Food is a complex issue and includes everything related to UBC Okanagan’s food system from healthy food options, to food insecurity. Previous VOICE research been used to influence new food contracts and provide decision makers with facts.

Campus health initiatives have ensured available drinking water in every building on campus with appropriate signage indicating the water has been treated.

Physical Food Hub at UBCO

Phase 2: Launching Partnerships for a Physical Food Hub at UBCO
May 2021

Wellbeing Scholar, Sarah Clement and Casey Hamilton, Campus Health Specialist, teamed up to continue their work to address the high rates of student food insecurity at UBCO. Building on their previous work, in this phase they focused on establishing partnerships to support the development of a physical food hub and explored opportunities for physical food hub pilot projects including a campus farmers’ market, a campus food production initiative (e.g., community garden or market garden), a food rescue program, and a campus-wide dialogue program focused on implementing climate-friendly food systems. Their vision for a physical food hub includes a physical space on campus that is supported by an interlocking network of projects, departments, individuals, and partners that enable student and community food security as well as food systems transformation.

Phase 1: Envisioning a Physical Food Hub at UBCO
August 2020

UBC Wellbeing Scholar, Sarah Clement, and the Campus Health Voice team conducted the first phase of the Physical Food Hub at UBCO project. Phase 1 was completed between May – August 2020 and included the following:

  • A literature review about food hubs, student food security, food security and climate change, and placemaking,
  • An environmental scan of 25 food security initiatives and food hub spaces at post-secondary institutions and in communities across Canada and held 13 interviews with food security leaders at post-secondary institutions and national food security organizations,
  • 23 community consultation sessions with 109 UBC Okanagan campus community members to develop a vision for a physical food hub at UBC Okanagan.

We heard unanimously that a physical food hub is important for supporting food security at our campus and that we must work towards its development. Recommendations moving forward include:

  1. The formation of a multi-stakeholder committee for the planning and development of a physical food hub at UBCO. The committee is to include students, staff, and faculty.
  2. We suggest that the first priority of this committee is to determine the high-level governance structure of the physical food hub. Multiple consultation sessions have revealed that the Physical Food Hub may be best housed within the Associate Vice President Students portfolio with appropriate staffing. The consultation process also revealed that staffing is essential. Physical space and funding are the next priorities after governance.
  3. The university administration and planning departments must prioritize the physical food hub in development and construction on campus; the construction of new buildings on campus and/or renovations of existing buildings. The university administration must also prioritize allocating outdoor space for the outdoor component of the food hub.

Food Insecurity at UBCO

January 2019

Data from the January 2019 Undergraduate Experience Survey at UBC was used to explore the consequences of food insecurity for students. The findings are shown in this infographic along with strategies for reducing food insecurity on our campus.

VOICE Uncovers Student Food Insecurity

April 2017

The Campus Health VOICE team led by Casey Hamilton, Campus Health Specialist, analyzed data collected on the UBCO campus to describe student food insecurity. The team found that 42% of undergraduate students participating in the survey reported food insecurity. These findings point to the risk for food insecurity among students who are already vulnerable to socio-economic inequity due to belonging to marginalized groups. The findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education.

Healthy Beverage Initiative

UBC Wellbeing Scholar, Morgan Alford, and Campus Health Voice team conducted a survey at UBCO to assess attitudes toward healthier beverage choices and consumption patterns. In June 2018, 438 campus community members completed the survey.

Based on findings the following interim recommendations were made to guide the implementation of the Healthy Beverage Initiative on UBCO’s campus:

  • Provide healthy alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages at competitive prices in all food outlets and vending machines.
  • Install more complimentary water-bottle refilling stations and improve the maintenance of existing water stations to address concerns about poor quality water.
  • Investigate accessibility to quality drinking water in campus residences.

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