Most of us never really think about where our food comes from. We typically go to The Spoke and grab a bagelwich with coffee without second thought. But have you ever thought about what your BLT bagel is made of or how much energy it took to produce the B, L and T?
For Kevin Irving, president of EnviroWestern, educating Western students about the lifespan of food production is of the utmost importance.
EnviroWestern, a University Students' Council student service that is dedicated to promoting a more environmentally sustainable campus, hopes that the upcoming Food for Thought Gala will help students think about their own environmental impact.
“The gala is all about food we eat in our daily lives,” Irving says. “Our focus for this one is about sustainable living.”
Food for Thought will feature three keynote speakers who will provide varying perspectives on sustainability. Amanda Myers, the community enhancement coordinator at Western, who will talk about the indigenous perspective on food. Gabor Sass, an associate professor at Western and longtime coordinator of the urban agriculture scene in London, will focus on urban agriculture. Paul Van der Werf, president of the London-based environmental consulting service 2cg, will speak to the problem of food waste.
Irving says that food waste is huge issue right now that needed to be encompassed at the Gala.
As Western works towards becoming a Zero Waste Campus by 2022, Irving wants more students to focus on their individual contributions to food waste, especially in terms of compost.
Irving cites the composting bins around campus as one of the strides towards sustainability but the problem is, not many students know they exist.
“Right now we have composting at the Centre spot and I don’t think students are aware that it exists” says Irving. He hopes that increasing compost visibility on campus will ultimately limit the amount of food waste that goes into landfill in order to get Western to its zero waste goal.
But EnviroWestern’s mission doesn’t stop once students leave campus.
“I’m not saying that everyone needs to go vegetarian or vegan,” Irving says. “But I think it’s important to be conscious of how much meat you’re actually eating and know the environmental effect.”
He also encourages students to become conscious of where their food comes from and try to buy local, even though it may be more expensive.
The event will have food related trivia to get people thinking about the many facets of food. The gala will also feature prizes including a $50 Wave gift card, a Swell bottle, and other smaller items.
Irving wants to surprise and educate the attendees with more than just good food.
"I just hope people will learn at least one thing they didn't know about food," Irving says. "And learn something they can apply to their daily lives."
The Food for Thought Gala will take place in the University Community Centre Community Room this Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available online or in person at the UCC atrium.