UBC Undergraduate Research

Towards a sustainable UBC Food System : part II : indicators of sustainability Chen, Cindy; Funk, Nathan; Kiehlbauch, Laura; Lawhead, Veronica; Manaois, Andrealynn; Pearce, Sarah; Strutynski, Niki; Yong, Cecilia


As fourth year students in the Faculty of Agriculture’s Land, Food, and Community series, we have witnessed the growing popularity of the term “sustainability” at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In our classes and as a part of the general student population we have seen how the use of this word has been expanded beyond rhetoric in action toward a more sustainable campus, whether in courses that facilitate student involvement in actual sustainability projects or in the introduction of fair-trade coffee and reusable cup discounts at campus cafes. But as we prepare for our graduation from UBC we have been asked to question, “How do we evaluate the sustainability of the entire campus food system?” The following report is our response to this question. As a diverse group of agriculture students we discussed, researched, and compiled a paper on how to evaluate the sustainability of the UBC Food System. In addition to a map of the current UBC Food System and its components, the report includes clearly outlined indicators and recommendations for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. We have also created a simple model that illustrates the level of sustainability as would be revealed by these indicators. This was a challenging, but rewarding task. As a group we came to the conclusion that all three components of sustainability are not only critical to the whole system but also intimately interconnected with one another. While we have forged a plan for assessing the sustainability of the UBC Food System, we are glad to know that future classes will continue our work. This project has provided a great opportunity to work in a creative and open learning environment; more so, it has provided the opportunity to contribute to a current and important issue at UBC. While you read on, keep in mind that this report represents an early stage in the process toward a more sustainable UBC campus. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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