September 25, 2020

By HEATHER KENNERY

The first month of school is coming to an end, and some students are still learning how to live on their own for the first time. Making meals is often one of the biggest adjustments. It’s why so many students rely on Kraft Dinner.
In reality students can make healthier meals.
With local farmers and markets surrounding K-W, we are given multiple options to choose healthier and more sustainable ways to eat. Foodlink Waterloo Region is a non-profit group that promotes eating locally. On their website www.foodlink.ca, they talk about why knowing where your food is grown is important. It says that local food not only tastes better due to having less preservatives, but it also helps to support local businesses and decrease your personal ecological footprint.
An ecological footprint measures how much natural resources you use, and how that affects Earth’s ability to continuously renew those resources. From filling up your tank with gas, heating your home, and even knowing where your clothes are sewn and shipped from; becoming informed is never a bad thing.
Conestoga College is joining the local food wagon too. With a new garden, Conestoga Acres, which blossomed this summer, students are learning how to grow their own food, and enjoy it too. Jana Vodicka, environmental co-ordinator for Conestoga College, is helping to bring awareness to students about sustainable food.
“It’s really about taking control over one of the most fundamental life necessities, and finding out that it’s not that difficult,” said Vodicka.
After starting the garden, Vodicka said choosing local should really be an easy one.
“It’s our choice of purchase that determines what farmers will grow and if they will grow anything. Supporting the local farmers supports our community and our overall health,” she said.
When choosing local food one option is visiting the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. It is open on Thursdays and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and offers an abundance of fresh and locally grown veggies, fruits and meat. Going to a farmers’ market is a great way to see how much local farmers depend on their community. The market also gives students a cost-effective way to eat healthier food.
Jillian Moffatt, a practical nursing student in her first year, said being a student means looking at the dollar signs.
“I’m price driven right now. If the price was right on local food I would choose it, but it’s about the money.”
If you’re a student who is using the bus to get around, you can also find local food at the grocery store. Stickers on food tell you where it is being farmed, and, therefore, how far it has travelled before it ends up on your plate.
A few kilometres is always better than a few thousand kilometres.

Here’s what’s in season now:
Apples, bok choy, sweet corn, tomatoes (field), cucumbers (field), green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, radishes, onions, celery, lettuce, spinach, peppers (field), squash, pumpkin, potatoes, leeks, sweet potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, garlic and mushrooms.