What is "Spooning with"? Throughout the semester, Spoon UBC collaborates with another student-run organization on campus to highlight the diversity and presence of other passionate food lovers. Because what's better than sharing our love for food than with our community? So, let's get spooning.  

If you were to ask about our "food faculty" at UBC, most people would refer to our Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS). But, many people don't actually know what Land and Food Systems is and what it truly encompasses. Especially since it's comparatively one of the smaller faculties here on campus.

This time Spoon UBC got to sit down with the LFS Undergraduate Society and we found out that they're more than just UBC's "food faculty".

So, who are you and what is LFSUS?

Photo courtesy of Katheryn Lu

Katheryn: My name is Katheryn Iu, I'm a third year FNH student. Land and Food Systems is a faculty based on three pillars. There's Applied Biology which is about animal welfare, animal ethics and production. There's also Global Resources System which is a specialization within the geographic area of crops and specific issues involving the environment. Then you've got the biggest chunk which is FNH which encompasses nutritional sciences, dietetics; you study the science aspect of food and how it processes in your body, as well as food systems and businesses– we've got a Food Marketing program at our faculty which is super, super cool. 

But Land and Food Systems had a big jump. We used to be the Faculty of Agriculture but, because we've broadened into other areas beyond just farming, they changed the named to Land and Food Systems. 

What is your role in LFSUS and what is the goal of LFSUS?

Photo courtesy of Katheryn Lu

Katheryn: As President, I'm sort of the spearhead in terms of the directions of the mission. We establish our goals in the beginning of the year, and the mission we had for our team [last year] was modernization. Agriculture is old-fashioned, in the sense that we're not [that] anymore, and we haven't had space to fully transition and lean away from being a farming faculty. 

No one has really recognized the things that we do now which is kind of hard to change. The campus doesn't even know who we are, and in order for the campus to know who we are, we need to figure out who we are first. So what we've been doing is opening up apparel stores and creating more faculty-wide events. Our faculty is actually working on bringing first year LFS courses for people who want to know more about our faculty but don't want to commit to it in third year. 

What sort of events does LFSUS hold?

Photo courtesy of Katheryn Lu

Katheryn: [The] biggest one (that you have already collaborated with us) is Wednesday Night Dinner (WND). So that has been going on for at least 5 years and is pretty much non-profit. Every Wednesday night in MacMillan, there are a bunch of students that cook up a dinner that serves from 60 to 80 students, and it's a three course meal; appetizer, main, and dessert. Always vegan and vegetarian; our faculty never cooks meat. If students bring a container, they get to skip lines and we really encourage no waste.

Another thing we're coinciding with is Agora. So that cafe is also purely student-run, zero staff actually touch it– it's all internal. They usually also just try to breakeven and is not profit-driven. It's all organic, all vegetarian, and they have a large management network; it's like a whole mini organization. I think they're in the process of renovating because our building is hella old. 

Spoon UBC: So you said Agora is like a small organization, are they all volunteers?

Katheryn: Yep, it's unpaid and all volunteers. It is literally like a mini restaurant purely done by students and its open to anyone to apply– it doesn't have to be a LFS student so it's really cool like that. They prioritize sustainable, organic, financially sustainable foods. They never overcharge; it's really, really, cheap. One Agora main entree is around 4 bucks

Spoon UBC: Wow, that's really good.

Katheryn: Yeah, it's really cheap, I go there all the time

Spoon UBC:I'm not sure if LFSUS is going to do it again this year, but last year I remember LFSUS hosted Feeding One Billion?

Katheryn: Yep! So it's actually coming up. Feeding One Billion is a 24-hour case competition and the prompts are usually involving food security or food sustainability, and the grand prize is $1,000 to fund the winning group's initiative. It's campus-wide so anyone can apply, it's only $10 and you can enrol in a group of 5 and compete.

You get free meals, there are judges in the field of food security and food practices, and mentors who are Professors in LFS. So it's a really good way to meet people and network with people in that industry. 

Why did you decide to join LFSUS?

Photo courtesy of Katheryn Lu

Katheryn: When I [first] came into the faculty, it was actually very underwhelming. I felt that there was no place for me even though I was identified as LFS. Because what UBC likes to do (and it kind of annoys me) is that they want you to find your place by joining a club or being specialized.

When I came into LFS, everyone made fun of it. Either they made fun of it or they didn't know what it was. They would say, "LFS? Is that Life Science?" or "Aren't you a subsection of the Faculty of Science?" You know what I mean?

Spoon UBC: Ah, yeah. Because LFS is quite science-heavy.

Katheryn: I don't blame them because we did go through a big transition from agriculture to this [LFS]. No one really created platforms for students to show their pride, we have no apparel store and we just started launching that. There was no apparel store, there was no faculty-wide events, we just maintained what the agriculture faculty did.

The reason why I ran was because I thought I could do something in terms of finally showcasing LFS because there's money for it, but not being put in the correct place. It was put into maintenance but not new channels and that's what really frustrated me the most because we have the money and funding, but no one wants to put in the work to do something different. Launching things is always really hard.

Spoon UBC: Yeah, I definitely agree and understand where you're coming from. 

Katheryn: Yeah, you definitely know from launching Spoon UBC. With LFS, we're very kind and not a very political faculty so even with student government, it's like two ways. With [the] undergraduate society, they lose their passion if they don't see the students reciprocate. But the problem is, I never blame the students.

If the undergraduate society isn't repping them the way they want to be repped, then they're obviously not going to attend the things you're hosting. That's my mentality when I run this council. If no one comes to our event, that's our fault. That means we didn't target the needs of the students and that's what we're here for. 

Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

Photo courtesy of Katheryn Lu

Katheryn: In terms of Land and Food Systems, it is a place of wholeheartedness. The reason why you don't see us be loud and just out there, is because everyone's so dedicated to their craft.

Like, literally, you will see people study their heart out on one specific type of soil. You don't really find people like that who are so down to earth and grounded in what they want to learn. LFS is a place where they keep the heart in all the food that you see and all the practices that we do for sustainability. 

Spoon UBC: A lot of our Spoon members are from LFS and they suit the description that you've mentioned. So I think the image that you want for LFS has already begun to grow at UBC.

Katheryn: Oh, thank god! 

Spoon UBC: *laugh* Yeah, so what I'm trying to say is keep it up. 

Katheryn: Thank you, some people make fun of us for being small but we know what we want. I'd rather be in a smaller pool knowing what I want than being in a huge pool wandering around aimlessly. So, LFS is a great option guys

Feel free to like UBC's LFSUS page to stay updated with their events, such as their WND or Feeding 9 Billion. Or to connect with them if you're thinking about applying or transferring to LFS.

If you're interested in getting involved with our Spooning with series, feel free to message us on our Facebook page. We're always up for new opportunities.