Farm to table – KPU is building a better food system

Mon, May 14, 2018

Food systems conference invites internationally-recognized experts and local community leaders to tackle a multi-pronged problem together.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is bringing together community leaders and internationally-recognized food systems experts together this summer for a two-day conference with the goal of making sustainable local and regional food systems.

“We need a better food system,” said Dr. Kent Mullinix, director of KPU’s Institute of Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS).

He argues the current food system in Canada, like many places, isn’t economical for farmers, it’s not providing suitable access to nutritious food for many people,it’s stripping the land rather than nurturing the earth, and it’s not building and investing in community.

“Building a better food system, one that is truly about the health of people and the vitality of our communities as well as that of the planet, requires that researchers and community practitioners work strategically together," said Mullinix. “That's what makes this conference so important. We need all hands on deck to tackle this complicated problem, academics and community activists alike.”

Taking place August 9 and 10, the conference is aimed at stimulating collaboration between researchers and non-governmental organizations. Among the presenters are renowned U.S.-based agriculture geneticist, and founder of the Land Institute, Dr. Wes Jackson and Okanagan National Alliance executive director Pauline Terbasket. Life Magazine predicted Jackson to be among the 100 most important Americans of the 20th century, and the Smithsonian in 2005 included him as one of “35 Who Made a Difference.” Terbasket is a citizen of the Syilx Nation with more than 30 years of experience working for a variety of First Nations organizations and government.

Participants will share the latest place-based food systems research and on-the-ground experiences, as well as identify directions for strategic and concerted future study and action.

The conference will address how ecological, economic and social resources can be strategically and effectively directed to advance food systems that respond to the needs of, and nurture the development of communities within the regions they serve. 

Participants will leave fortified with knowledge and understanding of current research that makes the case for place-based food systems, as well as innovative practices for putting those systems into action. 

“Our intent is for participants to gain an empowering vision of the critical role that place-based food systems can and will play in achieving our sustainable economic, ecological, and societal futures, as well as a revitalized dedication to strategic, collaborative and forceful action moving forward,” added Mullinix.

Conference proceedings will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

Place-Based Food Systems 2018
Making the Case, Making it Happen
WHEN: August 9-10, 2018. Early bird registration closes May 31.
WHERE: Pacific Gateway Hotel (3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond, B.C)
INFO: To learn more and to register, visit For ongoing updates and deadlines sign up for the conference newsletter at