Feeding McGill

The Award

On Thursday, February 21st, 2013 the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award Gala took place in Toronto where McGill University was awarded the second prize, Silver category - Education for the project entitled " Feeding McGill".

The IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards program recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management. For more details, visit www.ipac.ca

Read more about this story in the McGill Reporter

This must-see video reflects the innovation, strategic thinking, team building, shared vision and effective collaboration taken by McGill University in the Feeding McGill project.

How it all began ...

“Our vision for McGill and the Planet is built around a deep commitment to sustainable living.  The next generation deserve a future that is not limited by the past – and that kind of serious change cannot happen without leadership that transforms passion into action.”1.


In 2009, an ambitious group of undergraduate students was leading the charge to examine and revitalize the University’s relationship with the food it consumed. Using student research and community engagement, the McGill Food Systems Management Project vowed to maximize the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the food system on the University’s two Campuses.

In 2010, to encourage distributed leadership and collaboration, McGill created the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF). The fund connected people and projects with complementary goals to ensure long-term impact both at McGill and in the greater community.

Student Housing and Hospitality Services was challenged to review its services as a whole, initiate consultations within the McGill community and develop a strategic plan.

The Macdonald Campus Farm was supporting teaching and research activities in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.


The coming together of the McGill Food Systems Management Project, the Sustainability Projects Fund, McGill Food and Dining Services and the Macdonald Campus Farm was the beginning of a movement which has allowed the University to completely reform its approach to sustainability, food and dining services.

“Uniquely among sustainable approaches to institutional food, MFDS simultaneously seeks to nurture in students an appetite for learning about and connecting with the food they eat. For many students, University is an opportunity to develop a new independence in making their own food choices.  At this critical time, MFDS strives to promote the development of healthy relationships with food and farming, with a focus on sustainability and nutrition.”2

Activities include:

  • Local Food Days

Monthly local food weeks are held in the University’s five residential dining halls.  The events introduce diners to locally sourced foods and are an opportunity to teach, share and empower students to engage in the sustainable activities at the university.

  • Meatless Mondays

Every first Monday of the month, students in residence dining halls are encouraged to become aware of the benefits of a meatless diet.

  • Culinary Workshops

Basic cooking skills taught to students living in residence makes a positive difference in their lives; students are empowered to make healthy, sustainable and flavourful food choices for the rest of their lives.

  • Teaching & Research – a few examples

GEOG 302: Best Practices for Sustainable Food Purchasing at McGill

Resulted in SHHS hiring a Food Systems Administrator in charge of sustainable food sourcing

Environmental Research (ENV401) course

Students undertook a Sustainable Fish purchasing project.

SHHS adopted the project recommendations

Click here for more information on Feeding McGill.