Recently, buzz terms like “eating locally” and “sustainable food” have been shimmying their way onto restaurant menus and into everyday conversation.
As the hype grows, more and more people are embracing the movement. Many either ditch supermarkets for local farmers’ markets or at least pile their supermarket shopping carts with more produce from the outer bounds and fewer items from the middle isles lined with commercially produced, preservative and sugar laden products.
McGill University students certainly aren’t oblivious to the push to eat locally sourced food. With organizations such as McGill Food and Dining Services being a prominent part of first year students’ dining experience, those who live in residence are constantly being served and informed about food sourced from local Quebec farms and McGill’s very own Macdonald Campus.
What happens to students’ diets when they move out of first year residences? No longer equipped with a meal plan yielding easy access to healthy prepared meals, many of us opt for cheaper, more student budget friendly (aka dwindling funds in the bank) meals. However iconic 2 chow and poutine may be in Montreal, scarfing either down on the daily isn’t ideal for either staying in shape or overall health.
Making the sacrifice of choosing less nutritious and sustainable meals is precisely what the McGill Farmers’ Market helps make unnecessary for the entire McGill student body and local Montreal community. The McGill Farmers’ Market is a student run initiative that takes place at McGill’s downtown campus every Thursday from 12-5 pm.
“As a non-profit organization, our aim is to empower local producers by providing them access to customers within the McGill community. Additionally, we aim to provide McGill with a variety of local, organic and ethically-sourced products. The market’s intention has always been to bridge the gap between students, staff, faculty and members of the surrounding community by creating a space for casual and meaningful interactions on campus,” said Matthew McCormick, co-coordinator of this year’s McGill Farmers’ Market.
The most affordable way for a McGill student to enjoy the market is to reserve a basket or half basket ahead of time. The weekly baskets are filled with pre-selected produce from MSEG, Macdonald Student-run Ecological Farms, and are a cheaper alternative to purchasing produce individually from the various vendors at the market.
In addition to produce one can find an extensive selection of other delicious goods from local vendors – decadent viennoiseries, a gamut of maple syrup products, sea buckthorn jam (a personal favorite), honey, loose leaf tea, etc.
McCormick encourages more students to get involved – whether it be by volunteering with setting up and taking down the weekly market or with distribution of the CSA baskets. Though Healthy McGill already has a presence at the market with two dietetics students serving up samples of delicious, simple recipes such as corn, basil, tomato bruschetta, the execs of the Farmers Market are supportive of more student groups becoming involved with the market.
“Our goal is to help student food initiatives become more financially and institutionally stable at McGill, and to engage more students in sustainable food production and marketing,” said McCormick on behalf of the execs.