Food insecurity on campus: A community-engaged case study with student-led families at the University of British Columbia




food insecurity on campus, student household food insecure, food affordability, food accessibility, farm on campus


This paper draws from a community-engagement case study conducted at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. The study examines food insecurity experienced by student families. Research data was collected through quantitative and qualitative methods applied in a residence on campus. The study shows that food insecurity ranges between marginal and moderate among surveyed student-led households; while 5% of student families have (at least) one member “go(ing) to bed feeling hungry”, 3% declared they “sometimes” and “frequently” do not eat enough. Seemingly, financial, food, and housing insecurities are deeply interrelated in student-led households. A system intervention by UBC stakeholders could be optimal to support student wellbeing.

Author Biographies

Claudia Paez-Varas, Public Health Association of BC (PHABC)

Claudia Paez-Varas, MSc.
Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

I am a researcher and practitioner professional with over 9 years of experience working in the social science field in Canada and South America.

During the last 7 years, I have conducted research in both office and field environments for different kinds of projects. Indigenous food systems, gender relations and school/campus food procurement in the context of food sovereignty, food security and holistic wellbeing are at the centre of my research interests.

Currently, I hold a dual position at Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) as a Community Animator for Farm to School BC, and Research Coordinator for Digging into the Farm to School Movement research project (SSHRC) led by Dr. Tammara Soma (SFU) in collaboration with PHABC.

Women Mine-rock Waste Collectors in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Ecuador: Challenges and opportunities, 2020. Patricio Velasquez-Lopez, Claudia Paez-Varas, Ximena Benavides-Zuniga, Francisco Gallegos, Gerald Fallon. The Extractive Industries and Society


Dr. Gail Hammond, The University of British Columbia

Gail Hammond, Associate Professor of Teaching. Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

Grounded in my professional practice as a nutrition educator in the community and in academia, my research activities have focused on:

  1. Gaining understanding of how decision-making processes influence women’s food choices and examining use of this information to improve food choice behaviours.
  2. Examining processes used to develop nutrition communication/education resources for the purpose of improving knowledge translation and consumer education.




How to Cite

Paez-Varas, C., & Hammond, G. (2022). Food insecurity on campus: A community-engaged case study with student-led families at the University of British Columbia. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 9(3), 103–123.