Food Stash Research Engagementship (Cohort #1)


Food Stash Foundation is a registered Canadian charity founded in 2016 that rescues surplus food from grocery stores and redistributes it to those experiencing barriers to accessing food. Their mission is to end local food insecurity and reduce the environmental harm caused by food waste. In 2021, Food Stash opened the Rescued Food Market in the Olympic Village at 340 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver, where shoppers of the market are encouraged to ‘take what they want and pay what they feel’. Olympic Village has undergone significant growth in the past decade including gentrification of the neighbourhood and an increased cost of living, negatively impacting some community members. The demand for the Market has exceeded the organization’s expectations, revealing the disparity between the public image of Olympic Village and the experience of some community members. 

In this collaboration between Food Stash and the Office of Regional and International Community Engagement (ORICE), this research project seeks to:

  • understand the diverse demographics of the market community, 
  • understand how the market users define and experience food insecurity and if/how the market contributes to food justice, and
  • build relationships with market users and learn what’s contributing to food insecurity. 

A gap remains when trying to understand how food insecurity intersects and compounds with other social issues in a given neighbourhood, especially when trends such as gentrification work to make certain groups and needs less visible. Food Stash is seeking to address this gap through initiatives that centre on equity, diversity and inclusion in their work. 


This student engagement opportunity will be undertaken by a team of  3-5 UBC students who will spend 4-6 hours each week during the months of June, July, and August collaborating with Food Stash. The student team will work with Food Stash to conduct participatory action research through dialogue with market users where the market users will be invited to voice their needs and experiences to better understand the following:

  • Who is the market serving? 
  • Who are “pay what you feel” market users? 
  • Where are people travelling from, and how do they get there? 
  • Why do they choose to come to this market? 
  • How do they define and experience food insecurity? 

This engagementship will help Food Stash form a better foundation to collect, analyze and act upon data that reflects their service users in the community.

Deliverables & Milestones:

  • Learn more about Food Stash as an organization and their operations
  • Become familiar with the Community-Based Research & Data Justice Resource Guide by the Gender+ Collective and incorporate data justice principles in the research 
  • Co-develop a focus group plan and surveys
  • Students along with Food Stash will host focus group events
  • Analyze data from focus groups and work to complete a preliminary report on project findings 
  • The students will give a short presentation to Food Stash and ORICE about their key learnings.


  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student (domestic or international) at the University of British Columbia as of May, 2022. 
  • Have access to a reliable internet connection and computer to collaborate with peers and attend remote meetings;  Meetings are likely to be a mix of in person and remote.
  • Demonstrate ability to think critically and creatively;
  • Demonstrate ability to take initiative and work in a collaborative environment;
  • Prior experience engaging with community organizations is an asset;
  • Experience with participatory research project design and public speaking is an asset.
  • Ability to speak Cantonese is an asset.

Academic integration:

  • Please note this is a not-for-credit unpaid opportunity. If you are interested in making this a student-directed study course, please contact to discuss the process to explore this option.

How to apply:

Thank you for your interest. The recruitment for this program has now closed.

Please reach out to us at if you have any questions.