Last month, as part of Ecoweek 2014, the Food Resilience Network, the Sustainability office and UC Kakariki co-hosted UC’s first Student Food Forum! The purpose of the forum was to get students’ views on accessibility to healthy and affordable food. In addition, it was a chance for students to share their ideas on how a stronger food system can be created on campus as well as in wider Christchurch.
Participants in the forum heard some fantastic speakers: Christchurch City Councillor Pauline Cotter shared her experiences with food accessibility in Christchurch, and provided information on the forthcoming food resilience policy and action plan for the city. Brian Rick, the food resilience project coordinator for project Lyttelton, made students think about how food resilient they actually are – especially after having been through the Christchurch earthquakes. UCSA president Sarah Platt brought a student perspective. She spoke about how students often don’t think about the food they eat when they come to university and that living in a flat can see many opting for bulk meals without taking into account vital dietary needs. All three speakers provided great insights and ideas about food resilience at UC and in Christchurch and gave those attending a lot to think about.
Students were also given the chance to share their ideas on cards and the response was fantastic. Many respondents wanted cheaper food options, healthier choices on campus and a chance to learn more about growing their own food and eating locally. Having markets and fruit trees on campus were also popular suggestions for both the UC campus and wider Christchurch.
These student responses also informed an online Student Food Survey about the cost of, and accessibility to, nourishing food for students. This survey ran over the last month and will help to further inform the Food Resilience Network and the University on what students and wider Christchurch need in regards to a stronger food system and how these changes can be implemented. The responses will also be considered for the forthcoming food resilience policy and action plan for the city.
Thanks to Kate Walsh for reporting on the Student Food Forum.