UBC Undergraduate Research

Envisioning UBC Food System : Asset Map 2.0 Gilbert, Brennen; White, Charlotte; Zhukova, Katya; Boltwood, Lian; Pinder, Madison; Kodet, Oliver


One of the indicators of food insecurity is food price volatility (FAO, 2011). For example, in Barbados an apple crumble goes for Can$8.05 per pie (La Baguette Barbados, n.d.). In Cuba, one goes for Can$9.12 (Cafeteria El Biky, 2018), while in Haiti, the same pie can cost up to Can$10.50! (Epi D’or, 2013). One might describe these as the pie rates of the Caribbean. But how does one find the best place to grab a tasty slice of pie? Or monitor supply chain threats to said pie’s availability? In this report, we invite you to join our swashbuckling crew of eager students and future food systems professionals as we set sail in (re)search of an answer to this question by investigating one possible solution: a Food Asset Map. Food Asset Mapping is an approach to addressing food security which employs an asset-based model to community food infrastructure and gaps, primarily in urban settings (Soma et al., 2021). This report showcases our research directed at advancing a just, secure and sustainable food system on the UBC Vancouver Campus by exploring the UBC Food Asset Map (FAM), a virtual tool which displays a multiplicity of food-related organizations, businesses, and initiatives at UBC Vancouver. Our two client groups UBC Wellbeing and the Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability Program who currently oversee the UBC FAM determined that it needed clarification on its direction, scope, and management. Our team was recruited to assess the UBC FAM’s current uses and effectiveness in reaching its goals, as well as to provide guidance on its future direction. This work was conducted by a group of undergraduate student researchers within the course LFS 450: Land, Food, and Community III: Leadership in Campus Food System Sustainability. We believe strongly in the importance of community involvement being integrated into our work. Community-Based Action Research (CBAR) methodology provided a framework by which we coordinated our work, by highlighting the importance of localizing and contextualizing research within a community (Nasrollahi, 2015). We applied CBAR principles of collaboration among stakeholder, researchers, and community members; the implementation of different research methods as a means of knowledge collection; and analyzing data and knowledge holistically. Our research data were collected from peer reviewed literature and an environmental scan, in addition to primary data from a survey, focus groups, and one interview with the student-run initiative Campus Nutrition. With support from our teaching team, client groups, and a treasure chest of UBC resources at our disposal, we set about our work, the whole UBC Campus our oyster. Our survey (n = 108 )was administered via Qualtrics to a target sample of UBC Vancouver undergraduate students with the aim of drawing insight into the UBC student community’s opinions, knowledge, and possible uses for the UBC FAM. The focus groups and interview occurred over zoom with the participation of six UBC food systems stakeholders to collect data on their professional applications and perceptions of the UBC FAM. The data were then coded manually to identify recurring themes and ideas including: sustainability, equity, and food security; community collaboration; possible overlap between resources, and more. Through gathering these data, our team assembled an itinerary of adjustments that could be made to enhance the UBC Food Asset Map’s current aims and possible future direction changes. This included using the Food Asset Map as a way for students to locate meals on campus and mapping non-physical assets and relationships among food systems stakeholders. Our ultimate conclusion, however, is that these scope changes hold high potential to be addressed rather by nurturing initiatives and collaborations on the UBC Campus. Finally, our report outlines recommendations of ways to leverage and expand upon these collaborations. We also highlight the areas needing further research where our own investigation was constrained by scope or data limitation, which includes past and future user analytics, applications in campus planning, and relationship mapping. 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.”

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International