Can you really eat for free for a week on campus?

Concordia offers plenty of free food, snacks and drinks… if you know where to look!

As the cost of groceries soars with inflation, food insecurity among students cannot be overlooked. This past week, I challenged myself to visit and document places on campus where you can find free food and snacks. I hope this project will encourage you to take what you need, but also to give what you can. These resources are there for you, so take advantage if you need them! 

The Community Cravings Pantry in the Hall building, the community fridge and the grocery table offered by the Student Centre at the Loyola campus run on donations. If you can leave something, it’s always appreciated because food disappears quickly! Many other services such as the People’s Potato and The Hive Free Lunch are run by volunteers and also accept donations. 

Many events on campus offer free food or snacks, making it a great way to meet new people while grabbing a bite to eat. Another goal of this project is to help students find community through food. Spaces like NouLa and Centre pour étudiant·es francophones offer free snacks and allow students to connect with their community in a welcoming, safe space. Take a look at my week of investigating free eats on campus!

This project uses Alternative (Alt) Text to make the photos accessible to the visually impaired by “convey[ing] the ‘why’ of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. It is read-aloud to users by screen reader software, and it is indexed by search engines.”

Community Cravings Pantry H-725

The Community Cravings Pantry is located on the 7th floor of the Hall Building. The pantry accepts non-perishable, unopened goods. Students can take anything they want. When I visited, there were some applesauce squeeze packets and granola bars. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: Two tall, white cabinets with the doors open to reveal some groceries like pasta and snacks on the shelves. To the right, there is an empty fridge.

People’s Potato H-700

The People’s Potato offers vegan lunches prepared free of cost or available by donation Monday through Wednesday at room H-700. They also offer Emergency Food Baskets throughout the semester. Make sure to follow their Instagram for regular updates! I had a delicious and filling “MexiCali” stew when I stopped by. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A white person’s hand holding a plastic container filled with a stew with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and black beans. Behind, is a glass divider with “People’s Potato” written with colourful markers and a hand holding a potato.

Centre pour étudiant·es francophones H-608.02

The Centre pour étudiant·es francophones is a place where francophone students at Concordia can hang out, grab a coffee or tea and meet their peers. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A table with a coffee maker, mugs, coffee pods, and tea sits in front of a colourful corkboard with various flyers and posters pinned to it.

The Centre pour étudiant·es francophones is also open to students who are interested in practising their French. They have a selection of teas, coffee and snacks available for students. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: From left to right there are some mini chocolate bars, apples, granola bars and pastries.

The Hive Free Breakfast SC-200 7141 Sherbrooke West

The Hive Free Breakfast is vegetarian with vegan options and is served from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and again from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A small hand scoops from a big pot of oatmeal. There is a red oven mitt to the right.

You might be able to get a sneak peek of what The Hive Free Breakfast will be serving for the day if you follow their Instagram account. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A plate of granola, oatmeal and honeydew melon on a wooden table. Blue and green chairs and sofas are visible in the background.

The Hive Free Lunch SC-200 7141 Sherbrooke West

The Hive Free Lunch is always vegan and is served 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There was gluten-free bread available along with the lentil eggplant stew when I went. They even offer a second helping of their tasty meal at 1:15 p.m. if there are leftovers! Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: Two bowls of lentil eggplant stew with some parsley and pomegranate seeds on top, served with a piece of bread. In the background, there is a big metal container of cookies and bread.

Community Fridge and Grocery Table SC-200 7141 Sherbrooke West

Groceries and snacks are taken very quickly from the Community Fridge and Grocery Table at SC-200, so it’s obvious that students are using the service. If you brought an extra snack to school or have some cans sitting in the cupboard at home, why not bring them? Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: Two mini-fridges, a white shelf with dishware, a bookcase filled with books and the grocery table with a couple of cans visible.

Le Frigo Vert 1440 Mackay St.

Le Frigo Vert has free microgreens, Pay What You Can (PWYC) tea and sometimes other free food, like this Bean & Barley soup mix! They also host lots of events and workshops, some of which also offer free food. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A table with bags of beans and soup ingredients, a handmade sign that says “FREE” and “Bean & Barley soup” recipes. A post-it note says “FREE SOUP MIX! TAKE A RECIPE.”


Spirituali-Tea 2090 Mackay St.

I attended the Spirituali-Tea event at the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre where there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies and other baked goods. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A black basket full of boxes of tea, hot chocolate, coffee maker and mugs.

The Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre hosts many events with free food such as the Pre-Exam Breakfast and Community Meals. They also have an Instagram account where they post frequent updates. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt: A room in the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre office. There is a black leather couch, a bulletin board with some flyers and “Welcome” written in blue letters. There is a small bookcase, a water cooler and a bit of the kitchen is visible in the background.

Concordia Canadian Asian Society Takeover: Pop-up event

This was a small event where people could learn about the club, meet peers and learn how to make sago dessert soup. It was great to talk to the executives of Concordia’s Canadian Asian Society about their vision for the club and hopes for future events. I was also excited to try sago dessert soup for the first time! These events are great for meeting new people, but also for trying new things. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: Five Asian students sit and stand around a white table. A large container of sago dessert soup (which is white, with small clear coloured pearls) is on the table along with many colourful stickers and candies.

The Concordia Canadian Asian Society hosted a pop-up event where they shared sago dessert soup and explained how to make it at home. Check out their Instagram account for future events! Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A white person’s hand holds a compostable cup filled with a white soup, which contains clear sago pearls. Some stickers are visible on the table in the background.

Tea Around the World by CUTEA

Although this event only had tea, students could make one on the spot and take extra sachets/tea bags for later! CUTEA hosts many events throughout the year many of which offer food, so check out their Instagram account to stay informed. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A table with a white tablecloth and a poster that says “CUTEA Concordia University Tea Enthusiast Association” has tea boxes and tea bags on display.

For Black Concordia Students, NouLa Lounge H-773

The NouLa Lounge is accessible to all students registered with the NouLa Centre for Black Students. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A frosted glass wall which says “773.00 THE NOULA CENTRE FOR BLACK STUDENTS”. There are also some events written in colourful markers.

A wide selection of tea, coffee and yummy snacks is available in the NouLa Student Lounge. Registered students can study, make new friends, play board games or just hang out. Photo by Hope Cornell / The Concordian

Alt text: A white basket with cookies and Bear Paws is next to a clear container with popcorn and other snacks. They are on a black wood table.


Concordia Food Initiatives gathered for their annual Food Fair

Concordia’s food coalition promoted their missions and year-round events at a general annual Food Fair meeting.

Concordia University’s sustainable food organizations are giving out free meals and hosting events year-round to promote community engagement and raise awareness about food justice and system education.

Many food groups, including the Concordia Food Coalition (CFC), CultivAction, and the Hive Free Lunch (HFL), gathered for their annual general food fair meeting on the second floor of the SC building at the Loyola campus on Jan. 25.

Around thirty students and local community members attended the meeting to learn about each organization’s initiatives, receive updates, and ask questions. Roxanna Chadwick, a third-year Concordia student, enjoyed the experience of getting involved with student activities on campus and learning more about agriculture.

“It was interesting to see the different initiatives on campus that are related to food and are trying to make it more accessible for the community,” Chadwick said.

The CFC announced an event series called “Organizing Food Sovereignty,” with the aim of introducing students to food politics at Concordia. Each month, the coalition will collaborate with other food groups to provide students with a variety of activities to engage with others, learn about food systems, and give out free meals to students.

“One of those events are called Dinner and Docs, and it’s a series where we partner up with a food group on campus, and we choose a documentary for dinner, and we eat together, and make food together, and watch a documentary on the themes of food sustainability and community, so those are exciting,” said Maggie Morrison, a food system educator for the CFC.

During the meeting, Improove—a food waste organization— gave away plenty of fresh produce for free, which would otherwise have ended up in the garbage. Their goal is to get rid of all food waste caused by large industries. Bruno Zara, a speaker for Improove, said, “We collect this fruit before it is thrown away to make baskets that we sell on site.” They are now selling $15 boxes full of fresh produce to students every Thursday at the SC building.

CultivAction, the campus community farm, gave away free plants and microgreens. “A big piece of news for us is that we’ve just secured a fee levy at Concordia, which means that we have stable funding and are going to be making our food freely available to Concordia students,” said Caleb Woolcott, a speaker for the organization. He also explained that they are planning to host a variety of workshops and educational opportunities for students. Some of these events will include how to grow your own food in the winter.

In addition to their weekly free lunch program, the HFL promoted their free breakfast program, which launched in September 2023.  “We aim to help solve food insecurity for students; I know it’s a big thing, and also help raise awareness about the food scene at Concordia,”   said Tony Nguyena, a HFL worker revealed that at the end of this year, the HFL will be publishing a cookbook full of student-favourite recipes to raise awareness and help students facing food insecurity.

These initiatives and activities will be available to students for the remainder of the semester and are intended to promote student engagement and awareness.

News Videos

WATCH: The Most Important Meal is Now Free at The Hive

Breakfast is open from 8:30 to 9:00 and again from 10:00 to 10:30.


Free Breakfast program to launch at Concordia

The Hive Café’s new initiative will offer a daily free vegan breakfast starting this fall to fight food insecurity.

In ASFA’s March 2023 elections, students voted in favour of a fee levy increase to the Hive Café Loyola Free Lunch program. These funds will be used to implement a new breakfast program starting this fall, providing free breakfast at the Loyola campus five days a week. 

“The team here, myself included, are really passionate about feeding students,” said Alanna Silver, the Free Lunch program coordinator. She also noted that few free breakfast options are available in NDG compared to the downtown campus. 

The Hive Café Co-op aims to serve breakfast to at least 100 people a day, as they already serve 250 through their free lunch program.

“We’re really passionate about creating a sense of community. It’s not just serving a meal,”

Silver Said.

One in 10 people cannot afford fresh food in Montreal, according to Centraide du Grand Montréal, and in 2022 Les Banques Alimentaires du Québec reported that 671,000 people in Quebec receive food assistance every month.

Silver explained how studies demonstrate that students retain their learning better when they’ve eaten their first meal of the day. 

The Hive’s vegan options have allowed a greater proportion of students to benefit from their menu, regardless of religion or dietary restrictions. The team hopes to serve vegan meals as well, although Silver concedes that most breakfasts contain animal products.

“[Our] choices are limited to smoothies, oatmeal and bread. So there was definitely some big debate on whether we should do vegetarian or vegan breakfast,” she said. 

The Hive will continue to produce vegan meals in-house. The increased fee levy will cover the added food, labour and equipment costs.

The project began development in mid-February, and the Hive team believes it will be fully implemented by the end of the year. The ASFA election results in March helped increase their funding by $0.25 per credit to support the project.

The team launched a promotional campaign around the university through social media posts, graphics and posters to get the word out. 

With the new project’s financial needs covered, the Hive’s next challenge will be managing their space. 

“We’re trying to currently figure out how we’re going to share a kitchen because obviously we’ll be doubling the staff, doubling the production, doubling the amount of equipment we need,” Silver said.


In a previous version of this article, the Hive Free Breakfast program was referred to as the first free breakfast program in Canada. Both MacEwan University and Mount Royal University have free breakfast programs that predate the Hive Free Breakfast.


Àbadakone: Global Indigenous artists at the National Gallery of Canada

Concordia students attend the annual art history bus trip to Ottawa 

On Nov. 9, Concordia students who attended the art history bus trip to Ottawa had the opportunity to visit the new exhibition Àbadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu continuel, currently on at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC).

In an enclosed room off to the side of the main gallery space at the NGC, visitors observe a video of an Indigenous woman washing a white woman in a metal bathtub. Both are silent; all that is heard is the loud sound of dripping water as the Indigenous woman gently washes the white woman’s face, hands, arms, legs and feet with a white cloth. The process is slow and methodical, each movement is careful and tender. It is not until the Indigenous woman begins to cry that visitors are removed from their comfortable state of observation and subsequently inserted into a place of pain and profound suffering.

Touch Me (2013), a video produced by Métis, Cree, Tsimshian and Gitksan artist Skeena Reece speaks of Indigenous trauma and centers on the connecting processes of healing between settlers and Indigenous women. This soothing act with water serves in releasing painful memories and ensues a silent restorative experience shared between the two women.

Reece is one of more than 70 contemporary global Indigenous artists taking part in the exhibition Àbadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu continuel  presently on at the NGC. Àbadakone, Algonquin for “continuous fire,” is the second exhibition to be held at the NGC that features Indigenous artists from around the world; the first being Sakahàn, Algonquin for “to light a fire,” which was held in 2013.

The works cover all mediums, including photography, beadwork, drawing, painting, digital installations and sculpture, and span across almost a dozen rooms. Àbadakone presents the works of Indigenous contemporary artists from countries such as Canada, the United States, Guatemala, South Africa, Finland, and Japan. Some of the artists featured in the exhibition are Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, Sarah Sense, Barry Ace, Rebecca Belmore, Marja Helander and Dylan Miner.

Àbadakone’s curators have framed the exhibition in accordance with the themes of relatedness, continuity and activation. Wall text in the gallery reads: 

“Relatedness is the view that all things on the earth are our relations. This idea is fundamental to Indigenous worldviews. Relatedness – from the intimate to the global – reminds us of the responsibility inherent in art making to all living things as manifested in what is conventionally understood as the ‘art object.’”

“Continuity is relatedness across generations, histories and our futures. It helps us see that art is not static in time, but is in a constant cycle of change and renewal.”

“Activation is about presence: how an artist animates a space, an object or an idea through performance, video or viewer engagement.”

Other themes the exhibition explores include decolonization, Indigenous sovereignty, land-based knowledge, food insecurity, gender and identity, legacies of trauma and colonization, and practices of healing.

Many of the exhibition’s artists employ methods of ‘re-historicization’ and ‘re-narration’ to subvert and disrupt colonial histories and discourses. One such artist, Will Wilson, aims to dismantle the racist undertones embedded within colonial and ethnographic photography. His ongoing portrait series CIPX (Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange), that imitate the portraits of colonial photographer Edward S. Curtis, sees a disturbance of the colonial ethnographic gaze and consequently functions in reclaiming Indigenous agency and sovereignty.

During the upcoming months, Àbadakone will feature performance artists such as Peter Morin, as well as host workshops, film screenings, talks and other events.

The annual Ottawa art history bus trip is put on by Concordia’s Ethnocultural Art Histories Group, Concordia’s Undergraduate Journal of Art History, the Art History Graduate Student Association and the Department of Art History. In addition to visiting the National Gallery of Canada, other visits included the Ottawa Art Gallery and Carleton University Art Gallery.

The exhibition is on display at the National Gallery of Canada, at 380 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa, until April 5, 2020. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. 


Photos by Kari Valmestad.

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