Thank You Whole Foods for Donating to the UBC Farm!

Thank You Whole Foods for Donating to the UBC Farm!

A huge thank you to Whole Foods Market for donating 5% of net sales on Thursday, January 11th, to CSFS at the UBC Farm! The participating locations included the West Vancouver, Cambie, Kitsilano, Robson and the new North Burnaby location.

UBC Farm Markets featured on Fairchild TV

Check out the Fairchild TV feature on the UBC Farm Markets.

Saturday Market Coordinator Hannah Lewis interviewed by Fairchild TV.


Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses & Community Centres

Cedar Cottage Food Network
Downtown East Side Neighbourhood House
Gordon Neighbourhood House
Grandview Woodland Food Connection
Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House — Westside Food Collaborative
Little Mountain Neighbourhood House — Riley Park Community Garden
Marpole-Oakridge Neighbourhood Food Network
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Food House
Richmond Food Security Society
South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network
Strathcona Community Centre Association
Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network
West End Neighbourhood Food Network

Dawn Morrison on CBC Ideas

Dawn Morrison, Founder, Chair and Coordinator of the B.C. Food Systems Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, was featured on CBC Ideas on Indigenous food sovereignty in a radio documentary called: Confronting the ‘perfect storm’: How to feed the future

“Here in Canada we waste about a third of the food we produce. And yet four million Canadians experience food insecurity. In partnership with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph we hear from Dawn Morrison whose work focuses on Indigenous food security and Bryan Gilvesy who is a long-horn cattle rancher who puts sustainability first.”

Researcher Profile: Craig Borowiak, Visiting Researcher

What is the focus of your research?
I am an associate professor and chair of the political science department at Haverford College in Philadelphia. I study alternative political economies and for the past eight years have been focusing my studies on what is known as the ‘solidarity economy’. This refers to economic practices that depart from mainstream capitalist forms by prioritizing collectivist values such as cooperation, democratic decision-making, mutual aid, and community development. My research has a transnational dimension but takes place primarily in Philadelphia.

On a national level (in the U.S.), we have generated a series of maps of the solidarity economy. We’ve been collecting data on social initiatives such as worker cooperatives, credit unions, and community gardens. The mapping platform we have created to facilitate this dataset can be found at These maps are designed to help the public locate such initiatives. We are also using them to study how demographic factors, such as race and class, relate to solidarity economy initiatives.

Why does this work interest you?
A recurring theme in my work is that communities today face multiple crises, whether they are financial, environmental, or security-related. Frequently, capitalist structures can be found behind these crises. I have a strong belief that in order to create a more vibrant and sustainable society we must find alternatives to the harmful structures of capitalism. But the thought of taking on capitalism is really overwhelming for a lot of people. It is really dis-empowering to think that in order to have alternative options, you’d have to overcome the entire system. At the same time, my work has shown me that maybe our economy is not so capitalist after all. When you begin to notice the cooperative efforts of our society such as public schools, public parks, community gardens, and bike shares, you realize that half of the challenge of coming up with alternatives is learning to recognize them. Once we collectively begin to acknowledge the alternatives that already exist, it becomes possible to leverage them to bring about more systemic change.

When I first taught my students about the idea of reading the economy differently so as to identify non-capitalist practices, many felt that a burden was lifted off of their shoulders. They began to see that there is value in micro-interventions. They began to see such interventions as part of something bigger.

What is your link to sustainable food?
For a long time, my work focused on transnational politics. Once I became more self-conscious about my lack of knowledge in relation to my own city of Philadelphia, I redirected my work away from the transnational angle and towards my local community. I began to immerse myself in local cooperatives, which then led me to the community garden movement. I found this movement fascinating and began speaking with community partners who were struggling to find and maintain data on gardens. I became very involved with this data, discovering that only a fraction of the 1,200 supposed community gardens in the city actually existed. Many of these were merely abandoned, vacant lots. On the other hand, many actual gardens weren’t recorded at all. The detective work of looking into these entries became a major research project. We have now produced comprehensive datasets of community gardens in the city, including data on land ownership and neighborhood demographics. These datasets are currently being used by community partners and the city to help preserve gardens at risk due to gentrification.

When you started your research, did you expect to become so involved in community gardens?
I was surprised that I became so involved. My original goal was to paint a picture of Philadelphia’s solidarity economy, which required a completed list of community garden entries. Upon my involvement, I realized that these gardens are a way of alleviating the existing racialized poverty that is concentrated in Philadelphia. These gardens are a means for underdeveloped communities to beautify their neighbourhoods, enhance their food security, and drive out harmful, illicit activity.

What have you gained from visiting the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS)?
One of my primary motivations for visiting the CSFS was that I wanted to be around people who understand these community-based food systems better than I did and who could help me understand how to assess the impact of community gardens. Being in this supportive environment has been incredibly helpful, as I’m surrounded by people who are interested in these questions that I have surrounding community gardens. I’ve also gained perspective about my own city – Philadelphia is a racially segregated city, whereas Vancouver is very different. In Vancouver, there are a completely different set of issues and questions surrounding community gardens. Vancouver struggles with finding space for new community gardens, whereas Philadelphia has trouble planting existing lots.

Where do you see this research heading?
When I set out on this research project, I had wanted to create an estimate of the economic value that we might attribute to community gardens’ produce. Such quantitative metrics are important for policymakers. I have come to appreciate that much of the impact of community gardens is not reflected in the shadow economic value. It’s instead about the human connection, the cultural preservation, the reconnection with nature – qualitative stuff. So what can we do to make these somewhat abstract things legitimate in the eyes of the people in power? Part of the challenge with thinking about alternative food systems is confronting dominant discourses and modes of representation. It’s not that things like community gardens are wholly invisible, it’s that their full value is not legible to policymakers, academics, and the public because of the way we think about the economy and society. Addressing this is the next step of this work.

Researcher Profile: Lisa Powell, Postdoctoral Researcher

What is your title?

I am a postdoctoral researcher jointly appointed at UBC in the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and at the University of the Fraser Valley.

What does your research with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm focus on?

One of the main focus areas of my research through CSFS is on “farm to school” programs and how they may contribute to fostering sustainable food systems. My research in this area started off looking at how institutional sourcing of local food can support farms and economic development. We have ended up also investigating farm to school programs as food literacy education initiatives and comparing how these programs have manifested in BC to other parts of the world. Even in BC schools that do not have a cafeteria to serve local food at, we still often see a lot of work with school gardens and other programs that support food literacy education, which has the potential for long term food systems impacts.

Another significant aspect of my work with the CSFS is translating research into usable formats that can be made available to farmers, food processors, and others working with food systems. In addition to being a researcher myself, I help to facilitate the sharing of the broad range of research coming out of CSFS, as well as work from our collaborators and partners. I am currently helping to build a web portal to support increased public access to research results and other resources related to food and agriculture in BC.

Why does this work matter to you?
I grew up on, and remain involved in, my family’s farm, where I’ve had a lot of hands-on experience with food systems and in particular food production. There I developed an understanding of farming’s economic realities and its relationship to environmental conditions. Because of this, I’m interested in research that can be used to help agricultural communities prosper, while also seeing the value and the need for the general public to acquire as much knowledge about food systems as possible. Even if people aren’t growing food themselves, they are still stakeholders as people who eat or engage with the food system in other ways.

What surprises you about this work?
It’s been a pleasant surprise to learn about the enthusiasm from people who are working in the farm to school movement. Seeing the passion in community members and organizations has been exciting and wonderful.

How important is the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems to your work?
The CSFS provides a valuable network that involves both researchers and those who are practitioners or working in the field. It’s great to be a part of that hub. The UBC Farm itself provides a lot of food literacy education programming. The UBC Farm is also a great model and learning tool for institutional sourcing of local food as they sell produce to UBC Food Services, which prepares meals in campus cafeterias.

What should people know about the CSFS at the UBC Farm that they probably don’t know?
They should know that the UBC Farm isn’t only a physical space. It also represents a larger network of researchers and outreach activities going on – both activities happening on the ground at the Farm but also those related to sustainable food systems happening beyond the Farm itself.

What’s your favourite thing to do at the UBC Farm?
Any given day, within a couple minutes walk, there may be internationally-known researchers installing new monitoring equipment in a field, children potting little seedlings, undergraduate classes recording soil sample data, field staff weighing harvests, and people of multiple generations talking and working together in the Indigenous Gardens. It’s really inspiring to be able to take a short walk and see so many people of different ages, interests and backgrounds all doing activities related to food systems in this one pretty small space.

Off-Campus Resources

Off Campus Resources


Children’s Programs

Get involved in food literacy education with the active citizens of tomorrow.

Growing Chefs

Project Chef

Sprouting Chefs

Nourish Kids Cooking Classes

Pica Cooking Classes




Businesses based on the idea that through cooperation members will work together to meet their common interests.

East End Food Co-op

From Farm to Fork

Community Food Co-op Bellingham



Community Gardens

Gardens operated by the local community to increase access to fresh produce and increase food literacy.

Vancouver Community Gardens Map

Fresh Roots

Edible Garden Project

The World in a Garden Project

American Community Garden Association



Food Distribution and Recovery

Organizations that aim to provide food for those who need it and reduce waste within the food system.

Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society

Vancouver Farmers Markets

Quest Food Exchange

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Harvest Project

Harvest Project

Mesh Food Exchange




Online Resources (Canadian)

Other online databases from Canadian food systems organizations.

Food Secure Canada

Sustainable Food Alliance

BC Food Security Gateway

Slow Food Canada

FoodARC Publications

BC Food Systems Networks



Online Resources (Global)

Other online databases that compile information and research from all over the world.

United Nations University Publications

The World Bank Publications

Food and Agricultural Organization Publications


School Gardens

Gardens operated by school youth about the nutritional, cultural and environmental aspects of growing and eating food.

SPEC School Gardens

Green Board — Gardens and Food (VSB)

Farm to School BC

The Classroom Gardener




Social Enterprises

Businesses that focus on improving social and environmental impacts.

Potluck Cafe Society

The Banqueting Table

Just Catering

Wize Monkey

SOLEFood Street Farms


New Community Kitchen Program at UBC Farm

The UBC Farm is starting a monthly community kitchen where community members (including students, faculty, staff and neighbours) come together to prepare a meal as a group.  We will accept donations for the meal, whatever you are able to pay…

You Are Invited: Sculpture Welcome Fire Ceremony

Dave Robinson, Anishinaabe from the Timiskaming First Nation, accompinied by Shane Point, Musqueam Elder and VSB Knowledge Keeper, would like to invite you to a “Sculpture Welcoming Fire Ceremony”. They invite you to witness, learn about Indigenous Pedagogies, and take part in the ceremonial first wood chip burning from Dave’s most recent 24′ Red Cedar Sculpture. Everyone who would like to engage, learn and connect with our land is welcome to be a part of this ceremony and carry the wood chips to the fire with us.