The Sustainable Agriculture Student Association (SASA) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University has created a free community fridge to inspire students to eat healthier and see the positive results of growing their own food.
The fridge is located at the KPU Richmond campus in the student association lounge and the organic produce is grown on site at the Garden City Lands. The initiative was created by KPU’s sustainable agriculture and food system’s department, and the produce is available to all students.
The SASA President Steph Bulman and Vice President Ethan Simonyi-Gindele created the project to give students first access to the local and sustainable food selection from the garden, before donating it to the Richmond Food Bank.
“We put the fridge in a place where people can feel like they can come and not be judged, or have an issue with going to pick up something that they can’t afford,” Bulman says.
“It’s really nice to see that people are taking advantage of it and we have no intention in stopping the project.”
While the produce varies by season, there are always lots of different options to choose from.
“In the spring we have a lot of salad greens, and then as we get into the summer months we get eggplants, tomatoes, and other fruits and veggies,” she says.
The ability to showcase the work that goes into growing the food is also important to the SASA.
“We love to romanticize farming. However, it is hard work, but it is very honorable work. Deciding to grow your own food, it is a big undertaking and not everybody can do it,” Bulman says.
“However, locally grown produce is becoming more and more available and people are kind of waking up to the idea that there’s a way that we can help with the climate crisis,” she says.
The fridge is also there to remind students to eat healthier and be more aware of what they put into their bodies.
“We hope that being able to have fresh organic vegetables available will help people make better choices with their foods. It’s also an education piece by being able to learn about the food and that it is grown so close to the campus,” she says.
The SASA is also looking for more students to join the association, even if they are not part of the agricultural department.
“I think when COVID-19 hit, it was hard for people to feel like they could be social and it was hard for students to actually connect to one another. We have new students who have entered the program over the last few years and it has been really good to see new faces instead of just alumni being part of the group” Bulman says.
“Right now, this is the most students we’ve ever had in the group and we come together to be the voice of what is happening within the campus and the sustainable agriculture department.”
Students interested in joining can email the association at email@example.com.