareness are imperative in developing a more sustainable food system. Hopefully, if more people are aware of the benefits of consuming sustainable food products, their perception of buying these products will be more positive and they will be more inclined to purchase them when available.  RESEARCH AGENDA   In order to ad dress the pr oblem definiti on of scena rio eight, the following resear ch agenda was develope d and inclu des wa ys to: 1)  Id enti f y the per cepti ons of UBC custom e rs re gar ding the pric e of food 2)  Ex ami ne the economi c costs and benefits of ado pt ing more sust ainabl e foo d purchasin g poli cies. The two poli cies that we have agreed to ex pand on are:  I.  From whom the UBC an d AMS food services are purchasin g. II.  In cre asing pu rch asing ac cessi bil it y b y incre asin g more ac ceptable method of pa ym ents. (I. e . debi t and credit card tr a nsacti ons). 3)  Establis h the ecologi cal, economi c, and soci al cos ts and benefits of adopti n g sust ainable food pra cti ce s at UBC. We have inclu ded five food practi c es in anal yz in g thi s task: I.  Develop a campus wide educati on pro gr am conc e rnin g sust ainable food products II.  In cre ase the procur ement of food produc ed in an ecologic all y sound manner III.  In cre ase the us e of locall y gro wn food IV .  Decr ease food pack a gin g V.  In cre ase pr e and post - co nsum er rec yc li ng and co mpos ti ng and encoura ge the use of reus able containe rs and utens il s  MOTIVES FOR RESEARCH  1)  Economi c  In cre asing profit withi n the UBC food s ystem 2)  S ocial  In cre asing custom er sati s facti on; meeti n g cult ural and social needs and wants  In cre asing comm unit y an d custom er aw aren ess 3)  Ecologic al  Decr easin g ecolo gi cal impact/ footprint on the UBC food s ystem  RESEARCH DESIGNS  The food S yst ems projec t at UBC has be en a coll a borati ve ef fort involvi ng acti on -based resea rch. Th e students of Agricultural Scienc es 45 0 with the AMS and UBC food services are conducti ng this resea rch. In order to und erstand th e components of our rese arch agenda, it is necessa r y to out li ne the benefits of such rese arch especiall y sin ce futur e obj ecti ves ma y be based on our recomm end ati ons through thi s rese ar ch method.  Wh y Acti on Resea rch? Acti on rese arch is ben efi cial in that it allows comm unicati on between the people most affe cted b y the result s of the rese arch ( e.g. student s.). It p romotes fe edback between the people making the decisi on and the conce rned comm unal re gion. The facult y of Agr icultur al Scienc es takes gre at pride to have students be an acti ve part of this integrat ed ef fort t owards a sust ainable food s ystem at UBC. We, as students can be mor e signifi cant i n making ch an ges since man y of the result s obtained from this projec t wil l most specificall y af fect us. It is important to signify that, “change for the sake of change is a meaningless exercise that accomplishes little and often leads to disaster.” (Pearson, 2004). We wish to emphasize that the main visi on of thi s project shou ld be clearl y de fine d. In order for acti on rese arch to be compete nt the foll owin g criteria, adapted from must be reco gniz ed and esta bli shed:   Mana g ement must maint ain and demons trate com mi tm ent -  UBC , AMS and the peop le acti vel y invol ved in this project sh ould be dedicated in implementi ng the recomm end ati ons sought b y thi s project.   The pac e of ch an ge shoul d be moni tored* -  It is cru cial to dete rmine list of recomm endati ons that must be implemented and b y wha t tim e. Changes shoul d be int roduced casuall y at a slow pace so th at the co nsum ers at UBC are not overwhelm ed b y it.   C omm unicati on shoul d be conti nuous -  There shoul d be a const a nt feedba ck loop betwe e n members involved keepin g all conc erned gr oups post ed about what is being acti vel y im plemented, wh y it is happenin g, what the group can ex pect and how it relates to the lon g term goal.  Involvi n g respondents in the process -  Although the feasibi li t y of thi s ma y be qu esti ona ble, this project would be benefited from havin g invol vement from other fac ult ies or studen ts that ma y be int erested. Wit h invol ving more peopl e in this project, students ma y have a bett er hand i n being in s ync with the objecti ve at hand. As the sa yin g go es, the more, th e merrie r. More suppo rt can be induc ed for th e chan ges implemented.  Focus on a few thin gs at a time*  -  “Too many changes at one time are a recipe for disaster.”(Brown, 2004). Focus on small er factors and work with them annu all y. Upon compl eti on, set other few sm all er obj ecti ves that could be appli ed.  *Th es e crit eria wil l be elab o r ated up on in ou r timeli n e.  Random Sampl ing  Our res ear ch inst ruments have be en desi gned bas e d on random sampl ing . This method induces unbiased result s, “… [it] is the purest form of probability sampling.” (StatPac, 2004 ). Random sampl ing ensur es that pe ople have an equal and known chanc e of being s elected. It is espe ciall y useful when de ali ng with large populations since i t is often difficult to identi f y and get feedba ck from ever y m e mber of the population in volved.  HOW TO STUDY THE COMPONENTS OF OUR RESEARCH AGENDA  Quali tative Methods :   Surveys and open-ended questionnaires to identify what UBC customer’s values and to identi f y per cepti ons of UBC cus tomer’s with respect to the price of food i.e., what would they pay more or less for?  Full costs and bene fits can be measur ed b y cost benefit analysis and  ex amining  the social impact of the fi ve food pra cti ces listed above.   Quanti tative Methods :   Ex ami ne the economi c costs and benefits of adopt ing more sust ainabl e foo d purcha sin g poli cies for campus food servic es b y anal yz ing th e two poli cies listed above and und erstandin g food prices.  Full costs and bene fits can be measur ed b y anal yz ing costs asso ciated with t he five food pra cti ces listed above.  1 )  OPEN -E NDED QUEST IO NNA IRES /W RITTEN SURVE YS  Open -end ed questi onnair es can be us eful in dete r mi ning the true pe rc epti on of UBC custom ers re ga rding pric e of foo d. The y wo uld have the opportuni t y to respond to short questi ons regardin g thi s area. Thi s gives the respondents an opportuni t y to share valu able information that ma y int er est them or have not been thought of b y the resea rc hers themselves. Qu esti onnaire desi gn pro ceeds in a precise and orde rl y m ann er. Questi on nair es follow a well -structur ed proc ed ure outl ined in the flow chart located in Appendix A: (adapted from Stat Pac In c., 2004   See Appendix A for an example of Open-Ended Questionnaires and Appendix B for the Economic Cost and Benefit Analyses  TIMELINE FOR ACTION   The nex t two Agricult ur a l Sciences classes have m an y sp ecific tasks to addr ess. Primar y resea rch ne eds to be con ducted and the rese arch model needs to be conti n ued ac cordin g to the steps previous l y outl ined . Accordin g to the Agric ult ural Scienc es 450 cl ass UBC Food S ystem Coll aborati ve project, the goals of thi s proje ct wer e defined in the ov erall visi on stated for the first AGCS 450 class in 2002. As defined in our Scenario ei ght spe cific tasks, we have developed a possi ble tim eli ne for the nex t two yea rs. Up to this moment in time we, the 2004 AGS C 450 group 4, have foll owed the previous l y defined resea rch agenda model. The feasibi li t y of thes e speci f ic tasks must be decided by all stakehold ers involved in thi s project during the nex t two yea rs . This includes Agricultural Sciences and Food an d Nutrit ion professors, cou rse coo rdi nators, the AMS Food an d Beve ra ge Dep artment and UBC Foodservic es. We have begun to d evelop the quest ionnaires and surv e ys, such as the ones in our appendic es.  This flow chart will conti nue to be develop ed in the nex t two yea rs. The firs t task for the 2005 AGSC  450 class will be to continue refi ning the dat a coll ecti on i nstruments, the questi onnaires and surv e ys , in an effort to incr eas e the clarit y and ease of deli ver y. A second, related task wil l be to co nduct prim ar y res ear ch t o determi ne a factual cos t and benefit an al ysis and determi ne the num er ical value of sustainabl e food products that can be sold on campus . This can be done b y ex ami ning the actu al num eri cal costs for items discus sed in our own pape r; such as purch asing lo cal food, decr easin g food pa cka gin g and ex pandin g alt ernate wast e dispo sal methods . A comm odit y chain an al ysis ma y also be an ex cell ent too l to use along with cost benefit an al ysis to d etermi ne the app ropriate prices for mor e sust ainab le food items to be offe r ed on the AMS and UBC foodse rvices menus .   The task for the 2006 Agricultural Sciences class i s to conduct communi t y- based resea rch throu gh focus gr oups and surve ys dev eloped in the previous ye ar. This can be done b y conducti ng focus groups and visioni ng seminars (Leibl en ). In an effo rt to produce efficient result s about the opini on of students in regards to t he price of food at UBC resear ch shoul d first be conducted withi n the agricultural sci en ces facu lt y and withi n the junior residenc es, Totem and Vanier, wher e all students are eati n g meals pr ovided by UBC Foods er vices. Inform ati on regardin g consum er perc epti ons and awa reness o f food pricin g can th en be compi led and finall y an al yz ed. Furth er sust ainable food-pur chas ing ini ti ati ves can be dev eloped based on the findings from this res ear ch. STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES  Encoura gin g the use of sustainable food producti o n, purchasin g and dispos al wit hin the UBC food s ystem will ha ve far -re achin g effe cts.  Research to d etermi ne th e plausibi li t y of impleme nti ng thi s t ype of protocol will be determi ned throu gh our resea rch of custom er percepti ons of food price s at UBC.  The thr ee mai n stakeholders who wil l benefit from this resea rch are: the UBC fo o d outl ets, both AMS and UBC oper ated, the UBC comm unit y including perm anent on campus residents and facu lt y as well as non -residen ts, and local farmers in cludi ng UBC Farm.   The over all assum pti on is that food prices will inc rease if mo re sust ainable food producti on and purch asing pr acti ces are empl o ye d. Our res ear ch will determ ine whether or not custom ers would be wil li ng to pa y inc reas ed pric e s for their food given the proposed bene fits to the environment.  If mor e sust ainable food pr acti c es result in highe r food prices in gene ral, UBC food se rvice outl ets ma y ini ti all y s ee an imm ediate de cre ase in sales result ing in lower profit . It is our feeli n g ho wever, that as more sust a inable practi c es becom e the norm and as the demand for them inc reas es, long-t erm savin gs will be able to offset short -term losses.  Therefo re, it is assum ed t hat UBC food outl ets wil l benefit from the resea rc h through inc reas ed profit s in the long term. UBC custom ers wil l also benefit from this res ear c h. As the y come to understand the reasons b ehind more sust ainable food producti on, the y will come to ex pect food producti on methods that are mor e sensiti ve to the earth and its inhabit ants. Loc al farmers, including those at the UBC farm, who will be enco ura ged b y thes e proposed ideas to sup pl y much of the food consum ed at UBC, can ben efit as their products will likel y form the basis of the UBC food s ystem. CONCLUSION P erhaps the gr eatest ben e fit of this resear ch will come from the incr eased knowledge b y all members of the UBC comm unit y about the ben efits of sust ainabili t y in their own lives and the wa ys the y might inco rporate this new found kn owledge outsi de the bou ndaries of the UBC food s ystem. We shoul d all strive to enhanc e sust ainabili t y in our personal lives and one wa y to do thi s is to be aware of the food we eat and wher e it is comi ng from. If we all make an effort to purchase sust ainabl e food products, we will be one step closer to achievi ng our visi on of a sust ainable UBC food s ystem.                   REFERENCES  1.  Au, Shum ann, et. Al. , The Sustainabil it y of UBC Food S ystem Coll aborati ve Project II. Vancouve r: Agricult ural Science 450, UBC, 2003.  2.  Bouris, Krist ina. 2003 UBC Food S ystem Coll aborati ve Project: Summ ar y of Findi ngs. Vancouv er: Ca mpus Sustainabil it y Office, UBC, 2003.  3.  Bri gh ten, Car yn, et. Al., The Sustainabil it y of UBC Food S ystem Coll abor ati ve Project II Scen ario #8. Vancouver: Agricultural S cience 450, UBC, 2003.  4.  Brown, Le ster R. (2003). Plan B: Rescuing a Plan et Under Stress and a Civi liz ati on in Trouble. New York, NY: W .W . Norton.  5.  Brown, Le ster R. (2003, Decemb er). Wakeup Call on the Food Front. Eco-Econom y Updates . Retri eved J anuar y 15, 2004 fr om the World Wide Web: htt p:/ /www.earth -poli c y. org/Upd ates/Update31.ht m  6.  C heng, Katherine, et. al. Assessi ng the Sustainabil it y of the UBC Campus . Vancouve r: Agricult ural Science 450, UBC, 2003.  7.  Feenstra, G.W. 1997. “Local Food Systems and sustainable communities.” American Journal of Alternative Agriculture . Vol 12(1): pa ges 28-36.  8.  Group Thre e (2003). Th e Sustainabil it y of th e UBC Food S ystem: Coll abor ati ve Project II. UBC, Van cou ver.  9.  Indic ators of Sustainabil it y Tr aini ng. Retri evied fr om the World Wide Web March 13, 2004: htt p:/ /www.sust ainablemeasures. com/ Traini n g/ In dicators/Outl ine.html  10.  Kloppenbur g, J ohn, J r., John Hendrick son and G. W . Stevenson. Comi ng In To The Food shed. Agricult ure and Huma n Values 13:3 (summ er): 33 -42, 19 96  11.  Lieblein, G. Francis, C., & Torjusen, H. 2001. “Future interconnections among ecolo gical farmers, proce ssors, marketers, and con sumers in Hedmark C ou nt y, Norway: Creating a Shared Vision”. Human Ecology Review, Vol.8 No. 1: pages 60 -70.   12.  P earson. Acti on Planning in the Surve y Pro cess. R etrieved from the World Wide Web March 1, 2004: http: // www.pearsonncs. com/ resea rch -not es/95 -02.htm  13.  P rett y, J ules. Poli cies That Work for Sustainable Agriculture. Re gen er ati ng Agriculture, 1995.   14.  R ojas, A. & Skura, B. (2 002). Agricult ural Scien c es 250, Land, Food and Comm unit y I course mat erial. UBC, Vancouv er.   15.  University of British Columbia Waste Management “Compost Project”.  (2003). Retrieved Februa r y 19, 2004 from the World Wide Web: htt p:/ /www.rec ycle.ub c.c a/rwaste/compos t.pdf APPENDIX A: OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONNAIRE  RESEAR C H METHODO LOGY  B E NEFIT S OF OPEN -E NDED QUEST IO NNA IRES  1.  C ost effecti ve. Th e lar ger the sampl e s iz e and more the questi ons the more cost effe cti ve the y are. 2.  Eas y to anal yz e. Data ent r y and tabulati ons can be documented in softwar e appli cati ons with relative ease. 3.  Most people are familiar with them and don’t become hesitant about them. 4.  The y redu ce bia s. Qu esti ons are pr esented in a uni form manner and ar e not influenced by the researcher’s agenda. 5.  The y ar e less int rusive than telephone or face - t o - f ace surv e ys. The y can be mailed, or in our cas e rep resented durin g class time. The y can be short in length not taking too much time.   EXAMP LE SUG GEST IVE SUR VEY CIRCLE ONE: 1.  Do you find food pric es at UBC:   a.  cheap er than othe r places   b.  sim il ar to other places c.  more ex pensive than other plac es .  2.  W hat foods would you be will ing to pa y more for ? a.  Or ganic b.  Loc all y prod uc ed c.  High nutrit ional value d.  Food produc ed using eco logicall y sound methods .  3.  I would want knowled ge about where m y foods were mad e and/or comi ng from? YES                                 NO   4.  If UBC resorted to seaso nal produce, (i.e. providi ng food th at is locall y av ail able due to t he seasonal cli mate e. g. strawb erries onl y i n summer), would you be supportive of thi s method:       YES                                 NO   5.  P ick a single food item (i ncludi ng bev era ges) that yo u find mor e ex pensive at UBC  than at other lo cati ons in the lower mainl an d ._________________                    APPENDIX B: ECONOMIC COST AND BENEFIT ANALYSES  I) ECONOMIC COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF FOOD PURCHASING POLICIES:  1) From whom the UBC and AMS food servic es are purch asing.   2) Incr easin g purc hasin g acc essi bil it y b y in cre asing more ac ceptable m ethods of pa ym ents. (i.e. debit and credit ca rd trans acti ons).   COST (to custo mer s or foo d ser vices)  BENE FIT S  Usin g a n AMS Foo d car d   Ma r ket st ud ent s in resid e nce or tho se that sp e nd a mp le ti me at UB C onl y.   Can on l y be used at UB C   Co st of pro d ucin g and distr ib u tin g mea l car d s   P r o vid es ad d itio nal disco unts per transac tio ns   Dec r ea ses pap er wo r k   Sa fer tha n cas h pa yme nts due to theft etc.   E as y to use for resid ence who pur chase exce ed in gl y a t UB C.   P r o vid e a met ho d of bud geti n g eatin g e xp ense s fo r stud e nts   Usin g Cas h    Li mited cu sto mer s   Cu sto mer s ma y co mp l y o n usi ng AT M mac h ine to obtain cas h to pur c h ase fo o d payi ng a n AT M fee .    Li mited pap er wo r k   Li mited fee s fo r fina ncial i nst i tutio n s.    Usin g a Deb it/Cr ed it car d    I ncur r ed fi nancia l in stit utio n c o sts ma y ap p ly.   I ncr ea se pap er wo r k     I ncr ea se cus to mer acce s sib ilit y b y incr ea sin g met ho d of payme nts   I ncr ea se pro fit b y incr ea sin g a cc essib ilit y          II) ANALYZING SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL COSTS AND BENEFITS OF ADOPTING SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRACTICES:    COST   BENEFITS   So cial  Eco no mic  Eco lo gical  Social  Eco no mic  Eco lo gical  Locally Grown Foods L es s Foo d var iet y  Hig her co st of foo d  Les s pro fit fo r N/ A  Enha nce d co mmu n it y ties  Mo ne y reinve sted in loca l eco no my  Les s po llutio n due to less tran sp o r tatio n.  Les s fo o d milea ge   COST BENEFITS BUYING FROM LOCAL FARMER  Li mited var iet y   Li mited qua ntit y ma y no t mee t demand of UBC’s market  W o uld have to dea l wi th nu m er o us far mer s to mee t de ma nd and i ncr ea se fo o d var iet y.   Dec r ea se transp o r tatio n milea ge and relate d co sts   Rec ycle s mo ne y bac k i nto loc al eco no my  BUYING FROM DISTRIBUTOR  Ma y no t eco no micall y bene fit loca l mar ket   I ncr ea sed fo o d mileage   Fo o d pro d uctio n prac tices and so ur ce s ma y be unkno wn .   I ncr ea sed fo o d quantit y ma y kee p fo o d prices lo w.   I ncr ea sed fo o d var iet y.   One co uld pro vid e ma n y fo o d pro d ucts ther efo r e, less t i me co ns u min g , less pap er wo r k, les s hu ma n inter v entio n.                          


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