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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Farming ourselves to death? the confluence of crises in the food system in British Columbia and Canada, and the potential for change Thomson, Matthew


Throughout the late 20th century North American agriculture has followed a trajectory of increasingly industrialized production and processing of food (Donaldson and Macinerney 1973; Qualman and Tait 2004). Ownership of Canada’s agriculture land and resources is increasingly consolidated (Qualman and Tait 2004; Statistics Canada 2006a). This raises important questions about how well this consolidated ownership, a decreasing number of corporations focused on agri-business, can serve the public (Qualman and Tait 2004; Berry 1995; Shand 2002; Shiva 2002) and the negative environmental impacts of industrial agriculture (Goering et al. 1993; Roach 2005). An increasingly energy-dependent food system is also a major concern in an era of climate change and peak oil (IPCC 2007; Walker and Sidneysmith 2007; Duncan and Youngquist 1999; Pimentel et al. 1973; Hirsch 2005). With British Columbia’s small farmers facing a range of ecological, economic and socio-political challenges, (Govender et al. 2006; Connell et al. 2007; Cowichan Green Community 2008; Masselink, 2008; SmartGrowth 2008) planners in BC need to consider food security and its relationship to local and global crisis as a key issue of 21st-century planning.

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