We did a national survey of students - about food. Our findings reveal the huge potential of local, sustainable food to change students' lives for the better, whilst addressing urgent environmental and social issues.
Here are some of our survey's findings on students' attitudes and experiences relating to food - and why they mean universities and colleges are ripe to lead the way to a local, sustainable food revolution!
And it is! Our food system is a massive contributor to climate change - so the more we grow close to home, or buy from places that source from close to home, the better. Plus, knowing we're making ethical choices can make us feel better about ourselves, can't it? So that's a personal wellbeing bonus, too!
Local, sustainably-produced food is fresher, and as a result often better quality and tastier too - because fruit and vegetables degrade as they travel. In addition, food grown closer to home racks up fewer food miles, and also allows us to access more knowledge about - and have more control over - the ethics along the production line (such as the treatment of workers and the impact of pesticides).
Lack of money is an issue for many students, and our survey showed that for some it can impact their diet. This reflects flaws in our economic system; students should not be going hungry - NUS will always strive for social justice through system change. And, at a grassroots (literally...) level, food growing and food cooperative projects can transform student and community lives by putting affordable (or free) food into the hands of those who need it most.
If you grow your own food, it is highly likely to be cheaper and more accessible in the long-run – particularly if you apply for start-up costs and support from Student Eats for your own enterprise.
And what better way to learn than to start your own social enterprise, and build a community to embrace a sustainable food future!