Sustainable food

Universities across Canada are moving toward implementing sustainability policies in areas such as waste management, water conservation, energy management, and sustainable food.

An area of high interest among students is sustainable and healthy food options. Among the movement for sustainable food, nationally there is an emphasis on organic, Fairtrade, cruelty-free meat and eggs, sustainable seafood with a particular emphasis on the procurement of food that is healthy and local.

UNB is working on several different initiatives to increase access to heathy sustainable food options.

Free food planters

FoodUpdated

UNB aims to engage our campus community in personal and social change through sustainable urban agriculture. UNB Sustainability has established sustainable (self-watering) free food planters around the Fredericton campus. Food from our planters are available to anyone on campus. These planters provide access to free food without any judgment to its users. Any excess food in the future will be distributed through our campus food bag program, our campus farmers market, or donated to our local food bank.

The garden planters are a practical learning laboratory, where participants gain full exposure to the process of growing food as well as exposure to different types of food used by other cultures on campus.

Community food smart bag

The UNB Student Union offers a monthly $15.00 “Community Food Smart Bag”. This program is community-based and supported by volunteers. They source locally as much as possible. This service is available to the entire Fredericton community and surrounding areas. It provides an affordable option for individuals, students, and families to have better access to healthy food.

In fall 2016 the UNB Student Union hired a Campus Food Coordinator to help expand this initiative, along with promotion at the Campus Farmers Market, interest in this program has nearly doubled  from 30 participants per month to 50 per month.

UNB food voucher program

UNBF has a Food Voucher program in place of the traditional food bank model. The food voucher program offers students Sobeys gift cards which can be used for gas, food, or medications. The financial aid is granted based on financial need and on a short-term basis. Students can access the program by consulting with the financial aid office or through a referral from another service such as a counselor or nutritionist.

Campus food strategy group

UNB Campus Food Strategy Group

Why Food?

Food nourishes individuals and brings together communities. Food affects our relationships, environments, health, cultures, economies, and sense of selves. Simply put, food connects us all. The Campus Food Strategy Group at the University of New Brunswick is a part of larger national network of groups promoting local and sustainable food systems on university campuses. By working with 9 other university campuses across Canada, we are creating resources, models, and a larger network of support for building sustainable food systems.

Goals:

  • Educate and inform students, staff, faculty, and administrators about food systems and food security, increase local and sustainable food availability, and procurement on campus.
  • Grow, eat and nourish sustainable food practices.
  • Network with students, faculty, administration and the community to represent food issues and good food solutions.
  • Promote an understanding of food, from seed to plate, and identify new opportunities for sustainability and accessibility.
  • Serve as model for other institutions about how to build infrastructure and affect positive change for ourselves as students, our communities and our local economy.

Guiding principles:

  • Collaboration
  • Grassroots organizing
  • Smalls steps toward larger change
  • Active, multidisciplinary engagement
  • Forming holistic and inclusive strategies for action

Campus market

A Fall Farmers market pilot began on October 5, 2016 at UNB Fredericton. Produce is provided by the Ville Cooperative in Marysville, Fredericton, which grows its food using organic practices and is located less than ten kilometers from the UNB Fredericton campus. The produce was sold at UNB for a reduced rate to make the produce friendly for a student budget.

Campus community garden

GardenUpdate

The construction of the UNB Fredericton Community Garden was finished during the late summer of 2017. During the garden’s pilot growing year in 2018, all the garden plots were filled by renters who had the opportunity to practice their green thumb in one of the 50 4’x8’ plots. Located behind Neville Homestead, the garden is accessible to students, faculty, and staff. A paved area and raised garden beds also provides accessibility for the physically impaired. The garden is open from dawn until dusk and all are welcome to visit and see what is growing!

The garden has been a facilitator of partnerships and initiatives across campus and Fredericton. Whether that be the Artzone group creating four beautiful murals for the garden, partnering with the Ville Cooperative on the Northside to compost organic waste from campus, or supplying produce to the Cellar Pub and Campus Market, the garden has shown to be a sustainability hub at UNB Fredericton.

The creation of the garden would not have been possible without the Campus Food Strategy Group as well as contributions from the Environmental Trust fund, the UNB Student Union, UNB Sustainability, and Facilities Management.