14. PHABC – Urban Ag Policy in Vancouver







Project Title

Can You Dig It: Understanding City of Vancouver Municipal Community Garden Policies

Organization Name

Public Health Association of BC


Urban agriculture, food policy, municipal policy, community garden, community development, policy evaluation, urban food systems

Related Course Concepts

Asset based community development; food security

Organization Information

Organization Name

Public Health Association of BC

Mission and Vision of Organization


A fair and healthy British Columbia for all.


PHABC promotes health, wellbeing and equity for all British Columbians through leadership in public health.

Guiding Principles + Values


As a member-driven organization, we fulfill our mission through advocacy, collaboration and engagement activities, education, and research throughout the spectrum of public health practice and systems including prevention, promotion, protection and policy.

Identified priorities

Eliminating poverty; reducing health/socioeconomic inequities; addressing climate change and healthy environments; contributing to a sustainable, equitable economy; and preventing violence.

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Aaren Topley
  • Email: sr.consultant@phabc.org
  • Phone: 250-885-7752
  • Address: Victoria BC
  • Website: phabc.org

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email, Phone
  • Best day(s) to contact: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, I will be in town roughly one week per month for an in-person meeting. I will also be available by email or phone during the week.
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

Can You Dig It (CYDI) is a community garden initiative that was launched in 2009 to create opportunities for individuals and community groups to become included in the social fabric of their neighbourhoods. CYDI has created and supported 39 community gardens on public and private lands throughout the Lower Mainland, engaging over 40 partner organizations and 1,700 gardeners. PHABC has recently become responsible for supporting the CYDI gardens, and wishes to provide the most robust support possible. The aim of this project is to explore the policies and supporting documents that enable community gardens in the municipality of Vancouver.

Main deliverable:

Students will compile key food policies and supporting documents towards the development of a report that highlights the City of Vancouver's community garden policies. The report will link to council meeting agendas and when specific community garden or food policies were discussed (including 2 to 3 examples).

What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

Understanding the complexity of individual municipal policies and practices with regards to community gardens.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Well organized, independent and attentive to detail
  • Ability to collect, analyze and process large data
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Understanding of food municipal policies
  • Understanding of how municipal policies occur

Is a criminal record check required?


Project Location

City of Vancouver

Preferred Days of Week and Hours


Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • N/A

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • municipal politics and policies

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • how to explore and advance food policies

Through this project, students will develop...

  • an understanding of municipal food policies

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project (Short Term) Outcome

  • By identifying and reviewing all municipal and regional policies and supporting documents relevant to community gardens in Vancouver, students will contribute to a better understanding of when and how Vancouver City Council makes decisions about food policies

Medium Term Outcomes

If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?

  • By developing a report that highlights all of the City of Vancouver's community garden-related policies and supporting documents, students will reduce barriers to informed civil society planning and advocacy around community gardening issues.

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

More broadly, this project advances PHABC's goals by providing:

  • A better understanding of the current political environment of the City of Vancouver
  • A better understanding of how to City of Vancouver is supporting community gardens

By understanding these two things, Can You Dig It will be better able to work with City of Vancouver to support community gardens.

source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/F2019/PHABC1