Food Centre

Who and what we are:

The UTM Food Centre is a service of the UTM Student’s Union that is co-managed by the ministries of Equity and Services. The Food Centre is a place that provides access to good food for all students who are food insecure. Some students are forced to choose between buying textbooks and buying food, and we believe that no student should have to make that choice. We also wish to create community building, alternative access to good food and challenge the structures that create food insecurity.

Our Team:

Maleeha Baig
Vice-President of Equity
vpequity@utmsu.ca
Victoria Nader
Food Centre Coordinator
foodcentre@utmsu.ca
Rosario Commisso
Food Centre Coordinator
food@utmsu.ca

 

Our Mission:

      To facilitate access to good food for all students who are food insecure, while addressing the issues that create food insecurity in the first place. We wish to be part of creating a world where food insecurity does not exist.

 

Our Values:

  • Food is a human right: Under article 12 of the universal declaration of human rights, food is recognized as a human right. We recognize that access to good food is a human right, which is being systemically stripped away from individuals through systems of inequality and oppression. No student should have to choose between their access to education and access to good food.
  • Community building: We aim to create an involved community that challenges the social structure of passive food consumption. We believe in the power of food to connect students, faculty, staff and the wider community. We wish to create an engaged community where people learn and exchange ideas related to food in order to drive change. We wish to not only provide our members with food assistance but with a welcoming space that is conducive to a feeling of belonging and engagement.
  • Sustainability: We wish to bridge the gap between food accessibility/security and sustainability. We believe that a sustainable food system is one where everyone has equal access to good food. An accessible food system is one where the environment is valued.
  • Allies with farmers and workers: we wish to connect people at all corners of the food system, from farmers, to workers, to students. We believe that working with other groups across the food system can create good change and mutual benefits.
  • Dignified immediate assistance: We believe that a good food access service is one that provides its members with real and good food that is wholesome and delicious. We recognize that individuals are not to be blamed for their food insecurity. Thus, we prioritize the comfort of our members and their voices. We also emphasize an honesty policy because we want students to be treated as welcomed members rather than potential “fraud”. We find financial checks at best useless and at worst a barrier to access food. We feel that financial checks may increase stigma, which is a more pressing concern that any potential “fraud”.
  • Long term solutions and not just bandages: We believe that greater change to the food system is necessary to prevent food insecurity and poverty. Thus we aim to challenge and change the structures that create food insecurity in the first place.
  • Food democracy and community engagement: we believe in change from the grassroots. We will ensure that students who benefit from and use this service are involved in the decision-making. We wish to engage food insecure students in constructing their own solutions and responses to hunger.
  • Discrimination: We wish to create spaces that are free of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, citizenship, language, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, mental and physical abilities. All members, volunteers and staff are entitled to a positive space free of discrimination. We also wish to address the intersection of food insecurity and various forms of social marginalization.

“We believe this approach will end the way charity divides us as a society into the powerful and the powerless, the self-sufficient and the shamed.” –The Stop Community Food Centre