The majority of food consumed in Vancouver is either supply managed by marketing boards or made available through globally competitive market systems that respond to consumer demand. These business systems deliver products to market in a system that optimizes resource use, minimizes costs to consumers, and maximizes profits. As long as food is treated as a commodity, food systems will largely be characterized by activities of economic agents such as farmers, brokers, processors, importers, exporters, and retailers.
The diversity of the food economy and the strength of individual actors all along the supply chain are significant determinants of the resilience of Vancouver's food system. A sustainable food system is economically and socially viable for all those involved, including farmers, workers, and consumers.
Competitive trade relations that work within ecological constraints enhance food security. In the face of uncertain and imminent changes to global food production capacity, it is pertinent to strengthen local food production and bolster our ability to supply food locally and abroad. With climate change and pending fuel shortages, production and distribution of food in this changing world needs to minimize fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.