Vancouver Food Strategy + Resilience: Public Perceptions + Readiness






Project Summary


Conduct an analysis of a the resiliency of the City of Vancouver, focusing on public perceptions and readiness in the event of a disaster.

Areas of Focus

  • Resiliency
  • Preparedness
  • Municipal food system policy


  • Urban food system analysis
  • Literature reviews
  • Interviewing
  • Site observations

Background Information

Mayor Gregor Robertson welcomed an announcement from 100 Resilient (100RC) selecting Vancouver among the final cohort of international cities invited to join the network of 100 cities at the forefront of building urban resilience. As a member of the 100RC Network, Vancouver will gain access to tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to build resilience to the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Importantly, funding from 100RC will enable us to appoint a Chief Resilience Officer, to lead the development of a citywide Resilience Strategy. 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is a program pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation that helps a network of cities gain access to tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to build resilience to face 21st-century challenges. Natural and manmade shocks and stresses from urban growth will continue to hit the world's cities. 100RC is about preparing and acting to strengthen our city economically, environmentally, and socially.

What does resilience mean?

As defined by 100RC, "urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what kind of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience." Stresses are day-to-day or cyclical issues like affordable housing, crime, transportation, and social inequity. Shocks are events like fires, floods, and earthquakes. Slower-force stresses can harm cities just as dramatically as one-off events. By looking at shocks and stresses together, and planning for them as a whole, the 100RC partnership aims to assist cities in increasing their governance, operational, and strategic capacity to:

  • Proactively address their vulnerabilities
  • Learn from experiences
  • Adapt to change

Organization Information


City of Vancouver Social Policy Department – Food Strategy Implementation Team


Creating a system for producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable is a City of Vancouver priority. The Food Strategy helps the City address Vancouver’s food challenges and align the food system with broader City plans and processes through five main goals:

  • Support food-friendly neighbourhoods
  • Empower residents to take action
  • Improve access to healthy, affordable, culturally diverse food for all residents
  • Make food a centerpiece of Vancouver’s green economy
  • Advocate for a just and sustainable food system with partners and at all levels of government

For more information on the City of Vancouver’s Food Strategy, visit

Primary Contact

  • Sarah Carten, Social Planner, City of Vancouver

Project Description

Beginning with the publication, The Resilience of America's Urban Food Systems: Evidence from Five Cities, students will adapt the Urban Food System Resilience Framework to investigate the public's perception of the strengths and vulnerabilities of Vancouver's food system in the event of a disaster as well as the public's perception of their own readiness.

Groups will conduct on-line research to determine the various challenges city residents will face int eh event of a disruption to the flow of food into the city due to a natural or human-induced disaster. Students will identify and interview key stakeholders and/or experts to situate findings and recommendations on strategies for increasing Vancouver residents' readiness and resiliency. Students are encouraged (and will be supported) to document their findings in a digital audio format (aka podcast).

Skills Preferred

  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Strong narrative and storytelling skills
  • Digital audio recording and editing
  • Organized and able to work independently
  • Ability to articulate municipal and regional food system components, both physical and social
  • Understanding of resiliency, sustainable food systems, and role of food in community development processes

Skills to Be Developed

  • Podcasting skills
  • Municipal food system analysis
  • Observational and analytical skills
  • Interviewing and communication skills

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Timing is flexible based on student and facility schedules.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • None available for this project although students are encouraged to volunteer at a the Vancouver Food Summit

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Student will be able to...

  • Articulate how a municipal residents understand and prepare for challenges and vulnerabilities in food system disruption
  • Conduct an municipal food-related case study and communicate results back to municipal stakeholders

Organizational Outcomes

The research will allow for better decision making about support for existing and future kitchen facilities and programs through:

  • Baseline research on a range of perceptions and preparedness of municipal residents