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Concordia Transitions; a conference on sustainable change

by Sloane Montgomery February 4, 2014
Concordia Transitions; a conference on sustainable change

On Feb. 8 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. a series of speakers and discussion panels will be held on the 7th floor on the Hall building to provide students with information on ways they can help transition Concordia’s food system to be more affordable and sustainable.

Photo by Keith Race

A central focus of Concordia Transitions is to help students grasp the idea of having a food system that literally goes “from farm to plate.”  To further explain this concept a representative from Action Communiterre, the local urban-farm network in NDG will be there to provide students with a tangible understanding of the development of urban farms for institutional food-systems.

A $5 donation is requested upon arrival and will provide students with local, healthy food.

The event will kick off at 8 AM with a breakfast.  All the food offered at the event throughout the day will be vegetarian with both vegan and gluten free options.  Ben Prunty, VP sustainability of the CSU, explains the food options that are to be offered are based on accessibility, aiming to feed as many hungry students as possible.

Curtis Stone, a Canadian urban farmer who is also the president and founder of Green City Acres, a successful backyard-farming model in British Columbia, will be speaking to students about strategies that helped him eliminate start-up costs.

Concordia’s former principal of the School of Community and Public Affairs and recent winner of the Prix du Quebec for her decades of work in the social economy, Marguerite Mendell will share her social economical expert opinion on sustainable food systems.

Ben Flanner; head farmer, CEO and co-founder of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms based in New York City, will also be present to speak to students.  Flanner’s organization pioneered an urban farm operation producing vegetables, herbs and honey on green rooftops in Brooklyn.  Widely recognized for transforming rooftop agriculture, The Brooklyn Grange received the Green Business Award in 2010, the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence in 2011, and Queens Community Business Award in 2012.  Flanner will be speaking on both the challenges and rewards of creating a small farm and the importance of developing local food systems.

The Concordia Transitions event has been supported and put together by many different student organizations and is still accepting any and all student volunteers to donate their time and help spread the word of tangible ways to change Concordia’s food system.

“Five out of the six main organizers are from the Community Food Coalition (CFC), teaming up with the Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) for sustainable realization and the Greenhouse for inspiration.  But not only them, we have had help and support from ASFA, FASA, GUSS, UPA, SCPA, LICSA, LAS and CUPA.  This kind of continued positive response from student organizations really speaks volumes to the desire for a sustainable food-system,” said Prunty.

The CFC will be hosting a student panel at the event to discuss and provide further information on their aspirations and plans for ways students can move forward on transitioning their food-system.

“Information on its own isn’t enough for sustainable change to take place, we really need to emphasize the importance of what we’re calling hyper-local action. At Concordia students are really empowered to step up and help make the changes they want to see become a reality. The sky is the limit, students have the resources, they just need to be mobilized towards a common goal – and healthy, affordable, and sustainable food is something that I think everyone can agree with,” said Prunty.

For more information students can stop by Concordia Transition’s desk in the mezzanine of the Hall building every Wednesday or Thursday and can check out their Facebook event page.

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