Local food interest grows, and Transition Town Peterborough and ChexTV look into the estimate that if "everyone in Peterborough bought 25% of their food locally for the next 10 years, they would contribute more than 400 million dollars to the counties economy"!
Student and Faculty involvement in Food issues at Trent University, Peterborough Ontario has been long standing, and there are many new exciting initiatives under development.
To begin, the Trent Vegetable Gardens for student research on campus were initiated by a number of students and faculty and they collaborate heavily with the Campus vegetarian/vegan student run café, the Seasoned Spoon. These projects and enterprises are not-for–profit, student initiated, and have been running for about a decade.
More recently, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program was born. This is, a 4-year honours degree program with an Arts stream and a Science stream. This program is one for students to challenge and think about the dominant global food and agricultural systems that we are all embedded in.
This year, there have been many more projects in development that are proving to have a great potential to create positive change surrounding food services at Trent. These include a newly founded student organization, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Society, a Trent Apiary, a Campus Food Sustainability Working Group, a new contract with Compass Group campus food service providers (Chartwells), and an undergoing campus Experimental Farm and Greenhouse project.
The SAFS Society is an inclusive student group that mandates to increase student engagement and community awareness in food and agricultural sustainability issues.
The Sustainability Working Group aims to be involved in all matters concerning sustainability in the expectations from Chartwells (Compass Group), specifically these include monitoring the progress of projects that aim to procure local food, reduce food waste, increase energy efficiency and follow up on goals surrounding food quality, affordability, diversity and special food needs (vegetarian/vegan, gluten/dairy intolerance, religious restrictions).
The Experimental Farm is a very exciting enterprise that has become Chartwells Key Focus Initiative for 2015 at Trent. So far, the 33 acres Trent has allocated has grown 1/3rd of an acre of vegetables as part of a organic amendments research project; vegetables were sold to the Seasoned Spoon, local Restaurants, and to Chartwells, 1 acre of Quinoa, and a research project on reducing inputs in common Ontario grain rotations. The expansion and breadth for the following season are being planned presently.
The KFI means that the new food services provider is committed to supporting Trent in creating an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable food production enterprise on campus that would directly provide marketable produce for Chartwells to purchase and use in campus meals as well as student engagement, and program collaboration. They have also committed to providing capital specifically to invest in a campus greenhouse.
These recent projects are what I personally find most exciting about food issues at Trent. I feel that there is potential for real, forthcoming and positive change; creating real awareness and community engagement around broader food and agriculture concerns.
There is SO much stuff going on at Trent, in Peterborough, in Ontario, nationally and globally that pertains to food, eating and agriculture. Some of it is really exciting! And some of it is pretty stark. Let's not give in to the apathy that can so easily imbue our lives, and actively change both how food appears in our lives, and the lives of countless others. Let's make a difference. It's an ideal I know, but we can have fun, learn and make friends along the way!
The vision for this society, which was born out of the impetus of a few passionate and dedicated students was to have it be a space and community where we can garner inspiration from our fellow students to have an affect on the state of food and farming in the world. This is a pretty broad spectrum. We envisioned everything from farm visits, student cooking classes and farmers market tours, political activism campaigns for better social assistance to decrease food-based social exclusion, international food potlucks, to discussions around food based health, ecological farming, and supporting the fight for good food on campus, and so much more!
With that said, we want your ideas too! Come to a meeting, check out the facebook page and twitter feed.
Hope to see you all soon.
Have a safe and yummy reading break!
Heres a list of online Resources to check out! If you have a suggestion, email it in and we'll add it!
FoodPsych Podcast: http://foodpsychpod.com/
The Land Connection: http://thelandconnection.org/central-illinois-farm-beginnings
Transition Town Peterborough: http://www.transitiontownpeterborough.ca/