UBC Undergraduate Research

The apple shouldn't fall far from the tree : extending local food purchasing Wan, Ashley; Joshi, Gita; Sawicz, Bianka; Montgomery, Adrienne; Chan, Juliana; Fynn, Mark; Soto, Marybel


It is evident that disconnection between people and their food is increasing; however, public support for local food initiatives is growing continually. One such initiative, the University of British Columbia Food System Project (UBCFSP), strives to relocalise the UBC food system through its collaboration with various partners and stakeholders, such as UBC Food Services (UBCFS) and the Alma Mater Society Food and Beverage Department (AMSFBD). Relocalisation is not only integral to all aspects of sustainability, but also is critical to any community’s food security. As a microcosm of Canada, UBC has the potential to change perspectives by using the UBCFSP to provide positive evidence that relocalisation is feasible, thus reinforcing UBC’s role as a worldwide leader in sustainability. Scenario One of the UBCFSP focused on “Extending Local Food Purchasing.” Our group focused on local produce, as suggested by Dorothy Yip (UBCFS) and Nancy Toogood (AMSFBD). The primary concerns expressed by UBCFS and AMSFBD regarding relocalisation were adequate volumes and availability, followed by quality and price. We investigated five possibilities: new distributors, the UBC Farm, a food cooperative, current distributors, and Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD). To acquire pertinent information, we conducted face-to-face, email, and telephone interviews with partners, distributors, producers and other stakeholders. Numerous barriers arising for the first three possibilities include: inadequate and/or inconsistent volumes, availability, and quality; as well as concerns with distribution methods, purchasing procedures, and exclusivity contracts. As a result, the direction of this project shifted from a focus on the UBC Farm, to investigating local food purchasing through current UBCFS and AMSFBD distributors: Allied Foods and Central Foods, respectively. The interest expressed by these distributors regarding providing more local produce warrants further investigation by future colleagues. Correspondence with SPUD, which is currently expanding into corporate deliveries, should continue in order for us to assess potential collaboration with the UBC Food System Project. 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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