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Guelph Celebrates World Food Day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

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  • One of the organizers of the event, Katie Brady (4th year IDev student).

    One of the organizers of the event, Katie Brady (4th year IDev student).

  • Alex Thomson (left) and Emily Gagniei (right) donated money to the cause as they walked by.

    Alex Thomson (left) and Emily Gagniei (right) donated money to the cause as they walked by.

  • Volunteers handing out free apples to students at Branion Plaza.

    Volunteers handing out free apples to students at Branion Plaza.

Written by Alice Lin

On Wednesday, October 16th a group of students involved with the Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) group celebrated World Food Day in the new Branion Plaza. Students passing by were greeted with local apples, pumpkins, and a ton of other resources on food as well as nutritional security.

The theme of the celebration was ‘Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems’. Katie Brady, one of the primary organizers and a senior International Development student specializing in the rural & agricultural development stream said, “Food issues do not just affect people in the developing country, but also in developed countries and even our campus”. Brady grew up on an organic farm and had been involved in establishing various different markets around her community. “It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the human relationship we have with food” said Brady. Indeed, food is a very personal thing and it is important to identify that everyone has different ideas about it.

The event was appropriate and fitting as the University of Guelph has an extensive history of excelling at education, services, and research in agriculture related areas. Some of the festivities of the day featured a collaborative mural about what food means to Guelph students, resources on Provincial and Federal Agri-Food Policies and a discussion regarding the interest in developing a new certificate program in hunger studies. Thomas Heeman, another one of the organizers who is also a senior in International Development specializing in the same stream, confidently supported this idea and noted that there are already several course offerings at the University that have the potential to support such a curriculum. “Guelph is food,” said Heeman, “this is one of our core competencies and I believe that we are well positioned to advocate, especially around the theme that Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems”.

Some students passing by stopped to see the wealth of information that was available to them and expressed why food is important to them. Alex Thomson, who is studying Political Science and Emily Gagniei, who is studying Applied Human Nutrition both emphasized that as students, healthy food is important for studying. Both individuals donated a handful of loose change to the Meal Exchange and CSA FoodBank and noted that “it’s important to help others because there are actually a lot of people on campus that experience food insecurity daily”.

Numerous other campus organizations also had presence at the celebration: Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College, the CSA FoodBank, and Meal Exchange. It was a display of coaction by students on campus that are passionate about food and related issues on a number of scales. “Food and food security problems are often overlooked because most of us have rather easy access to it compared to others in the world,” said the CSA Local Affairs Commissioner, Tyler Valiquette. There are certainly enough resources in the world to feed everyone; however, there is a clear imbalance and gap between one part of the world that is experiencing increasing rates of obesity, while the other suffers from severe famine. Valiquette says that “it’s important for groups like UFWH and many of the others that are also present at this event, to raise awareness about these issues and close that gap”.

To find out more about how you can get involved with these organizations, check out these links below:

  • Universities Fighting World Hunger: http://www.uoguelph.ca/worldhunger/ufwh/
  • Meal Exchange: http://www.csaonline.ca/meal-exchange/
  • CSA FoodBank: http://www.csaonline.ca/foodbank/ 
  • Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College: http://aggies.ca/
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