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By Maria Basualdo 

Research conducted on campuses across the country has found that approximately 40 per cent of post-secondary students in Canada are food insecure. OPIRG is exploring   food insecurity issues around students’ population at the University of Ottawa; with the idea of supporting the creation of community of practice around the food; which will push for action to find long term solutions for food issues.
According to Meal Exchange Report, “Food insecurity among students can be described as the lack of regular access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food due to a lack of financial resources or other factors (FAO and Health Canada, 2020). This can result in periods of skipping meals, eating poor quality food, or consuming insufficient amounts of nutritious food to maintain optimal health. Students may experience food insecurity when there is financial pressure from student life, lack of family support, or broader economic hardship in society. Food insecurity negatively affects students’ physical and mental health as well as their academic performance (Hattangadi et al., 2009)”. 

We have started by mapping the resources around campus that could provide a limited solution to the problem. Students have mapped the free services around campus, that students have access, such as: 

  • UOSU Food Bank is accessible to all students once a month. Simply bring your student card (and a bag if possible) to room 0015 in the basement of the UCU for some free groceries. 
  • People Republic of Delicious: Every Thursday: Free plant-based lunch from 12-1 at the Déjà vu Kitchen  
  • Breakfast club: Every Thursday: from 9:30 to 10:30 in UCU room 203. 
  • Free Hot Drinks: Every Tuesday, Health Promotions offers students free, fair-trade coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Simply bring a mug to the Wellness Lounge in the UCU room 205 for a free hot drink! 
  • Organic Farmers Box: This program isn’t free but if you’re interested in supporting a local farmer and buying your produce locally instead of at a grocery store, this program might interest you! You can choose how much money you are willing to spend and in return you can get fresh, organic produce from a local farmer who sometimes includes recipe cards!  
  • Meal Planner: Want a meal planner? Check out for budget friendly meals that can meet your dietary restrictions 

A team has developed a survey to know more about food insecurity around campus. Learning more about the issue would help us to support establish a community of practice which collectively develop actions to address some of the issues, including challenging University for a long-term solution to the problem.
The survey is still being filled by participants. Analisis of the data will be informed the actions to the community of practice.