Food sustainability taught at lunch time at Grenfell

Cory Hurley
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Lorraine Matthews gets served by Stephan Walke amidst the lineup at the Farmer’s Feast at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus.
— Star photo by Cory Hurley

If Kraft Dinner and cold pizza are still primary choices of meals for a university student, a group of students at Grenfell want no part of it.

Not to say all of them would turn it away, but there is definitely an ongoing education of local and healthy food options at Memorial University’s west coast campus.

The Farmer’s Feast, a biweekly initiative of the Grenfell Campus Student Union’s environmental affairs committee, was held for the final time this year noon Wednesday in the food court.

The last free meal was creamy red pepper pasta, salad, and oat cakes — and the food was disappearing fast. Just before noon, there was a lineup of anxious students. More of their peers, as well as professors, made their way to the table as the lunch hour passed.

Compliments were being shouted from nearby tables as this selection got sampled. High fives were even exchanged between some happy customers and the young cooks as meals were completed.

Lorraine Matthews of Goose Bay said she has not been able to attend all the events throughout the year, but certainly has enjoyed the meals she has had.

The third-year visual arts student said it is a great event for the simple reasons that students don’t always have time to pack a lunch or may not be able to afford to — especially a healthy one.

She says she grew up living off the land, and has continued to maintain an awareness about food and a healthy lifestyle.

“You are what you eat, so you are eating those chemicals — no matter how well you wash those vegetables,” Matthews said.

She enjoys going to local farmer’s markets and shops, both for the trust in quality food and to socialize.

That trust has also been growing within the university population for the young cooks who put together the feasts served bi-weekly, according to Stephan Walke. More than 500 free meals have been served since it began last semester.

“It is a really tricky thing, as soon as you talk about sustainability and mention food, you open all sorts of scary doors,” he said.

However, with perhaps the exception of the high school students who frequent the foodcourt for lunches, they typically have little trouble at least getting people to sample the foods. The third-year resource management student said the committee also focuses on food sovereignty and security. Although it’s mid-March in Newfoundland, Walke said they try to limit their imprint on the environment as much as they can. In the past, dishes have included such things as mose stew and fish cakes.

“Thinking about what you are putting in your body, and doing that in a communal way, is important,” he said. “We would like to see that grow, on campus especially. Food is a vital important thing, essential to our lives, who not make it even more important.”

Wednesday, the committee also collected signatures to present to the House of Commons to find a permanent solution to clean up the Manolis L oil spill off of the change islands near Twillingate.

The Farmer’s Feast is funded by the Grenfell Campus Student Union, which also got money through the student innovation fund. Donation are also accepted at the feasts.

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: Grenfell Campus Student Union, House of Commons

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Newfoundland

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