7. Vancouver Food Policy Council: Community Programming and Food Asset Mapping


Project Title

Vancouver Food Policy Council (VPFC) Community Programming and Food Asset Mapping

Organization Name

Vancouver Food Policy Council (VPFC) - Community Food Programming Working Group


Related Course Concepts

Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities, Indigenous food sovereignty

Organization Information

Organization Name

Vancouver Food Policy Council (VPFC) - Community Food Programming Working Group

Mission and Vision of Organization

The Vancouver Food Policy Council (VFPC) is an official civic agency that advises City Council and staff on improving food sustainability in Vancouver, including program and policy changes to improve the local food system. We have a particular focus of advising Council and staff on the Vancouver Food Strategy as it is developed, implemented, and updated. The VFPC aligns all of its work with the foundational concepts of food justice, Truth and Reconciliation, and with attention to the impacts of climate crisis on food security and food security for citizens of Vancouver. The Council is divided into Working Groups, that combine members of Council and community members interested in specific food-related topics. See the VFPC Terms of Reference for more information.

Guiding Principles + Values

The VFPC is guided by the overlapping and foundational principles of food justice, Truth and Reconciliation, and climate action.

It works to help improve food sustainability in Vancouver, where food is:

  • Safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate
  • Affordable, available, and accessible to all
  • Produced, processed, marketed, consumed, and waste products reused or managed in a manner that is:
    • Financially viable
    • Protects the health and dignity of people
    • Minimally impacting the environment

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Kaitlyn Fung
  • Email: kaitlynfungi@gmail.com
  • Phone: To be shared at first partner meeting
  • Address: 453 W 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
  • Website: https://www.vancouverfoodpolicycouncil.ca/

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact:Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

Context: What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

Inspired by the Toronto Food Policy Council's Food by Ward project, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) public health dietitians initiated the interactive, online Vancouver Food Asset Map project; the map launched in 2016. VCH has subsequently established food asset maps for the City of Richmond and the Sunshine Coast community. These maps highlight food assets in local communities, including places where people can grow, prepare, share, buy, receive or learn about food. The maps can be used by individuals seeking food support and information, by service providers to assist with participant or client referrals, and others.

Food asset maps can support networking and collaboration, and ensure that individuals accessing services are able to find the programs that best match their priorities and needs. Asset mapping provides insight into the unequal distribution of food assets across the city, highlight barriers to access, and support a deeper understanding of ways that municipal policies can strengthen existing assets, and support the development of new programs that meet current gaps. Food asset maps also tell "the story of the incredible grassroots organizing around food that is happening across the city and makes the case that food should be considered as important as other urban infrastructure" (TFP, n.d.)

VCH partnered with LFS350 students from 2016-2019 to maintain and update the map. A high number of Vancouver residents face food insecurity, and rely on community food programming to support their health and wellbeing; meanwhile, information on community food programs changes frequently and accuracy is of critical importance.

In partnership with the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network Working Group (NFNWG), the Vancouver Food Asset Map is currently overseen by the Vancouver Food Policy Council (VFPC), specifically the VFPC Community Food Programming Working Group.

The Working Group's current priorities include:

  • Conducting an in-depth academic literature review on community food programming in Vancouver and other relevant contexts, with specific attention to policy landscape, historic development of programming, and strengths, opportunities and challenges facing community food programs and program recipients
  • Conducting an environmental scan of Vancouver food programming, using pre-existing online resources, as well as in-person engagement with Vancouver Food Network and other food programming experts and leaders
  • Exploring innovative ways to ensure that the Food Asset Map is accessible and easy to update.

Main Project Activities

LFS350 student team will support the efforts of the VFPC by:

  • Updating the existing map, with a focus on community programs
  • Making recommendations for making the map accessible, easy-to-use, and up-to-date.

This work supports the broader efforts of the VFPC Community Food Programming Working Group. Students will engage with Working Group co-leads and members through in-person meetings, teleconferences, and e-mails. Updating the Food Asset Map will be completed in collaboration with the Working Group's overlapping/complimentary activities, including:

  • In-depth academic literature review on community food programming in Vancouver and other relevant contexts, with specific attention to policy landscape, historic development of programming, and strengths, opportunities and challenges facing community food programs and program recipients
  • Environmental scan of Vancouver food programming, using pre-existing online resources, as well as in-person engagement with Vancouver Food Network and other food programming experts and leaders


  • 3 check-ins with Working Group co-leads, either in-person or on the phone.
  • Attendance to 2 Working Group meetings, initially to meet the group and ask any follow-up questions, and later to report back on Food Asset Map final product and next steps.

Expected Project Deliverable(s)

  • An updated Food Asset map that aligns with a broader literature review/environmental scan to support map
  • The map will provide an in-depth overview of all existing food programs in Vancouver, organized by client base and other specific information relevant to those accessing their services.
  • Recommendations on ways to ensure that the resulting map is accessible and easy to update.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Excellent verbal and writing skills, the ability to work independently, a knack for reading, reviewing and summarizing information across academic and other sources
  • Willingness to work during non-standard business hours (.e.g weekend or evening meetings)
  • Proficiency reading, reviewing and condensing academic and non-academic literature and information required
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Power Point, Excel)
  • Ability to engage with community members in respectful ways (kindness, patience, unconditional positive regard) required
  • Prior experience and interest in Food Studies, Community Organizations and Programming is preferred.

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

  • Students will develop assets related to literature reviews and environmental scans, including strategic notetaking, literature organization and writing to support policy-development.
  • Students will have the opportunity to interact with VFPC members as well as leaders of Vancouver Food Networks and programs, which will support skills related to interviewing, engaging with community members, and participating in policy-related discussions, both formally and informally.
  • The development of the food asset map will support the development of critical thinking, as a scan of existing programs and the uncovering of current gaps will support reflexivity and critique – as founded in the concepts of food justice, social justice, anti-racism and Indigenous food sovereignty and self-determination.

Are there any mandatory attendance dates (e.g. special event)?

  • Yes. The VFPC Community Food Programming Working Group meets monthly. The student team is expected to attend at least 2 meetings over the term.
  • The student team is invited to join monthly VFPC meetings as well (at City Hall), though this is not required.

Is a criminal record check required?

  • No

Project Location

  • Remote work, with monthly meetings near Vancouver City Hall (453 W 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC)

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • Flexible; partner is available to meet in-person/on phone during weeknights.

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

  • Though not mandatory, students are invited to attend the wider Vancouver Food Policy Council meetings that occur monthly, which often include opportunities for input and participation from public community members in attendance.

Required Reading

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:

  • In-person meeting with Working Group co-leads to discuss project and provide overview of existing Food Asset mapping resources.
  • Overview of relevant meetings minutes and Working Group development notes

General Resources

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • One goal would be to foster learning opportunities for students to gain a deeper understand with community food programming as part of the infrastructure of the local food system, and an increased familiarity with the complex social intersections that inform them.

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • We hope students will come to appreciate the diversity of programs that currently exist within Vancouver, and develop critical thinking skills as they compare current programming with existing citizen needs (e.g., in relation to the housing crisis and opioid crisis, with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion, etc.)
  • Students will come to appreciate the complexity of municipal policy environments and community programming, and will develop increased food policy literacy

Through this project, students will develop...

  • Through this project, students will develop skills related to the reading and strategic organization of literature and policy information

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project Outcome (Short Term Outcome)

  • An updated 2020 Food Asset Map that outlines all community food programming in Vancouver, organized by relevant information, including: neighbourhood, specific clients served (e.g., family demographics, ethnic or religious groups), dietary restrictions or requirements. This Map will provide program providers and clients with clear and accessible information to support food security, health and wellbeing, as well as outline specific gaps and challenges that the VFPC can address throughout the remainder of the Council term.

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

  • In the long-term, this project advances the VFPC organization’s mission and goals by providing up-to-date and accurate information related to the current programming and policy landscape. This will support us to find existing gaps, and to work with community partners and food programming organizations to support innovative policy development to strengthen food security and food justice for individuals and families experiencing barriers to health and wellbeing (e.g., food insecurity, isolation, marginalization) in Vancouver.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/W2020/VFPC-Programs