It just got easier to eat local on campus
We entertain with food, we celebrate with it and we use it to show affection. However, it can also be used as a way to support Quebec producers.
“Concordia's large volume of annual spending on food can play a significant role in the local economy,” says Isabelle Mailhot-Leduc, sustainable food systems coordinator.
For this reason, she adds, increasing local procurement is an important feature of the university’s Food Services sector.
In recent years, countries like France, Italy, Japan and Brazil have all established policies to encourage institutions in this direction. In Canada, programs like the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Institutional Food Program have been developed for this purpose.
Concordia’s efforts to support regional and provincial producers are partially funded by it, and a learning group coordinated by Food Secure Canada.
“Participating in the Institutional Food Program led us to the Aliments du Québec au Menu pilot project, which is run by non-profits Aliment du Québec and Équiterre,” says Mailhot-Leduc.
Along with 26 other institutions, Concordia was asked to test the institutional phase of the provincial project, which had previously only focused on encouraging restaurants to change their purchasing parameters.
“It wasn’t always clear what was meant by a ‘local’ meal,” says Mailhot-Leduc.
“Aliments du Québec au Menu has provided a clear, provincially recognized answer. To be defined as local, a minimum of 50 per cent of a meal’s total weight must come from Quebec ingredients.”
Now, students eating in Concordia's residence dining halls will be able to recognize these meals, which bear the Aliments du Québec logo.
“We have over 70 recipes in rotation, including soups, salads, mains and side dishes that are made up of 50 per cent or more local ingredients,” says Mailhot-Leduc, who hopes to expand the program to the university's retail outlets.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Food Secure Canada recently highlighted Concordia's sustainable and local food-sourcing efforts in the Purchasing Power report.
Learn more about sustainable food at Concordia.