Growing Georgian – a student-led initiative aimed at getting ecologically produced, local food onto the plates of Georgian students – has received a $5,000 boost from Chartwells.
The grant is being provided under the Chartwells’ Campus Projects program, which aims to encourage students to work together with Chartwells to turn their innovative ideas into tangible action that positively contributes to sustainable food services on campus.
The award will cover the costs of hiring a co-op student this summer to work as the garden co-ordinator for Growing Georgian’s Barrie Campus Georgian Gardens, located near the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences and adjacent to the Barrie campus Indigenous Centre. Each selected project will advance sustainable food services on campus while engaging the student and broader community.
“We like to support sustainability and encourage the sharing of best practices within the locations that we operate. Avery and his team put together a great proposal for Growing Georgian. I was so proud that they won,” said Karin Thomson, Chartwells’ Food Services Director at Georgian College.
Avery Konda, Georgian College Student Association President (Barrie Campus) and a founder of Growing Georgian, said he is thrilled to have such strong support from Chartwells. He first learned of the grant program when he met David Smith, Executive Vice President, Operation Excellence for Chartwells Canada at the National Student Food Summit hosted by Meal Exchange. Meal Exchange is a non-profit organization that exists to eradicate hunger in Canada by identifying and implementing student solutions.
“He was extremely interested to hear about our work at Georgian, and he strongly encouraged me to apply for one of the Campus Projects grants,” Konda said. “Now we are one of four winners in Ontario. We greatly appreciate their commitment to Growing Georgian.”
This will be the first full growing season for the garden. Produce will be grown and harvested by the Growing Georgian garden co-ordinator, the Growing Georgian volunteer lead and a team of Growing Georgian volunteers. It will then be processed by Georgian College Culinary students and distributed to students in need of food aid through the Food Locker program.
The Growing Georgian garden co-ordinator will oversee activities onsite garden activities and be active as an advocate for the project, networking throughout the college and in the wider community, building alliances as well as fundraising for continued operation.
Growing Georgian has a mandate to assist students with sustainable and nutritious food alternatives, while promoting conscious consumption, ethical growing practices, and the resurgence of the local food economy.