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Food and Agriculture Institute

The Research

The Food and Agriculture Institute (FAI) at the University of the Fraser Valley is an interdisciplinary research centre that focuses on issues, challenges, and sustainability solutions related to food and farm systems. FAI partners with a diversity of researchers, industry leaders, and governments to build knowledge and tools for moving toward sustainable, resilient food systems for communities and regions in British Columbia, Canada, and across the globe. To this end, FAI conducts research under two major themes: (1) agricultural technology and innovation, and (2) food systems planning and policy. These themes are interrelated, and within the themes, FAI pursues several research questions (click on the links below to learn more).

R1-FIGURE2- Telecoupling Alternative Dairy
Source: Newman, Newell, Mendly-Zambo, & Powell (2021)

 


AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
This research theme explores emerging agricultural technologies, techniques and methods. FAI researches the potential that technologies, such as cellular agriculture and indoor farming, have for contributing to sustainable food systems. The Institute recognizes that technology alone does not comprise a sustainability solution, and thus, it also researches potential approaches, strategies, and policies that can complement the widespread implementation of agricultural technologies and innovations for better sustainability outcomes. Research questions within this theme include:

  1. What role will cellular agriculture play in the future of food for Canada?
  2. What are the opportunities, challenges, and critical areas for improvement in indoor agriculture methods?
  3. How do we scale agricultural technology and innovation in the province and country?

 

FOOD SYSTEMS PLANNING AND POLICY
This research theme explores critical food systems challenges and issues in order to elucidate ways and develop tools addressing these challenges/issues in a manner that aligns with broader goals for sustainability and resilience. FAI researches agricultural land-use planning and policy on local and regional scales to identify best approaches for developing farmland and improving food assets. In addition, FAI incorporates thinking and work from the agricultural technology and innovation theme into its planning and policy research, and it examines how land can be used more efficiently with the implementation of high-yield, low-footprint agricultural technologies. Research questions within this theme include:

  1. What is the future of agricultural land-use in British Columbia?
  2. How can we transform urban land into farmland?
  3. How can we ensure food systems planning and policy are effectively integrated with other sustainability imperatives?

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