The University of the Fraser Valley is launching a dynamic and essential research institute that will advance BC’s agricultural economy and promote a sustainable and prosperous food culture.
The Food and Agriculture Institute (FAI) will foster food security through the study of intensive sustainable agricultural land use and develop applied research capacity to supply the technology, knowledge, and skills to the agriculture sector in the Fraser Valley and beyond.
The FAI will integrate an applied interdisciplinary approach in the areas of agri-tech innovation, farmland utilization, the future of food, new and emerging crops, global food security, agri-tourism, and value-added activities in the supply chain from farm to table.
Dr. Lenore Newman, UFV’s Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the Environment, has been named the director of the FAI. Her academic career as a culinary geographer has included fieldwork around the globe in the study of public markets, regional cuisines, farmland preservation, global food security, and the ecology of the world’s food system. Dr. Newman is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and an inaugural member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She is also a faculty member in the UFV Geography and the Environment department. She published Speaking in Cod Tongues, a book examining Canadian food culture, in 2017.
“I look forward to working with faculty to build on UFV’s ongoing success in the areas of agriculture, land use, and food security. Our university is uniquely situated to best support British Columbia in developing sustainable intensive agricultural systems while addressing the challenges of population growth and climate change,” said Dr. Newman.
The management team and researchers at the FAI will draw on a wide range of expertise in the areas of horticulture, food security, and land use. Central to the FAI’s mission are partnerships with agricultural and agri-business stakeholders in the region.
“Our location among some of the biggest and most technologically advanced farms, the most knowledgeable minds, and the largest agricultural capacity in Canada means UFV is poised to become a hub of knowledge in this vital and rapidly evolving sector,” said Dr. Joanne MacLean, President & Vice-Chancellor of UFV. “The Food and Agriculture Institute at UFV is a key piece in our goal of advancing the state of practice in agriculture.”
UFV is situated in the region producing the greatest annual farm gate sales of any area in Canada. Agriculture is central to the Fraser Valley economy and regional identity. The sector is also among the largest employers in the area, responsible for one out of every five jobs.
The FAI is dedicated to improving the undergraduate research experience, offering hands-on training in applied agricultural study, practical work in the field, and leading the preservation of food security and entrepreneurial and sustainable agricultural land use.