UBC Undergraduate Research

Farm Food for All Alba, Cody; Currie, Jeanne; Lee, Christopher; Napoleon, Julian; Woo, Justin; Zandieh, Sahar


The UBC Farm is a 24 hectare research, teaching and community engagement organization located on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. Through interdisciplinary academic, community and production programs, it aims to explore and exemplify healthy and sustainable food systems. The Farm is determined to increase student access to farm fresh food on campus. Increased access will strengthen both the Farm and our local food system. However, student access is limited for several reasons, most importantly, high farm food prices for student budgets and lack of awareness and cooking skills. The goal of this project is to examine business models which could increase student access to healthy, sustainable, farm fresh food on campus, to evaluate price differences between grocery store and UBC Farm and, homemade and cafeteria prices. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations on how the UBC farm can overcome barriers to student access. UBC Farm prices for selected vegetables were comparable to March 2016 grocery stores’ organic prices but on average 75 and 97% more expensive than non-organic or conventional prices in March 2016 and September 2015 prices in grocery stores. When labor and time were taken into account, quesadillas were slightly less expensive to buy from a UBC cafeteria than to make at home while tomato soup was cheaper to make at home. Both dishes were cheaper homemade if labor costs were not taken into account. Current models for educating students and increasing access to locally grown food. However no models address the financial barrier preventing students from affording such food. We recommend that the UBC Farm look into the creation of a student discount to address this barrier. This discount could be subsidized by a small annual fee created through an AMS referendum proposal and/or by the creation of a specific option for a student-oriented market in the farm’s current practicum program. We also suggest various activities to be done in collaboration with UBC student groups in land and food systems and/or in commerce to increase awareness and cooking skills. 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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