Meal Exchange’s Good Food Challenge launches with St. Jerome’s University
St. Jerome’s University has become the first signatory of the Good Food Challenge, committing to health, sustainable, and ethical food availability on campus.
Over the past three years the Good Food Challenge, led by student researchers, has worked with more than 200 civil society leaders, academics, and campus administrators to create a comprehensive set of national standards which represent best practices for measuring whether food on campus is good for consumers, producers, and the planet.
“What we’re calling for is not complicated and is not unreasonable” says Eliana Hotz, a student leader with the Good Food Challenge. “We believe that our food should be good for us. It should be good for the people that produce it. It should be good for communities and for the planet. By signing the Good Food Campus Commitment, SJU has shown that they believe this. Other schools can and should follow their example and show that they believe this too.”
Since partnering with Dana Hospitality over a year ago, the University has brought local, fresh, and homemade food to its students every day. All coffee on campus – as well as a selection of teas – are certified Fair Trade, as are the chocolate bars available in the campus café; ingredients used in the cafeteria are local and sustainable – some examples include free range eggs, and a supply line to ensure food sourcing is transparent.
As part of the Good Food Challenge, the campus has committed to meeting the goal of 20 per cent ‘Good Food’ on campus by 2025.
"I think one that we learned going through this commitment with regards to trying to implement it on campus, is that students are very serious about ethical sourcing," said Jae Doncillo, the social media marketing manager for Dana Hospitality. "Students today are more curious about what's going into their food and where they're getting ingredients, and they want access to that information and that's something we look forward to giving them."
In addition to working toward a Fair Trade Campus designation, St. Jerome’s University has also had several successes:
- Dana Hospitality had to convert one of the two freezers in the kitchen to a fridge in order to cook fresh, non frozen or prepackaged food.
- Students have access to a local map in the cafeteria, which identifies the locality of each ingredients used, promoting the reduction of the environmental footprint of each purchase.
- All bread and bagels served are provided by the local baker, less than 5km from campus.
- All soups, stocks, and salad dressing are made from scratch.
- Ingredients are often repurposed and purchase are made with multiple menu items in mind, giving flexibility to reduce waste.
"Good Food is becoming a priority for students and campus administrators, so it's important to define exactly what that means," Anita Abraham, Meal Exchange's Executive Director, said in a media release.
About Meal Exchange:
Meal Exchange is national registered charity that works to elevate the voices and leadership of students across Canada to increase food security and sustainability on postsecondary campuses. Meal Exchange’s Good Food Challenge has been supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Greenbelt Foundation, Winnipeg Foundation, Vancity Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.
Meal Exchange has also partnered with Farm to Cafeteria Canada on F2CC’s Farm to School: Canada Digs In Initiative to bring a farm-to-campus approach to GFC. F2CC works closely with Meal Exchange to spearhead Farm to School efforts across Canada.