Laurier Food Justice Garden Project promotes food landscaping and food justice on campus – The Cord
The Laurier Food Justice Garden is a project that aims to transform the campus landscape from decorative planters into useful community-based landscaping.
The founder, Veda Hingert-McDonald, is a founding member of Climate Justice Laurier, where they wanted to integrate social and racial justice into their group’s climate activism.
“It occurred to me that we are advocating more pollinator planting on campus … and if we’re trying to change what is grown, why not benefit both pollinators and students and the community by we feed the people? ,” She said.
Hingert-McDonald was thrilled that this project was visible to the Laurier community.
“I like the idea that instead of having to grow food” over there on a farm “where we don’t necessarily all see it, it can be something people are really involved in and are all proud of,” She said.
She was inspired by the GSA report which found significant inequality in food security status for racial students in Laurier, and with this project she wanted to support racialized and indigenous groups.
“The hope is that there will be more educational pieces on indigenous methods of cultivation and conservation [food],” She said.
The groceries from the garden are distributed through a free LSPRIG grocery distributor at Martin Luther University College.
“I feel like I’m in a student population, [food insecurity] doesn’t really get much talked about about it … I like the idea of contributing to a solution by literally handing out food to people who need it and I like the idea that hopefully we can show that food landscaping can be really beautiful and it does. You don’t have to be hiding in someone’s back yard, ”she said.
Hingert-McDonald struggled at the beginning of the project as COVID-19 guidelines made it difficult to have volunteers on campus.
“I spent a couple of days all alone shoveling myself … after all, we got permission to have a small team of registered volunteers, which was really great.”
She values volunteers so they can get involved in this cause too.
“The feedback I got from some of the volunteers was not only that I was learning how to grow food, but it also felt really good to be able to contribute, and that’s something I think I should it can empower people to go out and do other great things. “
Permission to use the main campus for the garden was also an obstacle, but was ultimately approved. Hingert-McDonald and her group wanted it close to their founding symbol, the climate mural on campus.
According to Hingert-McDonald, the food garden will “build a culture of caring for one another and of racial and nutritional justice”.
It can be seen on the main campus where students walk past it every day.
“I think it can be really beautiful, just like a decorative flower garden, but with a deeper purpose.”