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Sharing a sustainable message

Queen’s student will discuss environmentally friendly food business at a city symposium.

Devon Hawkins
Devon Hawkins will be speaking at the Kingston Climate Change Symposium.

Queen’s students are known for their drive to make an impact on the world, and Devon Hawkins, an undergraduate student pursuing dual degrees in commerce and global development, has been doing his part for the environment as a co-founder of a sustainable food business. He will soon be spreading his message on the impact our dietary choices can have on the environment at the Kingston Climate Change Symposium on Thursday, Jan. 16. The symposium is being hosted by Sustainable Kingston in partnership with the City of Kingston.

Hawkins founded nufuuds with three other Queen’s students during the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) in 2019. When Hawkins entered QICSI, he did not have a team of co-founders, but he quickly found a group of environmentally-minded students who wanted to use entrepreneurship to promote sustainability. After considering several ideas, they decided to develop a packaged food business focused on an unlikely ingredient: algae.

Research shows that algae could be a good alternative to meat as it is dense in protein and can actually be carbon-negative if sourced locally. The students’ goal is to eventually produce a range of foods, and they have started by making protein bars. The nufuuds Impact Bar is their first creation, and, after testing over 50 different recipes, Devon believes they have come upon the right mixture of ingredients to make the algae tasty while preserving its nutritional value. The founders next hope to develop foods like algae-based pasta that their customers can use as the basis for meals.

“Queen’s has played a large role in helping me get to the point where I am working on a business that I believe will have a positive impact on the environment. From the inspiration I get from my professors and peers to the guidance I’ve received from our alumni network, I can say that the university has helped me find many ways to merge my interests in sustainability and entrepreneurship,” says Hawkins.

The Kingston Climate Change Symposium is being co-sponsored by Queen’s through the Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). And the Office of Sustainability has conducted a ticket giveaway for the event. In October of 2019, Queen’s held its own forum on climate change, as part of its involvement with the University Climate Change Coalition, and guest speakers from the City of Kingston, including Mayor Bryan Paterson, attended to present and moderate panels.