Eat Your Way Through the City on the Cheap

City Farm School Students Present Bite Me! Workshop on Good Montreal Food

Whether you’re looking for a cheap and healthy meal downtown or a place to find fresh, organic produce in NDG, Joëlle Rondeau and Lucia Wong can help.

The members of the Concordia City Farm School, an urban farming initiative funded by the Concordia Greenhouse, addressed these questions and more in front of a crowd of over 50 at an interactive workshop on Tuesday in the Hall Building.

Organizers said the goal of the event, dubbed Edible Geography of Montreal, was to help students feed themselves heartily while on a budget—and also to help them understand why this can be so difficult.

“It’s not even just about healthy eating or basic food-system knowledge,” Wong told The Link. “It’s about knowing that students before them, so many years ago, or even people in the community, they saw these problems and started alternative solutions.”

Wong cited the People’s Potato as a success story—people finding “a radical solution” to everyday problems. She hopes that the workshop will have the added effect of inspiring others.

Turnout was clearly greater than expected, with Rondeau and Wong having to scramble to find extra chairs and adapt the activities they had planned for the larger audience.

Edible Geography of Montreal took place as part of the Bite Me! series of events, coordinated by the Concordia Food Coalition and billed as “a week of workshops and activities introducing students to food politics at Concordia.”

“Resistance is fertile,” Rondeau told her audience, borrowing one of the slogans of the Bite Me! workshop series. “And different community groups can re-appropriate food production.”

The event drew a very knowledgeable, “food-active” crowd that contributed a lot of suggestions.

Tommy Athanasios, a graduate of Environmental Science and Biology at Concordia, grows organic tomatoes and sells them at his own market in the east end of the city.

He says he was happy with the workshop, but disappointed that it only lasted two hours.

“[It’s important for students] to be able to find local or cheap food, in order to not have to resort to the bigger, more expensive options that are out there,” Athanasios told The Link.

Gabriel Velasco, a member of the CFC, described the week-long Bite Me! workshop series, of which the Edible Geography event was but a part, as “an orientation week, food-style.”

He says he expects the events to familiarize students with student-run food options at Concordia, as well as physical spaces and efforts they can get involved in, such as the People’s Potato, Frigo Vert, Concordia Greenhouse, the City Farm and the Concordia Food Coalition.

In addition, Velasco says he hopes to raise awareness about the CFC itself, which aims “to change the food system at Concordia.”

He told The Link that the group will be pushing for a referendum on two questions in November: a fee levy of 8 cents per credit for undergraduates, and the conversion of the JavaU space in the Hall Building into a student-run co-op.

Velasco also spoke about the long-awaited opening of The Hive. He says the Concordia Student Union’s project to convert the space into a student-run café will include CFC members when it is ultimately completed.

“It [will be] a student-run co-op that’s going to be serving healthy, organic, affordable food to students at Loyola,” said Velasco.

Wong and Rondeau have their own plans for Loyola. They say they are planning to provide a second helping of Edible Geography there in the future.

For more info on this week’s events, visit the Bite Me! Facebook page.