SFU’s Farm to Campus Initiative reduces food waste and supports local farmers

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this is exactly what is happening to unique organic produce being grown so close to campus. The newly launched Farm to Campus Initiative reduces food waste and supports local farmers by buying off-grade local produce that does not meet retail aesthetic standards and redistributing them at SFU’s Burnaby campus. The plan is to continue this local connection with farmers through a community supported agriculture (CSA) type initiative.

In Canada, approximately 24% of food waste occurs at the farm, costing the nation $2.88 billion annually[1]. Food waste contributes to a loss of income while wasting water, energy, resources, and labour. When fresh farm produce doesn’t meet grocery store standards, farmers often have little options other than composting or leaving it to rot in the field.

A joint collaboration between SFU’s Food Systems Lab, the Sustainability Office, and Embark Sustainability, SFU is purchasing local produce from a small Delta farm to kickstart this initiative. By doing so, SFU is helping reduce food waste, supporting local farmers in the economy, and championing a better alternative to long distance food supply chain with large carbon footprints.

 “As Canada’s engaged university and a leading academic institution in B.C, this joint partnership shows our collective campus commitment to ensuring environmental and economic resiliency in B.C’s agricultural sector. It’s also our way to connect our campus community with farmers and increase access to healthy foods.” - Dr. Tammara Soma, Director of Research, SFU's Food Systems Lab

Photography by Pam Lim and Kris Cu.

The initiative is looking to gauge interest in the CSA box. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the survey below and provide your contact information. This survey will help us ensure that the CSA boxes will be as effective and efficient to cater to the campus needs.


[1] Nikkel, L., Maguire, M., Gooch, M., Bucknell, D., LaPlain, D., Dent, B., Whitehead, P., Felfel, A. (2019). The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste: Roadmap; Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International; Ontario, Canada.