UBC Undergraduate Research

The UBC Food System : indicators in the measurement of sustainability Brighten, Caryn; Ducommun, Michelle; Hui, Cecilia; Lau, Jessica; Ngai, June; Setianto, Jennifer; Warrington, Tanya 2003-04-02

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
18861-Brighten_C_et_al_SEEDS_2003.pdf [ 388.22kB ]
Metadata
JSON: 18861-1.0108677.json
JSON-LD: 18861-1.0108677-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 18861-1.0108677-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 18861-1.0108677-rdf.json
Turtle: 18861-1.0108677-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 18861-1.0108677-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 18861-1.0108677-source.json
Full Text
18861-1.0108677-fulltext.txt
Citation
18861-1.0108677.ris

Full Text

UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       The UBC Food System: Indicators in the Measurement of Sustainability The Sustainability of UBC Food System Collaborative Project II Caryn Brighten, Michelle Ducommun, Cecilia Hui, Jessica Lau, June Ngai, Jennifer Setianto, Tanya Warrington  University of British Columbia AGSC 450 April 2, 2003           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”. The UBC Food System: Indicators in the Measurement of Sustainability    The Sustainability of UBC Food System Collaborative Project II Scenario #8         For:  Dr. Alejandro Rojas and Anthony Brunetti, UBC’s Sustainability Office and UBC’s Food Service Providers April 2, 2003 AGSC 450    Group #9  Caryn Bright en Mich el l e Duco mmu n Cecil ia Hui Jessi ca Lau Jun e Ngai Jenni fer Seti anto Tan ya Warri ng ton       ABSTRACT   Sustainabil it y is a term that can be chall en gin g to define.  Our group beli ev es that a sust a inable food s ystem, though, would be on e tha t is economi call y viabl e, and that meets the community’s needs for safe and nutritious foods, while conserving or enhancing its natural resourc es and envi ronme ntal quali t y.  In ord er to create a sust ainable UBC Food S ystem, our group trul y beli eves that a max im um amount of rec yc li ng and compos ti ng must be done by the comm unit y, to prese rve what we deem parti cula rl y important, environm ental int egrit y.  Othe r indi cators of sust ainabil it y would be th e amount of knowled ge the UBC Co mm unit y has of their food s ystem, the avail abi li t y and accessi bil it y of food to the comm unit y, the prices of food on campus , UBC Food Serv ices bein g a pro fitable bu siness, and food bou ght for the UBC Comm unit y trav ell ing as litt le as poss ibl e to reach campus .  From thes e indi cators, we have devised a  model to meas ure, on a conti nuum, the sust ainabili t y of our food s ystem.  In the future, it is our hope that Land, Food and Comm unit y III classes can perfo rm res e a rch, with this year’s AGSC 450 models in mind, to evaluate the UBC Food System’s sustainability, and to provide proposals of how to shift the state of our food s yst em from its current posit i on to a more sust ainable one. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND   Sustai nability is a term for which there is no one “perfect” definition  (Alternative Farmin g S ystems Info. C entre, 2003).  Nev erthele ss, a well agr eed upon co ncept of sust ainabili t y is that it is an ideal long-ran ge view for how land , food and comm unit y sh ould be uti liz ed.  The UBC Sustainability Office defines sustainability as “the synergy between ecological, social and economic goals”.  They view the sustainability of all systems, not just those of food, as three int erlocking rin gs of econom y, societ y and eco log y, whe re if one rin g is removed the enti re structure fall s apart (UBC Campus Sustainabilit y Office, 2003).  A sys tems perspe cti ve is essential to understanding sust ainabili t y as it provides tool s to ex plore the int erconne cti ons between food and our co mm unit y.  It is important to consi der these three t ypes of sust ainabili t y (ecolo gical, economi c, and social) not as separate identit ies, but as interwoven components of the food s ystem.   Our grou p has, the refo re, decided to define the sust aina bil it y of a fo od s ystem as one that is economically viable, and that meets the community’s needs for safe and nutritious foods while conserving or enhancing the food system’s natural resources and environmental quali t y for future gener ati ons.  A sociall y sust ainable fo o d s ystem is on e that en hances so cial equit y and democr ac y fo r all members of the comm unit y (Feenstr a, 1997).  In thi s re gard, a so ciall y sust ainable s ystem ex ist s when there is food securit y fo r eve r yone.  This in turn contribut es to the healt h, social harmon y and social just i ce of the s ystem (Feenstr a, 1997).  Ecolo gic al sust ainabili t y em er ges in a food s ystem when the he alt h of the environm ent is sust ained and enh anc ed for use b y all bein gs, and by future gen erati o ns (Kloppenbur g et al. , 2000).  Ecologic a ll y s ound dist ributi on and producti on practi c es suc h as rec ycli n g, compos ti ng and the us e of anim al nutrients fall int o this subs ystem.  A food s yst em is economi call y sust ainable wh en local farm ers and area busi nesses are profit able, comm e rci all y competit i ve, and cap able of supporting a goo d standard of living for workers, their household s and the comm unit y in gen eral (Klopp enbur g et al. , 2000).  In such a system, pri ces must refle ct costs of producti on.  Although the afo rementi oned definiti ons app ear to “disconnect” the three components of sustainability, it is important to remember that a food s ystem is a web , and cha nges in on e part of the web aff ect all of the oth ers (appendix I). The UBC Food S yst em does not presentl y comp l y with our de finiti on of a sus tainable food s ystem.  Th er e ar e man y areas whe re imp rovements could be m ade to propel the food s ystem from a state of relative unsust ainabi li t y (appendix II) to a state of max im um sust ainabili t y.  Recent ch anges in the UBC comm unit y include a doubli n g of the campus resident population from 1994 - 2002 (UBC Waste Mana gement Annual Repo rt, 2002).  This incr ease in population is largel y res ponsi ble for the incre ase in tot al waste gen er ated, and the destructi on of campus “green spaces” (gardens, grass areas, fa r m and forest land), including a plan to develop 80 % of the remainin g 60 hectar es of farm and forestl and (UBC Waste Mana gement Annu al Report, 2002).  In addit i on, the lar ger population requires more food, an d thi s in turn leads to increas ed usa ge of packa gin g mat erials fo r foodst uffs.  Furthe r, the re is m ore waste brou ght onto campus by students from outside sources.  Last year’s reports found that post consumer packa gin g in the waste s tream was hi gh, thus ad ding to th e alr ead y in cr e ased waste on campus .  Another problem identified was the lack of a comprehensive, campus - wide, and whole-c ycl e compos ti ng s yst em (Br unett i, 2002).  Our gro up also noted that ther e was a decli ne in the rec ycli n g rate from the 2000 -2001 ye ar to the 200 1 -2002 ye ar (UBC Waste Mana g em ent, 2003).  This ma y be due in part to the lack of easil y ac ces sibl e and convenientl y sp aced rec ycli n g bins on campus .   It is important to not e tha t not all sust ainabili t y iss ues of the UBC Food S ys tem ar e waste -related.  Additi onal ar ea s for improveme nt ar e related to purchasin g, bot h by food outl ets and consum ers. For inst an ce, the UBC Food S yst em presentl y reli es on S ysc o Konings and Cent ral Foods fo r most of their suppl ies (Brown, 2001 ). Man y of these goods ha ve trav ell ed ex cessi ve “food- miles”, how ever, result ing in a pric e incr ea se for consum e rs, as well as increas ed usa ge of fossil fuels and a lack of comm unit y supported agricult ur e.  Soci all y, thi s practi c e result s in custom ers bein g more removed from the peopl e, places and agricult ur al practi ces th at produc e their food (Brown, 200 1).  A more sust ainabl e food s ystem would be one whe re the re is prefe renti al use of locall y gro wn and process ed foods.  Man y students have also reported th at food is not affordable, and social spaces for m aking and eati n g food on campus are lackin g (Brunetti, 2002).  In addition, the UBC Food Services’ mission statement lacks a “sustainability clause”, and we feel that the incorporation of such a clause would be a good start for the progressi on of the UBC Food S ystem alon g the sust ainabili t y conti nuum (UBC Food Services, 2002).   All sust ainabili t y con ce r ns of the UBC Food S yst em identified to date cou ld be improved to give the whole s ystem greater sust ainabili t y.  This transit ion will involve a pro gressi on alon g the sust ainabili t y conti nu um where each step take n ma y have a profound i mpact the enti re s ystem  (UBC Farm, 2002). UNDERLYING VALUE ASSUMPTIONS   The members of our gr oup have acad emi c bac kgrounds in nutrit ion and food science, which we feel ma y have influenced ou r perspective of the sustainability of UBC’s Food System. Init iall y, our group beli eved that the priorit y of the UBC Food S ystem shoul d be to provide nutrit ious, high quali t y, and affo rdable food to members of the UBC co mm unit y (in corpor ati ng both economi c and so cia l sust ainabili t y). This vie w describ es a weak anth ropocentric view, that “while it is true that human beings are the source of all value in the sense that it is human beings who place value on natu re, it does not follow that the values the y pla ce o n nature sim pl y se rve their own interests instrumentally.” (Brown, 200 1).  Howeve r, we l ater reali z ed that it is also essential to consi d er the wider impacts of the food s ystem on the ecologic al sust ainabili t y of UBC and the surroundin g comm unit ies describ in g more of a bioc entric perspecti ve. In keepin g with thi s value assumption, the group’s vision of a sustainable food system at UBC includes economic and social, as well as ecological criteria.  It is the group’s view that a food system cannot be sust ain ab le if i t does not meet criteria for all thre e t ypes of sust a inabili t y. Additi onall y, the group agr eed that there wer e compl ex interacti ons betwe en criteria for all t yp es of sust ainabili t y. Our group believes that the ultimate goal for UBC’s Food System sho uld be to create and maintain sust ainabili t y.  In comi ng to thi s conclusi on, the group reco gni z ed that a sustainable food s ystem is mul ti - factorial.  As our group’s view is weakly anthropocentric, we were initially more focused on social factors, particula rl y custo mer sati sfacti on in the UBC Comm unit y.  Our group soon reali z ed, however, that thi s is onl y a small part of creati ng a sust ainable food s ystem and that sust ainabili t y can be measured usin g a great number of indi ca tors.  Thus, we later ex panded our views to include other ecolo gic al, economi c and social fac tors, such as dist an ce food products ar e transp orted, the use of fossil fuels, and other non -r ene wable input s, and how these fa ctors influenc e the biodiversit y and specie s int eracti ons in the envir onment.    Given the time and resource limi tations of the project, the group identified six sust ainabili t y indi cators t hat we beli eve are broad enou gh to cov er the m ajorit y of the asp ects of the UBC Food S ystem.  These indi cators are divi ded int o ecologic a l, ecolo gical - economi c, economi c, economi c -soci al and social factors, wit h specific criteria provid ed for each. UBC FOOD SYSTEM  In analyzing UBC’s food system, the group decided that we needed to identify which components make up t he food s ystem, how t hes e compon ents ar e ar ran ged, and wh er e the boundaries of the food sys tem lie (app endix III). It was decid ed that a natural bounda r y fo r UBC would be the area withi n the Universit y Gates incorporati n g the UBC Far m, all food producti on, prepar ati on and servic e at all food outl ets, the marketi ng of foods and consum er decisi ons to purchase thes e foods, as well as the enti re waste dispo sal s ystem on campu s, and the impact of all of these factors on the econom y, the environm en t, and the healt h and sati sfacti on of c onsum ers.  It is the group’s view that the UBC Food System includes all processes in food production, from gro wing and harv esti ng the raw food product, to processi ng, pack a ging, and transportin g the chan ged food product, to the marketi ng and consu mpt ion of the food, and finall y to the rec ycli n g, composting, and disposal of all wastes produced during the entire process. UBC’s Food System is compos ed of man y diff e rent, int errelated el ement s that cannot functi on independentl y. It is thus important to consi der all aspects of the syst em in order to understand the role pla yed b y each, as well as its impact on the other elements. Food s ystems are ver y compl ex ; not onl y ar e there ecolo gical, economi c an d social factors which need to be consi dered, but it is also nec essar y to consi der how each of th ese subs ystems relates to the othe r subs ystems, and what the impa ct of thi s is both wit hin and outsi de of the boundaries of the food s yst em.   The int eracti ons betwe en the components, the eco nomi c, ecologic al, and s ocial in puts and output s of the system all need to be studi ed in order to evaluate the sust ainabili t y (o r lack ther eof) of a s ystem, such as that of the UBC Food S ystem .    INDICATORS OF SUSTAINABILITY In an att empt to measu re the cu rrent sust ain abil it y of the UBC Food S yste m, one ne eds to consi der the variables that contribut e to the each of the three subs yst ems: ecologic al, social and economi c.  Once these factors have be en establ ished, indi cators must be chosen acco rdin gl y.  Howeve r, the subs ystem s are compl ex a s there are mul ti ple factors invol ved in each, and these factors ar e int er woven, making the determi na ti on of variables dif fic ult .  It is wo rth y of mentioni ng that the foll owing list of indi cators is by no means compl ete.  Rather, the y are an att empt by ou r  group to highli ght th e ke y aspects of each of th e thre e sub s ystems.  In orde r to measure sust ain abil it y, our group has formul ate d a model (with six sub - models, one fo r each indi cator) definin g sust a inabili t y alon g a conti nuum with man y int e rme diate sta ges  (app endix IV ). The group has dec ided to describe two intermediate sta ges (mini mall y sust ain able and int ermediatel y sust ain ab le), which can s erve as landmarks for measu rement. It shoul d be understood, howeve r, tha t there ar e actuall y man y more sta ges alon g  the co nti nuum.  As resea rch has yet to be compl eted for each indi c ator, it was not possi ble to give specifi c numerical crite ria for ea ch stage of sust ainabili ty.  Where possi ble, base d on avail able studi es, att empt s have been m ade to include numerical crit eria.  1. ECO LO G IC A L IN D ICATOR OF SUSTA INA B ILIT Y The UBC Waste M ana gem ent 2001/2002 Ann ual Report indi c ates tha t there is a stead y increas e in tot al waste ge nerated du e to the incr ea sed UBC Campus popula ti on. This is a concern because waste contribut e s to ever -growin g landfil ls. Therefore, we have ch osen as our ecologic al indi cator, the proportion of food wastes that are being compos ted and rec ycled at UBC.  This encompasses th e waste gener ated from produ c ti on, packa gin g and dis tribut i on UBC Waste Mana gement Annual Re port, 2002). Our group describes food wastes as including: dispo sable cutl er y, paper plates, pa c kagin g materi al, pop can s, glass and plasti c bott les, paper and St yrofo am cups, and or gani c food wastes from both the producer and the consu mer. Whil e the group understands that there are man y other indi cat ors of ecolo gical sust ainabili t y, such as food producti on on the UBC Farm and the use of non -rene wable input s for the farm, and the transportati on and proces sing of foods on cam pus, it was decided that an indi cator which focus es on the iss ue of waste dispo sal would be central to man y ecolo gic al iss ues at UBC. An anal ysis of the waste s ystem would all ow for the developm ent of programs which co uld increase rec ycli n g and compos ti ng rates, decre ase the amount of wastes taken to landfil ls, and increase the prefe renti al use of rec ycl able and compos table pr oducts over those which need to be disca rded. To determi ne the amoun t and t yp e of waste prod uced b y each food se rvic e establi shment o n campus it will be necess ar y to ref er to the UBC Waste Mana gement Ann ual Report. Food waste flow charts and th e determi nati on of which waste products are presentl y rec yclable or compos table will also ne ed to be determi ned.  In a totall y sust ain able fo od s ystem there would be a low gen erati on of wastes with max im um compos ti ng and rec ycli ng. A minim all y sust ai nable food s ystem wou ld be one that has a relativel y hi gh gen erati on of wastes with relativel y low compos ti ng and rec ycli n g. An int ermediatel y sust aina bl e food s yst em there wou ld be a relativel y low lev el of wastes with hi gh compos ti ng and rec ycli ng.  Fin all y, in a totall y unsust ain able s ystem there would be a hi gh gen erati on of wastes wit h no compos ti ng or rec yc li ng (app endix V). 2. ECO LO G IC A L-S OC IA L IND IC AT OR OF SU S TA IN AB ILITY: To determi ne the ecolo gic al -social sust ainabili t y of the UBC Food S ystem, our group decided to use the amount of knowledge that the UBC Comm unit y mem bers have of their food s ystem and their concept of sust ainabili t y.  If the UBC Comm unit y members do not understand how the food s ystem wor ks and thei r own role withi n it, the y cannot pa rticipate in the global food s ystem and make respo nsibl e and ef fecti ve foo d choices in rega rds to their healt h and the environment. (Kloppenb urg et al ., 2000).  The re fore, the reason our gro up chose thi s indi cator was bec ause we beli eve that awar eness is ke y to sust ainabili t y.  This indi cator includes a broad spectrum and cov ers alm ost all of the important concepts that are withi n the scope of ecolo gica l and social iss ues; whereas, other indi cators su ch as the understandin g of food growth and producti on do not take i nto account all asp ects of a sust ainable food s yst em.  It is important that all of the UBC Comm unit y members (espe cially futur e AGS C student s and prof essors) in the comi ng ye ars act and fo c us on critical issues perta ini ng to the assessment of our chosen indi c ator.   In orde r to me asure our indi cator, a quali tative s urve y of the UBC Com muni t y (facult y, staff and students) will need to be conduc ted.  The level of knowledge an d awaren ess of current programs, which promot e the sustainabil it y of the food s ystem, will also ha ve to be determi ned.   In an unsust ainable foo d s yst em, the in formati on pertaini n g to the UBC Food S ystem would not be accessed and widel y dist ributed to ever yone in the UBC Comm unit y. In addit ion, UBC Comm unit y memb ers would have a compl e te lack of knowled ge an d understanding of the concept of sust ainabili ty. In a minim all y sus tainable food s ystem t here would be litt le informatio n pertaini ng t o the UBC Food S yste m that is accessed and widel y dist ributed to ever yone in the UBC Comm unit y.  The y would also have some knowled ge and unde rstandin g of the concept of sust aina bil it y. In an int ermediat el y sust ainable food s ys tem most informa ti on pertaini ng to the UBC Food S ystem would be accessi ble and wid el y dist r ibut ed to ever yone in the UBC Comm unit y. The comm unit y m embers would have some knowl edge and understandin g of the concept of sust ai nabil it y. Finall y, a com pletel y sust ainable food s ystem would be one where all info rmati on pertaini ng to the UBC Food S ystem is easil y accessi ble and widel y dist ributed to ever yone i n the UBC Comm unit y. The UBC Comm unit y members would have a compl ete knowled ge and understandin g of the con cept of sust ainab il it y (ap pendix VI).  3. SOC IA L IN D IC ATO R OF SUSTA INA B ILIT Y  The per ceived avail abil it y and ac ceptabili t y of fo ods on campus is an ind icator of soci al sust ainabili t y as it is a key component of food securit y.  Since our gro up definiti on of social sust ainabi li t y incorpo rate d food s ecurit y, it was decided th at usin g a socia l indi cator to m easur e thi s was war ranted.  Dec isi ons to purchase food are based on personal, nutriti onal, and cult ural percepti ons of acc essi bil it y and av ail abil it y.  Personal beli efs surro unding one’s food choices consi st of the values that one assi gns to foods inc ludi ng monetar y, ethi cal and moral values (for example, vegetarianism), taste preferences, and general “likes” and “dislikes”.  Nutritional consi derati ons include th e de cisi on as to whether a particular food is nutritionally “acceptable”.  The definition of “nutritionally acceptable” is personal, and will vary from individual to individual based on one’s own beliefs and values.   Foods must also be culturally acceptable to the members of the UBC Comm unit y, as the re are man y dive rse cult ur es represented on campus .  To be cult urall y acc eptable, a food must be reco gniz ed as sa crament al, and the tr adit ional practi ces in th e produc ti on, preparati on and consum pti on of the food must be hon oured (Kloppenbur g et al., 2000).   An unsust ainable food s ys tem would be one wh ere there is no per ceived avail abil it y of personall y, nutrit ionall y and cult urall y accept able foods on campus .  A minim all y sust ainabl e food s yst em would be one whe re the re is relativ el y low per ceived avail a bil it y to su ch foods.  In an int ermediat el y sust ain able food s yst em, the pe rceived avail abil it y of acceptable foods would be relatively high, with few foods that were found to be “unacceptable”.  In a truly sustainable food s ystem, the foods withi n the UBC comm unit y would be per ceived as compl etel y avail able and acc eptable in all thre e dim ension s.  The idea of having somethi n g avai lable for eve r yone is a concept that our group beli eves is another ke y to sust ainabili t y   .  Other social indi cators include th e ho urs of op erati on of food s ervice outl ets, the dist rib uti on of food providers on campus , and the enjo yment of foods b y consum ers.  Howeve r , since our indi cator encompasses food secu rit y, we felt that thi s app r oach would be the most widespread and would be relativel y eas y to measure using qualitative surveys of the UBC Community members  appendix VII). 4. SOC IA L- ECONOM IC IND IC ATOR OF SUSTA INA B ILIT Y  A critical component of a sust ainable food s yst em is food sec urit y. Fo od securit y is influenced b y food pric es, which fu rther aff ect s the affo rdabil it y and acc essi bil it y of food.  Bec ause much of the UBC Comm unit y is co mpos ed of students wh o have relativel y low monetar y resour ces, we have chosen our social - economi c indi cator to be the sell ing prices of food on-campus in comparison to off -campus foo d prices and the acceptab il it y of these pric es to the UBC Comm unit y.  This can be done b y comp aring the sell ing prices o f food items on - campus to sim il ar food items in the surroundin g regions of the lower mainland.  A quali tative surve y of the UBC population to determi ne indi vidual pe rc epti ons of the afford abil it y and ac ceptabili t y of food on campus will nee d to be conducted.    An unsust ainable food s ys tem would be on e whe r e sim il ar food products are much mor e ex pensive on campus than in the surroundin g re gions of the low er main land, and these foods would not be perceiv ed as accept able and af fo rdable b y th e UBC pop ulation.  A minim all y sust ainable food s ystem would be on e wh e re sim il ar food products are pe rceived as being more ex pensive on-campus than in the surrounding regions of the lower mainland, and these foods would be perceived as minim all y ac ceptable and afford able b y th e UBC population.  An int ermediatel y sust ainabl e food s ystem would be one wher e sim il ar food products on -c ampus are perceiv ed as comp arable in price to foods in the surrounding regions of t he lower mainland, and these foods would be perceiv ed as relativel y hi ghl y acc eptable and aff ordable b y most of the  UBC population.  Final l y, a trul y sust ainable food s ystem would be one whe re sim il ar food products ar e pe rc eived as less ex pensive on -c am pus than in all the surro unding re gions of th e lower mainland and th es e foods would be perc ei ved as full y accept able a nd afford able b y all of the UBC population (app endix VIII) .  Although the re are oth er possi ble indi cato rs t hat could be used to measure so cial -economi c sust ainabili t y, our group thou ght that measurin g the perc e ived afford abil it y and acc eptabili t y of fo od to the UBC population was t he broadest and easiest to measure.  5. ECONOM IC IND IC A TOR OF SUSTA INA B ILIT Y:  To be economi call y su stainable, the UBC Foo d S yst em needs to gen erate pro fit by purchasin g less ex pensive foods and s ell ing th em at higher prices   (UBC Food Ser vices, 2002). Thus, the profit abil it y of the UBC Food S yst em is one of the measurabl e indi cator s we hav e chosen to dete rmine economi c sust aina bil it y.  Although the re are man y othe r potential indi cators such as the a ffordabil it y and the pric es of food in the UBC comm unit y, and the number of jobs avail able within the UBC Food S yste m, our group beli eved that our indi cator was th e easiest to measur e and encompasses the bro ad est ran ge of economi c factors.  A sust ainable fo od s ystem is one th at doe s not rel y on ex ternal sub sidi es from the global food suppl y, and is ther efore economi call y inde pendent. This can be achieved by pu rchasin g regionally grown food and operating within UBC’s monetary allowance.  By evalu ati ng the fi n anc ial record of th e indi vidual food servic es at UBC , such as their ex pendit ures on labour, food and overhe ad cost, as well as their financial profit s, it is possibl e to calculate thei r over all financial monetar y balanc e.  This value can then be used to i ndicate how much mone y can be rein vested int o the UBC Foo d S ystem to improve the financial status of the services that are curr entl y less pro fitable.    In a compl etel y economi call y sust ainable food s ystem, 100% of the UBC Food Service outl ets would generate enough profit to avoid reli ance on ex ternal subsi dies (includi ng suppl ies and financin g). To be in termediatel y sust ainable, 75% of the UBC Food Service outl ets would gen erat e enou gh profit t o avoid much reli anc e on ex ternal subsi dies. A minim all y sust ai n able s ystem would be when 25% of the UBC Food Service outl ets gen erat e enough profit to avoid some reli ance on ex tern al subsi dies. An unsust ainable s ystem is when 0% of the UBC Food Service outl ets gene rate enough profit to avoid rel iance on ex ternal subs idi es (appendix IX) 6. ECONOM IC -ECO LO G IC A L IND IC ATOR OF SUSTA INA B ILIT Y:  The indi cator our group chose to represent eco nomi c -ecolo gical sust ain abil it y was the dist ance food trav els an d the loc ati on whe re th e food is grown, proc e ssed, and prep ared in relati on to the UBC Campus .  Our group decid ed to use thi s indi cator because we beli eve that sust ainabili t y is determi n ed by the con cept of clos e prox im it y (Lieblein et al., 2001).   By havin g food grown, pro cessed, and prep ared on th e UBC Campus , or having fo od travel the shortest dist ance possi ble, we beli eve that the UBC Comm unit y will ex perien ce a lo ng -te rm improvement in food quali t y, redu ce d loss es and energ y costs from transport and packa gin g, and an improvement in consume r confiden ce related to th eir food s ystem (Lieblein et al., 2001).   A sust ainable food s ys tem would ex ist when all foods are grown, processed, and pre par ed withi n the bou ndaries of the UBC Foo d S ystem and/or withi n a close prox im it y to the UBC campus , meanin g that the y ar e all pr oduced re gionall y and/ or provinciall y.  An int ermediatel y sust ainabl e food s ystem would be one whe re most of the fo ods purchas ed at UBC are gro wn, proc essed, an d prepar ed withi n the boundaries of the UBC Foo d S ystem and/or withi n a close prox im it y to the UBC campus , meanin g that the y ar e produc ed eit her most l y regionall y and/or provinciall y.  A minim all y sust ainable fo od s yst em would be when most foods are gro wn, processed, and pr epar ed off -c ampus and/or mo st foods are being prod uced off -c ampus at a locati on relativ el y far fro m UBC, meanin g that the y are produced provinciall y, nati onall y and/or int ernati onall y.  Finall y, an unsust ainable food s ystem would be one wher e food is not produced withi n the boundaries of the UBC Campus , and/o r when all the foods are gro wn, p ro cessed, and prepar ed far aw a y from campus , including nati ona ll y and/or intern ati onall y (appendix X).  Howeve r, it is important to keep in mind that our ideal sit uati on of economi c - ecologi cal sust ainabili t y at UBC ma y be unr eali sti c as man y peopl e demand foods that come from othe r countries and cannot be grown loc all y (fo r ex ampl e, bananas).  One way to achi eve our ideal sit uati on of a sust ainable food s ystem would b e to have the comm unit y foll ow a season al diet.  Our group beli ev es that our economi c - ecol o gical indi cator is the easiest t o measure and encompasses th e bro ade st ran ge.  It is worth y of mentioni n g that th e re are other possi ble indi cators to measure ec onomi c -ecolo gical sust ai nabil it y such as the num ber of jobs at the UBC Farm.   UBC FOOD SYSTEM’S SUSTAINABILITY AS A WHOLE :  It is the group’s view that a sustainable UBC Food System would be characterized by criteria fo r each of the si x indi cators that fall on the sust ainable end of th e spectrum (app endix IV ).  We have numb ered the scales on our mo del from 1 to 10, which we fi nd is easil y convertibl e to per centa ge values.  With such values, we have defined mini mall y sust ainable of being approx im atel y 33 % sust ainable, with inter mediatel y the n bein g app rox im atel y 66 % sust ainable, and unsust ai nable and sust ainable bei ng 0% and 100% respecti vel y.  Once a value has bee n det ermined fo r each indi c ator, a sens e of the sustainabil it y of the enti re UBC Food s ystem can be me asured as an ave ra ge value of th e six indi cators (which we wei gh as ha ving equal value).  Havin g val ues on the outsi de of the scales wit hin our model (near the on e value ) would therefo re repres en t an unsustainable syst em, whil e movi ng towards the centr e would be a shift towards sustainabil it y.   Again, we beli ev e that a tot all y sust ainable fo od s ystem would be one in which there is a low gener ati on of wastes wit h max imum compos ti ng and rec yc li ng, wher e all members of the UBC comm unit y have compl ete knowled ge and underst anding of the conc ept of sust ainabili t y, whe re all members perc eive that ad equate food is avail abl e and accept able in all respects, wh ere foods ar e equall y or less ex pensive than simi lar products of f -campus and thus perceiv ed as afford able by the UBC comm unit y, where each food servi ce outl et wit hin the s yst em can gen erate enou gh prof it to avoid reli ance on ex ternal subs idi es, and wh er e most , if not all, foods purchas ed at UBC have also be en grown, pr ocessed, and prep ared wi thi n the boundaries of the UBC Food S ystem, o r at least withi n close pro x imit y to the campus . Whil e a system me eti ng all of these criteria may not be realistic in the near future, it is the group’s opinion that it is a goal to work towards, and that any progress which contributes to UBC’s sustainability, is very valuable.  CONCLUSION: HOW TO CONTINUE THE ASSESSMENT OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF UBC’S FOOD SYSTEM  The AGS C 450 Land, Food and Comm unit y III class of 2002 be gan thi s sust ainabili t y resea rch proje ct in coll aborati on with UBC Food Services, the AM S Food and Bever a ge Services, the UBC C ampus Sustainabil it y Offi ce and SEEDS .  We, the cl ass of 2003, have no w conti nued the project, an d three yea rs of res ear ch are to follow.  In orde r to make the UBC Food S ystem sust ainable, we propose a five - ye ar pl an; two ye a rs of whi ch hav e been compl et ed.  The first yea r was the ini ti al planning stage.  The AGS C students created a visi on of economi c, ecolo gical, and so cial s ustainabil it y for the UBC Food S ystem.  Indi ca tors then needed to be identified to measure su stainabil it y along a conti nuum, from unsust ainable to sust ainable .  Our group, and our coll ea gu e s from 2002, hav e now accompl ished these sta ges .  We now propose that the classes of 20 04 - 2006 assess UBC’s Food System using the chosen indicators.  Through further resea rch, the y will need to measure the specific crite ria p roposed, i n order to evaluate the sustainability of each indicator in relation to the UBC Community’s Food System.  There are man y resourc es that can be used to begin their research.  To stud y the ind icators, students could refe r to the UBC Waste Mana gem en t Annual R eport.  Future stud ents will need to det ermine where the UBC Community’s food suppliers are located and where their food supply originates.  Financial records of UBC’s Food System will need to be analyzed and off -campus food costs will need to be evaluated.  Bo th quali tative and quanti tative surve ys ma y be req uired to determi ne th e community’s perceived acceptability, accessibility and affordability of available foods.  Finally, current programs that promote knowledge of the UBC’s Food System in r elation to sust ainabilit y will need to be assesse d.  These conti nuing projects shoul d be res ea rched and studi ed in coll aborati on with the UBC Waste Managem ent Office, the UBC Campus Sustainabil it y Office, SEEDS , UBC Food Services, AMS Food and Bev era ge Ser vi ces and all other food providers, the off-c ampus food suppl i ers, pro cessi n g plants, S ysco Konin gs, Cent ral Foods, and all other dist ributors, as well all facult y, staff, students an d residents that m ake up the UBC Comm unit y.  Togeth er, b y ex ami ning and a ssessing the state of UBC’s Food System sustainability, the AGSC Team can eventuall y s uggest the developm ent of projects and str ate gies to implement our findings, and to shift the state of UBC’s Food System from its current position to one which is more sustainable.   REFERENCES:  Alternati ve Farmin g S yst ems In formation Centre - Sustainable Agricultural Resources. Av ail able at: www.nal.usda. gov/a fs ic/agni c/a gnic.htm#defin ti on .  Accessed:  March 9, 2003   Brown, L.  Bu yin g More Loc al and Or ganic Food:  Predicting the Cost s an d Bene fits for the Alma Mater Societ y Foo d Services.  The Alma Mater Societ y Impa cts Comm it tee. 2001.  Feenstr a, G.W .  Local Fo od S ystems and Sustaina ble Communi ti es.  American J ournal of Alterna ti ve Agri cult ure. 12 (1): 28 -36.  1997.   Kloppenbur g, J ., et al.  Tasti ng Food, Tasti ng Sust ainabili t y: Definin g the Attribut es of an Alternati ve Food S ystem with Competent, Ordinar y People .  Human Orga niz ati ons.  59 (2): 177 -1 86 .  2000.   Lieblein, G., Fr ancis, C. H., Torjusen, H.  Future Interconne cti ons Among Ecologic al Farmers, Processors, Mark eters, and Consum ers in Hedma rk Count y, Nor wa y: Crea ti ng Shared Visi on.  Human Ecolo g y Review.  8 (1): 60 - 70.  2001.   UBC Campus Sust ainabili t y Offic e, Brunett i, A.  Biting int o Sustainabil it y: The 2002 UBC Food S ystem Stud y Report.  2002.  Avail able at: www.web ct.ubc.c a/S C R IP T/agsc_450/s c ripts/ serve_home .  Acces sed:  Feb ruar y 15, 2003.  UBC Campus Sustainabil it y Offic e. Definiti on of sust ainabili t y.  Avail able at: www.sustain.ubc.c a/defi nit ion.ht m .  Accessed:  March 9, 2003.  UBC Farm.  Home Pa ge.  2002. www.a gsci.ub c.c a/ubcfa rm .  Acc essed:  Februar y 12, 2003.   UBC Food Se rvices.  Five -Ye ar Business Plan.  2002.  Avail able at: www.web ct.ubc.c a/S C R IP T/agsc_450/s c ripts/ serve_home .  Accessed:  Feb ruar y 15, 2003.  UBC Waste Mana gemen t 2001/ 2002 Annual Report.  Buil ding a Sustainable Communi t y.  Th e Universit y of Briti sh Columbi a, Department of Pl ant Operati ons.  www.re c ycle.ub c.ca/ ann ualreport2002.pdf .  March 2, 2003.   UBC Waste Mana gemen t.  R Waste Facts: Compos ti ng.  www.re c ycle.ub c.ca/ rwa ste/compos t.pdf .  Access ed :  March 8, 2003        

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            data-media="{[{embed.selectedMedia}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.18861.1-0108677/manifest

Comment

Related Items