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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The sustainability of food systems and community food programs McIntyre, Susan

Abstract

There is a need for a comprehensive analysis of community food programs within the context of a sustainable food system and long-term food security. There seem to be no studies that identify the range of community food programs attempting to respond to hunger, or what they respectively offer. There is also a second gap in the literature in regard to analysis that respects the inter-relationship between food insecurity from a hunger perspective versus a sustainability perspective. Comprehensive approaches to food security that consider hunger and access to food as well as the production and distribution of food are necessary to ensuring an evolution toward food security. This thesis attempts to identify the various types of community food programs that have been developed, in part, to help alleviate hunger, as well as to assess their effectiveness and respective differences in terms of empowerment and sustainability criteria. This thesis reviews the literature describing both the present industrial food system, and sustainable food systems, drawing from this literature various criteria that are posited from different perspectives for what an ideal food system should seek. Second, the thesis reviews source documents from reports, journal articles, and various organizational materials describing the various community food programs in order to identify a comprehensive list. Third, it applies the criteria drawn from the literature to the various community food programs, analyzing which y criteria are satisfied by each of the different programs. The literature identifies a number of criteria that help assess whether a specific production or distribution program is sustainable. Each community food program meets only a limited set of criteria. But as a package, community food programs help transform the food system into a system that is" more sustainable. They provide people with a variety of options and they also help foster food security by empowering people to buy food or enabling them to grow food. Environment, society and economy are respected to varying degrees by each program, and to a large degree by all of them together.

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