As more Canadians are opting to reduce consumption of meat and other animal products, Trent University and Fleming College are leading the way among post-secondary institutions across Canada finding new and innovative approaches to address this growing need.
Food service professionals from Trent University, Fleming College and more than a dozen other schools from across Ontario attended Peterborough’s first-ever “Forward Food Culinary Experience,” October 23 to 24, a two-day training for chefs on how to create delicious, cost-effective and sustainable plant-based dishes.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Fleming College to deliver this program to dozens of schools from across the province,” says Mark Murdoch, director of Food Services at Trent University. “This collaboration helps us increase the use of plant-based proteins across Ontario and aims to improve the on-campus food service offerings at the schools who are attending.”
“The food choices that we make directly impact the energy and focus we need, and that is why we ensure our retail food service locations have all the nutritional information, healthy living brochures, sustainability information and local farm features so that our students and staff can make informed decisions,” says Travis Doak, director, Housing, Food and Student Conduct at Fleming College. “We are committed to responsible sourcing, waste minimization and efficient operations, and are continually developing and implementing sustainable solutions.”
The innovative training will ultimately lead to increased availability of plant-based meal options on campuses. Young Canadians are particularly interested in adopting plant-based diets based on the environmental footprint of their meals, and the long-term health impacts of their dietary choices. Not only does the new Canada Food Guide recommend increased consumption of plant-based foods, plant proteins in particular, consumers are increasingly concerned with the conditions under which their food is produced.
“Planetary survival requires a fundamentally transformed food system,” says Dr. Michael Classens, an assistant professor in the Trent School of Environment and panelist at the Leadership Summit. “The increased interest in, and availability of, plant-based diets are promising developments in the pursuit of a more socially just and ecologically rational food system. Campus food systems can play a key role in modeling the kinds of interventions that can be beneficially scaled up to the broader food system.”
At Trent University, the move toward increasing plant-based meals on campus builds on a track record of offering healthy, affordable and sustainable meals to our community. Trent University’s Seasoned Spoon café serves items made from produce from our Market Garden and we are the only Canadian university with a three-star green certified restaurant
The training was followed by Ontario’s first Forward Food Leadership Summit on Friday, October 25, when 150 foodservice professionals from higher education, health-care, restaurants, retail, manufacturing and more learned about meeting the growing demand for plant-based food options.