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Food and Agriculture Institute

ICSP and Food

‌The CBH Nexus and Integrated Food Systems Planning

Project Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities and gaps in community food systems, presenting planners and decision-makers with the significant challenge of (and opportunities for) developing communities in ways that increase local food resilience and sustainability.

The Climate-Biodiversity-Health (CBH) Nexus research project aims to advance integrated community planning by developing an experimental framework consisting of three strategic areas critical to sustainable development: 1) climate action, 2) biodiversity conservation, and 3) community health, the climate-biodiversity-health (CBH) nexus. Applying the CBH nexus framework to different community planning areas could elucidate how strategies, policies, and actions align or conflict with imperatives for the sustainable development of local food systems.

This community-based participatory research approach will engage stakeholders and local governments in British Columbia to build an understanding of how communities can better engage in integrated food systems and sustainable community development planning. The research will contribute practical outcomes by developing publicly available models for practitioners to use for their planning needs, as well as a report presenting findings and recommendations for integrated food systems planning and policy. 

People gathering Canada, Fattahi, C. (2019).

Research Phases

  • Phase 1. Development of a CBH framework using comparative case study methodology to examine climate action, biodiversity conservation, and community health strategies occurring in the case study communities.
  • Phase 2. Develop systems models that capture relationships between strategies, benefits, trade-offs, and challenges within the CBH nexus through a series of online community workshops, examining how different local food systems strategies potentially align or conflict with climate, biodiversity, and health objectives.
  • Phase 3. Peer-to-peer learning exchange will gather researchers, collaborators, and participants to discuss research findings and explore challenges and opportunities for integrated food systems planning and policy.


Dr. Rob Newell joins a panel on co-benefits approaches to planning in an event hosted by Canadian Water Network

Project Collaborators

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University of Victoria logo_white

Vancouver Island Health Authority

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Ghadiri, M., Isaac, J., & Newell, R. (2022). Exploring food systems in the Comox Valley through a climate-biodiversity-health lens: Preliminary analysis and initial insights. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.14330.77768

Issac, J., Newell, R., Dring, C., White, C., Ghadiri, M., Pizzirani, S., & Newman, L. (2022). Integrated sustainability planning and local food systems: Examining areas of and gaps in food systems integration in community sustainability plans for municipalities across British Columbia. Sustainability, 14(11), 6724. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116724.

Newell, R., Dale, A., & Lister, N.-M. (2022). An integrated climate-biodiversity framework to improve planning and policy: an application to wildlife crossings and landscape connectivity. Ecology and Society, 27(1), 23. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-12999-270123

Project Funding 

The Food and Agriculture Institute along with its co-applicants and collaborators on this project received funding through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grants: October 2020 Competition

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