Recognizing Untapped Potential
The Vancouver Chinatown Food Security Report documents the loss of food retailers in Chinatown between 2009 to 2016 and demonstrates that cultural food assets are being lost at an alarmingly rapid rate.
The report also compiled a cross-sectional analysis of City of Vancouver policies, and identified gaps in supporting ethnocultural food practices and retail.
50% of Chinatown’s fresh food stores—greengrocers, fishmongers, barbecue meat shops, and butchers—have been lost between 2009 to 2016. Thirty-two percent of Chinese dry goods stores, and 56% of food service retailers that were in operation in 2009 have also been lost during the seven year timeframe. These results stand in stark contrast to City of Vancouver’s target of increasing food assets by 50% by 2020, signalling the need for a closer examination of the intended and emergent outcomes of municipal policy.
This report analyzes five major policy documents relating to food policy in Chinatown and considers the degree to which cultural food assets are acknowledged within City of Vancouver’s policy landscape. The loss of many cultural food assets in Chinatown and their lack of recognition within municipal policy indicates that there remains a significant area of untapped potential for building a more inclusive, just, and sustainable food system in Vancouver.