2013 LFAP: Local Food Action Plan Literature Review

Students from UBC present their literature review for the Vancouver Park Board and CityStudio Vancouver. The question we focused on was how should urban gardens be planned to decolonize and provide a safe space for Indigenous communities?




Land and Food Systems


LFS 350


  • Colin Dring
  • Russell Goulet (TA)

City of Vancouver:

  • Rebecca Till

Student Team:

  • Xiwen Wang
  • Xilin Xu
  • Rose Xia
  • Mark Kyler
  • Katharine Yu


  • Local Food Action Plan
  • VanPlay


Fall 2020


Our literature review focused on case studies of Indigenous urban gardens. For our literature review, we used google scholar and the UBC library to filter papers after the year 2013. We also used h-index, which indicates the quality of the paper (a higher number meaning better quality of the paper), and also used culturally appropriate keywords and Booleans during our search. In total, we found 25 relevant papers which we then categorized into 3 different themes.

The first theme we found is reversing biased conceptions of colonized land is an ongoing process. To understand decolonization, the implementation of Indigenous created concepts should be considered. Governments and Indigenous communities can strengthen their relationship by exploring cross-cultural barriers.

The second theme is collaborative garden projects are short-lived due to rigid policies. Communication plays an important role in conducting collaborative garden projects. We found that it would be hard to negotiate when there are different perspectives in the community.

The third theme is how urban gardens can serve as a steppingstone for decolonization. Urban gardens can build connections between the government and communities by providing safe places. These three themes, in a combination with some of the highlighted case studies on our infographic, can show limitations when planning for urban Indigenous gardens.

Our team learned that there is so much more to these urban gardens, and having safe spaces is a crucial part of the Indigenous communities. We hope that by conducting this literature search, we can provide valuable information to the Vancouver Park Board when updating the 2013 Local Food Action Plan.

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