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Assessing the sustainability of the UBC Food System Aulakh, Amarjot; Bekkers, Christina; Cuadra, Arlen; Henley, Vicki; Kwok, Day; Ng, Edith; Robins, Stacy; Turcotte, Marc 2003-04-02

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       AGSC 450: Scenario 8 – Assessing the Sustainability of the UBC Food System Amarjot Aulakh, Christina Bekkers, Arlen Cuadra, Vicki Henley, Day Kwok, Edith Ng, Stacy Robins, Marc Turcotte  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”.   1         AGSC 450: Scenario 8 – Assessing the Sustainability of the UBC Food System  Su b mi t ted to: A. Rojas A. Bru n et ti April 2, 2003  Gro up 6: Amarjo t Aul akh Chri st in a Bekk ers Arl en  Cu ad ra  Vicki Henl ey Day Kwo k Edit h Ng Stacy Robins Marc Turcot t e     3   Abstract   Food producti on and dist ributi on on the UBC cam pus is conducted throu gh UBC Food Services and AMS  Food Services. Presentl y,   4     Through our stron g and weak anthrop ocentri c, an d comm unit y-bas ed valu es , our group ass essed su stainabil it y th rou gh indi cators such as the nu mber of cult urall y dive rse food establi shments in proportion to the number of ethni c populat ions on campus , the avail abil it y of healt h y and af f ordable options, and post -consum er food pack agin g waste. Our m ethods of data coll e cti on include these social, economi c, and ecolo gical perspecti ves. Social sust ainabili t y will be assess e d through coll aborati on betwe en UBC Food Servi ces and AMS Food Services to init iate a plannin g proc ess with resear ch, implement ati on, and evaluation pro posals for the introducti o n of more cult urall y appropriate food establi s hments for the diverse UBC comm unit y. Econom ic sustainabil it y can be evaluated b y data coll ecti on and tabulati on of the number of healt h y me al cho ices avail able in increasin g pric e ran ges, t o provide information su ch as choic e of healt h y, compl ete meals with respect to pric e. The ecol ogic al indicator wil l be assessed by m easurin g the amount of noncompos table versus compos table post -consum er food and food pa cka gi ng waste on campus . As part of our rese arch m odel, we propose th e use of foam lami nate produ ct s ins tead of St yrofoam o r pape r prod ucts.   Introduction  Sustainabil it y on the UBC camp us has not been widel y embr ac ed.  Currentl y sust ainable projects ar e under wa y in small -scale, spe cific loca ti ons.  There is a lack of cohesive and ex tensive projects being undertaken that would reach all fa cets of the camp us.  The Campus Sustainabil it y Office do e s not address food s yste m sus tainabil it y spe cifica ll y ex cept for some remot e compos ti ng effo rts.  The three great est sustainabil it y bar riers that thi s paper wil l addr ess are the ethni c diversit y of opti ons, post -consum er food packa gin g waste, an d th e avail abil it y of healt h y and af fordabl e opti ons.  The transit ion to food sust ainabili t y is in its nascent sta ges at  5  UBC and is lackin g the coordinated ef fort amon g departments that would b e requir ed for the campus to have a sust ain able food s ystem.       Background  Food producti on and dist ributi on on campus is conducted throu gh two gro ups: UBC Food Se rvices (herein referred to as UBCFS) and  AMS Food Services (AMSFS).  UBCFS’s mission is to “promote and support the University and the greater community by providing good food, friendl y servic e and value, whil e maintaining fina ncial int egrit y throu gh de di cated and skill ed employees” (UBC Food Services, 2003).  It should be noted that there is no mention of sust ainabili t y in their mis sion.  The y op erate num e rous food oper ati ons such as the cafeteri as, snack bars, residen ce din ing rooms , co ffe e kiosk s, and a caterin g servi ce, among other venues.  (UBC F ood Services, 20 03).  The AMSFS ope rat es the majorit y of the foo d outl ets in the Student Union Buil ding (SUB).  AMS FS empl o ye es are primaril y students.  AMS FS offers discounts for those peopl e that bring th eir own co f fee mu g or dish.  It is als o possi ble to bu y Tupperwa re cont ainers at cost in an effo rt to reduc e the amount of garba ge used (AMS , 2003).   UBC opened a Campus Sustainabil it y Offic e (CS O) in 1998, one ye ar afte r it creat ed a sust ainable developm ent policy.  The sustainable development policy outlines UBC’s comm it ment to ecologica l, economi c, and social s ustainabil it y on its campus .  Their visi on is “To ea rn the resp ect of future gene rati ons for the ecolo gical, social and ec onomi c legac y we create” (C ampus Sustain abil it y Offi ce, 2003).  Th e CSO has ini ti ated sever al programs that de al with a variet y of sustaina bil it y iss ues on campus .  The y uti li z e sust ainabili ty coo rdinators to educate departments and the public about sustaina bil it y and how it can be achieved on campus .   6  The sust ainabili t y offi ce also coordinates sev eral programs that addr ess issues of wate r and ener g y use and pap er rec yc li n g. In 1998, the CSO set a five - ye ar tar get to reduce campus ene r g y and water us e b y twent y percent.  This was ach i ev ed through two pro gr ams, ECOTrek and ELECTrek.  ECOTrek is Canada’s largest university energy and water retrofit.  ELECTrek is a li ghti ng up gr ade project i n fort y- one buil dings th at wil l reduce the annual el ectricit y bil l b y seven per cent.  The pape r - re c ycli n g pro gr am has reduced the amount of paper sent to landfil ls b y 2.5 mill ion pounds.  One of its goals includes an increas e in the use of rec yc led over vir gin pap er stock (Campus  Sustainabil it y Offic e, 2003).  Food s yst em sus tainabil it y is be ginni n g to be achieved throu gh sev eral init iatives.  UBC Waste Mana gement carri es out waste reducti on pr ogr ams like compos ti ng, rec ycli n g and educati on.  Compos ti ng at several food providers, such as the Pendulum , Green Col le ge, St. John’s College, and Acadia Commun it y ga rden all ow rec ycli n g of food wastes on campus .  Compos ti ng methods cur rentl y includ e wormbi n, back yard bin, and windro w compos ti ng.  By the year 2004, UBC hope s to operate a lar ge -scale in-vessel compos ti ng s ys tem, which would be able to compos t three ton nes of organic matter pe r da y.  Waste man a gemen t also conducts several compos ti ng work shops and information boot hs at special events (U BC Waste Mana gement, 2003).  Other pro gr ams include the UBC Food Co -op Demo nstrati on Garden, Fair Trade Coff ee Camp a ign, UBC Food Co-op, and UBC Fa rm.  Group Perceptions    Our group has dif fer ent percepti ons about sustaina bil it y.  Th e first is a stron g anthropocentri c  view; we beli eve that human beings advo cate keepin g a sustainable glob al or local food s ystem based on their own self-int er est , before conc erns for th e Earth.  We beli eve humans tr y to prote ct our natural resou rces b ecaus e we hav e a fea r of losi ng futur e enjo yment  7  from these resourc es.  Another beli ef wit hin our group is a weak anthropoc entric view; we beli eve that humans must take the init iative in controll ing the trend tow ards unsust ainabili t y and it is withi n our power that sus tainabil it y can be achieved.  We beli eve that requirements fo r human survival shoul d not be sacrific ed in an att e mpt to preserve the envir onment, but rather that humans as a result of the gift given b y the environ ment shoul d seek to protect it.  Human practi ces h ave led to environmental de gr adati on an d now the y have the resp onsi bil it y and to develop and util iz e sust ainable practi ce s.  We also beli eve in a comm unit y- based appro ach, and that it is not individuals but comm unit ies that are important when consi deri ng sust ainabili t y.  Each acti on that is chose n has an ef fect upon othe rs and for conflicts to be miti gated it is important that the comm unit y is viewed as th e bearer of choic e, and not th e indi vidual.  Feenstr a describes this sentiment when she states, “not only does an adequate, varied diet contribute to indi vidual healt h, but the wa y food is grown, distr ibut ed and eaten also p ro foundl y affe cts the environmental, social, sp iritual and economi c well - being of the community”(Feenstra, 1997).  Components of the UBC Food System  The UBC food system includes production at ‘UBC farm’, processing, distribution, use, rec ycli n g, and waste disp osal.  It has seve ral food suppl iers ex ternal to the campus , which, group ed with our loca l fa rm, are the food provider s to AMS , our dormit ories and all the UBC FS outl ets.  As wit h man y fa rms in the Fras er Vall e y, the UBC farm fa ces com peti ti on for lan d use.  The universit y would pre fer to dev elop the fa rmla nd int o housi ng rather th an keep it as an educati onal facil it y beca use of financi al pressur es .  UBC custom ers pla ce s im il ar demands on UBC proc essors as outsi de custom ers do on pro ce ssors withi n thei r communities.  Today’s custom er is becomi n g increasin gl y he alt h conscio usness; we demand healt h y and affo rdable food, which must be nutr ient -dense but low in fat.  We ma y also hav e furth er conc ern about the  8  environmental impact of our food s yst em; for ex a mpl e, we ma y be awar e of the widespread use of Styrofoam containers and be more conscientious in our food choice.       The le gal bounda ries of UBC ar e the gates aroun d campus .  UBC Prope r ends at Wesbrook Mall .  Howev er, for the pu rposes of stu d yin g the UBC Food S ys tem, we have chosen to incorporate “The UBC Village” because many people eat there and it is within a five minute walk of the residences an d the Student Union Buil ding (SU B), which is the practi cal centre of campus .  Most post seco ndar y inst it uti ons are in an urban setti ng wher eas t he UBC campus is separat e d from the rest of Vancouve r b y the Unive rsit y Endowment La nds that cre ate a bu ffe r around the campus and give it the unique featur e of an isol ated and somew hat sel f-suffi cient microcosm.  From a wider perspective, there does not appear to be any boundaries to the UBC Food System because foods available on campus come from all over the world (coffee from Latin America, yoghurt from Switzerland, etc.).  We further acknowledge that food comes from the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley, the rest of BC, Canada, North America and the rest of the world.(     The components of the UBC Food S ystem include (in roughl y descendin g s iz e order) UBC Food Se rvices, the Alma Mater Societ y (A MS ) in the SUB, the Vil lage, the UBC Farm, Organic and Whole Food Co -op, Hari Krishna Tu esda y Lunch, Food, Nutr it ion and Healt h (FNH ) Wednesda y lunch es, Agricult ural Scien ces Wednesda y ni ght ba rbe c ues, and various othe r volunt eer run ope rati ons.  These produ cers use sp ace, labou r, capit al, ener g y, food and pa cka gin g to produce and s ell food input s (gro ceri es) and rea d y- t o - consum e foods.  The y also produc e waste b y-produ cts such as garba ge, poll uti on, and compos table and rec ycl a ble wastes.  The UBC  9  campus consum ers inclu de students, facult y, staf f , residents and visi tors.  Consum ers contribut e cash to the producti on of food products and man y contribut e labour (p aid and volunt eer) as well .  The linkages and int er co nnecti ons between comp onents are vast and comp lex as shown in the diagr amm ati c rep resent ati on in Appendix A.   Definition of Sustainability  A definiti on of the term sustain is  “ to continue wit hout lessening, to nouris h, to allow to flourish” (Sustainable Measures, 2000).  In order to maintain a sustainable community, we need to balance the connecti on s between the so cial, eco nomi c, and envi ronmenta l elements (   .  The Bruntland Comm iss ion, a Unit ed Nati ons comm iss ion on environment and development in 1987, defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present wit hout comp romisi ng the abil it y of fu ture generations to meet their own needs” (Kloppenbur g et al. , 200 0).   Acco rding to Klopp e nburg et al. (2000), a sus tainable food s ystem is:  Ecologic all y sust ain able  Knowled geabl e/C omm unicati ve    P rox im ate    Economi call y sust aini n g  Direct Participator y  J ust/E thi cal  S ustainabl y re gul ated  S acred    Healt hful  Diverse   C ult urall y nourishi ng  S easonal/Temporal  Value-O riented Economi cs  R elational      10  Social Indicator The UBC food service system’s mission requires the food system cate r to the int erests of the universit y comm unit y as it pertains to good fo od, friendl y servic e and value.  This is by no means a simpl e and strai ghtfor ward task as the un iversit y comm unit y is an ex ceedingl y hetero gen eous group.  In the wint er sessi on 200 2/2003, the tot al num ber of regist e red students in degree pro grams w as 42, 763 with 3,342 internati onal students repres enti ng 114 different countries (U BC Publi c Affairs, 2003).  Th e top fiv e countries are USA (14. 59%), Chi na (13.21%), J apan (8.45% ) , South Korea (7.03% ) an d UK (5.15%).  Durin g the ac ademi c ye ar of 2002/2003 approx im ately 71% of the tot al studen t bod y was from the Low er Mainl and (UBC Planning and Insti tut iona l Research, 2003 ).  This region is en riched b y dive rse cult ures and ethni c back grounds with its residents speaking mo re than sev ent y l an gua ge s (UBC Student In formation, 2003).  The universit y comm unit y is inargu abl y a m yriad of cult ures embod yin g the diversit y of the Gre ater Vancouve r re gion, Can a da and the wo rld as a wh ole.  The pertinent questi on is whether the UBC food s ystem has vali d ex pressi on of thi s diversit y.   UBCFS includes retail o perati ons; residen ce dini ng; caterin g; and the Sa ge Bist ro, a fine dini ng establi shment.  Th e retail ope rati ons consi st of fran chises such as Su bwa y, Bread Gard en, Ko ya J apan, Manchu Wok, coffe e bar facil it ies, in -house ca fete rias and restaurants includi n g 99 Chairs, The Barn and Yu m -Yums.  The AMS foo d service outl ets are all centrall y lo cated in the SUB such as Pie-R -S qua red, The Pit , The Deli an d Pas ta Ba r.  Onl y three of the fourte en food service establi shments named could be consi de red retail ethnic food provid e rs.  Essentiall y, “Chinese”, “Japanese” and “Italian” cuisines are available to the university community; however, the y ar e not ne arl y su ffi cient to cater to the sophist icated palates and diverse needs of thi s popul ati on.  The societal go als encompass foo d iss ues such as providing cult ur all y and  11  personally acceptable foods in order to ensure that this population enjoys food security.  “ A comm u nit y enjo ys food securit y when all people, at all tim es have ac cess t o nutrit ious, safe, personall y ac ceptable an d cult urall y appropriat e foods obtained through no rmal food dist ributi on channels” (Kalina, 2001). The UBC food s ystem sh ould be responsi ble fo r ensuring food s ecurit y the incorporati on of sust ainabili t y as de fined by th e Campus Sustainabil it y Offi ce.  A si gnifi cant problem to overcome to me et these goals is offerin g suffi cient ethni call y div erse food outl ets to its comm unit y.  Our proposed indicator could be the number of culturally diverse food establishments in direct correlation to the number of ethnic populations with the greatest proportions at UBC   Along with the indi cator of the Farrell Rese ar ch Group Ltd. who conducted the “UBC Food S ervices - A Survey of Food on Campus” and “Exploring Customer Needs” surveys in 1996/1997 of the UBC and AMS Fo od Services (Far rell Rese arch Group, 1996) (   The surve ys were don e at the request of the UBC Food Servic es as the y we re ex periencin g some inst abil it y  in their busine ss.  The first surve y   found that the respond ents rated variet y and cheap pricing as most important in food service overall.  “Variety” in th e s urve y was d efined as including ethni c foods, s electi on of vegetarian or healt h y food, sele cti on of places to go and obtaining everything they wanted.  “It found that 50% of the respondents noted that the variety of food avail abl e was po or or fair.  Reas ons for being poor or fair were the y not bein g given a huge s electi on or variet y in gen eral (49 %), food is most l y fast food or greas y (15 %) and variet y is just alright (11%)” (Farrell Research Group, 1996:    Data suggested th at those indi viduals youn ge r than 23 yea rs old were a gre ater ethni c mix and indi viduals whose mot her tongue is Chinese eat o n campus more often th a n indi viduals whose  12  mot her tongue is En gli sh (56% versus 38% ).  The Far rell Resea rch Group determi ned that targeting the younger ethnic groups is important.  A “dislike” in the UBCFS was low variety (18%) while “more variety” was a preference of the AMS food services (13%).  UBC food s ystem custom ers wanted more J apanese/sus hi (14 %), Italian/pasta (11%) and ve getarian (10%).   The youn ger gener ati on suggested mo re Chinese (56%), J apanese (58 %) an d other Asian cuisi ne (43%) (Fa rrell Rese arch Group, 1996).  In a secon d surve y, the popularit y of East Indian cuisi ne was evident as students s uggested foods such as c urries, samosas and ve get arian chil i.  One of the comm ents and su gge sti ons for the UBCFS mo st often given b y respond ents was to add more variet y (Far rell Resea rch Group, 1996).  The result s of both surve ys support the need fo r improved avail abil it y of ethn icall y div erse food establi shments for the co mm unit y.  In doin g so it will take a step forw ard in the directi on towards a more sociall y sust ainable food s ystem. In ou r proposal the proce ss towards social sust ain abil it y can comm ence in the wint er sessi on 2003/2004 as yea r zero wit h UBCFS and AMSFS coll aborati n g on a comm it tee to ini ti ate the planning pro c ess wit h resea rch, imple mentati on and evaluation proposals for the int roducti on of more cult urall y appropriat e food establi shments to reflect the diverse cu lt ural needs of the UBC comm unit y.  By the end of thi s ye a r the comm it tee shoul d have outl ined cle ar and compreh ensive plans for ea ch sta ge of the pro cess such that Year On e will begin wit h the ex ecuti on of the rese arch proposals.  Resear ch wo uld include m easurin g ou t the indi cator by comparin g the actual nu mber of cult ural food est abli shments to the actual proportions of ex ist ing ethni cit ies at UBC.  Rese arch will also tar get the needs and wants of the co mm unit y spe cific all y pertaini ng to cult ural foo ds and food establi shmen ts.  This again can be don e through a surv e y of students, facult y, st aff, and residents addr essi ng what, when, wh ere, wh y and how to incorpor ate personall y ac ceptable an d cult urall y appropriat e foods.  The comm it tee will also resea rch  13  al ternati ve strat e gies that other sim il ar microcosm s (universiti es, mall s, airports, resorts, cruise ships , etc have incorpo rat ed to meet the cult ural fo od needs of their dive rse cli entele.  It wil l include a compl ete anal ysis of the suitabili t y and adaptabi li t y thes e strate gi es hold for the sustainability goals of the UBC food system: “the synergy between economic, ecological and societal goals” (Campus Sustainability Office, 2003).  By Year Two the committee will begin working throu gh th e implementation sta ge in which the result s of the indi c ator anal ysis , surve y and the alt ern ati ves revie w wil l present the most appropriate propos al that can be implemented to improve the cult ural food iss ues at UBC.  Dep endi ng on the assessment of t he rese arch st a ge, it can var y from the addit io n of cert ain culturall y diverse dishes in cafete rias, residenc e dini ng and restaurants to an addit ion of an ethni c food establi shment.  Both the implementation and evaluation sta ges will ru n simul taneousl y rathe r than in successi on suc h th at the evaluation process commen ces as so on as the new services h a ve been int roduc ed.  The comm it tee will assess the success of a new food service with the UBC food system’s social, economic and ecolo gical goals.  This pe rtains to the acc essi bil it y, ac c eptabili t y, quali t y an d value of the food as well as customer se rvice.  It consid ers the finan cia l integrit y and, to a reaso nable ex tent, the ecolo gical footprint, a measure of the sust ainabili ty of ou r lifest yl es, that p urchasin g, produ cti on, dist ributi o n and waste mana gement of th e new fo od service.  Th e thre e sta ges will be ongoin g processes su ch that the y will conti nuousl y me asur e the movement towards sust ainabili t y of the UBC food s ystem and as the UBC comm unit y cha nges, so wil l the UBC fo od s ystem.              14  Economic Indicator At first glan ce, ev aluatin g economi c sus tainabil it y of the UBC Food S yste m sounds like an evaluation of profit abi li t y.  In free ma rkets, pro fit max imiz ati on means that a business or a system is competi ti ve in a competit ive sector and is gene rati n g enou gh rev enue to cove r costs , or in economi c lan gua ge, mar ginal rev enue is equ al to margin al cost of produ cti on (Pind yck and Rubenfeld, 1998). How e ver, the att ributes of econ omi c sust ainabili t y that we ar e using for thi s anal ysis are not pr esentl y quanti fied in the free ma rket s ystem.  It is diffi cult to measure sust ainabili t y in economi c terms bec ause it is not a good valued in conv enti onal markets.   The UBC Food S ystem economi c sust ainabili t y indi cator for whi ch we wer e looki ng at was to measure lon g-te rm profit abil it y including the assu mpt i on that an operati on is onl y viable in the long-te rm when it meets the needs of its cli ents.  At UBC ther e resides the percepti on of students that the avail able food ch oices are ex pensive (Bru nett i, 2002). We speculat e that it is lim it ed in healt h y opti ons , ethni c di versit y and is highl y wast e gener ati ng.  Under th e operati onal de finiti on of sust ainabili t y "ea rning the respe ct of future gen erati ons for the ecolo gic a l, social and economic legacy we create”, an indicator of economic sustainability has to go b e yond th e re alm of profit abil it y (Campus Sustainabil it y Office, 20 03). Our group has d ecided to measure the compar ati ve prices of healt h y meals  avail able on the UBC Campus , includ ing the UBC Vill a ge.  Th e economi c indi cato r wil l measure the numb er of comp lete meal choices avail able per price cate gor y.  Ex perts in the nutrit ion field wil l define “a complete meal.” (  ) Their criter ia wil l be based on meeti ng const r aint s such as X-number of calories an d Y-quali t y of calori es pe r meal.  Onc e the criterio n has been set the nutrit ioni st will c onduct a surve y on UBC Campu s and UBC Vill a ge to create a dat abase of the  15  number of meal choices avail able in each pric e ra nge.  After th e data is an al yz ed and properl y cate goriz ed a tabl e such as the foll owin g would re sult . Table 1: Number of Complete Meals at Specified Prices  Price Range  $2.00 - $5.00  $6.00 - $9.00  $10.00 - $14.00  $15.00+  2003      2004      2005       This table could provide a variety of information such as: choice of “complete meals” with re spect to price, overall choice of “complete meals” on UBC campus, and trends over time.  The reason this indicator has been chos en is bec au se of the per cepti on that UBC students are fac ed with ex pensive food choices.  Th rou gh group discussi ons we bega n to hypothesiz e that perhaps the fo od choices withi n the UBC boundar y are not reall y that ex pensive compared to similar “complete meals” around the Lower Mainland and that it was the lack of choice avail abil it y that was l ead ing to this perc epti on.  If thi s wer e true, which we suspect is the case; people would be asso ciat ing lack of choic e with poor value and the refo re concludi ng that UBC food products we re ove r- priced.   This indicator is good f o r several reasons.  Th e firs t is that data can be e asil y coll e cted (in less than a da y ) and can be done inex pen sivel y (the cost of one nu triti onist and perhaps one assi stant). The se con d reason is that over time thi s indi cator is compara ble through calculating all prices into “today” dollars (i.e. disc ounti ng).  Finall y, it is more than just an economic indi c ator as the data table can be used to suppl ement social indi cator information.   Ecological Indicator "T he UB C Waste Manage me n t Office 's mi ssio n i s to init iate, co o r d inate and pro mo te bo th wa st e and litter red uctio n t hr o u gh re use, rec ycli n g and co mp o sti n g activitie s at the U ni ver sit y of British  16  Co lu mb ia. We orchestra te camp u s rec ycli ng act ivi ties a nd pro vid e ed uca tio n and info r matio n on waste reduction to the campus community.” (UBC Waste Manage me nt, 20 0 3 )  W e, as a group support t he missi on statement of the UBC Waste Man a ge ment Office. It is important not onl y red ucing waste but also to educate peopl e about redu cing waste. It is important to conti nuall y gath er information about the amount of was te prod uced, disposed and rec ycl ed. In ord er to do this, ecologic al sus tainabi li t y indi c ators hav e to be developed to moni tor the amount of waste that is produced at UBC. As a group, we beli ev e that post consumer St yrofoam and pape r foo d packa gin g is a lar ge part of UBC’s waste stream and is a major problem that needs to be addressed as part a sustainable approach to UBC’s food system (UBC W aste Mana gement, 199 8).  Our sust ainable appr oach to the UBC food s ystem strives to reduce the amount of post consumer food packaging waste that reaches the Lower Mainland’s landfills. The per ce nt de cre ase of dispo sable garba ge at UBC over time in conjunct ion wit h the percent increas e of compos table waste over time will prov ide an indi cator of th e ecological sus tainabil it y of UBC’s food system. By annually measuring the amount of noncompostable versus compos table post consum er food and food pack a gin g wast e, the Waste Mana gement divi sion of UBC can determi ne the ecologic al sus tainabil it y of the UBC Food S ystem.    Currentl y paper and St yr ofoam food packa ges are used as the main form of food packa gin g in the UBC Fo od S ystem. Both of th ese packa gin g mate rials ar e unsust ainable because St yro foam does not biodegr ade and pape r packa gin g is cove red wit h wax es, which makes it impossi ble to rec yc le (Pol yst yr ene Pa cka gin g Council , 2001 ).  Init iatives hav e be en take n to promot e the use of Tupperwa re cont ainers suc h as the sale of reusable containe rs at cost in the AMS Student Union Buil ding (UBC Waste Mana gement, 2003).  A $0.15 discount is offered to custom ers that use their own mu g wh en purchasin g coff ee  17  in the SUB.   These ini ti a ti ves are a good sta rt but without proper educ ati on and social chan ge it is ver y di fficult to get an y effe cti ve result s.  Today’s society has evolv ed to ex pect fast and eff icient service and produc ts. Urban societ y in the tw ent y- firs t centur y has an anthropo centric view, which centr es human consum pti on habit s on convenience. Ecolo gical factors ar e not nec essaril y consi dered on an ever yda y basis . This is wh y ev en thou gh people have the option and inc enti ves to use reusable containers the y do not. Man y people mer el y find it more efficient to use t he dispo sable food packa gin g that is avail abl e from the loc al food pro viders than ca rr y around plasti cware a nd mu gs all da y. We beli eve that we shoul d aggressi vel y promote the use of reusabl e food pack a gin g; however, we also reco gni z e that UBC shoul d seriousl y consi de r the use of compos table food packa gin g.  This is wh y, as a part of our rese arch mod el, we would like to propose the use of foam laminate products instea d of St yrofo am or pap er products. Foam lami nate is a food pack a gin g material that is made pri maril y from limestone an d potato starch and is one hundred per cent biodegr adable and rec ycl able throu gh co mpos ti ng ( Earthshell ,  2001 ). This packa gin g mate rial has all the properties of St yrofo am but is one hundred per cent more ecolo gi call y sust ain able because St yro foam is not biodegr adable. Foam la mi nate food pack a gin g from Earthshell is currentl y bein g used at Oregon State Universit y as a part of its environment al sus tainabil it y program to dec reas e the amount of disposable wa ste goin g to landfill s (pro    The use of fo am lami nate packa gin g at UBC woul d remove food -pack a ging waste from ga rba ge goin g to loc al la ndfill s. Instead, th e foam laminate food pack a gin g, along with an y uneaten food could be co mpos ted. As a part of Wastefree UBC, a lar ge s cal e compos ti ng facil it y  18  has been propos ed for So uth Campus ( UBC  Waste Mana gement, 2003).  By compos ti ng food and food pack a gin g mate rials, UBC Food s ervic es could work with UBC Waste Mana gement to minim iz e large amount amount s of unnecessa r y waste go in g to land fills . Sett ing up compos table material bins nex t to garb age cans could do this. Such a pro gr am has work e d ver y ef fecti vel y through UBC’s Blue Bin Program, which recycles 65 tonnes of containers each year ( U BC  Waste Mana gement, 200 3).  Compos t collecti on bins at UBC would be bright red and foll ow impl ement ati on simi lar to that of the rec yc li ng bl ue bins. The compos t col lecti on bins would be placed nex t to garb a ge bins around campus prim aril y close to food outlets . The coll ecti on bins wou ld have to be labell ed, showing what items are compos table and which are not – foam la mi nate food packa gin g and food scr a ps, for ex ampl e. These bi ns would have to be emp ti ed regularl y each da y from the loadin g ba y of each buil ding. Curr entl y t his is how the blue bin progr am works and th e flow of materials from the bins is moni tored ( UBC  Wa ste Management, 2003 ). The flow of compos table materials empt ied from the red coll e cti on bins can be measu r ed by wei ght when the bins are empt ied. This ca n be reco rded fo r all the bins and then compar ed to the amount of garba ge goin g to land fills in the foll owing ye ar. This woul d provide a sust a inable indi cator of food service waste flow from UBC. This can be us ed over the ye ars to se e if the compos ti ng program is eff ecti ve or not and to help the univers it y gradu all y wo rk towar ds usi ng more compos table materials an d less ga rba ge materials flowing from campus .  This s ystem of monit oring compos t and garba ge materials will also have t o be reinfor ced with social educati on abo ut the importance of compos ti ng and rec ycli n g. A plausibl e idea is the labell ing of foam lami nat e food pack a gin g informi ng consum ers the import ance of rec ycli n g. The foam lami nate packa gin g label could also indicate that the pa cka ge sho uld be put in red  19  compos t collecti on bins across campus to en coura ge people to use the compos ti ng bins. Thi s would ensure a gre ater number of student parti cip ati on in the program.  The flow of dispo sable garba ge goin g to land fills could be monit ored and compared to the flow of compostable material going through the compost bins to UBC’s large scale compos ti ng fa cil it y. The percent d ecr ease of post consum er food garba ge over time compar ed to the perc ent incre ase of co mpos table food pack a ging mate rial over time wil l provide a lon g -term indicator of the ecological sustainability of UBC’s food system.  Conclusion  Our group has found th at there is a lack of coh esion between the UBC FS an d the AMS FS and that these groups mu st become more responsi ble for their conn ecti on t o land, food, and the UBC comm unit y. Th e Campus Sustainabil it y Off ice has ini ti ated seve ral p rogram s that deal wit h a variet y of sustain abil it y iss ues on campus but does not address the sp ecifi c iss ue of food s ystem sust ainabili t y. Th eir com post ing ef forts to deal wi th ecologi cal sus tainabil it y are a st art, but the y must work with UBCFS and AMSFS to inc orpora te other issues directl y re lated to the food s ystem such as diversit y of appropriat e and afford able food choic es. Our recomm endati ons on wa ys to stud y the UBC Food S ystem include socia l, economi c, and ecolo gical persp ecti ves, and are desi gn ed to assess pr ogr ess over time. Social sust ainabili t y will be add ressed b y the formation of a comm it tee made up of UBCFS and AMSFS . This commi tt ee will compare the actual number of cult ural food establi shments to the actual propo rtions of ex isti ng ethni cit ies at UB C. Surve ys will be do ne on personall y acc epta ble and approp riate foods , and will determi ne the most relevant propos al that can be implement ed to improve the cult ura l food issues at UBC. Economi c sust ainabili t y will be measured b y comparing th e number of co mpl ete, healt h y meal choices; dete rmined b y ex perts in the nutrit ion field, which are avail able in price cate gories  20  ran ging from 2-5 doll ars up to 15 dol lars. Ecologi cal sus tainabil it y will be assessed b y annu al measurement of th e amo unt of noncompos table versus compos table post -c onsum er food and food packa gin g waste. The use of fo am lami nate packa gin g inst ead of St yr ofoam or pap er products has be en propos ed bec ause it can be com post ed, and would remov e the food pa cka gin g waste from ga rba ge going to landfil ls. It is hoped that future students wil l have the opportuni t y to put our recomm end ati ons into practi ce and will become part of th e conc erte d effort to improve the sustainabil it y of the UBC Food S ystem and t he campus as a whole. 21  References AMS Food Services.  20 03.  Avail able at htt p:/ /www.ams.ub c.c a/busi nesses/  restaurants_ and_pubs/ index .htm l .  Accessed on March 13, 2003.  Brunetti A.  2002.  “Biting into Sustainability:  The 2002 UBC Food System Study Report.”    UBC Campus Sustainabil it y Offic e, 2002.  C ampus Sustainabil it y Office.  2003.  Avail able at htt p:/ /www.sust .  Acc essed on  March 5, 2003.  Earthshell .  2001.  Avail a ble at: htt p:/ /www.e arths hell .com .   Acc essed on March 11, 2003.  Farrell Research Group Ltd. 1996.  “UBC Food Services: A Survey of Food on Campus”  AGSC  450 Materials.  Avail able at htt p:/ /www.webct.ubc .ca/S C R IP T/a gsc_450/s c ripts/  serve_home.  Acc essed on March 8, 2003.  Feenstr a GW.  1997.  Lo cal food s ystems and sust ainable comm unit ies.  American J ournal of  Alternati ve Agri cu lt ure.  12 (1); 28 – 36   Field, Barr y.  2001.  Nat ural Resourc e Economi cs :  An Introdu cti on .  New York: Irwin/   McGraw -Hill .  Kalina L.  2001.  Chapter One: “Food Security.”  Buil ding Food Securit y i n Canada .  Kaml oops, B.C.: p. 9-20.    Kloppenbur g, J ., S. Lez ber g, K. DeMaster, G. Ste venson, and J . Hendricks on.  2000.  Tasti ng  Food, Tasti n g Sustainabil it y: Definin g the Att ribu tes of an  Alternati ve Food S ystem  with Competent, Ordinar y People.  Hum an Organiz ati ons,  Vol. 59, No. 2., p. 177-1 86  P ind yck, R., and D. Rube nfeld.  1998.  Microe con omi cs .  Fourth Editi on.  New Jerse y:   Prenti ce-H all , In c.  P ol yst yr ene Pa cka gin g Council .  2001.  Pol yst yr e ne and the Environment.  Avail able at:  http:/ /www.pol yst yr ene.o rg/envi ronment/ environ ment.htm l .  Accessed on March 10,  2003.  S ustainable Mea sures.  2000.  Avail able at htt p:/ /www.sust ainableme asure ustain abil it y/  index .htm l .  Accessed on March 5, 2003.  Mau ree n Kent, 1998 -2000.  UBC Food Se rvices.  20 03. Avail able at htt p:/ /www.foodserv.ub c.c a/ .  Accessed on March 3,  2003.  UBC Planning  and Insti tut ional Rese arch.  2003.  Demographics: Origin.  Avail able at  www.pair.ub udent /demogr aphics.htm #origi n .  Access ed on Mar ch 8, 2003.  UBC Publi c Affai rs.  2003.  UBC Facts and Fi gure s: Stud ents.  Avail able at  www.publicaf fairs.ubc. c a/ubcfa cts/ index .htm l#students .  Access ed on Ma rch 8, 2003.  UBC Student Informatio n.  2003.  Livi n g in Vanc ouver.  Avail able at:  http:/ /st udents.ub ivi ng/ .   Accessed on March 15, 2003.  UBC Waste Mana gemen t.  1998.  The 1998 UBC Waste Audit .  Avail able at  http:/ /www.wastefre e.ub aste -a0.htm l .  Acc essed on Mar ch 10, 2003 .  UBC Waste Mana gemen t.  2003.  Avail able at htt p:/ /www.rec ycl e.ubc.c a/r waste/compos t.pdf .   Access ed on Mar ch 5, 20 03.  W ackerna gel, M. and W. Rees.  1996.  Our Ecolo gic al Footprint ; Reducin g Human Impact on  the Earth.  New Societ y Publi she rs, Canada and P hil adelphi a, PA USA.   


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