SFU Roots

Building capacity in British Columbia's Food Service Sector to increase the use of local foods.


About Us

What is SFU Roots?

SFU Roots is a multi-year program launched by Simon Fraser University (SFU) that aims to foster a resilient local food system by encouraging the integration of local, plant-based, and Indigenous foods into food service operations. This program will provide training that upskills food service professionals, enabling them to effectively utilize locally sourced ingredients to foster a pathway for career advancement, and to promote the integration of more sustainable local foods.

Why SFU Roots?

SFU recognizes the importance of the food and agriculture industry in B.C., and the need to support the growth, resilience, and sustainability of the food supply chain. B.C.’s food service industry is facing various challenges, including shortage of culinary skills among food service professionals and a disconnect between local food processors and its consumers, also known as the “last mile gap”. While there are culinary programs and training for food service professionals, there is a lack of skill training and peer-sharing network programs for those in the workforce to upgrade their skills and knowledge. Such training will help retain the workforce as it fosters professional development, increases job satisfaction, and creates avenues for career progression.

Additionally, the global call to action around climate change reinforces the importance of developing a sustainable and resilient local food system. While there is a growing demand from clients, students and patients for more local, plant-rich foods, many food service professionals have not yet had the experience and training to support local food systems, including sourcing locally, incorporation of local foods into recipes, managing costs, and promoting sustainability.

The SFU roots program will help build strong connections between the food processing sector, and food service professionals, while working towards climate action goals to build a resilient food system in B.C.

Program Objectives

Skill Development

Upskill emerging and established culinary professionals in utilizing locally sourced ingredients through immersive training sessions, which focuses on mastering the art of preparing, cooking and presenting local foods.

Knowledge Sharing

Information and tools on how to incorporate local foods into menus and marketing materials will be shared. A digital knowledge hub will be created to share recipes, videos, menu development, and communication tools and materials, etc.

Awareness Building

Connections will be built between food service professionals and the local food value chain through a networking platform hosting webinars, roundtables, and conferences to foster collaboration and innovation in the culinary industry.

Roots Initiatives


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