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New campus food hub is a physical space for students dealing with food insecurity

By Kimberly Taylor, January 30 2024—

In an effort to address food insecurity on campus, the Centre for Career and Personal Development (CCPD) at the University of Calgary is developing a campus food hub to improve student access to healthy and affordable food. This physical space is the result of ongoing conversations with student groups such as the Students’ Union (SU),  the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and U of C’s Ancillary Services and Student Services.

The campus food hub is located in the Nest on the ground floor of Crowsnest residences which is located next to the Engineering building and across the road from the Kinesiology building. Programming is still under development, but students can access the Fresh Routes mobile market every Thursday from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. This program brings healthy food to campus for anyone who wants to shop.

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Shawna Bava, director of the CCPD, stated that there are a lot of initiatives and advocacy work being done on campus and in the wider community to address food insecurity and this food hub  is being developed to enhance that work.

“We’re really looking to work in relationship with the already existing programs so that we’re expanding offerings for students. The issue of food insecurity is an important issue and one that is being addressed by a variety of programs and groups doing this work,” said Bava. “This is an opportunity more for a physical space to become a hub to help students make the connections that might be important for them to address any food insecurity they may be experiencing.”

In partnership with the SU, GSA and Ancillary Services and Student Services, key objectives for this new campus food hub have been identified.

“The vision for this space has been developed in partnership, and through discussion we have identified four main objectives: increased food access and the means to choose and obtain nutritionally and culturally acceptable food, increased food literacy through information, knowledge, skills, relationships and tools; a strengthened food environment for the U of C community that prioritized dignity for all; and the fourth one is working toward programs and services that provide sustainable access to low barrier food at the U of C,” said Bava.

The campus food hub will be a place where students can connect with programming, resources and a community focused on good food.

“[Students will] have increased access to affordable food and meals and we’re also looking for students to be able to increase their food skills and knowledge through participating in programming,” said Bava. 

Students will also have the opportunity to be involved with the campus food hub in a variety of ways going forward. 

“There will be volunteer opportunities as we grow the programming. We’ll be looking for students to get involved in a variety of ways as volunteers and also as participants,” said Bava.  

Students can email foodhub@ucalgary.ca with any questions, as well as look for opportunities to volunteer through the experience catalogue on Elevate. As new programming becomes available it will be posted to the U of C events calendar and CCPD’s Instagram.

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