UBC Undergraduate Research

Cultivating Resilience : Assessing Vancouver’s Local Food System Tung, Audrey; Ginther, Bryana; Shen, Lucy; Hinds, Taylor


Current agricultural systems account for approximately 20% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014). A growing population, depleting key resources (oil and phosphorous1), loss of farm lands and the risk of changing climatic conditions highlight the need for a dramatic change to our global food network. As a response to this globalized, industrial model of agriculture, localized food systems are less fossil fuel intensive due to reduced transport and processing needs, as well as small-scale farming methods (Neff et al., 2011). Local food systems are not only ecologically sustainable, but also socially just, increasing the availability of food, creating livelihoods, and strengthening the relationship between farmers and consumers in the community. Project Objectives: 1. Identify a successful policy environment for small-scale urban food systems to flourish and improve farmer livelihoods 2. Assess the role of non-governmental actors in influencing policy development 3. Learn how small-scale urban farms and related stakeholders develop resilience against climate change and fossil fuel related contingencies This project is completed in partnership with Village Vancouver Transition Society. The goal of this project is to inform further policy development to create a more resilient food system within the Village Vancouver Transition Society’s overarching timeline of 2040. This research project identifies local, sustainable food initiatives in Vancouver and evaluates the public policies that enable the initiatives’ successful implementation. Through examining policy documents and interviewing local food system actors, current laws, bylaws and strategies governing urban food systems were assessed. Barriers to growth were identified from survey and interview responses, and are broadly categorized into economic, resource, and marketplace barriers (summarized below). Addressing these barriers, increasing awareness and continuing sustainable farming practices will allow small scale farmers to scale up their production and operations to build a more resilient local urban food system. The findings of this research lead to a plethora of recommendations to local food system actors and governmental organizations to develop resilience to climate change and oil scarcity.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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