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Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue to SFU Vancouver. This guide will help you to use our library to find research material for this topic. If you have any further questions about library services, please contact Karen Marotz, Head, Belzberg Library at 778.782.5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library research involves selecting your topic, identifying the best sources and appropriate research tools, accessing the items found and evaluating your results. Start Your Research Here is a brief guide that will help you with this process.
Start your hunt for information "at home" by visiting the SFU Library home page. This gathers all the best research tools, guides and research help in one place. Try our Library Search engine from the home page to quickly find books, articles and information on the library website in one search.
Books, articles and web sites on your course reading list or course outline can also provide a good starting point, particularly if the items include bibliographies, references or links to related material.
Search the catalogue to find all books, reports and media materials in the SFU Library at all three campuses (Belzberg - Vancouver; Bennett - Burnaby; Fraser - Surrey).
- Searching by KEYWORD is generally the best way to start. Once you have found some good results with your keyword searches, use the subjects on those items to focus your search.
- Try the following SUBJECT headings:
- To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu.
- Alternative agriculture
- City planning
- Community development, Urban
- Community gardens
- Food consumption
- Food security
- Food supply
- Nutrition policy
- Organic farming
- Sustainable agriculture
- Sustainable development
- Urban agriculture
Limit your search to items at Belzberg Library by selecting Belzberg Collection from the main search screen. You can also use ADVANCED KEYWORD search. Select Belzberg Library in the COLLECTION field to include online resources. Select Belzberg Library (Downtown/Harbour Centre) in the LOCATION field for items physically at Belzberg Library.
- If the item is not available at Belzberg Library, or is out on loan, please request it! Find electronic books, films, dvds, cds or slides on your topic by searching specific collections or by using ADVANCED KEYWORD search and selecting the appropriate format in the FORMAT field.
- For a step-by-step interactive guide to searching the SFU catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.
You can look up journals by title and search for articles in them.
All print and electronic journals subscribed to by the SFU Library are listed in the catalogue. Electronic journals are also listed in the Electronic Journals Database by title, subject and by the association/organization who publishes the journal.
- Agriculture e-journal list: many journals for the subject of agriculture, e.g.
- Food e-journal list e.g.
- Sustainable Community Development e-journal list: Access to various electronic journals related to community economic development topics
- Urban Studies e-journal list: Access to various electronic journals related to urban studies and planning topics
- A few journals not included in either of the above lists:
Connect to Journal Articles and Databases to find articles in academic journals, trade magazines, reports and newspapers, as well as financial and statistical data. Many indexes provide online access to the full text of the articles or allow you to directly request copies of articles through the "Where Can I Get This?" link. Browse by subject area to identify useful databases for your topic.
Suggested article databases for Sustainable Food Systems
- Academic Search Premier - multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals
- Agricola - covers urban and rural agriculture research resources
- Business Source Complete - index to business journals, industry magazines & market reports.
- Canadian Newsstream - contains the full text of articles in major Canadian and small market BC newspapers, 2-7 day publication lag
- CBCA Complete - multidisciplinary index to Canadian journals and magazines
- ECONLIT - Index to major economics journals and working papers
- Environment Complete - major database on environmental topics
- GEOBASE - key human and physical geography database with interdisciplinary coverage of urban topics
- GreenFILE - research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment
- Sociological Abstracts - sociological aspects of community development and urban studies; includes cited references
- Web of Science - multidisciplinary source and citation index - particularly useful for finding out who else cited an article that you have found relevant.
Try the same subject terms as suggested for books, or check the thesaurus or list of subject terms within the database. For help with searching databases, check Finding Journal Articles and/or Moving From Citation to Article.
For books and articles not online or at SFU, request an Interlibrary Loan.
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve an environmentally sustainable agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. Browse by agriculture related Subjects A to Z
- BC Stats Publications - The A-Z index (under the Search tab) provides access to BC Statistics by subject.
- City of Vancouver - provides information and links to city projects and initiatives, including the Greenest City 2020 initiative and Vancouver's Food and sustainable food systems.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO's mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, achieve food security to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food, and contribute to the growth of the world economy
- Government of British Columbia - access point to all Government of British Columbia organizations and services including the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
- Regional Food System Strategy - Metro Vancouver's framework for creating a collaborative approach to a sustainable, resilient and healthy food system
- Statistics Canada: Statistics by Subject - main source for Canadian statistical information, including statistics on Agriculture
In addition to the library catalogue and databases, you will find a lot of good information on the web. Governments, research institutes, non-profit organizations, industry and other associations and companies all have web sites - many with publications freely available. Use a web search engine such as Google, Google Scholar or Ask.com to find additional information, including the web sites of interest groups and other organizations. Check the library's Internet Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating web sites.
Useful sites for Sustainable Food Systems
BC Food Security Gateway - a “one stop” Web resource for food security practitioners
Community Food Security Coalition - develops and supports sustainable, community food system projects throughout North America, with extensive links to other organizations. Includes a great link to Food System Policy Recommendation for Seattle
- Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute - addresses policies that will enable Canada's agri-food sector to thrive. Publications tab is at bottom of the page.
- Farm Folk/City Folk Society - promotes local efforts to establish sustainable food systems and includes a good links section.
- Food Secure Canada - is a nonprofit organization and national voice for the food security movement in Canada. Includes: Resetting the table: a people's food policy for Canada.
- Food Security Network - actively promotes comprehensive, community-based solutions to ensure physical and economic access to adequate and healthy food for all. This NF and Labrador site provides an excellent of list of national and international research sources for food security, including links to centres for food and agriculture studies
- International Development Research Centre: Agriculture and the Environment - guide to a variety of agriculture resources in developing countries.
- RUAF Foundation - Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security is an international network that offers publications, including Urban Agriculture Magazine, databases , and information about the RUAF-FSTT (From Seed to Table) program.
- SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development - teaching and research unit that aims to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives in community development. Search for "food" to access information about sustainability related to food and agriculture
- Sustainable Communities Online - a US source that connects citizens to resources and to one another to create sustainable communities. Check out the link Agriculture and Food Systems
- Thought About Food? A Workbook on Food Security & Influencing Policy. Althought published in 2005, the section on taking action provides useful strategies.
- Subject Research guides are produced by SFU liaison librarians to point you to the best external sources as well as providing information about publications available in the library. Try these guides for further suggestions.
- If you would like any further assistance or information about the library or your research, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.