In the 2016-2017 academic year, students active in the sustainable food groups on UBC campus (Nikki Lax, Sam Puddicombe, Meryn Corkery, Sarah Siska, and Dakota Fozzard) proposed a new way to ensure the long term sustainability of the food spaces on campus that worked to provide student with access to sustainable and alternative food experiences by way of created ‘The Sustainable Food Access Fund’.
The stated purpose of ‘The Sustainable Food Access Fund’ was to increase the affordability of four critical sustainable campus food outlets – UBC Sprouts, Agora Cafe, Roots on the Roof, and UBC Farm. This referendum would fund these four initiatives to achieve their goal of providing UBC students access to sustainable food. Agora Cafe and UBC Sprouts would receive funding to continue offering low prices, expand current community programming, and increase sourcing from on campus food producers. UBC Farm and Roots on the Roof would receive funding to implement a student discount.
Students were asked to vote yes in support of the following statement:
“I support the AMS establishing a Sustainable Food Access Fund through a refundable fee of $0.35* to support on campus sustainable food initiatives (subsidize food prices and increase programming at Agora Cafe and UBC Sprouts, and offer a student discount at the UBC Farm Market and Roots on the Roof).”
In March of 2018 the referendum question was successfully passed with a significant proportion of votes in favour from students. Agora will use these funds towards improving it’s sustainability goals.
Our Projections as of May 2019:
We plan on using the funds from the 2018-2019 school year during the summer months (May-August) of 2019. We will use the funds while the cafe is closed for the summer to purchase local produce (mostly from UBC farm) at its peak season. The fresh, local produce will then be processed and properly stored so that we are able to use the fruits and vegetables during the school year (September 2019 – March 2020) for our food production and ultimately to keep our food prices at an affordable cost for students and other customers.