Envisioning a community food hub to support food security

A community engagement process at a post-secondary institute


  • Sarah Clement University of British Columbia
  • Sara Kozicky University of British Columbia
  • Cassandra Hamilton University of British Columbia
  • Rachel Murphy University of British Columbia




nutrition, public health, food insecurity on campus, food insecurity, university students, health, poverty, inequities, Canada, health promotion


Objective: The objective of this community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) project was to gain an in-depth understanding of the needs, interest and opportunities that exist within a post-secondary institution with respect to supporting food security among students via a food hub. 

Methods: The project was undertaken on the campus of the University of British Columbia-Vancouver. The CBPAR approach included 4 phases: 1) information gathering, 2) relationship development, 3) implementation of the community engagement strategy, and 4) shareback of findings to the community.   

Results: Phase 1 identified key components that formed the research process including campus partners for relationship development (phase 2) and subsequent engagement through their networks (phase 3).

Phase 3 included engagement of 62, 111, 156, and 154 students, who participated in facilitated dialogues, community meals, a survey and targeted survey, respectively. Food insecurity related experiences were prevalent, with 37% to 75% indicating they worried about running out of food in the last year. Over 90% of all survey respondents affirmed that they would access a community food hub (CFH). Preferences for the CFH were inclusion of emergency food access, community meals, and financial support and planning, while prioritizing foods that meet cultural needs, and a low cost grocery store within the CFH.

Conclusion: There is a demonstrated need and desire among students for innovative approaches to support food security at a post-secondary institution. The process outlined may serve as a road map for other communities who are seeking to move beyond emergency food relief.  




How to Cite

Clement, S., Kozicky, S., Hamilton, C., & Murphy, R. (2024). Envisioning a community food hub to support food security: A community engagement process at a post-secondary institute. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 11(1), 192–210. https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v11i1.645