The Food Security Initiative (FSI) co-founded by UBC Wellbeing, SEEDS Sustainability Program and Faculty of Land and Food Systems, is a cross-disciplinary initiative operating in both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, that strives towards a holistic, university-wide, and systems-based approach to harness scalable solutions in alleviating household food insecurity and promoting community food security.  

Student-led applied research, leadership, and advocacy work has been foundational to campus food security initiatives and will continue to inform, advise, and activate various best practices and solutions towards campus food security.

Undergraduate students from the faculty of Land and Food Systems piloted a food recovery program in partnership with UBC Food Services and the AMS Food Bank. Students held a community meal with recovered foods, bringing together various campus stakeholders to increase future partnerships around reducing food waste and addressing campus food insecurity.

Giving Food Insecurity a Voice: students created a storyboard to combine statistics and lived experiences to elevate the voice of students facing food security. Credit: Lyncee Dela Cruz, Miluska Bravo Vela, Ojinika Udeze, and Hafsa Ahmed.

A group of Land and Food Systems  undergraduate students from LFS 450 worked on an applied research project to enable partnership to support a dignified food recovery program between AMS Conference & Catering and the Food Bank. Systematic analysis from the students were instrumental in identifying areas of opportunities and broader actions needed across campus to sustain such meal donation programs.

By participating in a FSI collaboration:

  • Join a well-established campus network and contribute to applied student research and collaborations that can  to generate scalable solutions along the food security continuum
  • Strengthen your knowledge of household and community food security, and wider systemic transformation needed for holistic solutions for food security from diverse disciplines and perspectives
  • Take part in a national, provincial, and local coalition building and advocacy efforts to address the root causes of food insecurity
  • Create cohesion in advancing food security by creating stronger networks and fostering collaboration
  • Build a community of practitioners and incorporate diverse perspectives, including lived experiences, into understanding and finding solutions for food security
  • Build your network and make interdisciplinary connections with campus operational practitioners, faculty members, students and community Inform emerging and existing UBC policies to address food security, including but not limited to fostering food justice


The Food Security Initiative (FSI) brings together diverse students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders to collectively and collaboratively promote food security. Understanding the need to address this issue with a holistic, collaborative, and whole-systems approach, we aim to create scalable solutions that span across downstream relief efforts, upstream preventative measures, and critical engagements with systemic inequities. 

The birth of the FSI is a culmination of years of student-led applied research and advocacy along with continued efforts from both UBC faculty and staff, all of whom were instrumental in shedding light on the severity of campus food insecurity, its ongoing impacts, and our opportunities to address them in a meaningful manner.


The Food Security Initiative (FSI) is a cross-disciplinary network of students, staff, and faculty across UBC Vancouver and Okanagan Campuses in collaborative work to reduce prevalence of food insecurity. The FSI core team provides expertise and guidance around solutions for food security that promotes dignity, justice, equity, and inclusion. 


We promote campus food security, where all community members can obtain adequate, accessible, nutritionally, and culturally appropriate food in a just and ecologically sound manner. 


To serve as an interdisciplinary & multi-stakeholder platform to promote food security through cross-campus, regional, and national collaborations, and inclusive, student and faculty-led research. We implement scalable campus-based solutions to further policy, practices, and advocacy to promote food security, affordability, and broader intersectional social and ecological issues. 

The FSI utilizes the key principles for action from the Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities to guide our work and shape our approaches.


  1. Deepen our understanding of food security within the higher education context 
  2. Alleviate immediate pressures of campus-related food insecurity through dignified solutions 
  3. Address longer-term campus community food security and affordability 
  4. Foster knowledge exchange and advocacy efforts to promote food security within UBC and beyond

key accomplishments at a glance

Since the inception of FSI in January 2020, we have formalized a governance structure, expanded engagements with key stakeholders and partners within the university and beyond, and began long-term advocacy work to support systems-wide transformative change. Key focus areas include household and community food security. To manifest this we have:

Launched a new series of interdisciplinary SEEDS student-led applied research projects:  

  • Applied research is being integrated into campus courses addressing household and community food security with a diverse range of partners. Recently completed research spans food recovery for a dignified donation program, options for a meal donation program, evaluation of Fooood (a choose-what-you-pay cafe), peer-to-peer research on students’ lived experience of food insecurity, and affordability.
  • Future student-led applied research topics include alleviating immediate campus food insecurity pressures, destigmatizing access to food insecurity support, and informing capacity building efforts for community food security. New partnerships will focus on both broadening and deepening operational staff and interdisciplinary engagement to increase opportunities for impactful student-led applied research across the campus that can promote food security solutions.

Launched various projects to alleviate immediate pressure and build capacity for food security, including but not limited to: 

  1. Digital food hub: a one stop shop digital resource including everything from growing and cooking to financial literacy.
  2. Physical food hub: visioning a place of gathering, innovation, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and piloting solutions for campus food systems transformation 
  3. UBC Meal Share pilot program: low-barrier and confidential program to provide eligible students who are food insecure by directly adding funds to their UBC card to purchase food at eligible outlets on UBC Vancouver campus. Evaluation of pilot will support development of future initiatives. 
  4. Upcoming Knowledge Exchange and Engagement events:
  • Series of online engagement events to build a national coalition & sharing of best practice across Canadian universities. From coast to coast, attendants will convene to share learnings from various institutions and map out the state of food security in higher education. The first session in November 2020 explored the role of higher education in addressing food insecurity and highlights some of the challenges faced by students. Sessions in March 2021 launched into a series of deeper dive questions ranging from state of research, student leadership and advocacy, to the role of food providers and leadership at the institutional level.
  • UBC-wide engagement session and action lab: connecting campus stakeholders to provide updates on food security work, a platform for connections and common ground, a space for reflection on food justice, and to action on critical steps 

ready to connect and explore a fsi collaboration

Please get in touch if you have questions or want to get involved in FSI.

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