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Project Summary


Conduct an analysis of a Legion's institutional food system, focusing on kitchen infrastructure and the role of food in meeting organizational objectives.

Areas of Focus

  • Institutional food systems
  • Kitchen infrastructure
  • Municipal food system policy


  • Institutional food system analysis
  • Case study design
  • Interviewing
  • Site observations


  • Legion Branch 177
  • Mount Pleasant (East 11th Ave and Main St.)
  • 2655 Main St, Vancouver

Background Information

Assessing and expanding community food assets is a central directive of the City of Vancouver’s Food Strategy. This project is a continuation of last year's community kitchen assessment projects, expanding to six Royal Canadian Legion branches in Vancouver. The Royal Canadian Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. More than 300,000 members in over 1400 Branches across Canada make a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families, provide essential services within our communities, and Remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country.

Using a standardized survey, questionnaire, and observations, groups will document the the role that kitchens play for Legions in meeting their organizational needs as well as the current use of legion kitchens. Each student group will be assigned a Legion to conduct site visits and interviews with Legion staff. This project is especially relevant for students majoring in food and the environment or food, nutrition and health and/or who want to learn more about food environments, education, food policy and food literacy. For this project, you need to be organized, able to work independently, and have some experience in a kitchen environment. Food Safe training is an asset.

Throughout the project, you will develop observational, interviewing, and analytical skills and will learn how to complete a kitchen assessment.

Organization Information


City of Vancouver Social Policy Department – Food Strategy Implementation Team


Creating a system for producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable is a City of Vancouver priority. The Food Strategy helps the City address Vancouver’s food challenges and align the food system with broader City plans and processes through five main goals:

  • Support food-friendly neighbourhoods
  • Empower residents to take action
  • Improve access to healthy, affordable, culturally diverse food for all residents
  • Make food a centerpiece of Vancouver’s green economy
  • Advocate for a just and sustainable food system with partners and at all levels of government

For more information on the City of Vancouver’s Food Strategy, visit

Primary Contact

  • Sarah Carten, Social Planner, City of Vancouver

Project Description

The Vancouver Food Strategy and the Greenest City Action Plan call for an increase in food assets by a minimum of 50% over 2010 levels by 2020. Among these food assets are publicly-accessible kitchens. These are sometimes used for community food programming such as “community kitchens”, cooking classes or skill-building workshops. In some cases, they are used for commercial activities (e.g. catering, start-up businesses, or large-scale meal provision).

Legion halls typically have commercial kitchens and may offer meal service. Legions have been proposed as locations where additional community uses may be possible; their current condition, use, and capacity are unknown, as is the interest level in additional community uses. This research will explore the role of the kitchen in Legion operations, and identify whether opportunities exist for expanding the use of Legion kitchens to meet other community needs.

Groups will visit an assigned Legion. Using a standardized questionnaire, and observations, groups will document how organizational goals are met through kitchens and food-related activities, and will assess the type, condition, and use of Legion kitchens.

Skills Preferred

  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Organized and able to work independently
  • Able to use Microsoft Excel
  • Understand kitchen basics / know how to cook
  • Ability to articulate institutional food system components, both physical and social
  • Understanding of sustainable food systems, and role of food in community development processes
  • Additional assets: Food Safe training, experience cooking with or facilitating a Community Kitchen, knowledge and connection with social facilities (e.g. churches, religious sites)

Skills to Be Developed

  • Institutional food system analysis
  • Kitchen assessment skills
  • Observational and analytical skills
  • Interviewing and communication skills

Project Location

Each student group will be assigned to a Legion Branch.

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

Timing is flexible based on student and facility schedules.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • None available for this project although students are encouraged to volunteer at a Legion or a community kitchen in their assigned area if possible.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Student will be able to...

  • Articulate how a municipality engages with public food assets in order to promote a healthy, sustainable and just food system.
  • Describe the breadth of an institutional food system and how food contributes to organizational objectives
  • Conduct an institutional case study and communicate results back to municipal stakeholders

Organizational Outcomes

The research will allow for better decision making about support for existing and future kitchen facilities and programs through:

  • Baseline research on existing kitchens used by different agencies including kitchen condition and current usage
  • Identification of opportunities and barriers for improving the use of kitchen facilities for community food programming purposes as well as for food businesses.