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Local food access among newcomers to Canada in Metro Vancouver area

The Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) are conducting a study on local food access among newcomers to Canada in the Metro Vancouver area. The main goals of this project are (1) to advance our understanding of food access, need, and their interest in local food system participation, and (2) to create dialogues among key stakeholders to support newcomers in their journeys through a new food environment.

Results from this study will help provide information on unique needs and barriers to local food access faced by newcomers. The knowledge gained from this study will contribute to the ongoing efforts by service provider organizations (SPOs) to design and implement programs and resources to appropriately serve refugees and immigrants in need. 

Research Methodology

The study is divided into three phases:

Phase One: Newcomers' experiences

  • Conduct a survey to investigate newcomers' challenges and barriers in food access and their interests in local food system participation  
  • Conduct focus group discussions to collect stories from newcomers on their experiences within the Metro Vancouver food systems

Phase Two: Local government and Service Provider Organizations' policies and activities

  • Conduct literature review on policy environment and current initiatives led by service provider organizations (SPOs)
  • Conduct in-depth interviews with key stakeholders such as planners and staff from key service provider organizations 

Phase three: Creating dialogues on newcomers and the local food systems

  • Form the Immigrant Women Food Policy Group to facilitate stakeholder workshops 
  • Host a series of dialogues to disseminate research results and further the discussions 

Research Updates

  • Mar 2022: Phased 1 has wrapped!
    • Research results presentation was delivered on March 29. To view the recording, please click here!
    • Phase 1 summary results infographics
  • April 2022: Phase 2 funding has been awarded by the Vancouver Foundation (Participatory Action Research Grants) and Coast Capital SavingsWe are engaging with SPOs to learn about their work, successes and challenges
  • Aug 2022: Phase 3 funding has been awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Connection Grants). We are excited to invite 10 amazing women to join our Immigrant Women Food Policy Group


Contact Information:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wallapak Polasub, ISFS

Co-principal Investigator: Ms. Valerie Lai, PIRS

Research assistant: Ms. Emily Burkholder, ISFS



This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Vancouver Foundation, and MetrovancouverSSHRC signature

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