Our Home, Our Food, Our Resilience: A Citizen Science Approach to Food Asset Mapping and New Frontiers in Ecological Heritage Planning in Canada

Food Systems Lab is leading a citizen-science based community food asset mapping in three cities in partnership with the University of British Columbia. Food asset mapping is an emerging tool in planning and has been used to document available food infrastructures in cities for the purpose of achieving food security. However, food asset mapping typically does not include ecological and cultural assets important to food system resiliency. Also, what are considered “assets” may not reflect the lived experiences of communities. To engage community members on a deeper level, we used a photovoice methodology involving participants representing diverse communities including Indigenous, visible minorities, and women.

Community Charette

In Vancouver, where the Food Systems Lab team is implementing the project, we have completed the first two phases of the project. In the first phase, we hosted a community charette to explore what Vancouverites see as food assets in their city and what food assets mean to them.

Photovoice with Citizen Scientists in Vancouver

In phase two, we recruited 11 citizen scientists who took photos in their community over a few weeks and shared stories related to these photos with our researchers. These photos and stories have been turned into an interactive map and photobook. We hosted our launch event virtually on March 18, 2021.

Photovoice with Citizen Scientists in Alberni-Clayoquot

Our research partners at the University of British Columbia have published a photobook from their citizen scientists’ photos and stories.