Ethical Eats

Brought to you by Oxfam @ Queen's

Leave a comment

Females in the Field


When we first started getting involved with Oxfam, the Food Security campaign was all very new, but we had no idea about the different dimensions in which it entailed. As we learned about it, we began to see the true impact individuals could have in the movement for good, wholesome food. When learning about how important farmers could be for their communities, Oxfam Canada sought out to tell the stories of female farmers that were the backbone of their farming center.

Oxfam Canada launched an initiative to raise awareness about the efforts of female farmers: Female Food Heroes.

FFH are women who are working to build a movement for good food – food that is grown well and shared fairly. Oxfam Canada firmly believes that ending hunger begins with women’s rights. The deep injustices of the global food systems greatly disadvantage women and Oxfam Canada works towards helping women find resources to provide and grow good, healthy food for their families. They work to share the stories of women from different communities around Canada that fight against the injustices towards women within the global food system.

Female Food Heroes can be anyone! Your friend, your sister, your wife, or your colleague!

Here, in our Kingston community we have our very own female food hero by the name of Jennifer Varberg. Jennifer works to increase access of healthy food to low-income families by instructing classes at Loving Spoonful.

Check out more stories about inspiring women and how they impact their communities by working tirelessly for the women’s right within the global food system.


Leave a comment

Take a step in the fair direction

This past Saturday the food security campaign from Oxfam @ Queens went to various locations around Kingston to experience the local and fair trade stores that are accessible and affordable to all and especially to students.

Places we went:

The Sleepless Goat Cafe: Contact: 613 545-9646

Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-9pm Saturday& Sunday 8am-9pm

Location: 91 Princess Street Kingston Ontario (15 minute walk from Queens Campus)

What do they do? The sleepless goat is Kingston’s place to go for fair trade drinks, veg-friendly meals and homemade desserts. They were the very first Kingston business to advocate and sell  exclusively fair-trade, organic coffee. They are 100% worker-owned and the place to go for all things fair trade in Kingston!!

Cards Bakery: Contact 613 544-4448

Hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-6pm

Location: 115 Princess Street Kingston Ontario (15 minute walk from Queens Campus)

What are they? Cards Bakery is a local business that provides baked goods and catering to the Kingston community, all homemade products are what makes cards the great business that they are !

John’s Deli: Contact: 613 548-7638

Location: 507 Princess Street Kingston Ontario (12 minute walk from Queens Campus)

What are they? A Kingston local grocer supplying Kingston with local, organic quality groceries! Affordable, local, organic and close for students in the Kingston Community!

Old Farm Fine Fresh Foods: Contact: 613 546-3276

Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-6:30pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm

Location: 204 Barrie Street Kingston Ontario (8 minute walk from Kingston)

What do they do? Old Farm Fine Fresh Foods uses all fresh and local ingredients!!

Oxfam Fair Trade Snack Bar: Location?? Right on campus!! We are located in the lower level of the JDUC at the walk home booth!

All fairtrade chocolate, teas, dried fruit, coffee and hot chocolate!

After travelling to all these different places around Kingston we realized that going LOFT is easier than we thought! There are so many places to get local organic food like John’s and Old farm Fine Fresh foods! Fair trade coffee is so easy to buy from the sleepless goat or the snack bar on campus! Instead of going to a non fairtrade coffee place downtown we can go to the sleepless goat instead, support a worker owned business and buy fairtrade coffee! All of the places we visited this past weekend were affordable, close to campus and definitely had some delicious looking fresh veggies, and many other products. By changing where we buy our food as consumers we can make a large step towards furthering the LOFT movement. Try some of these local places and see if you’re willing to make the change, take a step in the fair direction.



Leave a comment

New Year, New Semester, New Food Choices

Before coming to university the idea of LOFT food really had no meaning to me, I didn’t really hear much about it, or think it was something as big as it was. By the end of high-school the idea of fair trade had come about in my one politics class or in my one social justice club meetings but I really never knew fully what it was, what LOFT meant, or why it was as important as it is. By the time I got to university and joined Oxfam all I heard about was LOFT, local organic and fair trade food, but I still didn’t fully know why it was so important, or why my small choices of where I purchase my food or what brands of food I purchase could make any kind of a difference. I also thought that as a university student on a budget I wouldn’t be able to afford all these organic foods or fair trade foods at my grocery store that were more expensive then the rest. It was always just easier to go to metro right by the university and pick up the cheapest products, not thinking about the ethics of it all.

So why is it important than to go LOFT? What does buying fair-trade and local organic foods actually do?

Organic agriculture? What is it, why is it important??

The aim of organic agriculture is to serve mankind in developing sustainable kinds of agriculture, as climate change continues to grow we are continuously looking for ways to reduce the negative impact we have on our world and society and to be able to sustain agriculture to make enough and as good food for everyone. A starting point is a healthy and living soil, the basis for healthy plants and animals. This all aims at creating quality food while still taking care of the environment. As for processing and labelling it would be only fair to not only treat our animals and nature as a vital social justice importance but to also remain consistent with treating small farmers and local farmers from constant exploitation.

This leads into fair trade and its importance as well. The fair trade movement started as a way to call on the injustices of international trade, as it was very much in favour of the industrialized developed countries of the time. Fair trade began to counter this way of trade with criteria for sustainable and fair trading methods.

These two concepts of organic and fair trade food both coexist as ways to prioritize sustainable development for all, taking care of our environment and agriculture, while also maintaining equal rights and protecting local and small businesses from exploitation.

Where does the local part come from?

There are many benefits from buying locally, however also buying from developing countries in a fair trade setting. Locally buying can create many benefits such as more trust as a consumer by having face to face contact with the supplier, here are some categories of the consumption of local products as listed from:

–      Product: consumption according to the season, organic, locally produced, less meat, little packaging, cooking with basic ingredients (not processed or pre-cooked) and GM free.

–      Price: fair trade, a realistic price for producers in our regions, a reasonable salary for every actor in the supply chain

–      Place: buying large amounts once a week in the supermarket, buying at the farm, system of subscription to weekly fruit and vegetable packages

–      Promotion/information: close contact with farmers, information about producer and the supply chain.

Many debates have sprung about how to do both local organic food and fair trade and here is a perfect quote to sum up the solution:

John McAllion, Chair of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, “There need be no conflict between buying Fairtrade and buying local produce. Buy local meat, potatoes and dairy products to support your local economy and buy quality Fairtrade coffee, tea and other products that can’t be grown locally to help Fairtrade producers in the developing world get a fair deal”.

So why does this all matter to you specifically?

As consumers we all have the ability to change the rules of the game, to change how our food is produced, how our agriculture can remain sustainable and how our workers, local farmers, small business owners are treated, how to avoid exploitation and create a world of fair trading and producing. This change starts with us, what we buy and what we endorse matters. By changing a small part of your life and trying to buy locally more often than you already are or by purchasing fair trade items, the terms of trade and production can change. If we all changed our ways slightly eventually more and more we can strive for a fair trade and sustainable world.

After learning about all of these reasons to make fair trade and local organic food choices and learning what these terms actually mean, I have realized that even as a university student I can make a change in my everyday life. I can go to the farmers market more often, or to local businesses for my fruits and veggies. I can purchase fair trade teas and chocolate every once in a while, or buy fair trade coffee for similar prices! Where can I do this? Well next weekend the food security campaign will be going to the many different local and fair trade places around Kingston to learn how easy it really is it go LOFT and how we can really integrate this into our own life. Read our blog next week to see pictures and descriptions of various different places around Kingston and how we are able to go LOFT!

Where did I get this info?

Check out these websites for more info!!