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Food security in Public Health and other government programs in British Columbia, Canada: A policy analysis

Seed, Barbara (2011). Food security in Public Health and other government programs in British Columbia, Canada: A policy analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Public Health has re-emerged as a driver of food security in British Columbia. Food security policy, programs and infrastructure have been integrated into the Public Health sector and other areas of government, including the adoption of food security as a Core Public Health program. This policy analysis of the integration merges findings from forty-eight key informant interviews conducted with government, Civil Society, and food supply representatives involved in the initiatives, along with relevant documents and participant/direct observations. Findings were analyzed according to “contextual”, “diagnostic”, “evaluative” and “strategic” categories from the Ritchie and Spencer framework for Applied Policy Research.

While Civil Society was the driver for food security in British Columbia, Public Health was the driver for the integration of food security into the government. Public Health held most of the power, and often determined the agenda and the players involved. While many interviewees heralded the accomplishments of the incorporation of food security into Public Health, stakeholders also acknowledged the relative insignificance of the food security agenda in relation to other “weightier”, competing agendas. Conflict between stakeholders over approaches to food insecurity/hunger existed, and it was only weakly included in the agenda.

Looking to consequences of the integration, food security increased in legitimacy within the Public Health sector over the research period. Interviewees described a clash of cultures between Public Health and Civil Society occurring partly as a result of Public Health’s limited food security mandate and inherent top down approach. Marginalization of the Civil Society voice at the provincial level was one of the negative consequences resulting from this integration. A social policy movement toward a new political paradigm - “regulatory pluralism” - calls for greater engagement of Civil Society, and for all sectors to work together toward common goals. This integration of food security into the government exemplifies an undertaking on the cutting edge in progress toward this shift.

Recommendations for stakeholders in furthering food security within the government were identified. These include the development of food security policy alternatives for current government agendas in British Columbia, with a focus on health care funding, Aboriginal health and climate change.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: © 2011 Barbara Seed
Subjects: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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