Ethical Eats

Brought to you by Oxfam @ Queen's

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It All Starts At Home

“Feel what it’s like to truly starve and I guarantee that you’ll forever think twice before wasting food” – Criss Jami


Throughout the last year I have been so privileged to work with Oxfam at Queen’s as their project director for the food security campaign. Before this year, I didn’t really think much about where my food came from, how it is produced or how privileged I am to have food on my plate every night. I used to hear the statistics and not really absorb what they meant. I never went into depth to understand our global food system or the inequalities that so obviously arise from it. I thought I could never change it because what I did couldn’t matter or couldn’t ever be big enough to truly create a change. I have never been so wrong.

While working with the GROW campaign I have discovered that there are better ways to grow, share and live together so that every person has enough. Our planet produces more than enough food for everyone, however 900 million people go to be hungry every night. I can list several shocking and terrible statistics like this to demonstrate all the inequalities deeply rooted in our food system, however I would like to focus today on one in specific:

Around 1/3 of all food produced is wasted. This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of all food wasted. 

Throughout the last few years, the Queen’s food security team has tried to emphasize various issues within the global food system, we have tried to encourage all to get involved and create a global change. We have learned through the GROW campaign that we can join together and create a change in the way land deals are made, we have learned the story behind our favourite brands such as coca cola and we have learned how important it is to buy locally, buy organic and buy fair trade. As the year comes to an end, we are all going to deeply miss working with the food security campaign. We do however have one last challenge for all of you before we say goodbye for the year.

As a university student I can safely say that living in a house alone for the first time has tested me in the way I buy my food but also in the way I waste it. The walk to the grocery store can definitely be a challenge and if you are all like me, we stock up when mom and dad drop us off with the car. As we approach the end of the year however, keep in mind that most of us will be leaving for the summer and all that food will go to waste if we don’t plan ahead. Over the next few weeks while buying and preparing your food please take these 3 steps!

  1. Buy your food with thought (don’t buy more than you’ll be able to use)
  2. Cook it with care (Cook enough so that you can eat it without wasting any)
  3. Eat what will spoil (Is something going to expire soon? Eat that first!)

Thinking about these steps will help reduce the amount of food you will waste in the next few weeks, however some of us may have too much food stored in the house already, so what should we do about that? The first thing you can do is be informed about what is currently in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. This will help you to stop buying more food or help you to stop eating out. We all gets cravings for pizza some nights but try to think about all the food that you could be preparing so that none of it goes to waste. Try gathering your housemates to see how much food is in your house currently, offer to share that huge carton of milk in your fridge or those ten frozen meals that you can’t possibly finish.

If you find yourself on that last day of exams realizing that you have far too much food that may go to waste while you’re home for the summer, please think about alternative ways to ensure all that food doesn’t go to waste. Donate it to a local food bank! There are so many people in need right here in Kingston and so many options to donate! Get in contact with a local food bank and see what you can donate! Here are some local places and contact information for you to plan ahead:

Partners in Mission Food Bank 140 Hickson Ave 613-544-4534

Salvation Army 342 Patrick St 613-548-4411 Ext 21

St. Vincent de Paul 1200 Princess St 46-3333

Rideau Heights Community Church  183 Weller Ave 613-541-3947

The global food system is full of inequalities, but what I have learned is there is always hope for change and that hope starts with each person individually. What we do in our everyday life matters. We need to realize the effect we all have as consumers.  It is so easy to waste, and to block out the big issues in the world by thinking they have nothing to do with you. In reality these issues have everything to do with all of us. Together we can contribute to changing the inequalities that persist in our global food system by changing small things in our everyday life to create a ripple of change. Join me and the rest of the food security team in continuing the journey to create a better food system so that no one has to go to bed hungry. Continue to listen to the issues, be informed about where and how your food is being produced and most of all think consciously about buying and wasting your food.

Please remember, the food that you waste today alone could be a meal for those who will be going to bed hungry tonight.



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Oxfam America has recently done a story on a new rice intensification system in Cambodia.

What has changed in the way rice is grown in Cambodia?

-5 Years ago a women learned different techniques on how to grow rice

-She tested these techniques on small areas of her land and slowly began to incorporate these techniques across her land

-In 2010 the women attended training sessions with Oxfam’s partner RACHANA and learned about the system of Rice intensification (SRI)

Whats is SRI?

-Is a method aimed at increasing the yield of rice production in farming

-Low-tech, low-cost way of growing rice that concentrates on quality rather than quantity of rice seeds, seeding and plants


-Planting each seed individually in rows can help farmers use a mechanical weeder in between rows so they can save time and use less water to flood the field to control weeds

-SRI works well because plants have more space between them so they can grow bigger and produce more grains of rice

-They have stronger roots that help withstand higher winds and rains so that they do not bend and break

-They are also less vulnerable to destructive pests which allows farmers to to use less pesticides saving both money and the environment


-Trains farmers by assembling farmer field schools

-Each group has a farmer promoter who gets special training and ongoing advice from group members

-RACHANA is creating a new environment for farmers to learn from each other, and to try new ideas

Standards of living have improved!!

With the use of SRI and RACHANA’s efforts to create a way for farmers to learn from each other and improve, the standard of living in Cambodia has improved. Several farmers have been able to save money, people are planting only twice a year and growing more, people have enough to eat and farmers life are improving.

Learn More!



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How Do You Feed the World?

Land grabs: land deals that happen without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities that often result in farmers being forced from their homes and families left hungry.

In most developing countries, women are primary agricultural producers, and ensure household food security. They cultivate 60-80% of the food in said countries. There are approximately 500 million small farms, supporting 2 billion people. Land deals occurring between 2000-2010 accounted to 203 million hectares—eight times the size of the UK. The effect of these land grabs can especially be since in Africa. During decolonization, Africa exported 1.3 million tonnes of food every year between 1966-1970, whereas today, Africa imports 25% of its food.

This Thursday, Oxfam @ Queen’s food security campaign will be screening the documentary “Land Rush” in Kingston Hall. By doing so, we will try to create conversation and encourage to students to ask questions about the issues surrounding these grabs.

About the film: 75% of Mali’s population are farmers, but rich nations like are leasing their land in order to establish large agribusinesses. Many Malians do not welcome these efforts, seeing them as yet another manifestation of imperialism. This documentary follows an American sugar developer Sosumar scheme – a $600 million partnership between the Government of Mali to lease 200-square kilometers of prime agricultural land for a plantation and factory. The difference is that the developer sees the involvement of the local community as key to the project’s success and partners with local farmers as contracted sugar cane growers. The scheme is not welcomed by everyone, and the Sosumar experiment comes to an end when a military coup takes place in Mali.


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Land Grabs? A global problem


Almost 900 million people go to bed hungry every night. This is happening because of deep injustices in our food system. Inequalities in land, resources and food distribution are ever present and ever growing. This needs to change, together we can make a new food system for all. What is a major problem in the global food system? Land grabs,  an ever present problem that has arisen out of our broken system.

What is a land grab?

A land grab is the buying or leasing of large scale lands by both domestic and transnational companies, governments and individuals. These buyers enter into land within developing countries and ask for the removal of all local people. If those local individuals do not leave they are removed by force. There is no consent by the local communities and no warning. These local families who had relied on this land for food, water and shelter are now left with absolutely nothing to live off.

What are some of the facts?

60 percent of land grabs have grown crops to produce biofuels rather than food

2/3 of land grabs take place in developing countries with the most serious hunger problems

60 percent of food produced on land bought by foreign investors is intended for export rather than feeding local communities

Although Oxfam has done much to better the issue of land grabs, they are sadly still taking place. However with your help Oxfam has made change…

  1. The World Bank has committed itself to a new UN standard on how land is governed.
  2. In 2011, 769 families were forced out of their homes and off their land in Guatemala. Over 100,000 people signed the petition to get Guatemala’s government to declare support for their local communities. 140 families have gotten their land back.
  3. Over 270,000 people joined Oxfam’s behind the brands campaign calling on Pepsi and Coca Cola to help stop land grabs. In 2013, Coca Cola-the worlds biggest buyer of sugar- announced commitments to protect the rights of local lands. Pepsi and Nestle later followed.

This week the Oxfam @ Queen’s food security campaign took over several tables within our Athletic and Recreational Centre. By doing this we tried to demonstrate how unfair this issue of land grabbing really is. We have tried to raise awareness and make students think about what we can do to change our food system, improve the issues and create a fairer world for all. This issue is important, even though we do not see or hear of it’s effect within our own daily lives.

Oxfam has done so much to help, now it is time for us to step up. Check out the GROW campaign at Oxfam and understand the issues such as land grabs that have contributed to creating our broken food system.


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Inspirational Food Bloggers!


1. Super Healthy Kids

This blog is run by three mothers who want to make fruits and veggies easy to feed to your kids. They feature lots of easy, fun, and delicious recipes for your kids that are creative and your kids won’t get sick of. This is great for parents who are want their kids to eat make of the good stuff, or even for adults who want to find fresh, new ways to incorporate fruits and veggies in your life. They have posts about “12 Candy Free Valentines Day Ideas,” “Creamy Blender Avocado Dip,” “One-Pot Pumpkin Quinoa Chili” and so many more!


2. My Real Food Family

Aprils Mims runs this blog that’s all about choosing foods that are as natural as possible and strives to share recipes that fast and nutritious for her family, and she’s also a strong advocate for helping families become as healthy as possible. Not only does she feature lots of creative, fresh recipes but also some tips and recipes about juicing and she also has a feature about her personal journey as a marathoner.


3. Green Smoothing Girl

Robyn Openshaw runs this bog and she has holds being healthy and maintaining a good lifestyle close to heart. She’s lost over 200 pounds and overcome many health problems by simply switching to wholesome and natural eating. As result, she lives a life of health problems without being dependent on drugs. She has her own Youtube where she posts videos about “Yoga Stretches for Back Pain Relief,” “Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie,” and some yummy looking recipes like: “Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili.” She also features some of her favorite books health and weight loss.


4. Easy Natural Food

Debbie runs this blog and only uses traditional fats and natural sweeteners and works hard to incorporate all of these qualities into recipes, but still maintains the aspects of quick and easy that is necessary for busy lifestyles. The blog focuses on foods made at home and based with wholesome and natural plant and animal ingredients. She features themes like “Sunday Night Soup Night” and “Summer Salad Sundays” and also has recipes like “Trail Mix Oatmeal,” “Carrot-Zucchini Muffins (gluten-free),” and lots of others!


5. Betty Bake

Betty Bake, a blog by nutrition coach Bernice Griffith’s, promotes a life of eating GMO free, gluten free, low in sugar, while using all natural whole ingredients. Bernice seeks to introduce easy ways in which people can start living a healthy life style by incorporating fresh, organic, and natural foods in their daily eating habits. Her blog emphasizes the importance of buying preservative free, local, and organic whenever possible, but she says, “Life has to have CHOCOLATE!,” so enjoy everything in moderation. Here you can find easy recipes, tips on eating natural, and fun posts about her lifestyle and family! Check out this blog at:


6. Inspired Edibles

Montreal born, Kelly Mulclair, runs the blog called Inspired Edibles, which showcases her journey towards a natural evolution towards health and wellness. Kelly’s blog is a culmination of her passions of health, creativity, and FOOD! The blog spreads awareness of the significance of cutting out all those processed and refined foods and substituting them for whole natural foods free of preservatives, colourants, enhancers, and other fictional substituents. Kelly explains how she strives to “source ingredients locally and support organic growers.” Here you can read about Kelly’s tips on how to be more food conscious, live healthily, and great recipes of course! Check out her blog at:


7. The Garden of Eating

Another blog to check out is The Garden of Eating, written by Eve Fox. This blog shows readers the ways in which they can easily make their kitchen, community, and even the world, a little greener! On this blog, Eve shares tips on how to grow and produce your own food, as well as ways to incorporate locally grown ingredients in your kitchen and cooking. She also shares her thoughts on topics such as the importance of buying pasture-raised eggs from a local farm to tips on how to help the honey industry and the bees. Visit her blog at:


8. 100 Days of Real Food

Lisa Leake’s blog, 100 Days of Real Food is about her family’s journey of taking a pledge to live 100 days without any processed food. In her blog she posts recipes, which include her easy spinach gnocchi recipe and breaded shrimp recipe, ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, and facts about food marketing. Through her blog she tries to influence other how possible it is to live without processed food and make a healthy lifestyle change. The blog also provides meal plans for those who wish to take the pledge to eat real, unprocessed foods. Visit her blog at:


9. Healthy Green Kitchen

Winnie Abramson runs the blog Healthy Green Kitchen and is the author of One Simple Change, which compiles fifty small changes that can improve people’s everyday well-being. Winnie has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and she uses her insight and passion for holistic nutrition and green living to run her blog. Healthy Green Kitchen is composed of Winnie’s organic gardening, beekeeping, keeping backyard chickens, and her favourite recipes, such as her kimchi recipe and her multiple grancola recipes.


10. Food Renegade

Kristen Michaelis is a self-proclaimed food rebel who runs the blog Food Renegade. Her philosophy puts belief in fresh, wholesome foods and against food labels. Kristen’s blog consist of decoding food labels of products like So Delicious coconut milk and French’s Worcestershire sauce, understanding the food system through food politics and philosophy, and recipes, such as, her oatmeal almond granola bar and mango guacamole recipies. Join Kristen to rebel against the unhealthy foodculture and follow a diet with nutritious, wholesome foods at:


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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.

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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.