The MFSP is a student-led initiative that collaborates with key members of administration and faculty across departments to help generate positive change in food sustainability at McGill. Check out some of our current projects below!
Real Food Challenge
Amidst a sea of confusing labels, certifications, and claims about sustainability and ethical purchasing, The Real Food Challenge offers a comprehensive and decisive definition for ‘real food’. Real Food sets a high standard upheld consistently among institutions; and supports campuses to set quantitative goals, while tracking their progress. Real Food meets third-party certifications and is based on criteria assessing the degree to which food is ecologically sound, local and community based, fair and humane. Currently established at 200 post-secondary institutions in the United States, McGill students have the opportunity to work with three other Canadian universities and food-centered organizations to launch this project in Canada.
Building Resilience of Student Food Initiatives through Collaboration
As a member of numerous student-run initiatives that produce/distribute ecological, local food on campus, Matthew McCormick was interested in researching how these groups could collaborate to overcome challenges to each project's stability. By completing a participatory needs assessment of student groups, and recognizing the potential to form beneficial partnerships, Matt initiated the creation of a student-run local food coalition, warmly referred to as the 'Kohlrabi Collective.’ This connection has brought together the McGill Farmers’ Market, the MacDonald Student-Run Ecological Gardens (MSEG) and Organic Campus, three groups who were previously working separately to fulfill similar mandates. In 2016, the collective will work more like a system to supply the McGill community with fresh, sustainably-poduced food.
Following the Fall 2012 ENVR 401 energy assessment of BMH and RVC, McGill Food and Dining Services decided to launch a full-scale green-house audit of four residence cafeterias. The audit was initiated by the director of MFDS, Mathieu Laperle, and McGill's energy manager, Jerome Conraud, who hired 6 part-time students to complete the research. The audit includes an assessment of energy, food, water, and waste within the cafeterias and was completed by the end of the Fall 2013 semester.
McGill Food Systems Project deals a lot with food before it ends up on your plate. But, what happens to the food you don't finish? Now in it's second semester, this exciting project is working to design an integrated composting system for McGill that will cover both campuses and create a system in which the university's organic waste becomes rich compost that can be used on it's own grounds! Imagine a closed loop system in which McGill's food waste is used to grow more food! Now that's a food system we can all get behind!
The Myko application is a McGill-centered Smartphone and web app that helps users become more educated about environmental and social sustainability issues, identify the best solutions, and stick to their goals to create positive and lasting change. The MFSP has been working in collaboration with Myko since the ASR project ‘Measuring the Sustainability of Food Choices for a Smartphone Application’, conducted by the MFSP, was integrated in the Myko methodology in the Summer of 2014. Two new applied student research projects have come out of this collaboration. First, two marketing students will study the branding of the app as it is launched in the Fall of 2015. The purpose of this project is to identify how to market sustainability initiatives to the entire student body at McGill University, and to issue recommendations to improve student’s perceptions of Myko. Second, two geography students will work on improving the food scoring methodology in the app. The purpose of this project is to expand the original analysis of 14 food items to more menu options, in order for students have a better understanding of the consequences of their choices in the cafeterias.