UBC Undergraduate Research

Creating sustainable food procurement targets for the AMS Lighter Footprint Strategy Edwards, Catharine; Chen, Neil; Au-Yeung, Teresa; Wood, Roger; Lee, Vicki; Kao, Ellen


Community based action research was conducted to determine strategies for the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Food Service Department to procure their food in a more sustainable manner, in order to reduce their ecological footprint. Interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders, including the AMS Food and Beverage Department (AMSFBD) Manager, and representatives from their main produce supplier, Central Foods. Literature searches were conducted on sustainability initiatives by other universities, UBC policies were obtained, and food procurement lists were obtained from the AMS. Surveys were also conducted on students to determine their awareness of sustainability initiatives, and their food consumption patterns at the Student Union Building. The focus was narrowed down to the procurement of seasonal local produce during the winter months from November to March, with a specific focus on cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and potatoes, which are common items used by AMSFBD outlets. The results showed that of these items, the only BC grown ones used by AMSFBD outlets in the winter are red small potatoes, and mushrooms; however, Central Foods is willing to source any items that the AMS requests. Our results also indicate that although student awareness of AMS sustainability initiatives is low, they would support a one-time price increase of between $0.25 and $0.50 to account for future sustainability initiatives. It is our recommendation that the AMS increase their communication with their suppliers, increase marketing initiatives to build student awareness, and conduct formal marketing research that can be statistically analyzed to assess a price increase that will be accepted by UBC students. 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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