UBC Undergraduate Research

Assessing the potential for a student-run cooperative organic grocery outlet in UBC's Student Union Building : the sustainability of the UBC Food System Collaborative Project III Buckshaw, Shannon; Evans, Celine; Kerner, Magdalena; Lim, Young-Jae; Noble, Jane; Tam, Tina; Young, Zane


The food system at the University of British Columbia (UBC), like most food systems, is a complex and dynamic system that is expanding to fill the needs of a growing population. For the past two years the AGSC 450 students, in the Faculty of Agriculture at UBC, have set out to assess the sustainability of this food system. Our work is part of the 3rd year of this five year study. We studied the models and findings from last year’s class and tried to improve upon them; thus providing future researchers with a solid foundation on which to base their primary research. We also assessed the potential for a student-run cooperative organic grocery outlet in UBC’s Student Union Building and identified its role in a sustainable food system. We assessed indicators and models from last year and reworked them to fit our subsection of the UBC Food System. The six indicators we chose track a combination of economic, social, and ecological sustainability of the Natural Foods Co-op. Overall, we found the Co-op could play a major role in pushing the UBC Food System towards sustainability; however, there are some challenges related to economics and community awareness that could hinder the Co-op’s progress. We believe collaboration between stakeholders and research of other student-run food co-ops is the best way to overcome future challenges. The UBC Sustainability Office plays a large role in initiatives to promote sustainability on campus; therefore, we make a number of recommendations to the office as to how they can take part in making the Food Co-op a viable component of a sustainable food system at UBC. 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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