In the late winter of 2010, Pawel Porowski, then Communications Coordinator for Sustainable Concordia, and Alex Oster, VP Sustainability for the Concordia Student Union, approached me about the potential for creating a Food Systems Project, similar to McGill’s highly successful project which had resulted in major improvements to their campus cafeteria food procurement programs and sustainability offerings. I jumped at the opportunity, building on my work starting a farmer’s market and initiating food production programs in my neighbourhood. With the support of Professor Satoshi Ikeda, Canada Research Chair in the Political Sociology of Global Futures, we initiated the Concordia Food Systems Project. Lennard Fruehling, a graduating student in Geography, joined me, Alex and Pawel in creating a 4oo level, 3-credit summer applied research internship in the departments of Georgraphy, Sociology & Anthropology, Marketing & Management, and the School of Communtiy and Public Affairs. 10 students participated in the program, developing their own projects, which ranged from understanding the university’s beverage contract to devising a business plan for the Hive Café to creating a sustainable food map of Montréal and planting a tea garden at Loyola.
In the fall, Lennard joined me as co-coordinator, and we turned our focus to the development of the Loyola Farm Project. Five students joined the program, focusing on a range of urban agriculture activities from a fruit tree planting plan to a beekeeping project. Renamed the Loyola City Farm project in 2011, the project was taken over by Marcus Lobb and has gone on to win national recognition, including the Laure Waridel Prize for Environmental and Social Action Research.