In creating a food system known for its transparency and accountability, the McGill Food Systems Project (MFSP) practices an exemplary model of student engagement where diverse stakeholders are able to work in collaboration towards a common goal.
The University is blessed by the fact that it has a Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences within close proximity (35 Km) to its major downtown campus which houses and feeds nearly 3000 students on a daily basis for eight months of the year. The amount of food that is being produced and the potential for more production in the future is staggering. There are many financial, social and health benefits that this project brings to the University administrators and its student population.
The mandate of McGill Feeding McGill is to provide locally grown fruits and vegetables from the Macdonald Campus’s Horticultural Research Center to McGill University’s Food and Dining services operated residences and the general student community.
The 2012 season was McGill Feeding McGill’s most successful season to date. They delivered around 25,000 Kg of fruits and vegetables to McGill’s downtown residences. This is an increase of 66% from the previous year.
Chemistry laboratory curriculum development (sustainability-focused) has involved six undergraduate (between U0 and U3, including one volunteer that was subsequently compensated) research students that have, only rarely with the aid of postdoctoral researchers/graduate students in the Friščić and Lumb groups, participated in five projects of improving the sustainable nature of the CHEM 392 teaching laboratory.
For the past two years, we have organized and executed an annual symposium on sustainability research and innovation at McGill. The purpose of the symposium was to bring together academics at the forefront of sustainability research (including McGill faculty), graduate and undergraduate students, and other members of the McGill community to encourage and facilitate networking, conversations, and create new research opportunities for students.
With the support of the Sustainability Fund, McGill Food and Dining Services (MFDS) hired a Food Systems Administrator in August 2010 to consolidate the food purchasing function for the department, to create more sustainable & local food purchasing at McGill, to bring fresher, tastier and more nutrient-rich food to the McGill community, and to support a culture of sustainability at McGill.
The undergraduate faculty presidents brought about the idea of creating a case competition centred on the design of an environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable café. The goals are to: (1) create McGill-wide collaboration among students on an issue pertaining to sustainability; and (2) to provide students with the opportunity to collaborate with one another as well as with professionals from industry.
The McGill Farmers’ Market (MFM) aims to bring delicious, local, seasonal produce to McGill's downtown campus, with weekly Farmers' Markets throughout September and October, and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project from July to October.