Sierra Youth Coalition Partners with Meal Exchange

Sierra Youth Coalition (SYC) is pleased to announce its partnership with Meal Exchange. We are partnering on the National Food Summit in August and on the exciting National Food Systems Project that will follow from the Summit`s findings.

SYC’s Sustainable Campuses network has been working with students and engaged staff towards campuses that demonstrate sustainability for 13 years. A major focus of our work has been empowering students to conduct sustainability assessments of their schools; this project was an important success and most Canadian post-secondary institutes now have a commitment to assessing their schools for sustainability or are taking conscious measures to shift towards sustainability.

We have seen changes to building standards and infrastructure, we have seen the introduction of ethical purchasing policies and we are starting to see a critical shift in campus food procurement towards more local, sustainably farmed produce. As the campus community is beginning to act on their knowledge of the connection that our food production has to energy consumption, soil quality, and the overall health of our ecosystems, overlapping issues associated with food culture and access cannot help remind us of the meaning of this word ‘sustainability’.

Meal Exchange (MX) has been working with students towards food security since 1993. They have supported the work and activities of campus food banks through their programs and help in building awareness amongst students about hunger in their community. They bring a deep understanding of the issues surrounding access to food and will help students engage in a renewal of their community’s food systems with a commitment to food security.

Together MX and SYC have the capacity to see an important development happen in campuses across the country. Not only will we help students work with their food and dining services to shift practices but through the creation of on-campus food strategy groups and food charters, we aim to include elements which can contribute to more food secure environments such as enabling community gardens, campus farmer’s markets, access to affordable healthy food services and ways that students can participate in poverty reduction strategies. Through this collaboration both organizations and the students and staff that we work with will embody our belief that the capacity for making good ‘green’ choices requires and therefore includes healthy human communities and economic systems.