UBC Undergraduate Research

A research design and methodology for assessing the sustainability of the UBC Food System : indicators of sustainability of the UBC Food System Allard, Ben; Gilliland, Alison; Hanacek, Blake; Kolb, Elliot; Miyazoe, Takeshi; Plaxton, Andrea


While the University of British Columbia and its Campus Sustainability Office are at the forefront of sustainable development projects, they have yet to assess the sustainability of the UBC Food System. In this paper we map the current state of the UBC food system and present a continuum model of seven indicators of food system sustainability that we think adequately address the social, environmental and economic issues that arise in the development of a more sustainable food system. These seven indicators are the affordability of food, the presence of an effective consumer advocacy group, consumer satisfaction, the percentage of UBC Food Services and AMS Food and Beverage employees and management that are UBC students, the percentage of food waste composted and recycled, the percentage of locally-produced food entering the UBC food system, and a cost-benefit analysis of UBC Food Services and AMS Food Beverage. As these seven indicators overlap and conflict with one another, we stress that it is necessary for all indicators to be valued equally in order to move forward on the continuum from a stage of low sustainability to a stage of high sustainability. We propose a methodology that requires close communication between food providers, local suppliers, and consumers on campus. The implementation of the food system sustainability indicators needs to be carried out on a continuous basis over the next five years. It is therefore essential that one long-standing food system sustainability committee be established to work on this 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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