Blog posts tagged in National

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2013 has been a banner year for Meal Exchange’s Chapter Network. The chapter year formally kicked off during Meal Exchange’s Marvelous March campaign, which saw our chapters run events related to hunger awareness and food security in and throughout the month of March. These events included chapters like Acadia and St. FX running their Skip-a-Meal events, the University of Calgary and the University of Guelph’s Hunger Awareness Week, and other food drives, bake sales, and workshops on campuses across the country.

The chapter Trick or Eat campaign also brought in some tremendous results. From UBC to Acadia, the chapter network helped to raise $215,420 worth of food to support community food banks across the country. This fall also means that Meal Exchange has been able to welcome three new chapters to the fold. We’re proud to announce that we’ve started up chapters at Mount Saint Vincent University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of the Fraser Valley. We’re quite excited by what we’ve seen so far, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings.

A Chapter Story

Stephanie McGlashan, an executive at Acadia Meal Exchange, shared her thoughts on the past semester, plans for 2014, and why she's a part of Meal Exchange.

StephanieIn the fall semester, we ran the annual Trick or Eat food drive event. Trick or Eat is certainly one of the largest and most involved events throughout the year, collaborating between the Acadia Students and broader Wolfville community as a whole. The outcomes of the event are incredible, providing the food bank with a generous amount of food for local families while also strengthening a sense of community within Wolfville and neighbouring towns. The event demonstrates the level of care and dedication both by the students and the community members, striving to help those who truly need the support. The networking and relationship-building aspect of the event is incredible and is what makes the event possible. I truly value the relationships built through Trick or Eat and am grateful to have met the many supportive an inspiring individuals along the way.

Next semester, we are hoping to incorporate the Stomach This Workshops, reaching out to elementary schools in order to bring awareness to local hunger issues, the implications involved, and ways in which to demonstrate support in your community!

My involvement with Meal Exchange is driven by several factors, primarily with the interest to make a difference locally, helping in any way possible to diminish hunger. Moreover, I hope to inspire others to become engaged in their community, expanding the vision and building support networks to effectively implement change.

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Here are some of the fall 2013 highlights from our Campus Food Strategy groups

Capilano University

Tiare has played a very active role in RFP preparation and submitted 5 key values to represent student and campus community interest in the new food services contract. Companies that submit bids to Capilano will respond with detailed plans on how their services on campus will include: Nourishment and sustenance, Community engagement & evidence based decision making, effective resource management, connection to the regional food resources and ecosystem, education on healthy, fresh, sustainable food options. What a magical video montage for photos and Tiare sharing out garden tricks!

Carleton University

This fall, Carleton joined the Ontario Campus Food Systems Project. Wesley was able to gather with students from Ryerson, Trent and Waterloo at the OCFSP retreat and strategize about the year to come. Wesley has stayed busy coordinating Applied Student Research and serving up local and sustainable food through the Garden Spot and a Pickling and Picketing workshop!

Dalhousie University

Sammie and Jen connected National Kale Day to Aramark dining halls which served up delicious kale-inspired dishes. Aramark is looking forward to supporting more special food day events and features, for other 'alternative foods' like 'trash fish'. We're also looking forward to celebrating Dal's soon-to-be Fair Trade Campus certification, a process that's been sped up and helped along by Sam's connections with Chartwells.

Memorial University

Emma and Ethan coordinated with the Community Harvest Garden, Graduates Student Union, Aramark and the Sustainability Office celebrate the harvest and a new connection with a fishery focused on sustainable sourcing. The process brought together many individuals from across the community to focus on food and resulted in an event with 150 participants to share in good food and conversation!

St. Francis Xavier University

From the humble beginnings of a multi-stakeholder meeting, Rebecca, Lisa, and Sarah, along with their faculty advisor Jon, partnered with Sodexo to focus on local food procurement for Annapolis Valley Apples! Sodexo was excited about the opportunity to create student engagement and happily placed the order for local apples. A Valley apple giveaway took place during exam time - coordinators handed out 500 local apples(!) as nutritious snacks for studying students.

University of Northern British Columbia

This fall was all about sowing seeds for a food secure and just future at UNBC. Cam, Nitha and Mike worked diligently to finalize the RFP, and are now creating a Food Strategy, Food Vision and UNBC-specific Food Charter!

University of New Brunswick-St Thomas University

The UNB-STU CFSG partnered with the Fredericton Community Kitchen to put on a fantastic event called Fred-Talks that brought together students, staff, faculty and community members to discuss challenges and solutions to creating sustainable food systems. This event providing students at UNB-STU to connect with some of the amazing initiatives happening just down the hill from the University and spark a conversation of what is to come on campus!

University of Manitoba

With ongoing meetings and support from Julie and Allison, the Office of Sustainability has been turned onto the idea of developing a campus food strategy - the office will be dedicating 2 research analyst positions to work on food and specifically on creating a food strategy. The office and CFSG stakeholders will be working on engaging the campus in the creation of a food strategy and vision over the Winter semester.

Vancouver Island University

The team at VIU has kept very busy this fall! Megan and Pam brought their enlarged National Student Food Charter and their appetite for learning to conferences and event on campus and around the Cowichan Valley. The team welcomed Genevieve as a new co-coordinator and Celia has moved from CFM coordinator to a staff position as Healthy Communities Coordinator. The VIU Campus Food Movement collaborated with students from a Tourism course to execute and evaluate an event in the Community Peace Garden - take a look at the video!

Top 10 Highlights from the Campus Food Movement in 2013

  1. The Recognition of Food: A 2011 study done by Technomic found that 44% of students stated that "the dining hall scene factored into their decision of where to attend college." Maclean's showed that food is an essential factor to the University Experience in their 2014 University Rankings. The Campus Food Systems Project was highlighted and quoted in this issue.
  2. National Student Food SummitThe National Student Food Summit took place in August with 100 students representing 30 Universities and Colleges across the country. The 15 Campus Food Strategy Group Coordinators in attendance demonstrated their expertise in campus food system organizing and represented the great work happening on each of their campuses. Students were also able to make connections across campuses and strengthen the role of the national network.
  3. Campus Tours: In the Winter and Spring of 2013, National Coordinators Sarah and Caitlin had the opportunity to visit the 9 original CFSP Campuses across the country. These visits provided us the opportunity to see the fantastic work of the CFSP network on the ground, support our coordinators in person and connect with stakeholders like yourselves. Find out more through our Exit Reports (East Coast, West Coast).
  4. Stakeholder RainbowGrowth of the CFSP through the support of the Greenbelt Fund's Broader Public Sector Stream. The creation of the Ontario Campus Food Systems Project (O-CFSP) focuses on applied student research, local food celebrations and student engagement. Starting in January, the O-CFSP will be convening a cross-sectoral advisory committee to connect student, administration, faculty, staff, food service providers and distributor leaders from across Ontario to put their heads together on challenges and opportunities for campus food systems.
  5. Policy Change: Students in the CFSP network have made significant impacts on policy including researching and writing aspects of the campuses Request for Proposal for food services, evaluating food service provision proposals, and are working on broader campus food strategies and visions.
  6. National Student Food CharterThe National Student Food Charter is a way for students to work together to identify the food issues that are important to them as members of their communities. This fall, many of our campuses made the NSFC their own. From sharing the charter at festivals around Vancouver Island, to having the Charter integrated into their requests for proposals, to creating a campus-specific Charter, student values towards food are starting an inclusive and important conversation that is mobilizing the national student food movement.
  7. Applied Student Research: Over the course of the Fall 2013 semester, over 50 students participated in food systems research connected to the CFSP. Students at Capilano helped dream up, organize and execute campus-community events while students at Ryerson University worked hard to uncover and help tell the story of the shift, lessons learned, and implications in the campus' food services contract. To discover more of the research and projects unfolding at Universities nation-wide visit the Sustainable Campus Database.
  8. Celebration: This fall, students were able to celebrate the harvest and local food knowledge on campus and in the community. Events this fall included over 150 students celebrating local sustainable fish procurement at Memorial University, Campus Garden tour at VIU, Local Food Days at the University of Manitoba, and a Community Conversation at UNB-STU.
  9. CelebrationSystems-Thinking: This fall, our CFSP coordinators and their supporters embarked on journeys to provide greater understanding about our food system. This included field trips to distribution hubs, farms and even tours of on campus cooking facilities. These experience bring the food system to life and empower students to realize how food systems can become more equitable, sustainable, connected and healthy.
  10. Leveraging funding: Campuses are recognizing the importance of student coordination for food on campus and the role of the national network. Administration, Student Unions and Sustainability Offices alike are helping to support the work of the CFSP and ensuring they stay leaders in food work on campus.

You've probably heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is the kick-off to the holiday season of giving – it's a day to give back to back your community.

#GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages people to give their time, resources, talents and social media voice to a new kind of philanthropy that is about social purpose and collaboration for a better world.

The inaugural Giving Tuesday took place in the States last year and this year, it's coming to Canada. Hundreds of organizations and corporations are taking part in the movement to encourage donating, volunteering, and spreading the word about their favourite charities.

Support Meal Exchange On #GivingTuesdayCA

Donate

As you know, Meal Exchange is a small but mighty organization that can make your donation have a huge impact on improving food systems and increasing food security in communities across the country. Donating by credit card online is simple and secure. Or, click here to learn about other ways to donate.

Volunteer

Meal Exchange wouldn't exist without our volunteers. If you are a student who is interested in getting involved in the food movement on campus and in your community, check out what we do. If you live in Toronto, and would like to get involved in work at the national level, see what volunteer opportunities are available.

Tell People Why You Support MX

If you already a donor or volunteer, or just a great friend of ours, let others know! If you love social media, consider posting to Facebook or sharing a tweet with your MX story on December 3rd (be sure to use #GivingTuesdayCA). Or, you could be old school and tell the friends, family, peers and colleagues you see on December 3rd about Giving Tuesday and why you support Meal Exchange (no hashtag required!).

Whatever action you choose to take on Giving Tuesday, small or large – thank you! Our programs rely on the generosity of our donors, the hours and hours given by dedicated volunteers, and word of mouth introduction. Your help means we are one step closer to achieving a just and sustainable food system.

Tagged in: Fundraising National

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Thank you for a spooktacular Trick or Eat!

We hope everyone’s post-Trick or Eat recovery is going well! At the MX office, we’ve put away our costumes, tallied up our results, and are now ready to share them with you. But why tell you, when we can...show you!

Yes, that’s right, thanks to the dedication and support of participants like yourself, we were able to raise a total of $475,000 worth of food and over $19,000 worth of funds to support local food agencies across Canada, the US, and even a food agency in Melbourne! We’ll be sharing some of the photos from Trick or Eat campaigns across the land on our Facebook page, so stay tuned.

We’d also like to recognize our prize winners for Trick or Eat 2013!

Prize Category Winner
Two tickets anywhere WestJet flies Draw: Every $25 raised  = 1 ballot Luke M.
One-year GoodLife Fitness membership Draw of anyone who registers Olivia S.
$50 Winners gift card (10) Week of Winning draw (2), Social Media draw (3), and 2nd – 6th highest fundraisers (5) Amanjot G., Hailey S.; Kristen A., Areum J., Andrew M.,; Natasha C.l, Pam T., Claire K., Katie C.,  and Sulara G.
One night stay at any Delta Hotels & Resorts Top Fundraiser Vinosha J.
3M gift basket Organizer survey draw Gayathri W.
Dermalogica gift basket & treatment Top Workplace Campaign Jennifer K.
$150 U-Haul gift certificate Education Quiz Emily M.
$100 Ethical Ocean gift certificate Organizer Competition for the most participants registered by Oct. 14 Gayathri W.
Signed Raptors Basketball Week of Winning Draw Paige W.
1:FaceWatch (2) Photo Contest Randa A. & Ali Y.
Signed Arkells CD & T-shirt (5) Week of Winning Draw Pengyi Q., Jaqueline D., Paige R., Alice B., and Jessica K.


On behalf of everyone at Meal Exchange, congratulations to all of the winners!

Our success with Trick or Eat is thanks to all the time, effort, passion and generosity that our Trick or Eat organizers, volunteers, participants and households bring to the campaign, and to them we would like to extend a very heart-felt thank you.

Trick or Eat is often the first step many individuals take in addressing food problems on their campus and in their community, and we hope to stay in touch with you throughout your journey. To find out more about the next steps you can take in improving your community food system, take a look at What We Do, and if you’d like to get involved or have any questions, get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_b2ap3_thumbnail_planning-committee_20131126-142710_1.jpgIt’s hard to believe but the time has come to start planning for the 11th annual National Student Food Summit! Meal Exchange takes pride in creating a space where students and their like-minded peers are able to share experiences, thoughts, and ideas in pursuit of better food systems. Each year, a dedicated group of individuals known as the Planning Committee work to improve the Summit programming and overall delegate experience. The committee is made up of Meal Exchange staff, alumni, volunteers and past summit delegates, all with an interest in food issues and event planning.

Thanks to the amazing behind-the-scenes-work of past committees, we’ve experienced 10 successful years of the National Student Food Summit. This year we look forward to building upon the 2013 Summit with another strong committee of passionate leaders within the food movement.

Why join the 2014 Planning Committee?

  • It’s an extremely rewarding feeling to play a part in the positive experience people get from attending the Summit.
  • It’s a great opportunity to interact with a group of talented individuals, with different interests and skill sets all working towards a common goal.
  • Being a member of a planning committee for the National Student Food Summit is never a bad thing to put on your resume or bucket-list!

What are the commitments and expectations?

  • This is a working committee that will be responsible for executing on tasks such as marketing, content creation, and overall logistics.
  • Committee members are asked to commit approximately 8-10 hrs/month from January to August 2014.
  • Committee members are expected to participate in google+ hangouts on average twice a month (which will be an hour in length, weeknights anytime between 6pm and 9pm EST)

Who is eligible to join the committee?

  • Meal Exchange has an extensive network of campus youth, alumni, and volunteers who are all encouraged to submit an application.
  • If you are someone interested in working with Meal Exchange and has a passion for addressing food issues and/or event planning; we want to hear from you!

If this is an opportunity that feels right for you, click here to fill out the NSFS 2014 - Planning Committee Application Form [Submission Deadline - Monday, December 16th, 2013] 

Have a question that isn't answered here? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and he'll help you out!

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It’s October 31st, which means it’s time for Trick or Eat!

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This year marks the 14th year of students, youth, and community groups dressing up and going door-to-door to raise food and funds to support their local food bank or community food agency.

This year’s campaign promises to be the biggest yet. We have an amazing 105 campaigns across Canada, the US, and Australia (!). Our goal is to collect $550,000 worth of food donations, and $50,000 in online donations. To thank all our Trick or Eaters, we also have a great selection of prizes this year, including two WestJet tickets to one lucky fundraiser.

We know our Trick or Eaters are going to do their best to collect lots of food tonight, but we need your help to reach our fundraising goal of $50,000.

A donation of just $10 allows us to to provide ten meals through one of the 75+ food banks that Trick or Eat supports. We do this through a donation directly to the food bank and by providing year-round support through our Chapter Network to run programs to address food security issues across Canada. Trick or Eat donations will be accepted until November 9th.

The Meal Exchange staff team will be in office until the west coast campaigns wrap up tongiht to provide support to campaigns across the country, share updates on social media, and share unofficial results with everyone. Add your voice to the conversation by using #TrickorEat2013 on Twitter and Instagram, or following Meal Exchange on Facebook or Twitter.

We hope your Trick or Eat is spooktacular!

Meal Exchange Supports Bill C-539 to help create a federal strategy to support local food procurement in all federal institutions. Bill C-539 encourages the government to create a nation-wide buy-local strategy and establish a procurement policy for all federal institutions. By creating a framework that favors local food products, we can support Canadian producers, create jobs, reduce pollution resulting from transportation, and support resilient Canadian food systems.

4 Reasons why we support this bill:

  1. Citizens and residents of Canada who buy local food support our farmers, our agricultural industry and our economy;
  2. Buying local food cuts down on transportation and greenhouse gas emissions, keeps local dollars in local economies and strengthens regional supply chains;
  3. Buying local means that producers have stable markets and that Canadians can have access to fresh and nutritious food; and
  4. Federal departments and agencies should lead by example and support Canadian farmers by buying local food.

For these reasons, Meal Exchange is supporting a national strategy to promote local food. We believe it is important to support our farmers and our local food products.

Read more about why the Canadian Federation of Agriculture supports Bill C-539. If you share these views, click here to sign a petition to show your support.