UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Integrated Sustainability Planning and Local Food Systems: Examining Areas of and Gaps in Food Systems Integration in Community Sustainability Plans for Municipalities across British Columbia Issac, Jofri; Newell, Robert; Dring, Colin; White, Charmaine; Ghadiri, Mohaddese; Pizzirani, Stefania; Newman, Lenore


No “one size fits all” approach exists for local sustainability and food systems planning. Such planning must balance needs for being both comprehensive and place-based. The current study explores this tension by examining Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSP) developed by municipalities in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The research examines items and actions related to food systems (focusing on agriculture and food production) in the ICSPs of municipalities in different regions across BC to (1) identify how municipalities “integrate” food systems with other sustainability objectives, (2) elucidate how place and geography influence integrated planning, and (3) reveal gaps in integrated approaches to developing local food systems. The study employs document analysis and thematic coding methodology. The results indicate that common areas of food systems integration in ICSPs include local economy and education. Many plans outline goals for bolstering local food economies and building local food capacity through community participation and engagement. Findings also show how foci and approaches for developing sustainable food systems vary by region. The study elucidates how food systems are integrated within place-based sustainability plans as well as reveals gaps that local governments can address when adopting and implementing integrated sustainability plans for improving food systems.

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