Victoria Ostenso

MSc student, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, UBC

Victoria is a Master’s student in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systemsat UBC. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Carleton College, USA. Originally from Wisconsin (unceded Anishinabek territory), she is currently a settler on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw and Tsleil-Waututh territory. She is proud of her mixed heritage from German, Norwegian, Chinese, and “other” unknown ancestors.

Her research looks at the intersections of food culture, sustainable food systems, and representative democracy. Through qualitative analysis of food policy councils in Metro Vancouver and the community garden program in Richmond, B.C. her current project inquires: Why is the alternative food movement so white? Why does the inclusion of a diversity of cultural food values matter in food systems planning? She seeks to identify what is lost when alternative food initiatives don’t consider the voices of citizens from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Through community engaged research, she hopes to provide strategies and best practices for alternative food initiatives to build on if they strive to be more inclusive. She is also involved in the greater academic community at UBC as a member of the Food Sovereignty Research group and a co-coordinator of the Food Systems Research Network through the Liu Institute.

Outside of her research, she spends her time creating informal community through food sharing, volunteering for the Richmond Food Security Society and the UBC Farm for UBC Families project at Acadia Park, and teaching cooking classes to children in the Intergenerational Landed Learning Program at the UBC Farm. In Vancouver, she is part of the African drum and dance community, enjoys cold water swimming in the ocean, and spending time with the trees at various parks throughout the City.