Students in LFS 450

The donation to the AMS Food Bank on March 28, 2017. Photo by Duncan McHugh / LFS Learning Centre.

In LFS 450, students are given complex case studies which aim at increasing the sustainability of the UBC Vancouver campus food system. This year, two groups were able to find a solution for recovering food waste and helping their fellow students in need.

One group of students was tasked with working with the AMS Food Bank, which opened in 2006 as a non-profit organization. The Food Bank is experiencing an increasing demand of its services from both new and returning students and sometimes struggles to obtain donations that are rich in nutrients, carbohydrates and proteins. The goal was to increase partnerships to provide regular donations to this student-run organization.

Another group of students in the class focused on the issue of food recovery. Working with chefs on campus, these students quantified and identified food that can be recovered from various UBC Food Services locations. Both projects culminated in historic events for the food system on campus.

On March 28th, 2017, the first hand-off of excess food from UBC Food Services to the AMS Food Bank occurred. Some of the donated food included soup, cut vegetables, bread and pastries. Food retail outlets usually set a criteria for the physical appearance of their food, especially for fresh produce, and anything that falls short is tossed. The students were able to prevent edible food from being sent to compost or the landfill and direct it to the hands of struggling students on campus.

The buffet of recovered food on April 5, 2017. Photo by Duncan McHugh / LFS Learning Centre.

And on April 5th, the students sat down for a buffet of food – food which had been recovered by the students themselves the day before and cooked for them by chefs from Student Housing and Hospitality Services. In total, the students found 20 kilos of edible food from three residence kitchens, two restaurants and four retail outlets. Going forward, the recovered food will go to the AMS Food Bank to feed students in need.

“This is really a recognition of the reality of food insecurity on campus and the importance of repurposing perfectly edible food for social and environmental reasons” says Marie-Claude Fortin, Lecturer of LFS 450. “This is the first of many weekly donations to come, an event worth celebrating since it increases both the social and environmental sustainability of the UBC campus food system.”

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