UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the current and alternative methods for produce storage and transportation at the UBC Farm Bouthot, Stephan; Agarwal, Rushat; Wason, Tejbir

Abstract

This report examines the economic costs of three produce transportation and storage methods for the UBC Farm in Vancouver, Canada. It looks in depth at the current storage method, the rubbermaid totes, as well as two potential replacements, corrugated cardboard boxes and burlap-lined totes. The report not only accounts for the direct monetary costs, but also for the opportunity cost for factors such as labour. Due to the approximations made for opportunity cost, this report may not be applicable to similar for-profit farms. The report conducts a thorough market research to inform the reader about the current practices in similar (small and big scale) operations. Cost prices are taken from prices published by other farm operation units in the greater Vancouver area. After comparing the three alternatives, this report concludes that burlap-lined rubber-maid totes are the most long term cost-effective option for the UBC Farm, while taking opportunity cost into account. The corrugated cardboard boxes save money on recurring costs due to labour, washing, and broken equipment but the cost of replacing the single-use boxes adds up over twenty years. The rubber-maid totes saved money due to its long lifespan, but the recurring costs and opportunity costs remains high. By modifying the existing system and adding a burlap-lining drastically reduces the washing cost and labour opportunity cost. This report recommends the UBC Farm modify their existing infrastructure and purchase burlap to line the plastic totes they already own. 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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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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