UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Re-localizing horticultural supply chains in Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada : an exploratory study of market barriers and opportunities Brunetti, Anthony Joseph


Most horticultural crop producers in the Metro Vancouver region and Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, find themselves unavoidably competing within globalized agriculture and food supply chain systems controlled by relatively few powerful corporate entities. This global competitive environment has meant that horticultural producers, especially relatively small-scale producers, experience difficulty maintaining economic viability. In addition to globalization, food-system vulnerabilities manifested by such issues as global climate change, land-use conflict in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), biosecurity concerns, and increasing energy costs are becoming ever more salient issues for local horticultural producers and buyers. In light of globalization and emerging system vulnerabilities, this thesis explored the possibility of re-localizing the Lower Mainland horticulture supply chain by asking two questions: First, how do B.C. Lower Mainland producers of fresh fruits and vegetables, and buyers in the City of Vancouver, perceive their current and potential capacity for local food sourcing and marketing relationships? Second, given that there are discernible benefits to re-localization of the horticultural supply chain, what recommendations can be made to inform public policy development that facilitates re-localization? Using a case-study approach, structured interviews were conducted with food-service providers, retailers and wholesalers within the City of Vancouver, as well as with fruit and vegetable producers in the FVRD and Metro Vancouver region. Each market participant’s sourcing and marketing relationships were explored to uncover barriers and opportunities for developing or enhancing their respective market channels and relationships. Lower Mainland, City of Vancouver and provincial policy considerations are suggested for overcoming experienced local market barriers. These considerations focus on the following: 1) establishing a sophisticated go-to-market approach; 2) establishing the infrastructure for a local/regional horticulture supply chain system that embeds the food economy ubiquitously in local market channels; 3) rebuilding and enhancing re-localized/regionalized horticultural value chains; 4) initiating responsive community and cooperative economic development around food production; 5) comprehensively planning regional/community food system integration. Organized around these considerations, re-localization policy development would embrace regional and local identity and food system integrity, effectively branding local/regional horticultural products and agriculture that beget market loyalty and preference.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International