Food

Food

Sustainability-Food.jpg

How We Support Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world's blueprint for achieving a more sustainable and prosperous future for all, and Centennial is committed to turning these global goals into local businesses. By working with our partners and the college community to implement a variety of sustainable food initiatives, we are proud to contribute towards:

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; and
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

For more information about the SDGs, you can visit our Sustainable Development Strategy.

Sustainable Food 

Centennial College is committed to working with our community to support the diversity of food options on campuses, the sourcing of local food, and supporting on-campus food initiatives that educate and engage staff and students, including our culinary programs and events, and our on-site community gardens. We have also established college committees that are tasked to continually look for opportunities to improve food services on campus and work to address issues of food insecurity that are being felt mostly by our student populations.

Sustainable Food Initiatives:

Feast On® Certification

Centennial College's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts has become the first academic institution to receive the Feast On® certification for its sourcing of local food and beverage products used in the academic programs, as well as purchased for the school's experiential-learning foodservice operations. Feast On is a certification program established by the Culinary Tourism Alliance that recognizes businesses committed to sourcing Ontario grown and produced food and drink. 

Centennial College’s food service provider Aramark has partnered with Bamford Produce Company Limited and 100 km Foods Inc., to provide the opportunity to source local food to be used across our Centennial College food outlets. These partnerships ensure that as soon as an Ontario fruit and vegetable produce season starts, those fruits and vegetables are always sourced from Ontario farmers. By supporting local farmers, the benefits are many including supporting the local economy, protecting Ontario farmland, minimizing the need to import foods that have higher carbon footprints and spreading awareness on the variety of fruits and vegetables Ontario has to offer.

The Ocean Wise Program

Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts and The Local Cafe and Restaurant source ocean wise seafood products. Ocean Wise is a conservation and education program, which provides chefs, restaurants and suppliers sustainable seafood alternatives to support healthy lakes, rivers and oceans. Ocean Wise recommends both farmed and wild seafood as sustainable, but these options must be abundant and resilient to fishing pressures; well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research; harvested in a method that ensured limited bycatch of other sea life; and harvested in ways that limit damage to marine and aquatic habitats.

Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council

Centennial College’s food service provider Aramark sources and serves sustainable seafood bearing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) seal or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) seal.  These internationally recognized seals ensure that any wild-caught or farmed seafood is done so in a sustainable and social responsible manner. The MSC focuses on wild-caught seafood, certifying fisheries that meet its rigorous standards assessed by an independent auditor. Similarly, the ASC focuses on farmed seafood operations, certifying aquaculture operations which meet its rigorous standards assessed by an independent auditor. .

It is estimated that $31 billion worth of food is wasted in Canada each year, Centennial College’s food service provider Aramark is committed to advancing programs to support measures which reduce food waste. Aramark has developed a complete food waste prevention platform called LeanPath, which is an automated food waste tracking technology. This data-collection tool provides their food service workers with the information needed to reduce food waste during menu creation, planning and cooking.

Have you ever wondered what the carbon footprint of your diet is? Animal-based foods have a bigger carbon footprint than plant-based foods. For example, beef production uses 20 times the land and produces 20 times the emissions compared to growing beans, per gram of protein. Centennial College’s food service provider Aramark has developed the Plant-Powered program, which reduced wastewater and the carbon footprint associated with food, through menu re-engineering over 150 new recipes which move the meat away from the center of the plate or replacing entrees with on-trend international plant-based proteins.

Established in 2018, Centennial College has two community food gardens located at both Progress and Ashtonbee Campus, giving new meaning to local fresh food! Gardens at both campuses involve staff and students in selecting what food to grow, prepping and planting the garden beds, watering, weeding, pruning and harvesting.

The Progress Campus garden is supported by the Culinary Arts program, in which students learn about growing, harvesting and seasonal cooking. The Ashtonbee Campus garden is supported by the Community Development Program and draws connections between food insecurity and the need for urban food production, and staff and students that work in the garden get to take home part of the harvest!

Both gardens incorporate indigenous plantings, which represent three main agricultural crops of many indigenous groups, which include varieties of corn, bean and squash. The Ashtonbee garden also has a sacred medicine wheel, with sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco planted to represent the teachings of the four directions.

More broadly, the gardens promote inclusivity and engagement on campus; offer a space for staff and students to thrive, build their own gardening skills and share farm to table tools; and offers a unique green space to contribute to staff and student mental and physical health.

Centennial College Food Services encompass a variety of food options and vendors, which include: Aramark (and their associated national franchise brands) located across all five campuses; the Centennial College Student Association Inc. (CCSAI) which manages The Union Bar & Grill which is student-run and located at Progress campus; and The School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts which manages The Local Restaurant and Café, as well as, the Centennial College Events Centre which are entirely student-run as part of the Culinary Arts Program.

The Food Service Forum (FSF) has been established to allow for all Food Services Operators to collaborate and work together to define, sustain and monitor strategic directions to substantively improve community members’ expectations and experiences with food quality, offerings, and services at the college.  Secondly, this allows for a structured open forum to discuss and advise the Food Service operators on topics related to the operations, development and execution of a diverse food service program that meets the needs of the Centennial College community.

The main focal areas for the group include: Food quality and diversity, price, service quality, wellness and healthy choices, food security and accessibility, sustainable initiatives and education and communication.

A number of institutions and other local organizations in the community have come together to create a food aggregator table to work together to foster local food initiatives within the Eastern GTA. This group consists of education institutions including Centennial College, hospitals, federal government agencies, charitable grant-making organizations, food distribution companies, community development organizations, and food providers.

The vision is to procure and provide access to local foods and goods in a consistent and sustainable way, keeping seasonality and culinary diversities in mind, and promoting community wealth. To accomplish this, the focus will be given to:

  • Increasing awareness of local food and food security through education, student engagement, marketing, events in the community, employment opportunities/expansion of farming operations, etc.
  • Creating partnerships with community agencies/members
  • Creating connections with farmers and institutions for purchasing

Creating opportunities in technology, coordination, maximizing buying power and centralizing a system through anchor partnership for purchasing staple produce items.

Members of the Food Aggregator include:

  • Centennial College
  • University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Aramark
  • 100KM Foods
  • Green Belt
  • Community Development Council Durham
  • Scarborough Health Network
  • Parks Canada

If you have questions or would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, feel free to contact sustainability@centennialcollege.ca