Food Security

What is Food Security?
The Food and Agriculture Organization defines food security as "all people, at all times, [having] physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritous food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life."

The SFU Student Affordability Committee recently has taken up Food Security as a key initiative. The framework focuses on three strategic pillars:

More affordable food
Programs that deliver affordable food to SFU community on and off campus. 

More accessible food
Programs that make food more accessible, including communication around all the available programs for students and how to access them without the social stigma.

Improved food utilization skills
More classes, programs, workshops, drop-in sessions or similar should be offered to increase student food utilization skills (the knowledge of how to purchase, prepare and use food).

Campus Resources

Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS)
The SFSS offers a Food Bank Program for students in a state of need, funded by donations and student fees.
Food bank vouchers can be redeemed at the following locations:
- Nesters Market (SFU Burnaby)
- Safeway Surrey (SFU Surrey, 10355 King George Highway)
- Nesters Woodwards (SFU Woodwards)

SFU Food Hub is run by the joint partnership of SFSS, SFU Office of Community Engagement and the Burnaby Neighbourhood House. Contributions of perishable and non-perishable items are made possible through funds from the United Way of Lower Mainland and the SFU Office of Community Engagement.

SFSS Women's Centre has free vegetable seeds available for students this summer (while supplies last). For more information email

Embark Sustainability
Embark offers the following programming:
- Community Kitchen Events (online) - learn to cook a healthy meal with other students, grocery store gift cards are available
- Learning Garden (Burnaby Campus) - learn to grow and harvest from your own garden plot [seasonal]
- Farm to Campus Initiative (Surrey Campus) - sign up for a weekly subsidized bag of fresh local farm produce [seasonal]
- Food Rescue (Burnaby Campus) - fill a bag of free, recovered produce at our weekly distributions [currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions]

Graduate Student Society (GSS)
The Emergency Grocery Card Program was established by the GSS in order to provide limited assistance to graduate students who are in urgent need of finances.

The GSS, in partnership with Quest Food Exchange, supports those who face financial hardship when it comes to accessing affordable, healthy food by providing access to Quest's not-for-profit grocery markets.

Food Systems Lab
SFU’s Food Systems Lab is a research and innovation hub working on evidence-based solutions to support a sustainable food system that enhances ecosystems, conserves natural resources, mitigates climate change, and promotes food security. The Food Systems Lab team are working on numerous projects and partnerships with diverse food and agricultural stakeholders. Students interested in working on food security issues as a Research Assistant, or departments interested in collaborating on food systems research and projects can reach out to the Food Systems Lab team.

Burnaby Food Hub Collaborative (BFHC)
The BFHC is a partnership between Burnaby Neighbourhood House, United Way of the Lowermainland and SFU's Office of Community Engagement. 
For SFU students who may be experiencing food insecurity, the BFHC offers a bi-weekly grocery card.

SFU Women's Centre

Off-Campus Resources

Burnaby Neighbourhood House
The Burnaby Neighbourhood House now has a food hub at both the North and South locations. 
Burnaby residents experiencing food insecurity may reach out for more information on available food resources.
All food pick ups at the Food Hub are by appointment only.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank
For those living in Vancouver, New West and the North Shore, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank provides 10-15 grocery items per week, based on the number of people in your household. 
Register onlline and check out their schedule to see which location is closest to you and when they hold their distributions.

Surrey Food Bank
The Surrey Food Bank aims to provide food, sufficient for 3-4 days to low-income residents who live in Surrey, North Delta and Cloverdale. Although limited, vegetarian options are also available, and quantity of food is based on household size.
To register and learn more about their program, cick the link below.