Farm to Campus, Farm to School Farm to School Canada

By Kaitlin Rizarri

Ryerson University (RU) Students’ Good Food Market was started by two key student leaders, Maria Jude and Kimberly Vaz. Both have made significant changes to Ryerson University’s state of student food insecurity.

Kimberly ran a referendum so that the Good Food Centre, the school’s food bank, could receive guaranteed funding. Maria launched Ryerson Students for Food Security, which hosts educational events and was instrumental in launching Ryerson’s first Good Food Market. The Good Food Market was born to try and mediate student food insecurity on Ryerson campus. Like many other campuses, the narrative of the ‘starving student’ is common at Ryerson. Although the Good Food Centre provides free food, agency is an integral part of food security. The Good Food Market allows them to do so while purchasing affordable fresh produce.

The Good Food Market was first piloted in Spring 2019. During this pilot, according to a survey of market attendees, 18.18% of students reported severe food insecurity and 52.27% reported moderate food insecurity. Maria and Kim were very excited to be organizing a service that was clearly needed on campus. The market is scheduled to be running a second pilot this fall at the Ryerson Student Campus Centre. Students are also very excited that during this pilot there will be a larger variety of foods available, including prepared vegetables such as zoodles (zucchini noodles), carrots, and mason jars filled with pre-cut vegetables. A major contributor to student food insecurity is the lack of time. Offering a mandolin or ricer can help a student get healthy food onto their plates, faster, by helping students with the meal preparation. 

The market orders produce through FoodShare, who sources their vegetables from local farmers. FoodShare Toronto works with communities to reduce hunger and improve access to affordable healthy food. They also work to help to create a sustainable agricultural system in Ontario, where local farmers have increased access to urban markets. They work “from field to table”, which means that they focus on the entire system that puts food on our tables: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and-consumption.

As students are calling on the school to talk about sustainable food procurement practices, the Good Food Market’s contribution to the local economy is a step in the right direction. If you are in Toronto, come and visit us during our second pilot for the RU Students’ Good Food Market during these dates; remember to bring a reusable bag if you are able!

For Inquiries, volunteering, or vendor opportunities, please contact: rugoodfoodmarket@gmail.com 

Kaitlin is a fourth year Law Major with a Politics minor studying at Ryerson University. She has a particular interest in Social Justice and Food Security. Through her work at an Indigenous criminal law firm, Kaitlin witnessed inequalities at systematic levels, and noticed that food insecurity was a major factor within the criminal justice system. Kaitlin is currently learning how colonial land displacement accounts for human disconnect to food, sensuality, and community. Additionally, Kaitlin does work for Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project as a Board Member, the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support as a coordinator, as well as for Meal Exchange as the Student Feeding Change Coordinator. While her passion work focuses on centralized food systems, she specializes in developing policies for non-profit organizations.

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