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:

1. More affordable food

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

2. 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.

3. 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).


SFU Food Pantry

The SFU Pantry is a food bank for students in need of emergency food and hygiene supplies. Bring your own grocery bag and collect perishable and non-perishable items based on your preference. They are open Wednesdays from 12-3pm on the lower level of MBC. Bring your student ID! 

The Pantry is made possible through the generous support of the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, Greater Vancouver Food Bank, United Way of the Lower Mainland, Food Banks Canada, Ancillary Services and the SFU Office of Community Engagement!

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)
  • T&T Supermarket (SFU Surrey, 10153 King George Blvd #3000)
  • Nesters Woodwards (SFU Woodwards)

Embark Sustainability

Embark offers the following programming:

  • Community Kitchen Events - 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

SFU Community Free Fridge 

The Community Fridge is a safe, low-barrier and non-judgmental way for staff, students and faculty to support each other, to reduce waste, and to ensure everyone in our university community can feed themselves and their families.

The fridge, located in the lower level of Maggie Benston Centre, works on the principle of “take something, leave something" and is open to anyone in the community. 


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 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. 

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.

BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP) is a healthy eating initiative that supports farmers’ markets and strengthens food security across British Columbia. Community partner organizations provide coupons to lower-income families, pregnant people and seniors participating in their food literacy programs. Coupons can be spent at all BCAFM member farmers’ markets that participate in the FMNCP, and can be used to purchase vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, cut herbs, meat and fish.

BC Food Security Gateway

The BC Food Security Gateway (the Gateway) is an online resource that provides BC communities with up-to-date food security information. The Gateway is meant to inform and link you to projects, initiatives, and organizations in British Columbia as well as publications, tools, guides, and news – so that you, too, can contribute to building food security in BC.