The UNBSU Food Group was pioneered by passionate UNB and STU students wanting to increase food security and involvement on campus. The group first started as the Campus Food Strategy Group in 2011 but became the UNBSU Food group in 2018. The change allowed them to expand further and include more services that address various aspects of student food insecurity awareness, said Meredith Langille, food coordinator.
The purpose of the group is to increase sustainable, healthy and affordable food access on the UNB Fredericton Campus. Langille said the group educates students on the importance of localized, equitable food systems through educational opportunities and hands-on learning experiences surrounding sustainable food systems. The educational opportunities are made possible by the creation of the Campus Community Garden located behind the CEDC, and the facilitation of workshops.
Services Offered by the UNBSU Food Group
The group offers the monthly fresh food bags, food assistance and the campus garden. They also have three brand new tower gardens and offer workshops.
The fresh food bags are in association with Community Food Smart (CFS), a bulk food buying club managed by a network of community partners, said Langille. Langille told us the bags have been available at UNB since 2013/2014, and the program has become more popular recently with there now being two pickup locations on campus—the SUB welcome center and the EUS office.
The food bags are sold to all community members, and you can purchase your bags online through the UNBSU Food page (https://www.unbsu.ca/afood) or you can purchase them at the SUB Welcome Center (room 102).
The food in the bags is sourced from local farmers and wholesalers, said Langille. The content of the bags depends on the availability of local farmers and wholesalers and is determined by season and price. Some of the contents you may find in your bag vary from potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, grapes, apples and squash.
The purpose of selling the food bag is to provide quality fruits and vegetables at affordable prices and accessible locations for community members, said Langille.
Becoming A Member of the Group
The group has three executive positions (education initiatives & events, marketing, and financial), and one lead coordinator. The executive positions are taken by previous members and voted upon by the group. The food coordinator is hired by the student union executive team each year. General members can work directly under one executive member, or volunteer in any projects and/or work that interests them. Some of the projects they can be involved in are the planning and execution of workshops, helping bag and deliver fresh food bags to campus, and maintaining the tower gardens.
If you would like to participate in any of the UNBSU Food events, you can stay up to date with what they are doing through their Facebook (UNBSU Food) and Instagram (@unbsufood) pages.