Food and Agriculture Institute

Past research projects

Agriculture’s connection to health: A summary of the evidence relevant to British Columbia

Lead researcher: Dr. Lisa Powell | Team members/partners: Dr. Lenore Newman, Dr. Alec Ostry, Melanie Kurrein
Funder: BC Provincial Health Services Authority — Population and Public Health Program

The relationship between agriculture and human health in British Columbia is complex and multifaceted. The availability of healthy food is an important determinant of health, but only one of many connections between agriculture and health. Agriculture influences food choices and healthy eating patterns and impacts a variety of social, environmental and economic determinants of health. In other words, agriculture’s relationship to the environment and its role as an economic driver have implications for human health.

The purpose of this document is to present the evidence on associations between agriculture and health: 

Powell, Lisa, Lenore Newman, and Melanie Kurrein. Agriculture’s Connection to Health: A summary of the evidence relevant to British Columbia. Vancouver, B.C.: Provincial Health Services Authority, Population and Public Health Program, April 2016.

Sustaining and growing the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market

Lead researcher: Dr. Lisa Powell | Team members/partners: Dr. Lenore Newman and Abbotsford Farm & Country Market
Funder: Abbotsford Community Foundation

Dr. Lisa Powell worked with the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market to secure funding to study options for an expanded market. Funding was successfully secured from the Abbotsford Community Foundation, and team members consulted with the city and gathered case studies from other regions in order to prepare a report outlining various options for the market. We also made a presentation at the annual meeting of the market society, and a local food educator presented culinary demonstrations at the market. The report was submitted to the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market and the City of Abbotsford.

Newman, L. & Powell, L. Sustaining and Growing the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market. 2016. A report for the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market Association.

Understanding agriburbia: conflict and innovation on the rural/urban fringe

Lead researcher: Dr. Lenore Newman
Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Abbotsford Community Foundation

As cities expand, competition for space creates extremely complex landscapes of interwoven and conflicting uses. There is increased interest in land use regimes in order to preserve agricultural capacity and protect farmland. The resulting agriburban zones, defined as suburban forms in which agriculture plays a significant role, are important for food production, affordable housing, and settlement regions for migrant farmers. The impact of the spread of agriburban regions is poorly understood.
Drawing on examples from Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario, this project explores agriburbia, addressing three objectives:

  1. To document the evolution of agriburban landscapes and compare and contrast their built form and edge effects under different sets of land use regimes,
  2. To evaluate the role of agriburban landscapes in regional food security, and to characterize the contributions of non-traditional agricultural populations to regional food security and farmland preservation,
  3. To evaluate the functioning of wildlands within the agriburban region, and study the conflict between natural ecosystems, agricultural production, and residential uses.

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Newman, Lenore, Lisa Jordan Powell, Jennifer Nickel, Dylan Anderson, Lea Jovanovic, Eileen Mendez, Barbara Mitchell, and Kathryn Kelly-Freiberg. "Farm stores in agriburbia: The role of agricultural retail on the rural-urban fringe". Canadian Food Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2017.

Nixon, Denver V. and Lenore Newman. "The Efficacy and Politics of Farmland Preservation through Land Use Regulation: Changes in Southwest British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve"Land Use Policy, vol. 59, December 2016, pp. 227-240.

Harris, Greg, Denver Nixon, Lenore Newman, and Kent Mullinix. "Delineating the Southwest British Columbia Bioregion for Food System Design and Planning: A Practical Approach"Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, vol. 6, no.4, 2016, pp. 71-86.

Newman, Lenore, Lisa Jordan Powell, and Hannah Wittman. "Landscapes of Food Production in Agriburbia: Farmland Protection and Local Food Movements in British Columbia"Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 39, 2015, pp. 99-110.

Newman, Lenore, and Denver Nixon. "Farming in an Agriburban Ecovillage Development: An Approach to Limiting Agricultural/Residential Conflict"SAGE Open, vol. 4, no. 4, 2014.

BC Hazelnut Growers Association

Lead researcher: Dr. Garry Fehr
Team members/partners: BC Hazelnut Growers Association
Funder: Abbotsford Community Foundation

UFV collaborated with the BC Hazelnut Growers Association to increase hazelnut production and value-added processing in the Fraser Valley. The project was comprised of engineering of new equipment, development of enterprise plans and public meetings.

Low-Tech Urban Agriculture

Lead researcher: Dr. Garry Fehr
Team members: Josie Dyck (student)

The purpose of this project was to create a digital handbook that provides innovative strategies to support urban agriculture with very little capital. The strategies are aimed at promoting agriculture in less-developed communities. This project was supported by the UFV work-study program.

Read the Low-Tech Urban Agriculture Handbook.

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