Nine B.C. universities joining partnership to support local food

Local food on campus

The University of Northern British Columbia is among the post-secondary institutions in B.C. working to bring more local food to their campuses.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training are collaborating with post-secondary institutions to increase B.C.-grown and processed foods on campuses through Feed BC.

It’s a provincial government initiative to support a shift to more B.C. food in hospitals, residential care facilities, public post-secondary institutions, and other government-supported facilities.

Announced Feb. 9, Feed BC is launching partnerships with nine post-secondary institutions throughout B.C., with each committed to working within their institutions and with their food service operators and caterers to grow B.C. food purchases toward at least 30 per cent of their total food expenditures.

"Partnering on Feed BC with post-secondary institutions will support the livelihoods of farmers, fishers and processors throughout B.C. and connect staff and students to the local foods they want on campus," said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in a news release.

"The pandemic has shown all of us we need to be more food secure and support our provincial food system, and I'm excited to know that our post-secondary partners are working hard to increase B.C. foods now and when students return to classes."

UNBC already has a number of initiatives underway supporting food businesses located in and around the Prince George campus, community and region.

Since the fall of 2020, UNBC’s on-campus foodservice provider, Dana Hospitality expanded UNBC’s use of locally processed, raised, grown and produced food including partnering with North Roast Coffee, a small-batch coffee roaster – partially-owned by a UNBC alum located in Prince George.

Prince George Public Interest Research Group (PGPIRG) also operates the on-campus garden, Farm for Thought, right next to Student Housing. In 2018, UNBC helped to expand the garden to increase food production and ensure more seasonal produce can be purchased, prepared and served in the Agora Dining Hall and be available for direct student purchase.

UNBC’s Food Services Guiding Team, a multi-stakeholder working group, also actively develops initiatives to engender sustainability across the UNBC community. Some of UNBC’s current local food suppliers and partners: Cakes by Jenn, CrossRoads Brewing & Distillery, Gateway Farms, Homesteader Meats and North Roast Coffee.

"Feed BC is an exciting, real-world opportunity for B.C.'s post-secondary institutions to be leaders in promoting local food and food system sustainability," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

"By emphasizing B.C. foods on campus, public post-secondary institutions are supporting campus sustainability goals and their students' interests in local food options while also supporting farmers, fishers, food processors and communities throughout the province."

The other post-secondary institutions in the Feed BC partnership include British Columbia Institute of Technology, Camosun College, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, University of British Columbia, University of the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Community College.

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