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UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Food Vision and Values PHASE 4 : Indigenizing Food Systems Zerbo, Aisha; Jeffs, Elizabeth; Castaneda, Kristian; Brown, Liam


The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a campus that strives to create an inclusive and just environment for all its inhabitants. UBC is currently striving to increase education and community program engagement among Indigenous populations. In the past nutritious practices were shared without consideration of different cultural contexts, however, contemporary nutritional sciences have started to view the importance of Indigenous food practices as a key to health, and well being for Indigenous groups (Wilson & Shukla, 2020). Eurocentric ideals around healthy eating are historically posited in a scientific or unbiased way to isolate nutritional practices away from knowledge that has been deemed non-scientific (Wilson & Shukla, 2020). The purpose of this research is to inform the development of an action plan to help advance Food Services’ (UBC FS) Food Vision & Values and to support indigenizing the food system at UBC. The goals of this research are to: provide a working definition for Indigenous food value for UBCFS. and identify actions that UBC FS can take to incorporate an Indigenous Food Values into their Food Visions and Values. With these goals in mind, this project aims to create a specific action plan for UBCFS to work towards in the context of indigenizing the food system. The objectives for this project implementation include; an investigation of how other institutions are implementing different Indigenous food systems in their food plans; conducting primary research with Indigenous community members to learn about the key Indigenous values and concerns regarding the UBCFS goals; and a compilation of a list of local Indigenous food producers including farms or food suppliers as possible collaborators moving forward. This project as proposed by UBC FS sought to develop a new value that could be added in the UBC Food Services Food Vision and Values commitment in recognition of their positionality as a settler institution. It was with the concept of cultural inclusion and reconciliation in mind that UBC Food Services sought to implement this project. Furthermore, they seek to establish a greater understanding of Indigenous food related knowledge which will support the inclusion of Indigenous ingredients and recipes. This project seeks to create a more culturally sensitive and sustainable approach as UBC works towards the process of reconciliation and the implementation of Indigenous human rights (University of British Columbia, 2020). Through a community-based action research approach, and an extensive analysis of literature, this project will provide a series of action plans and considerations that will allow UBC Food Services to incorporate Indigenous food value in its own food values. A respectful approach allowed the team to engage with key stakeholders in meaningful non extractive dialogue and incorporate different perspectives when developing our plan of action. Primary research was conducted through interviews with Indigenous community members connected through UBC Food Services. Furthermore, the primary research provided a list of recommendations that can be considered by UBC Food Services. Secondary research was conducted in the form of a literature review to produce a landscape scan to identify main themes and explore what other institutions have accomplished in this area to inform the creation of our action plan. The research revealed a need for UBC Food Services to continue to build and maintain a relationship with the Musqueam Nation, built upon the four R’s framework of respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. 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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