Project Showcase

The project showcase will feature poster displays from researchers and practitioners. Poster authors will be asked to stand by their posters during the designated project showcase hour on one of the two conference days to discuss their projects and answer questions.


Understanding the Operational Resilience of the City of Vancouver’s Low-Cost Meal Programs – How food is moved to the programs and provided to the public

Kazlyn Bonnor

MRM Candidate, Resource and Environmental Management, Planning Simon Fraser University, BC


ABSTRACT. Cities across North America are undertaking Food System Resilience Studies to understand potential vulnerabilities and risks to their food systems. A resilient food system has the ability to recover from and adapt to hazards by maintaining a high level of functionality during and immediately after a system interruption. Hazards have the potential to interrupt critical operational components of the food system, for example: damage to electricity and water supply, sewer and transportation infrastructure. Food systems are comprised of five main components: production, processing, distribution, access, and waste. This research focuses on food distribution and food access components of Vancouver’s food system, as they relate to three low-cost meal programs provided by the city. It is imperative that these programs remain operational in the event of a hazard, as they serve low-income residents and community members that may be in need. The following questions are explored to understand the operational resilience of the low-cost meal programs: 1) How does food move to the low-cost meal programs? 2) How is food provided to the public through these programs? 3) What hazards (natural and non-natural) have the greatest impact to the operations of these programs? 4) How resilient are the low-cost meal programs to specific hazards? This research will provide considerations for the City of Vancouver to decrease vulnerabilities and increase resilience of program operations. The project will highlight experiences and challenges of food-flow mapping, aiming to guide future work in studying the broader flow of food within the region.  A methodology for assessing resilience of an individual food provider will result from this research, offering organizations a framework to use for assessing the resilience of their food system. This research will assist in understanding the resiliency of the larger food system within Vancouver and the lower mainland. 


Kazlyn is a Master’s student in the Resource and Environmental Management, Planning program at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Ottawa in 2013. Her passion for agriculture and food has come from working on small-scale farms in France, Ontario and BC and working with local organizations around food security issues. Currently, she is partnering with the City of Vancouver on her Master’s research project, which focuses on the resilience of the City of Vancouver’s low-cost meal programs. 




Transforming Iowa’s Food Systems: Community Donation Gardening as Place-Making Practice


Carrie Chennault (presenter, author)

PhD Candidate, Sustainable Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Education & Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Carly McAndrews (author)

Graduate Student in Sustainable Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Education & Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Kathleen Hunt (author)

Assistant Professor of Agricultural Communication, Department of Agricultural Education & Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA


ABSTRACT. Alternative and local food movements are transforming the spaces, practices, and social relations of communities across North America (Alkon & Guthman, 2017). This study investigates the emergence of community donation gardening in urban and rural communities in Iowa, USA as part of a statewide university-community collaboration, a project called Growing Together. Community donation gardening can connect local food growers with emergency food agencies, such as food banks and food pantries, to increase the quantity of fresh produce available to community members experiencing food insecurity. Drawing upon the theoretical concept of place-making (Elwood, Lawson & Nowak 2015), this paper considers how community donation gardening can reconstruct relationships across racial and class differences. Specifically, we investigate two place-making practices—food sharing and food recovery—to explore how community donation gardening establishes new connections between gardeners, food pantry workers, and clients, including but beyond the physical provision of food. We examine how new connections can disrupt middle-class cultural discourses of self-reliance that attribute food insecurity to individual laziness or unwillingness to work. We consider the opportunity to redefine food sharing and recovery practices to foster the bi-directional sharing of food cultures, dietary preferences, traditions, knowledges, aspirations, and challenges. Analysis of Growing Together problematizes place-making processes that perpetuate food insecurity and illuminates instances where gardeners, food pantry workers, and clients are demonstrating critical awareness of the politics of food and place. Drawing on lessons learned from this study, the authors encourage practitioners and activists to develop place-making as a collective process beginning with the knowledges, needs, values, and interests of people whom these practices are intended to benefit. This study demonstrates how food sharing and food recovery can productively bring scholars, practitioners, and community members together to foster just livelihoods within community food systems.


Alkon, A. H., & Guthman, J. (2017). The new food activism: Opposition, cooperation, and collective action. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Elwood, S., Lawson, V., & Nowak, S. (2015). Middle-Class Poverty Politics: Making Place, Making People. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105 (1): 123–43.


Carrie Chennault is a research assistant with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Local Foods and SNAP-Education programs.  Carrie's place-based research examines the political ecologies of developing just food and agricultural systems.


Carly McAndrews is a research assistant with the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach SNAP-Education program.  Carly's research investigates the social, cultural, and economic factors that inform how food pantry clients navigate fresh produce options in Iowa food pantries.


Dr. Kathleen Hunt researches agricultural communication from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines environmental communication, critical/cultural studies, and political economy. Specific areas of interest include food system reform, just sustainability, and anti-hunger advocacy.




The Role of Restaurants in Advancing Food Systems in Victoria

Ben Clark

Chair, Food Eco District Restaurant Society, Co-Chair, Victoria Urban Food Table

ABSTRACT. The negative implications of an industrialized food system have become more apparent to governments and citizens, leading to food policy development that encourages transparency and resilience. Restaurants have an important role in the development of food systems, as increasingly busy urban lifestyles cause more meals to be eaten away from home. This research explores how restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada contribute to a sustainable food system, and how other actors support their efforts. Three other Canadian cities (Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver) were examined as case studies, and people in these cities and in Victoria were interviewed to determine how successful food policies have been developed and implemented and what role restaurants can play in that effort. The research found that when restaurants work together to leverage their collective impact, they can strengthen local food supply and grow food literacy. The paper contains recommendations for restaurants, local governments, and supporting civil society organizations as they work together to develop sustainable food systems.

Ben Clark is the Chair of the Food Eco District Restaurant Society, and Co-Chair of the Victoria Urban Food Table. He recently completed an M.A. in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University focusing on the role of restaurants in building a strong food system. Outside of his day job with the BC Public Service, Ben finds time to make beer and cider and advance as many local food initiatives as possible.




Using the Green Roof Bylaw to encourage urban agriculture in the City of Toronto to support a sustainable local food system


Sarah Edmunds 

Candidate for a Master's, Public Policy and Administration, Ryerson University, ON


ABSTRACT. Toronto is a Canadian leader in urban agriculture projects, from community gardens to fish farms in shipping containers (Friedman, 2017). However, public awareness and public policy have not kept up with the rapid pace of urban agricultural innovation in the city. Urban agriculture supports a sustainable food system in the city, one of Food Secure Canada’s “Five Big Ideas for a Better Food System” (Food Secure Canada, 2017).

In 2012, the City of Toronto launched GrowTO (Kuhns, MacRae, & Nasr, 2010). The GrowTO Action Plan proposes policy solutions to build and support urban agriculture, among other things (Kuhns, MacRae, & Nasr, 2010). As of yet, very few of the proposed recommendations of this action plan have been implemented successfully, including the recommendation to “update City policies, zoning and bylaws to enable and encourage urban agriculture”. Zoning is an integral policy piece in the success of urban agriculture in Toronto, but there is also a bylaw in Toronto that could be modified to support urban agriculture - the Green Roof Bylaw. This bylaw requires certain buildings to have vegetation on their roofs predominantly for stormwater management and mitigating heat island effects, but could be adapted to encourage urban food production on rooftops (Toronto City Planning, 2010). This paper will argue that with adequate policy and zoning support from municipalities, economic and regulatory support from all levels of government, and increased public awareness and understanding, the Green Roof Bylaw can be updated to encourage urban agriculture and support a sustainable, local food system in Toronto.

This paper will be a literature review, providing background on agricultural policy and regulations in Canada, Ontario and Toronto; the Toronto Food Policy Council; the GrowTO Action Plan; the Green Roof Bylaw; and the history of and demand for urban agriculture initiatives in the City. It will discuss and evaluate the barriers to rooftop urban agriculture in Toronto, and the criteria for success. It will investigate rooftop urban agriculture policies in other cities, and compare these policies with Toronto’s policies. Finally, this paper will give policy recommendations for achieving widespread implementation of rooftop urban agriculture in Toronto.


Friedman, C. (2017). Urban agriculture projects in Toronto are struggling to take root as public awareness lags. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from:…

Food Secure Canada. (2017). Five big ideas for a better food system: A proposal on a Food Policy for Canada. Retrieved from:…

Kuhns, J., MacRae, R., & Nasr, J. (2010). Scaling up urban agriculture in Toronto: Building the infrastructure. The Metcalf Foundation. Retrieved from:…

RUAF Foundation. (2014). Urban agriculture: What and why. RUAF Foundation. Retrieved from:

Toronto City Planning. (2010a). Green Roof Bylaw. City of Toronto. Retrieved from:…

Toronto Public Health. (2017). Toronto Food Strategy: Projects. City of Toronto. Retrieved from:…

Turner, B. & Henryks, J. (2012). Study of the demand for community gardens and their benefits for the ACT community (prepared for The Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate ACT). University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia.


Sarah Edmunds is a master’s student in the Public Policy and Administration program at Ryerson University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Diploma in Environmental Assessment from the University of Waterloo and has worked in environmental compliance in both the public and private sector. She is currently completing a major research paper on adapting Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw to support urban agriculture and a sustainable local food system in Toronto. Her academic interests include energy and environmental policy, waste diversion, sustainable food systems and environmental assessment.




Enhancing Healthy Food in Schools through Multi-Dimensional Hands-On Learning


Patrick Gale

Master student, Curriculum Leadership, University of Victoria, BC & Edward Milne Community School, Sooke, BC


ABSTRACT. My poster presentation will offer a brief overview of my work while teaching Foods and Gardening classes in Canada’s Arctic (Inuvik, NWT.) from 2011-2015. Integrating local traditional Aboriginal foods, garden produce grown by students year round, various healthy cooking programs, On the Land programs (including hunting and reindeer herding), a community kitchen, and a student run cafe (among others), we created a significant positive shift in the school food system through student and community engagement.  I currently teach at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke, BC, where I am engaged in similar work. I would like to parallel my past and current food systems focused educational experiences to offer real life examples of how food systems change happens within a public school environment. One of my many goals is to continue to increase educator engagement in a healthy local food system, while strengthening a network of like-minded stake-holders.

Food, learning, and the Environment are three of Patrick’s biggest passions. He started dreaming up his future restaurant when he was 5 years old. His parents had a small organic hobby farm when he was young. He had plans of becoming a chef, and studied Culinary Arts before spending 15 years working in restaurants. He has also been involved in a wide variety of environmental education programs, many involving school gardens. From 2011 to 2015, he taught Foods and Gardening in the Arctic (Inuvik, NWT), where he created an award-winning program, integrating healthy cooking skill development, community service learning, traditional Indigenous foods, year-round gardening, on-the-land activities, and a student run cafe, among other aspects. More recently, he has been developing similar learning environments at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke, BC. His students plan, plant, tend, harvest, prepare, and eat produce grown in the school gardens, greenhouse, and orchard. They also harvest wild plants, integrating local First Nations learning, and work with local food producers to strengthen school community relationships within the local food system. He is currently working towards a Masters in Curriculum Leadership at the University of Victoria, while teaching full time and raising two fantastic daughters. 




Women at the Leading Edge in a RAPIDLY Changing Climate


Genevieve Huneault

BTM, MA (Candidate), Principal Consultant & Food Hub Lead, Social Root Consulting/ CFAI Island Health
Jen Fisher-Bradley

President, Women's Food and Water Initiative for a Sustainable Vancouver Island Bio-region (WFWI).
Stephen Fisher-Bradley

Director and Ally, Women's Food and Water Initiative for a Sustainable Vancouver Island Bio-region (WFWI)


ABSTRACT. In the era of "me too" and social media justice campaigns, women are finding their once silenced voices, en masse. The realities of climate disruption and food illiteracy are having a similar effect. Women, the traditional bringers of water and food, are speaking out about their stake in a place-based “good” food system.

This case study shares a grass-roots, social-enterprise model built on the principles of environmental feminism and social inclusion to foster advocacy in rural and urban agriculture in British Columbia. Women's Food and Water Initiative (WFWI) seeks to weave traditional and contemporary knowledge to build resilience, and prepare our communities for a ‘soft landing’ in the event of a global food and water systems collapse.

The WFWI face many challenges from land access, power relations, and persistent obstacles to knowledge sharing. Solutions are inspired by successful women cooperative farmers in the global community, WFWI builds capacity and overcomes systemic challenges through community organizing, self-educating, influencing policy, and stewarding resources. By talking, gathering, feasting, planning, co-mentoring, and understanding we create the collective cure for despair: together, as equals.


Women's capacity to adapt and mitigate climate change is significantly compromised by unequal opportunity. Embedding a gendered approach to food security has the capacity to shift power relations, spur economic growth, and cultivate ‘regenerative agriculture’ into our current systems. Therefore, women’s perspectives need to be included in the conversation, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Their opinions and experiences can inform policy and practice, resulting in a more equitable and inclusive food system. The WFWI case study illustrates a locally appropriate solution to a global crisis by exploring the impacts of food and water insecurity on women in the Alberni Valley of British Columbia.

Women need an edge, WFWI is that edge: it’s political, institutional, primal, and environmental. Each extreme event threatens, as ecosystems teeter on the verge of collapse, WFWI can provide opportunity for people to

connect to the two wise permaculture principles; Care of the Earth and Care of People.

Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Social Root Consulting, a collective consultancy that advises on social and environmental development practices. Genevieve's passion for meaningful change has led her to work in both local and global community development projects. She works at the intersections of gender equity, socio-ecology, and community development. Genevieve currently resides on Vancouver Island, BC and is focusing her efforts towards social innovation, change theory, and regenerative climate change strategies.


Lifelong activist, Jen rallied for peace in 1968, learning the power of voice to influence policy. In 2007, foreseeing rapid climate change's threat to food and water security, and the vulnerability of women in a climate crisis, Jen founded Women's Food and Water Initiative. WFWI strives to create a group of informed and activated women and their allies with empowered voices and collective strength, taking action in their communities leading towards what's known as, “The soft landing”. Jen sees the Alberni Valley as the potential central hub of a good food system on Vancouver Island. Her current focus is on scaling up urban farming, watershed restoration, perma-culture design and education, community collaboration and producing acclimatized seeds.

Stephen has wide experience in agriculture, and is interested in sustainable local food supply systems. Stephen partnered with Jen Fisher-Bradley in 2002 and is a director and volunteer of the Women's Food and Water Initiative. Stephen recognizes that in a time of deep crisis, flowing from a patriarchal worldview, women can take the lead in re-inventing our food and water systems and promoting the necessary social harmony, aiming for a soft landing in the global food and water crises brought on by escalating climate chaos.




Mapping, analyzing and building a food systems network in the North Okanagan

Eva-Lena Lang

MA student, Department of Community, Culture, and Global Studies, University of British Columbia, BC


ABSTRACT. Agriculture and related industries are a major driver of the North Okanagan economy, but currently the region’s farmers and other actors in the food system face a number of common challenges. These include unaffordable access to farm land, a lack of support for new farmers and other food system entrepreneurs, the need for a centralized hub for scaling up aggregation and distribution of local food, and low levels of consumer engagement in the purchasing of local food, amongst others. Relationships between some stakeholders within the North Okanagan food system do exist; however, there are also many silos separating the stakeholders and overall coordination is lacking. Building a network with the intention of strengthening the regional food system using a collective impact framework is seen as a solution to these challenges. The researcher therefore used a Community Based Participatory Research approach, combined with Deliberative Dialogue principles, to engage with a group of stakeholders from the regional food system (food producers, processors, distributors, retailers and chefs) as well as local government, non-profits and academics. The research objectives were to: 1. map and analyze the current food system network in the North Okanagan; 2. plan how to build one that is more connected, healthy and results driven; and 3. evaluate the approach, methodology and overall process used to map, analyze and build the network, in order to make the lessons learned available for future replication.

Eva-Lena Lang is currently pursuing a Masters in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at UBCO to further her capacity to support the regional food system and small-scale farmers. Passionate about sustainable agriculture, growing healthy communities and all things food related, she is involved with the North Okanagan Food System Initiative. Her thesis research is focusing on mapping, analyzing and building a North Okanagan Food Systems Network. Eva-Lena grew up in a farming family in the North Okanagan, BC, and has worked on a number of farms in Canada and Europe. She has also recently worked for the Certified Organic Associations of BC.




Passing Things Down: The resilience of traditional foods in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, ON


Hannah Muhajarine (author, presenter)

MNRM candidate, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, MB

Dr. Iain Davidson-Hunt (author)

Professor, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba 


ABSTRACT. ‘Resilience’ is a concept that highlights the dynamic nature of social-ecological systems, but it requires refining to make it more applicable to people’s lived experience. In this ethnographic study, I explored an Anishinaabe community’s understanding of resiliency in relation to their traditional food system.  I used unstructured interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation of food-related activities. I was interested in exploring how community members perceive the changes to their food system, the different ways community members continue to engage with traditional foods, the meanings these activities hold for them, and how these meanings inform their hopes for the future of food in their community. Resiliency, in this community, is deeply connected to rootedness to place. My research explores how place-based food systems create place-based practices, knowledge systems, and discourses. 

This project highlights the need for research that pays attention to everyday stories around traditional foods, and lived experiences of resilience more generally. Telling these stories can help facilitate shared narratives between practitioners and the communities they are working with. Such narratives are specific to place, based on lived (including embodied and affective) experiences, and centre process and emergence. This work would support the ability of communities to create movements and development around food rooted in their own stories and experiences.

Hannah is currently studying at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba. Aside from her thesis, she is also involved in a biocultural design project headed by her supervisor Dr. Davidson-Hunt, where they have been working with community members to hold participatory recipe workshops to create new recipes using traditional foods. She is originally from Saskatoon, and graduated with a combined honours BA in History of Science & Technology and Classics from the University of King’s College in Halifax.




Creating a Surveillance System to Advance the Minnesota Food System


Liana Schreiber (presenter)

Community Health Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Health; Co-lead of Shared Measurement Action Team, MN

Abby Gold, Vice Chair and Associate Professor, North Dakota State University; Co-lead of Shared Measurement Action Team, N

Allison Anfinson, Strategic Planning Analyst, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Former Co-lead of Shared Measurement Action Team, MN

Kristen Boelcke-Stennes, Research Scientist 3, Public Assistance Research Programs Coordinator, MN Department of Human Services, MN

Caitlin Caspi, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, MN

Nishesh Chalise, Assistant Professor, Augsburg College, MN

Michael Dahl, Director, Minnesota Food Charter Network,MN

Amanda Hane, Research Associate, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, MN

Tim Jenkins, Produce Safety Program Analyst, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. MN

Mary Marczak, Director, Urban Family Development and Evaluation, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Family Development, MN

Ellen Nikodym, Evaluation Manager, Greater Twin Cities United Way , MN

Emily Saunoi-Sangren, Measurement & Evaluation Lead for Corporate Responsibility at Target Corporation, MN

Amy Shanfelt, Research Project Manager, University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine, MN

Jared Walhowe, Program Coordinator, Minnesota Food Charter Network, MN

Ann Zukoski, Evaluation Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Health, MN


ABSTRACT. The Minnesota Food Charter is a roadmap to improve access to healthy, affordable, and safe food. It proposes 99 specific strategies to guide statewide planning and action to change the food system.  A surveillance system to monitor the Minnesota food system, is one component of this initiative, but there is a paucity of literature to guide its development. To bridge this gap, a shared measurement action team (SMAT) was created to recommend indicators that could be used to monitor the state of the Minnesota food system, as well as advancing place-based food systems that supports unique communities statewide. SMAT established a cross sector team, created team priorities, developed a theory of change, identified criteria to judge potential indicators, and proposed indicators to monitor statewide.  In this poster, researchers and practitioners can learn about the process of selecting the indicators that support the creation of a sustainable economic and ecological, as well as an equitable food system, and the challenges that arose during these discussions. For example, a challenge that arose was that available secondary data sources do not provide specific or sensitive enough data to disaggregate differing geographic levels or cultural/ethnic backgrounds. Despite challenges, we recommended indicators for assessing food access, food affordability, and food availability, discussed limitations of these indicators, and are currently in the process of developing indicator recommendations for food infrastructure. These indicators represent the current state of available secondary data and can be viewed as a springboard for conversation for both researchers and practitioners and a call to action to develop data systems that advance a place-based food system that supports health equity.

Liana RN Schreiber, MPH, RDN, is a Research Scientist at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), focusing on food access. She is passionate about using evaluation as a change agent and engaging stakeholders to develop evaluation plan with action-oriented results.  At MDH, Liana has collaboratively develops evaluation materials and a database to capture statewide changes in policy, systems, and environmental related to improving food access and active living, and decreasing tobacco use. Liana also co-leads a cross-sector team to develop indicators to monitor changes in the Minnesota food system. Before her public health career, Liana conducted clinical research trials with individuals living with impulse control disorders and published over 40 articles or book chapters in this area.  In her free time, she enjoys staying active with biking and dancing, as well as volunteering at a non-profit grocery store. 




Fruit Parks for Food Justice


Rachel Teichman

Student, Coastal Carolina University, SC


ABSTRACT. Sociological research shows that green space and public parks have multiple benefits for society; including mental and physical health, community development, and improved environmental conditions.  Here I propose another benefit: public parks can be used to address social problems like food insecurity and access to nutritious foods for low-income residents. Myrtle Beach and Conway, SC struggle with food insecurity and homelessness, but also have a history of agriculture and beaches that attract tourists from many diverse areas. Green spaces can be used to provide not only as areas of education, art, exercise, but also as a source of healthy food that celebrates local history and culture through the use of native species like peach and pecan. The locations of such parks also generate opportunities for community building with local Churches and schools. At this time, the cities of Conway and Myrtle Beach have shown interest in this proposal. In my presentation, I will demonstrate the ways in which sociological principles can be used to develop public spaces that address community issues, like food insecurity.

Rachel Teichman is a senior sociology major at Coastal Carolina University. She is former president of CCU Pride and the founder and current president of the CCU Social Justice Warriors. Rachel is passionate about food justice, fruit parks, and farm subsidies.




Seed and Place - Vegetable Seed Systems in British Columbia


Chris Thoreau

MSc Student, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm, University of British Columbia, BC


ABSTRACT. Over the past 100 years, seed has shifted from being primarily a common good that farmers could freely save, trade, and re-sow, to being primarily a private good, controlled by multinational corporations, which farmers must purchase annually. The corporate consolidation of seed genetic resources, along with increasingly restrictive intellectual property rights; plant variety protection acts (PVP); seed hybridization; and corporate seed licensing strategies, has resulted in the reduced availability of seed germplasm diversity on the market; reduced farmers’ access to crop varieties; and increased seed prices for farmers.

While seed systems are often discussed on a global scale due to the increasingly corporate dominance of seed genetic resources, regional seed systems are also in need of our attention - playing many roles which subvert the dominant “formal” seed system by playing important genetic, cultural, and economic roles in the communities where they are present.


In British Columbia (BC), there is an active community of organic vegetable seed growers who, through multiple cooperative efforts, are working to increase local seed production in response to the increasing corporate control of seed and to strengthen the contribution of seed in supporting resilient agriculture in BC. Over the past 30 years the vegetable seed grower community in BC has grown in parallel with the ongoing consolidation of seed companies throughout the world - evolving from a few small-scale vegetable seed companies on Vancouver Island to 18 small-scale vegetable seed companies throughout the province.

Place, in both time and geography, plays a key part in determining the role seed systems play around the world. In this presentation we look at the BC vegetable seed system; contrast it with seed systems elsewhere in the world; and discuss its impact and importance in supporting local food systems in BC. We will further discuss the future of BC’s seed system due to ongoing research, farmer engagement, and community outreach efforts across the province.


Chris has been engaged in small-scale and urban food production in BC since 2001 as a farmer, educator, community organizer, and advocate. His career began in Victoria, BC operating a certified organic farm for 6 years where he first started working with seed. He learned the essentials of plant breeding and seed saving through local workshops and training with Washington State's Organic Seed Alliance as well through mentorship from an active community of vegetable seed growers across BC. Since 2008, Chris has been based in Vancouver, BC where he received his BSc. in Agroecology in 2011 from UBC - focusing his studies on urban farming, soil management, and small-scale plant breeding. Chris is currently the BC regional coordinator for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security which complements his Master work at UBC where he is focused on better understanding BC's seed grower community and seed's contribution to sustainable agriculture in BC.




How place-based initiatives address food justice? A participatory evaluation in Portland, Oregon.

Christophe-Toussaint Soulard (presenter, author)

INRA France, Portland State University USA. Email:

Adam Koel

Outqrowing Hunger,, East Portland

Kris Soebroto

Village Gardens,, North Portland


ABSTRACT. Food Justice is the right of communities everywhere to produce, process, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community” (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2012). The Food Justice lens addresses social inequities in the access to healthy food, requiring specific attention on food access for disadvantaged groups. Beyond, this approach aims to take into account the broader context of social, racial, and environmental justice struggles spurred by structural inequities (Cadieux and Slocum, 2015). Research on urban agriculture (UA) showed that local agri-food initiatives can have contradictory impacts, contributing to a green gentrification reinforcing inequities, or being a place of resistance where minorities can find a voice to act and decide (McClintock, 2017). In this context, it a challenge for local activists to know how to act, and what to avoid, in order to advance food justice, beyond helping people to obtain and consume fresh and healthy food.

The objective of our presentation is to design a participatory evaluation of how place-based initiatives can address food justice. The approach mobilizes two field of knowledge. We mobilized theoretical knowledge of Food Justice through the use of Slocum et al. (2016) four nodes, “equity and trauma”, “land”, “exchange” and “labour”, completed by the “democratic process” (Horst, 2017) and “relations of power” (Reynolds and Cohen, 2016) nodes. We mobilized also practical knowledge of practitioners managing place-based agri-food initiatives. The confrontation of the two approaches was done in a workshop in which the three authors shared knowledge, elaborated indicators, and formulated arguments on how initiatives address or not food justice. 

Our results are based on two case studies in Portland, Oregon. If this city is well-known for its efforts to sustainable development, social inequalities and poverty are strong issues, especially in the Eastern and Northern neighbourhoods of the city. Among the many initiatives acting to reduce hunger and food insecurity, we selected two of them which are reinforcing their focus on food justice. Village Gardens is a community-based organization acting in a social housing neighbourhood of North Portland with a wide social diversity (17 different languages). The project focuses on the education of youths from disadvantaged families toward growing food, and on the self-management of a community garden and a cooperative grocery. Outgrowing Hunger cares for people by nurturing connection to nature, food, and community. It has a specific focus on low-income people, recent immigrants, and refugee’s families.

The participatory evaluation allowed identifying nodes of food justice that are goals of these initiatives, some that are not applicable at the initiative scale, and some that are important in practice but absent of the theoretical grid. In our poster, we summarize the approach and highlight results of the evaluation process. This exploring work helped activists to formulate or adjust their goals. It helped research to have a more critical view on the applicability of food justice framework.

Cadieux KV, Slocum R (2015). What does it mean to do food justice? Journal of political ecology, 22:1.

Horst M (2017). Food justice and municipal government in the USA, Planning Theory & Practice, 18(1): 51-70.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy ( 2012 ). Draft principles of food justice. Minneapolis, MN: Author. Retrieved from

McClintock N (2018). Cultivating (a) Sustainability Capital: Urban Agriculture, Ecogentrification, and the Uneven Valorization of Social Reproduction, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108:2, 579-590.

Reynolds K, Cohen N ( 2016 ). Beyond the kale: Urban agriculture and social justice activism in New York City. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Slocum R, Cadieux KV, Blumberg R (2016). Solidarité, espace et « race » : vers des géographies de la justice alimentaire, Justice spatial | Spatial Justice, 9,


Christophe Toussaint Soulard is senior researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), in Montpellier, France. His research focuses on urban and periurban agriculture, urban food systems, and local policies. Doctor in geography (University of Paris 1, 1999), he leads research projects and supervises PhD theses dealing with practices and local policies linking cities, agriculture and food, in France and in the Mediterranean. His research is based on partnerships between scholars and practitioners, in order to share knowledge on local innovations that articulate agro-ecology, food system and community development. Currently, he has a visiting scholar position at Portland State University in the USA (2017-2018). His research project deals with grassroots and institutional initiatives addressing agriculture and food justice in Portland, Oregon. He is the first editor of the book Toward sustainable relations between agriculture and the city (Springer 2017).




Restorative and Regenerative Urban Agriculture: Place Based Food Systems through Food Forestry and Edible Landscapes

Nicola Thomas

Permaculture Design Consultant (PDC), Founder, Grand River Food Forestry, ON


ABSTRACT. Climate change, drought and the devalued Canadian dollar mean higher food prices and threatens food systems. The Dalhousie and Guelph University 2018 Food Report states that food prices have gone up 3-5%. Industrialized farming rapes the soil of nutrients and over time deems the land unfit for future planting. We have seen farmlands and natural ecosystems diminish and our populations sprawling into these areas. Permaculture regenerative and restorative place based food systems give us the opportunity to rethink how we look at food production as well as the producers of that food.

This case study explores how grassroots community based organizations can create thriving ecosystems through edible landscapes and trails in urban settings, to create a long-term plan for sustainable, accessible, locally-grown, organic food through regional, city and community partnerships, to accomplish this through permaculture, sustainable polyculture and biomimicry principles.

This research drastically improves upon the one-mile food radius creating access within 100 yards! By growing perennial, edible foods such as fruit trees, berry bushes and native edibles along trails, in community gardens and food forests on public, private, school and corporate green spaces, we will benefit “seven generations”, from now as the aboriginal teachings suggest. Edible trails connects people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, religion, culture and age. This research proves that communities can affect municipal policies and create strong partnerships as we cooperate in creating a long-term sustainable future. We have a real potential for change with quick return when we take back some of the power of the how, where and who grows food. We come together on issues of food because it is something we all agree on; it is a basic human right to have access to healthy foods. Making food accessible in the many underutilized urban spaces simply makes sense.

Nicola Thomas has been a long-time advocate of social and environmental justice. As a Housing Coordinator, Thomas initiated the first individual supported housing project for homeless youth in the region and has worked extensively as an Employment Counsellor. Thomas credits her passion for food forestry to her extensive background in community services and her exposure to the disparities in food access.

Dalhousie and Guelph Universities Canada Food Price Report 2018 shows an increase in food prices of 3-5% (higher than the inflation rate) which intern decreases accessibility for many.

Nicola Thomas, is a passionate caretaker of the environment. She is deeply committed to increasing community awareness of restorative food forestry in urban environments. Nicola shares her knowledge of restorative agriculture through educational talks, seminars, one-on one mentoring, and hands on practical workshops. She travels for conferences about food forestry and has been mentored by top permaculturists from around the world. Nicola is also an active consultant on all things permaculture in the South Western Ontario region. Nicola lives in Kitchener, Ontario with husband and their little orchard of 3 children.




Exploring sustainable foodscapes: Transformative spatial practices in ecovillages


Ciska Ulug (presenter, author)

PhD Researcher, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Ina Horlings

Adj. Prof. Socio-spatial planning, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Elen-Maarja Trell

Assistant Professor Spatial Planning & Environment, University of Groningen, Netherlands


ABSTRACT. This research explores how social innovation is materialized spatially through food practices in ecovillage communities, to provide insight into the potential application of place-based food systems in various social and spatial contexts (Ilieva, 2016). Ecovillages are collective projects where members collaborate to achieve common goals of ecological living and, in turn, nurture a community around it. The creation of self-sustaining food systems in ecovillages is especially visible, with sustainable food being, what Brombin (2015) calls, a “contact zone”, dictating daily practices and ways of living. Despite being commended for their innovation and sustainability practices around food (Liftin, 2012), many communities remain physically and psychologically isolated (Meijering et al., 2007). As ecovillages attempt to re-embed themselves back into society, the question remains of how to facilitate interaction and knowledge exchange to other realms (Avelino and Kunze, 2009). The expansion of these projects provide fertile ground to research the potential of increasing the capacities of place-based food systems, through utilizing the concept of transformative social innovations. This refers to ideas and initiatives that meet societal needs, alter rules or relations, and contribute to an empowered society (Moulaert et al., 2005) with transformative referring to the transformative agency of social innovations in contributing to societal transformation (Avelino et al., 2013). Utilizing a relational approach through the concept of foodscapes, this research looks beyond the immediate components of these communities’ food systems, rather, also directs attention to interactions with food networks at various scales, to research potential spatially embedded entry points for transformative food practices (Wegerif and Wiskerke, 2017). The focus on ecovillage foodscapes provides insight into what can be learned from transformative food practices and their impact for enhancing the capacity of place-based food systems. Using ethnographic and food mapping methods in three distinct ecovillage communities in the United States, this paper presents a holistic range of ecovillage food practices, explores how social innovations are socially and spatially embedded, and compares what is shared and diverges among the cases, ultimately linking theory to grounded practice

Originally from Austin, TX, Ciska Ulug is a current PhD researcher in Groningen, the Netherlands. Her PhD, at the University of Groningen’s Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, focuses on community-based citizen collectives engaged in topics of food, including a food waste collective, community gardens, and ecovillages. While these collectives greatly focus on creating local-level solutions, there is the question of their significance for larger scale societal transformations and sustainability. Her research uses theories on social innovation and the community economy to investigate the role of collective action in sustainable and responsible food system development, and micro-scale innovation towards more resilient communities.