As a result of heightened awareness surrounding global issues of climate change and peak oil, along with threats to our local agricultural system, demand for local food is increasing in Vancouver and surrounding Lower Mainland. In response to these growing concerns regarding Food Security, the Vancouver Food Policy Council and Local Food First conceived of a local Food Hub, and additional Local Food Precincts. The Hub would serve as a central location for local food producers and consumers to meet, with the aim of increasing local food distribution and consumption in the Lower Mainland.
In the summer of 2009, the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University focused on the concepts of leadership, action and sustainable development, with the theme of “food” as the starting point. Students engaged in a collaborative project with the aforementioned organizations to research the viability of the proposed Food Hub model. They began the research process by identifying a set of over-arching objectives that the prospective Hub would ideally fulfill. Sustainability was central to this vision, particularly in terms of environment, community and local economy. Radiating from this core value were the concepts of increased local food distribution, increased farm profitability, education, and physical, social and economic accessibility.
The research was divided into five areas of inquiry:
• Producer Market Analysis
• Culture and Ethnic Inclusivity
• Wholesale Models
• Cooperative Models
• Design and Communication