Humber College understands the significant role food plays in bringing people together and fostering a sense of well-being in the community.
It’s why Humber has released its Food Strategy and Vision that will help guide on-campus food offerings going forward while also addressing food insecurity, sustainability, availability and affordability, among other areas. It’s part of the College’s Well-Being Strategy that sets out principles, a framework and goals to support the health and well-being of Humber’s students, employees and community.
The strategy is a guiding document that contains immediate actions and stretch goals the College is committed to striving to achieve.
Humber’s most recent strategic plan named specific priorities connected to promoting a healthy and inclusive campus. During the development of the associated plans, frameworks, and implementation strategies, a core theme connected to food emerged.
For example, in September 2022, the Campus Culture working group of Humber’s EDI Taskforce finalized a report with recommendations connected to Humber’s culture around food and the role food plays in equity, community, and belonging.
Ian Crookshank, associate vice-president, Learner and Career Success and dean of Students at Humber, said food and nutrition play an integral in the ability of a community to succeed.
“In my role, I think about the success of learners who might be experiencing food challenges from a well-being, affordability and availability perspective and how that impacts their ability to learn in this space and be engaged in all aspects of their college education,” said Crookshank. “With this strategy, we are articulating to our community that addressing this is of vital importance to us and we have a created a list of goals and actions that we are working to achieve.”
Consultations were held with the Humber and University Guelph-Humber communities that generated more than 1,300 individual comments and suggestions along with more than 2,500 responses to a food service survey.
During the consultations, Crookshank said several themes emerged.
One was a need for a more diverse and culturally responsive set of food options on campus.
“The Humber community is incredibly diverse and what we heard is that to feel like this is a space where I feel I belong, I want to see food that connects back to who I am while also having more options,” said Crookshank.
Affordability was another concern that was raised. The community wants more affordable options and healthier food offered at a lower prices. They also want to see food offered in more locations on campus and for the hours at places serving food to be extended.
Food insecurity was also highlighted. Programs to address this issue do exist already such as the Soupbar offered by IGNITE in partnership with Humber where students can grab a container of soup for free. As Crookshank noted, one of the actions listed for immediate implementation in the Food Strategy was to enhance and build upon meal voucher programs (for example a gift card to a grocery store) to help address food insecurity.
Following the consultations, several guiding principles were established. They include health and well-being; sustainability; quality; inclusion and belonging; availability and accessibility; and food equity and affordability.
The Food Strategy itself is broken down into various sections, including nutrition, health and wellness; variety and availability; sustainability; food equity and affordability; and innovation. Each section contains a series of initiatives along with a timeframe that ranges from immediate to short-term (one to two years) and long-term (two to five years).