UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rural Food and Wine Tourism in Canada’s South Okanagan Valley: Transformations for Food Sovereignty? Robinson, Danielle


This interdisciplinary research analyses the relationships between food sovereignty principles and food and wine tourism in rural contexts by asking how rural tourism stakeholders understand these concepts, mobilize the interrelationships, and to what purpose. Wine and food tourism is one of the fastest-growing rural tourism niches, with effects on the orientation of food systems, the livelihoods of producers, the viability of rural communities, and the biophysical environment. Secondary research and semi-structured interviews provide insights into how qualities of food sovereignty transitions are conceptualized, recognized, developed, supported, and promoted in the case of British Columbia’s South Okanagan Valley. An appreciative approach was used because this research aims to understand rural food and wine tourism’s potential contribution to food sovereignty. Although the term ‘food sovereignty’ did not resonate for most participants, qualities of a transition towards food sovereignty such as reorienting agriculture, food processing and consumption to the local region, supporting rural economies and environmental sustainability were considered integral to rural food tourism. Participants saw future opportunities for rural food and wine tourism to serve broader transformative purposes that would benefit locals, visitors, and the environment. Research results could be used to inspire critical academic, community and policy dialogue about food sovereignty in wine and food tourism destinations.

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CC BY 4.0