How do we talk about Food Security?

To start, we have to define food security, which encompasses three main themes:

Community Food Security

This is when all community members obtain a safe, personally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self-reliance, and equal access for everyone*

*Cfs-position-paper.pdf [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jan 18]. Available from:

Household Food Insecurity

Household food insecurity is when there is inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints*

*Household Food Insecurity in Canada – PROOF [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jan 18]. Available from:

Food sovereignty and Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Food sovereignty is “the newest and most innovative approach to achieving the end goal of long term food security. Indigenous food sovereignty is a specific policy approach to addressing the underlying issues impacting Indigenous peoples and our ability to respond to our own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods”*

Indigenous Food Systems [Internet]. [cited 2021 Sept 09]. Available from:

Food InSecurity (FI) Fast Facts

Research has consistently shown between 30-40% of students are food insecure.

FI has significant impacts on mental, physical and social wellbeing and educational attainment.

FI is strongly tied to income and often tuition and housing are fixed costs whereas food is not.

Research shows that FI can’t be fixed through short-term solutions alone; food banks, subsidies, and community gardens provide much needed immediate relief, but they do not bring people out of FI.

While universities alone cannot solve this problem, we do have a role to play in advocating for ways to increase food security for our community.

Generally FI is highest among international students, transgender/non-binary students, as well as BIPOC students. This heightened risk reflects the broader inequities in society.

Solutions to FI must be systemic, inclusive, and centered around justice. This approach underlines the vision, mission, and goals of the Food Security Initiative.

What is UBC doing to promote food security?


Visit the “About Us” page to learn more about UBC’s commitment and approach to promoting food security.

Recommended Food Security Knowledge Builders

Three part series exploring food insecurity on the UBC campus.
Dispelling the commonly held ideas about student food insecurity.
Study of food insecurity among post-secondary students in Canada.
Explore the FSI webpage to learn more about food security at UBC.
Food image
Explore various student-led applied research projects related to food security.
Access previous recordings from the Promoting Food Security in Higher Education conference.
Access previous recordings from the Promoting Food Security in Higher Education conference.
Prevalence, risk factors, coping strategies and consequences of student food insecurity.