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Local food conference sprouts on campus

As general manager of Hospitality Services, Joli Manson has tried to include more locally and provincially grown ingredients in food options on campus. Her efforts have been so successful that Queen’s now spends 63 per cent of its food dollars on produce from Ontario.

63 per cent of Queen's food dollars are spent on local food.

To spread the word about the benefits of locally sourced foods, Queen’s is hosting a conference to bring together producers and institutional buyers.

“Food is a basic item of health and we want to explore how to produce the most magnificent meals we can with the food that’s available near to us,” Ms. Manson says. “Eating food is about more than just fuelling up — and I think that food cooked from scratch and made with local ingredients is better in terms of flavour, quality and cost.”

Hospitality Services will co-host the conference on Friday, Oct. 31 along with the Queen’s School of Business’ Centre for Social Impact and My Sustainable Canada. It will bring together representatives from educational and health-care institutions and producers and distributors in the Kingston area to explore the adoption of local food options. Supported by the Greenbelt Fund, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting farmers and Ontario agriculture, the conference will feature presentations, workshops and group discussions.

“Kingston is a city of institutions,” Ms. Manson says, “so we’re in the perfect position to participate in more local food initiatives. I’m hoping this conference will have lively, interesting and maybe even heated discussions about what we can do to make local food sourcing a priority.”

Of course, the event’s lunch is made with ingredients sourced from local producers and prepared by Hospitality Services.

With Hospitality Services having collaborated previously with the Centre for Social Impact, working together on the conference seemed like a natural fit. Along with the conference, the two groups will be working to promote local food initiatives in Kingston.

“I’m personally passionate about getting our students to experience high quality food options on campus,” says Tina Dacin, Director, Centre for Social Impact. “We are always open to partnering with initiatives that are in line with our focus on investing in our communities.”

More information about Queen’s local food initiatives can be found on the Hospitality Services website.