The Okanagan Research Forum: “Eating the Okanagan” Exploring change in our local food systems, will be hosted by the ,  will be hosted by the UBC Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystem Services (BRAES) and the UBC Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER), in collaboration with partner organizations. The Forum will encourage knowledge sharing and dialogue between UBC Okanagan Researchers and the broader community, including government and local organizations.  Every two years, a Forum will be organized with a specified theme. This year’s theme is exploring change in our local food systems, a particularly relevant topic for the Okanagan region considering the pressures we face due to climate change, population growth, consumption, production and changes in land use.

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Session 1: Setting the Stage – 9:15  to 10:30 AM

The session objective is to introduce the concept of resilience as applied to human-environment systems and to discuss why it is important for sustainability at the landscape scale

Session 2: Ecological Resilience – 10:45 Am to 12:00 PM

The session objective is to define what makes an ecological system resilient and to discuss how we can enhance resilience of our ecosystems

Session 3: Social and Human Resilience 1:00 to 2:15 PM

The session objective is to define what makes human cultures and societies resilient, and how we can foster resilience in our present-day communities.

Sesion 4 : Vision for Okanagan Landscape

This is a working session in which audience members will be divided into groups of 10-12, seated around large tables, and led in a facilitated discussion about how the Okanagan region can be sustainable and resilient into the future.

Resilience Definition

Resilience is understood as the ability of a system to recover from disturbance and adapt to change. Resilience is an essential attribute of a sustainable system, and is increasingly important at the landscape scale in times of rapid social and environmental change. In this forum, we will explore how the concept of resilience can help us build a sustainable future Okanagan with vibrant human culture and communities and healthy, functioning ecosystems

Will this be a technical academic event?

The event is open to the general public and to students, and speakers will be asked to avoid academic jargon. We welcome the participation of the whole local community. We will make sure that the forum includes opportunities for all conference attendees to make contributions to our discussions.

Is there a cost to attend the Forum?

Registration for the event is required. The costs for registration are:

• Organizers and Volunteers: Free
• Students presenting posters: Free
• Students: $10 dollars*
• General Public: $20 *

* Registration includes access to all events as well as food and beverages.

Who are the forum partners?

UBC Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystem Services (BRAES)
UBC Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER)
Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)
Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA)
BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF)
City of Kelowna (Imagine Kelowna)
Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program

What will happen during the day?

The day will include plenary presentations and discussions by expert panelists to explore how the concept of resilience applies to social, cultural and ecological systems. We will seek representation of diverse perspectives, including indigenous knowledge and experience. The afternoon will include a facilitated working session in which all conference participants will be divided into groups and invited to contribute their visions and aspirations for a future Okanagan landscape. The group discussions will later be summarized by conference organizers in a vision document. This document will be widely shared and may be used by participating organizations to support their respective mandates and advance their own projects.

Who is the Forum's target audience?

General Public
Local Government
Non-governmental Organizations
Members of BRAES and ICER
UBC Okanagan Students

Based on the venue capacity, we are expecting at the most 120 including volunteers and organizers

Do I need to register to attend the Keynote presentation?

Yes, you need to register. Although the keynote presentation is free to the public, you need to register to attend due to the limited venue capacity


Meet our diverse collection of expert speakers.

Nancy Turner

Featured guest

Emeritus Professor, Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist whose research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada. Nancy has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments. Her interests also include the roles of plants and animals in narratives, ceremonies, language and belief systems. Nancy was awarded a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellowship in 2015. With this funding she will coordinate and participate in a progressive and focused discussion amongst multiple informed groups on the roles of ethnobotany and ethnoecology in policy, planning and decision-making in the legal and governance arenas around Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and title.  To this end she is preparing a symposium entitled Affirming Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights with Ethnoecology and Ethnobotany: Strategies for Canada’s Future. Dr. Turner is no longer accepting new graduate students. Dr. Turner has authored, co-authored or co-edited over 20 books (most recently a two-volume book, Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America, and Saanich Ethnobotany: Culturally Important Plants of the WSÁNEĆ People - co-authored with Richard Hebda, a textbook,Ethnobiology (E. N. Anderson, first editor); Plants of Haida Gwaii; The Earth’s Blanket; and“Keeping it Living”: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America – this last co-edited with Douglas Deur), and over 150 book chapters and peer-reviewed papers, and numerous other publications, both popular and academic.  


Come join us at this unique event to share your personal experience and pragmatic insights on how to put theory into action

UBC or other affiliation are welcomed to this event.

  • Attendance to forum panels and presentations
  • Lunch and coffee break
  • Wine and Cheese event

General Public

  • Attendance to forum panels and presentations
  • Lunch and coffee break
  • Wine and Cheese event

Students with Posters

  • Attendance to forum panels and presentations
  • Lunch and coffee break
  • Wine and Cheese event

Speakers, panelists and presenters please register here
Volunteers and organizers please register here


The Okanagan Research Forum is brought to you by:


The Okanagan Research Forum will take place at the banquet room in the Summer Hill Winery in Kelowna, Located at 4870 Chute Lake Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 4M3
Come and enjoy the unique atmosphere of one of the most beautiful locations in the Okanagan Valley with stunning views of the lake and the mountains.

Summer Hill Winery is a unique venue located in the Mission area of the city, offering an unparalleled setting for entertaining. Enjoy our exquisite banquet facilities with a sliding glass wall opening fully to the largest deck overlooking Okanagan Lake. we are very delighted to host our forum at this exceptional venue.

Address: 4870 Chute Lake Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 4M3

Are you looking for a place to stay?

Kelowna has accommodation for everyone, whatever your budget.
We recommend, when selecting a hotel, going for one of the many hotels in the city center.
Some of them offer a spectacular view of the Okanagan Lake and the city landmarks.

Food and Drink
We prepared for you the best tips on nice places to eat & drink at Kelowna. Everything can be reached on foot in a few minutes.

We always happy to help you with any questions or recommendations.

Carolina Restrepo
All inquiries related to the event
250- 807-9023