After three years of connecting with the Meal Exchange network, Amy Brierly reflects on her experiences and shares how she'll continue to apply what she's learned in the future.
When did you first connect with Meal Exchange?
The 2012 National Student Food Summit, right before I took on the role of Student Food Resource Coordinator at StFX. The National Student Food Summit was recommended to me by the past Student Food Resource Coordinator. The Summit was transformational. It helped me feel connected to something bigger and to know that students were making real changes on their campuses. The Summit helped to prepare and fuel me for my work on campus - I’ve gone back to the Summit every year since!
What are some of your accomplishments on your campus?
Each of the accomplishments achieved on campus were a group effort - made possible by a foundation built by my peers, community members, and the Meal Exchange network. The main accomplishment for me has definitely been building a better food system through collaboration. Through this collaboration we have seen many benefits, including the development of a Farmers’ Market on campus and moving the Student Food Resource Centre to a more accessible and welcoming space on campus.
How did connecting with Meal Exchange shape your university experience?
Meal Exchange has provided me with a safe space to share ideas and feel supported. The Meal Exchange network has helped me practice and shape my understanding of development, which is what I studied during my university career. Through my work with Meal Exchange, I’ve seen that as a student, my role extends far past the classroom and that I have the opportunity to make significant change on campus and within my community.
How will you continue food work into the future?
I was recently given a wonderful opportunity to be an OceanPath Fellow with the Pathy Family Foundation and Coady Institute. Through this fellowship I will be working with community groups in Antigonish who are working in the local food movement, specifically around a local food hub. I’m excited to hopefully bring what I’ve learned on campus into closer conversation with the larger movement and to collaborate on all sorts of initiatives with the community. My ties with St. FX will be important in this work, especially for supporting institutional procurement of local foods.
How would you like to continue to contribute to Meal Exchange in the future?
While I stay in Antigonish, I look forward to providing support to new student leaders, facilitate community connections, and stay in touch with the national office. Though I’m not sure what the future holds, I’d to continue to be apart of this movement indefinitely.
We wish Amy all the best in her next adventures and for her contributions to St. FX, Antigonish and the National Meal Exchange network.