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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Foodshed Vancouver : envisioning a sustainable foodshed for Greater Vancouver Richardson, James M.


This study explored assessment methods for sustainable foodshed design. A sustainable foodshed was defined as a regional form that meets local food needs, is energetically productive, and is ecologically and socially resilient. Food system energy inputs were measured through a life-cycle assessment of production, distribution, processing, and nutrient cycling inputs to determine the food system energy balance for Greater Vancouver’s hypothetical foodshed. The model accounted for embedded variables such as dietary habits, circulation allotments and distribution chains, ultimately requiring the integration of qualitative and quantitative indicators at a regional, municipal and farm scale. Findings suggest that Canadians purchase roughly 710 kg of food per year, demanding 0.68ha of farmland per capita. If all proximal Agricultural Land Reserve areas were fully utilized to support Greater Vancouver’s 2006 population, it would require 3.5 joules of energy to produce, distribute, prepare and cycle nutrients for every joule of energy contained in the food Vancouverites eat. It may require a radical transformation of dietary habits and processing methods, and a renewed dependency on human-powered agriculture to sustainably feed the population of Greater Vancouver.

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