On February 6th, 2017, we organized a panel discussion on the Intersections between Education and Food Security at University of Guelph. Prior to this event, we had set up a booth on January 30th in our University Centre in collaboration with two other groups on campus (Hands of Latin America and Universities Fighting World Hunger). We sold fair trade bracelets from Costa Rica and herb plants from a local greenhouse. The sale turned out to be a great way of catching people’s attention. Throughout the day students who may have never attended a non-mandatory presentation or panel discussion on education and food security stopped by our table, engaged in conversations and educational materials, and financially supported Project Genesis: “a community movement that seeks to disrupt the cycle of poverty at its roots by empowering children and providing a safe space to learn and play” in Guatemala. We were able to raise $430 in a single day for Project Genesis.
On the day of the panel, we were honoured to have speakers from both the campus and broader Guelph community. When discussing social justice issues that have major intersections with poverty, we, as Canadian post-secondary students who are passionate about global issues, sometimes neglect to consider these issues within our local context. We are grateful that our panelist, all who are currently involved in coordinating food aid/support programs in educational institutions were able to shed more light on these issues.
This event was quite eye-opening. Prior to organizing this event, we were not aware how many of our peers face food insecurity. Having the representative from a breakfast/ lunch program for schools in Guelph provided a perspective that often gets lost on University campuses – even in Canada, and in cities that are perceived as prosperous. It was particularly interesting to talk about the tensions between trying to reduce the stigma associated with accessing food support programs, and ensuring that user anonymity and confidentiality are upheld. There were a lot of takeaways for us and the attendees, and we hope that this important conversation will continue in the future among students at University of Guelph.
Blog written by: UofMosaic Fellows at University of Guelph (Danielle McNabb, Maddie Milne-Ives, Katrin Bell and Emily Nunez)