Food Fair Feeds Students Ethically

Concordia’s Sustainable Food Festival a Hit

The Sustainable Food Fair was organized by the Concordia Student Union in conjunction with Sustainable Concordia. Photo Clay Hemmerich

For Sustainable Concordia, eating food isn’t just a dine-and-dash affair—it’s a culinary coming-of-age.

The Sustainable Food Fair—organized by the Concordia Student Union, Sustainable Concordia and a part of the Sustainable Action Fund—was held on Sept. 15.

“Food is central to everyone,” said Pawel Porowski, Sustainable Concordia’s external communications director. “When you start talking to people about food, it brings up emotion that’s so basic to mankind.”

The festival showcased a variety of vegetarian delicacies from local restaurants and food services but, oddly, the main focus wasn’t just food.

Kim Fox, the project coordinator for the festival, explained that a certain criteria had to be met by participants.

“[Groups chosen to partake in the festival] needed to be doing something that sheds light on the current situation with food,” said Fox.

Whether they serve organic, local food, or use more sustainable packaging practices by offering take-out in compostable and biodegradable containers, Fox said, “Everyone here is actually focused on offering people a different way of looking at food.”

Organizers and volunteers endured the foul weather, as signs were blown down by cold winds. Spirits were still high and crowds of students from different faculties came to have a taste of local, ethical eats. Of course, in true Concordia-fest fashion, two-dollar local beers were served.

Information booths about the reality of the food system surrounding us were also available. At one of the booths, Fox said that “50 years ago, our food system changed to make food really fast, cheap, with the least amount of labour.

“With that comes genetic modification, unhealthy farming practices and major pollution.”

Fox expressed just how fragile the state of our nourishment really is, citing oil as one of the base ingredients in pesticides and fertilizers.
The Sustainable Food Fair’s main goal was to educate Concordia students and anyone else drawn to the festivities. They offered solutions to these problems and other ways of eating.

“I struggle between eating healthy and eating cheese pizza everyday, but you know what? We didn’t even know that there was an alternative to these things,” said Porowski. “Where’s change going to come from? Is it going to come from our policy-makers? Do they have the political will to make it happen? Or is it going to come from the grassroots?”

“If you plant a garden or spend $10 buying groceries at a local grocery store, you’re already making a difference,” said Fox.
Even though the Sustainable Food Fair was only one day, CSU VP Sustainability and Promotions Morgan Pudwell forecasts an alternative for year-round equitable eating.

“The Hive Café is going to be a big part of it,” said Pudwell. “We’re working with interns [who] are very much involved with Sustainable Concordia’s food systems working group. That’s going to bring healthy eating choices to students at Loyola.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.