Simon Fraser University, MS
EREF Scholar 2015
Comparing Waste Management Impacts on Conventional vs. Organic Food Supply Chains
Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
The agriculture industry is responsible for a variety of economic, social, and environmental impacts. Furthermore, the global food system is one of the world’s most resource intensive practices, using large portions of available water, and land. While some aspects of the sustainability of conventional agriculture, organic agriculture, and food waste have been researched, there are few studies that examine producer food waste or that compare conventional and organic agricultural waste patterns. Multiple researchers have acknowledged a lack of data and information about food waste at different levels of the food supply chain. Food waste is a major concern as it is estimated that at least 30% of the food that is grown globally is never consumed by humans.
To address this knowledge gap, Arlene is working with farmers in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia to assess their food waste practices. Arlene is conducting interviews and case studies to gain an in-depth understanding of farmer’s perceptions of food waste as a sustainability issue, and to better understand if and how farmers are attempting to reduce or sustainably manage food waste. Additionally, Arlene will be comparing findings from organic and conventional food producers to assess how food waste volume and management differs between agricultural methods. The aim of this research project is to establish baseline information regarding on-farm food waste and best practices for reducing and managing on-farm food waste.
Arlene considers herself lucky to have grown up in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. In 2013, Arlene received an undergraduate degree from UBC Okanagan in Geography. During her undergraduate degree, Arlene worked in Ottawa for the Government of Canada and participated in numerous campus activities. After working for a hydroelectricity company for two years, Arlene decided to pursue a masters degree in Resource and Environmental Management (Planning) at Simon Fraser University. Arlene’s research interests include sustainable development, environmental planning, and sustainable food systems. Arlene hopes that her research will contribute to the establishment of a more sustainable and efficient food system. In addition to school, Arlene enjoys photography, travel, and exploring Vancouver and the surrounding areas.