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Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project


Okanagan agriculture

The Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project is a two year, a multi-disciplinary research project initiated by ISFS and regional partners to provide regionally specific, data-driven information about:


  • The potential to increase food production and processing for local markets in the Okanagan and Similkameen regions;
  • Whether and to what extent increasing local food production could improve food self-reliance, benefit the economy, and create jobs;
  • The potential to reduce some detrimental environmental impacts from food production in the Okanagan and Similkameen regions; and
  • The current policy gaps that hinder such a food system, and proposed policy changes to address these gaps.


The project models a number of future food system scenarios that are applied to baseline data garnered from fieldwork, the Census for Agriculture, and the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The scenarios represent possible outcomes of choices we make, and evaluate a range of food production, ecological, and economic indicators. When compared to our current situation, these outcomes can be used to help understand the impacts of decisions we might make.

More information is available in the following document: PDF icon Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project FAQ


Project Reports

As research briefs and reports become available, they will be posted here.

Project Support

We grateful to the following local governments that have endorsed the project and/or provided funding to date:

  • Okanagan Indian Band
  • City of Kelowna
  • District of Summerland
  • District of Lake Country
  • Town of Oliver
  • District of Coldstream
  • Township of Spallumcheen
  • City of Armstrong
  • City of Enderby
  • Village of Lumby
  • Village of Keremeos
  • Town of Osoyoos


And to the following organizations that have endorsed the project to date:

  • Interior Health
  • Okanagan Basin Water Board
  • Institute for Community Engaged Research, UBC-Okanagan
  • Okanagan College
  • South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Partnership
  • Central Okanagan Food Policy Council
  • Kamloops Food Policy Council
  • Richard Cannings, MP – South Okanagan-West Kootenay
  • Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition


In addition to researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, a team of research affiliates from collaborating agencies are contributing to this project:


Dr. Sean Smukler and Dr. Robin Harder, UBC Land and Food Systems - nutrient flows and balance:

Dr. Meidad Kissinger, Ben Gurion University of the Negev - Life Cycle Assessment and Ecofootprint/GHG emissions

Dr. Arthur Green, Okanagan College - Modeling and agricultural land use

Dr. Donna Sensese, UBC-Okanagan - Social capital implications of the local food system

Anna Rallings, University of California at Merced - Habitat connectivity and carbon sequestration/stocks



This project is possible thanks to the generous support of our major funders:


Real Estate Foundation of BC




Central Okanagan Foundation




Regional District of the North Okanagan

Regional District of the Okanangan Similkameen