As a second-year student studying Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and International Development Studies, Anisah Madden is leading the charge on groundbreaking food sustainability initiatives on Trent’s campus, which are also having an effect on the broader community.
Recognizing the opportunity to unite students in the Food Systems program, which started at Trent in 2011, Ms. Madden helped create the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Society (SAFS). In the summer after her first year, she was hired to work with Canada research chair Dr. Medhi Sharifi, leading a research project on Trent’s new on-campus Experimental Farm. The project focused on growing “new crops” of culturally-preferred foods for immigrant populations locally in Canada.
Her work on the project and the finalizing of the contract for a new food services provider for the University inspired Ms. Madden to take her work even further. As a member of the Trent Food Services Advisory Committee, she advocated for and helped usher through commitments of the food services provider, Chartwell’s, to provide organically-sourced and sustainable foods.
Most recently, she was the driving force in the creation of the new Market Garden, an initiative of SAFS to source student-grown produce for on-campus dining halls. This summer, all produce grown in the Market Garden, by SAFS students will be sold to Chartwell’s at organic market value for use in the cafeterias. The initiative will offer unparalleled experiential and hands-on learning opportunities for students. Ms. Madden has also arranged for a group of Business Administration students in the third-year New Venture Planning and Design course to write a business plan for the Market Garden.
Ms. Madden’s vision extends beyond the University. She has an interest in making Trent a catalyst for awareness of local and ecological farming practices and sustainability and hopes to engage local farmers in providing food directly to food services at the University. A reading course she currently completing on local food systems at Trent University is examining best practices at other universities and explores building collaborations and partnerships between the University and the local agricultural community.
Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.