Food and Water Security






  OFFERED: Mar 1 - MAr 28, 2021


Food security is one of the most pressing dilemmas of our time. Around the globe, approximately 2 billion people experience some form of food deprivation each day. One in ten people suffers from some form of food insecurity in Canada. This has led scholars to question why food insecurity exists in an ostensibly food secure country. The literature on food security and climate change has also grown exponentially over the past several decades in large part as a response to world events such as the Green Revolution and other forms of industrial agricultural development since the 1970s. Despite the advances in research and technology, we still possess inadequate knowledge of the dynamics causing the onset of food insecurity, and significant disagreement persists among scholars concerning the best way to ameliorate food insecurity.

Drawing upon the food security literature and current events in the media, this survey course will help learners to build a new understanding of food security, water shortages in agricultural production, and climate change challenges in agriculture. We will introduce policy tools and case studies illustrating the effects that climate change has on agriculture which will be useful and applicable to individual cross-disciplinary learning.


Food Security and Food Insecurity

In Module 1 we define the concept of food and what it means to individuals. We then explore food security and food insecurity along with its various meanings and definitions while looking at community food security. We also investigate the meaning of food sovereignty as well as Indigenous food sovereignty. Alternatively, we enquire into food insecurity and the ramifications of living with food deprivation not only for western populations but also Indigenous communities.

Water and Food Security

In the second module, we examine the hydrological cycle and water security as defined by the United Nations. We also analyze various aspects of the importance of water to food production and climate change. We specifically look at programs in the Okanagan which address drought and flooding while reading about examples of successful management of water systems for food and agriculture for improving adaptation and building resilience to climate change.

Climate Change and Food Security in the Future

The third module of this course provides and enquiry into climate change which refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In the Okanagan we address the impacts of drought, flooding, pests, and forest fires on the production of food. We not only look at adaptation to climate change and how food producers are adapting to climatic variations that affect our food supply but the future impacts that climate change is likely to have on global food production.

What Does it all Mean and What Can We Do?

In the fourth module, the course culminates by asking ourselves “How Do we go forward in addressing food insecurity, water security, climate change, adapting to future climate change and what we can do as individuals, communities, nations and a community of nations?”.


Dr. Joanne Taylor is an environmental anthropologist and political ecologist and received her PhD from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in the Department of Community, Culture, and Global Studies. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Dr. Taylor's doctoral research investigated food security and food sovereignty in the traditional lands of the Ktunaxa First Nation and the Creston Valley of British Columbia during catastrophic climate change and the renegotiation of the bilateral Columbia River Treaty. Joanne is currently a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at The University of British Columbia Okanagan in the Department of Economics, Political Science, and Philosophy where she is conducting research in agricultural adaptation to climate change in the Cariboo and Okanagan Regions of B.C.  She continues to explore the effects of climate change on food systems. Joanne lives in Kelowna, BC with her family and enjoys skiing, hiking, yoga, gardening, cooking, and traveling within B.C.

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