Student Research Panel, Friday June 23rd 2017
1. Miriam Price: “Meatless Mondays at University of Waterloo”
"Meatless Monday was first introduced by the U.S. government as a means of conserving resources during the First and Second World Wars. Over the past few decades the driving forces behind this decision have changed. Science has demonstrated the health benefits of reducing our meat consumption. Concurrently, the combined pressures of climate and environmental change have led to a growing understanding that our patterns of consumption must change – including by decreasing the amount of meat we eat.
In response to this evidence, October 2016, the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS) at the University of Waterloo (UW) announced its support of the global Meatless Mondays initiative, as a means of encouraging plant-based choices, one day each week. With this action SPHHS became the first school of public health in Canada to endorse Meatless Mondays. The Faculty of Environment quickly expressed their support and has also begun the process of endorsing the campaign.
A group of committed undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty across campus formed to help launch and drive this initiative. The group’s first six months focused on raising awareness of the health and environmental benefits of choosing a plant-based diet, and eliciting student feedback on Meatless Mondays and the university’s role in supporting the initiative. Our next step involved defining our vision, mission, and values, in order to provide a framework for our future outreach and activities.
Our mission is to strengthen the sustainability of the campus food system by increasing access to local, healthy, affordable, ethical and plant-based food options. By actively engaging students and building strong partnerships across campus, the Meatless Mondays initiative aims to raise awareness about the health and environmental impacts of our food choices on our well-being and our planet – focusing on four pillars of action: advocating for students, building partnerships, raising awareness, and promoting sustainability. Our key priorities for 2017-18 will see us moving forward on these goals, beginning with our University-wide launch on October 1st – Vegetarian Day!
As Meatless Mondays – UW is still in its infancy, we are actively continuing with our awareness raising efforts, and striving to foster partnerships with other individuals, faculties, universities, and community organizations who share an interest in food systems issues, particularly within the campus context."
2. Sarah-Louise Ruder: "Glass half full? Comparing environmental impacts of cow's milk and almond milk with a focus on water footprint and greenhouse gas emissions"
From biodiversity loss to eutrophication potential, the agriculture industry–especially, animal agriculture–is a significant source of anthropogenic environmental degradation. This thesis reviews the body of research on environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture and highlights the discourse on the mitigation of climate change and other environmental problems by reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal-based foods. The research draws from existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies to outline the environmental impacts of cow’s milk and almond milk along their respective production pathways, and identifies GHG emissions and water intensity as primary areas of concern. This research also contributes to a broader discussion at the intersection of personal dietary choices and food sustainability. A survey of LCA studies and other academic sources on the environmental impacts of both beverages in question reveals that cow’s milk is considerably more carbon intensive (0.91-1.67 kg CO2-eq per 1 kg of milk) than almond milk (–0.05-0.36 kg CO2-eq per 1 kg of milk). The reverse is true for water intensity (5.5-1,020 L of water per 1 kg of cow’s milk and 55.6-7,317 L of water per 1 kg of almond milk). The study contributes to a broader discourse of food sustainability and the potential environmental impact mitigation through dietary choices.
3. Jaida Regan: "Investigating Food Waste on Canadian University Campuses"
The topic of food waste is becoming a prominent point of discussion around the dinner table. There is scholarly work available about food waste in the context of Canada; however, there is limited research discussing institutions, such as the university campus. The university campus can be used as a living laboratory to explore sustainability initiatives related to the reduction of food waste. University campuses act as small communities, but also incubators for social innovation and social change. Exploring how university campuses in Canada reduce food waste is pertinent in understanding how to create an environmentally sustainable food system.The research includes surveys and interviews. This study involved surveying over forty universities in Canada and completing four Canadian university campus case studies, where interviews with university administration, food service providers, and students were conducted. This paper highlights the need to examine the reduction of food waste in an institutional setting, such as the university campus.
4. Meredith Bessey, "Starving to be a student: The experience of food insecurity among university students in Nova Scotia"
“For my honours thesis research over the past year, I conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with students at 4 universities in Nova Scotia, with the intention of exploring the student experience of food insecurity. Specifically, I was interested in learning about the experiences of students, how they cope with food insecurity, what are barriers and facilitators to their food access, and what they thought may be solutions to this issue. My thesis is still in progress, but my findings point to precarious and inadequate finances as a key determining factor to students' ability to access food, and suggest that changes to campus food service, campus resources such as food banks, and student loan programs are necessary. This presentation will build on the affordability work I presented at the Summit last summer. The intention is to continue this work, with a view to exploring policy solutions, during my Masters, starting in September! “
5. Nayantara Hattangadi: "Food insecurity and mental health among university students: what are the linkages?"
“Meal Exchange’s recent cross-campus report indicated an overall food insecurity rate of 39% within five universities across Canada. As cost of education and living expenses continues to rise, the report demonstrates the depth of food insecurity as a growing issue among university students. While the prevalence of food insecurity among university students is an emerging area of research, the experience of food insecurity and its linkages with the mental health of university students is not widely studied. Student mental health is a public health concern that represents a growing concern for universities. 20% of students enter university with pre-existing mental health conditions and over 40% experience distress, anxiety, coping difficulty or depression during their first year. For others, the academic, financial and social stressors associated with university may trigger the development of mental illness in high-risk students. The etiology of mental health problems in university students is poorly understood. The current knowledge only provides indications of potential risk factors. The rationale for this research is to improve our knowledge of the burden of poor mental health in undergraduate university students by examining student mental health and modifiable factors that may be related to it – including the experience of food insecurity.”
Workshops, Friday June 23rd 2017
kathryn leblanc: Marketing Campus Food Banks & Smashing the Stigma
"I am currently running the SFUO Food Bank at uOttawa. As of May 1st, I will be the VP Services and Comms of my student union. Over the past four months, I have grown our Facebook page by 310 likes and also wrote an open letter that received 465 shares on Facebook. My workshop would provide an overview of how to harness Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram in order to market campus food banks. We will touch content marketing, editing, photography, and influencer marketing."
Drew Stirling: Planning and Executing a Project to Grow Food on Your Campus
“This workshop will outline various business models, tools and strategies that students and student groups can use to launch food production social enterprises on their campus by aligning their visions with university policy, building a business case, securing public and private funders and structuring each project to best fit with campus needs. There is a strong case for these type of projects, including the fact that they provide for student learning opportunities, enable greater faculty engagement, drive down costs for food services, and help campuses reach emissions and sustainability targets. The challenge lies in building and articulating a clear project plan that a university administration can support and invest in. We will also share our story of creating a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Ottawa and building a year-round hydroponic farming system that allowed for hyperlocal food production on our campus, and our hopes to share our methods with other students and campuses across the country.”
Kelly Hodgins and Shoshanna Jacobs: Food Systems Mapping
Let us help you map out your campus food system to identify the roadblocks that you are facing and where opportunities are found for the maximum positive change; Figure out your allies, funding sources, support partners. Head back to your campus with a plan of action!
cassie wever: Edible plant walk
This workshop offers a basic introduction into identifying, harvesting, and consuming wild edibles. A classroom portion will go over the basics of plant identification and the ethics of harvesting, and in a hands-on walk participants will have the opportunity to see, touch, smell, and taste wild edibles in a natural context, discuss issues related to the harvesting and consumption of wild edibles, and ask questions. Further resources will be shared to continue learning long after the workshop ends!
"University outreach ideally promotes a transformative interaction between universities and other sectors of society. The purpose of the study was to understand university outreach in the field of food and nutrition security (FNS) in Brazil. We used a qualitative approach with triangulation methods. We identified proposals financed by the Brazilian National Program (PROEXT) to support outreach at universities. Fieldwork with interviews, focus groups, and drawing activities was done as well. The statements and the documents were analyzed according to Bardin’s perspective. A diversity of communities and strategies were identified. The predominance of health and agrarian sciences is another characteristic that came to light. Furthermore, around 90% of the proposals intended to promote dialogue between scientific and popular knowledge. It was also identified the use social technologies, interdisciplinary approaches with social and environmental commitments, involving multiple actors and public policies. Although, these characteristics can be related to a paradigm of science for the good of society, different paradigms coexist, including a linear comprehension of how science and technology are developed. Difficulties seen include operational and financial problems; social and cultural barriers; precariousness of teaching work; fatigue of the communities; crisis in institutions; loss of traditional knowledge. Such limitations interfere with implementation and participatory approaches. However, projects continue due to sustained action and commitment of the research groups. In conclusion, university outreach in FNS contributes to the process of human training through individual and collective actions and reflections."
“Introduction: Dietary factors are now recognized as the biggest contributors to morbidity and mortality, in Canada and globally. Promoting healthy eating at transition stages across the lifecycle, such as during early adulthood, is a potentially useful strategy for supporting health, now and into the future. Post-secondary students are largely influenced by the nature of foods available on campus. We conducted a case study of the food environment at the University of Waterloo, with the aim of informing interventions to facilitate healthy eating. Methods: Environmental assessments were conducted using a standardized tool, the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Restaurants, which was modified to reflect features of the university food environment. Five eateries were selected to represent the range of eating environments (e.g., residence dining halls, food courts) on campus. Results: Variation in the availability of healthy choices was observed across eateries, with scores ranging from a low of 7 (food court) to a high of 14 (residence cafeteria) of a possible 21 points. All facilities provided a fruit and/or vegetable option but these were not prominently displayed. In four of five venues, unhealthy foods and beverages were placed at eye-level and in high-traffic areas. None of the venues had nutrition information available on site, but marketing promoting energy-dense foods was present. Conclusions: The food environment at the University of Waterloo has the potential to facilitate healthy food choices, but contradictory cues are prevalent. Strategies to create an environment that consistently promotes and supports healthy eating among University students are urgently needed.”
University outreach: community-university partnerships for food and nutrition security.
"From biodiversity loss to eutrophication potential, the agriculture industry–especially, animal agriculture–is a significant source of anthropogenic environmental degradation. This thesis reviews the body of research on environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture and highlights the discourse on the mitigation of climate change and other environmental problems by reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal-based foods. The research draws from existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies to outline the environmental impacts of cow’s milk and almond milk along their respective production pathways, and identifies GHG emissions and water intensity as primary areas of concern. This research also contributes to a broader discussion at the intersection of personal dietary choices and food sustainability. A survey of LCA studies and other academic sources on the environmental impacts of both beverages in question reveals that cow’s milk is considerably more carbon intensive (0.91-1.67 kg CO2-eq per 1 kg of milk) than almond milk (–0.05-0.36 kg CO2-eq per 1 kg of milk). The reverse is true for water intensity (5.5-1,020 L of water per 1 kg of cow’s milk and 55.6-7,317 L of water per 1 kg of almond milk). The study contributes to a broader discourse of food sustainability and the potential environmental impact mitigation through dietary choices."
"This presentation, by York Graduate Alison Withers, will condense the findings of her Major Research Paper on a cookbook written by Guelph University professor, Anita Stewart. Anita Stewart’s Canada (2008) has received huge success both within the literary community and within Canada’s political cultural realm. The cookbook has received much positive acclaim, winning a Canadian Culinary Culture award in 2009. Judging by its positive reception by Canadian policymakers, lawmakers, and cultural industry professionals, it is clear that this cookbook, and Anita Stewart’s work in general, has been deemed important to Canada’s contemporary cultural and culinary identity by cultural figureheads and policymakers alike. Though this cookbook’s accolades are sizeable, very little academic work has investigated Anita Stewart’s cultural contributions to Canada’s food industry. This presentation will attempt to uncover the cultural ideologies and ideas portrayed through the commensal act of cooking and recipe-sharing in Anita Stewart’s Canada. What images of Canada are being portrayed, and what nationalist practices are being performed through Anita Stewart’s award winning cookbook?"
Tour, Sunday June 25th 2017
Gavin dandy and karen campbell
“Guelph Youth Farm is a start-up urban agriculture project located near downtown Guelph. Guelph Youth Farm is a food growing - food literacy - food empowerment project by and for youth from 15-29 years old. The presentation would start with an overview of the project and quickly move into an interactive workshop format with students sharing ideas and contributing to the development of Guelph Youth Farm.”