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Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

ISFS is an applied research and extension unit at KPU that investigates and supports regional food systems as key elements of sustainable communities. We focus predominantly on British Columbia but also extend our programming to other regions.

Our applied research focuses on the potential of regional food systems in terms of agriculture and food, economics, community health, policy, and environmental integrity. Our extension programming provides information and support for farmers, communities, businesses, policy makers, and others. Community collaboration is central to our approach.

New at the ISFS

New Survey: Planning for Food Systems in Canada 

This survey has been co-developed by the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) and an advisory committee of professional planners from across Canada. By completing this survey you will be participating in important research to understand and advance the field of food systems planning practice in Canada. The survey is available in both English and French. 

Who can take the survey?

The survey is open to all professional planners, planning practitioners and planning students in Canada. This includes:

  • Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) - registered with the Canadian Institute of Planners and/or a Provincial or Territorial Planning Institute or Association
  • RPPs currently non-practicing, retired or on leave
  • Practitioners who are not RPPs, but are currently working in the field of planning (incl. planners who have not yet obtained their RPP, independent consultants, academics/researchers etc.)
  • Students and recent graduates of a planning school or program

If you are unsure of your eligibility please contact Emily Hansen,

Click here to take the survey! 


Building Connections: From Farm to Restaurant, 2020

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This project aimed to understand the demand, benefits, challenges and opportunities for farm to restaurant supply channels in the South Okanagan region of BC. The study included a consumer survey to determine demand for local food in restaurants, in-depth interviews with chefs and farmers to tease out opportunties and challenges, and a networking event for chefs and farmers to meet and build business relationships. This project was supported by the Community Food Action Initiative in cooperation with Interior Health.  








The Future of B.C.'s Food System

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In July 2019, the province of British Columbia appointed the B.C. Food Security Task Force - based on a commitment made in the 2019 Throne Speech. The Task Force has a mandate to provide recommendations on how to apply agri-technologies (“agritech”) to enhance agricultural productivity, economic competitiveness and sustainability ; grow the emerging agritech sector in B.C. as a standalone economic sector ; and support the objectives of CleanBC through the adoption of technologies and practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase access to fresh, healthy food and stimulate local economic activity.

In January 2020, the Task Force released findings and recommendations from their work entitled The Future of B.C.'s Food System. The Task Force advances recommendations for agritech-centred approach to sustainably increase domestic food production, eradicate food security and hunger, and increase economic prosperity and competitiveness of B.C.'s agriculture sector.

While we believe that technology has a role to play in the development of sustainable food systems, we also strongly believe that it should not be viewed as a silver bullet for the food system. In our PDF icon Response to the Findings and Recommendations of the BC Food Security Task Force, we present information that was overlooked in the report, as well as perspectives that call into question the extent to which agritech can, or should, be relied upon to contribute to, and shape our food system future in British Columbia. 





BC Agriculture and Food Co-operatives Survey, 2019

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In partnership Ministry of Agriculture, the ISFS recently completed the 2019 BC Agriculture and Food Co-operatives Survey. Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The project began in February 2019 and concluded in October 2019. The project involved creating a database of 72 contemporary agriculture and food cooperatives in BC. All 72 co-ops were contacted. 33 co-ops participated in the British Columbia Agriculture and Food Co-operative Survey, from which 15 co-ops participated in in-depth interviews.