Sustainable food

Universities across Canada are moving toward implementing sustainability policies in areas such as waste management, water conservation, energy management and sustainable food.

An area of high interest among students is sustainable and healthy food options. Among the movement for sustainable food, nationally there is an emphasis on organic, Fairtrade, cruelty-free meat and eggs, and sustainable seafood with a particular emphasis on the procurement of food that is healthy and local.

UNB is working on several different initiatives to increase access to healthy sustainable food options.

Free food planters


UNB aims to engage our campus community in personal and social change through sustainable urban agriculture. UNB Sustainability has established sustainable (self-watering) free food planters around the Fredericton campus. Food from our planters is available to anyone on campus. These planters provide access to free food without any judgment to its users. Any excess food in the future will be distributed through our campus food bag program, our campus farmers market or donated to our local food bank.

The garden planters are a practical learning laboratory, where participants gain full exposure to the process of growing food as well as exposure to different types of food used by other cultures on campus. Find the locations of the Free Food Planters on the Sustainability Map

UNB food voucher program

UNBF has a Food Voucher program in place of the traditional food bank model. The food voucher program offers students Sobeys gift cards which can be used for gas, food or medications. Financial aid is granted based on financial need and on a short-term basis. Students can access the program by consulting with the financial aid office or through a referral from another service such as a counsellor or nutritionist.

Hydroponic Greenhouse

hydroponic lettuce

In the spring of 2019, UNB Sustainability partnered with the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management (FOREM) to create a hydroponic system on UNB Fredericton Campus. The hydroponic system is set up in the rooftop greenhouse on the New Forestry Building. The hydroponic greenhouse provides education, training and local food opportunities for the UNB community. FOREM students and staff utilize the system for growing herbs and vegetables on campus year-round.

The hydroponic greenhouse is also used to teach others about sustainable agriculture systems, as well as give handsion training for growing food in a hydroponic system. Unlike conventional gardening, hydroponic plants are grown year-round in the greenhouse, therefor classes have the opportunity to practically learn about food systems during the academic year.


UNB Campus Food Strategy Group

Food nourishes individuals and brings together communities. Food affects our relationships, environments, health, cultures, economies and sense of self. Simply put, food connects us all. UNB SU Food is a part of a larger national network of groups promoting local and sustainable food systems on university campuses. By working with nine other university campuses across Canada, we are creating resources, models and a larger network of support for building sustainable food systems.


  • Educate and inform students, staff, faculty and administrators about food systems and food security.
  • Increase local and sustainable food availability and procurement on campus.
  • Grow, eat and nourish sustainable food practices.
  • Network with students, faculty, administration and the community to represent food issues and good food solutions.
  • Promote an understanding of food, from seed to plate, and identify new opportunities for sustainability and accessibility.
  • Serve as a model for other institutions about how to build infrastructure and affect positive change for ourselves as students, our communities and our local economy.

UNBSU Food has many sustainable food programs on campus such as the Campus Community Garden, Fresh Food Bags, campus market, lunch and learns, and workshops on sustainability, food insecurity or security and waste reduction. They are also partners of the Good Food Challenge and conference.

Campus market

A Fall Farmers market pilot began on October 5, 2016, at UNB Fredericton. Produce is provided by the Ville Cooperative in Marysville, Fredericton, which grows its food using organic practices and is located less than ten kilometers from the UNB Fredericton campus. The produce was sold at UNB for a reduced rate to make the produce friendly for a student budget.

Fresh Food Bags

The UNB Student Union offers a monthly $15.00 “Fresh Food Bags”. This program is community-based and supported by volunteers. They source locally as much as possible. This service is available to the entire Fredericton community and surrounding areas. It provides an affordable option for individuals, students and families to have better access to healthy food.

In the fall of 2016 the UNB Student Union hired a Campus Food Coordinator to help expand this initiative, along with promotion at the Campus Farmers Market.

Campus community garden


The construction of the UNB Fredericton Community Garden was finished in the late summer of 2017. During the garden’s pilot growing year in 2018, all the garden plots were filled by renters who had the opportunity to practice their green thumb in one of the 50 4’x8’ plots. Located behind Neville Homestead, the garden is accessible to students, faculty and staff. A paved area and raised garden beds also provide accessibility for the physically impaired. The garden is open from dawn until dusk. All are welcome to visit and see what is growing!

The garden has been a facilitator of partnerships and initiatives across campus and Fredericton. Whether that be the Artzone group creating four beautiful murals for the garden, partnering with the Ville Cooperative on the northside to compost organic waste from campus, or supplying produce to the Cellar Pub and Campus Market, the garden has shown to be a sustainability hub at UNB Fredericton.

The creation of the garden would not have been possible without the Campus Food Strategy Group as well as contributions from the Environmental Trust fund, the UNB Student Union, and UNB Sustainability and Facilities Management.

Food Service


Dining Services at UNB Fredericton are organized by Sodexo.

Sodexo has shifted sustainability to be a focus and is committed to developing and measuring ways to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, promote responsible waste management and reduce the use of toxic chemicals. Some of Sodexo's efforts include:
  • Sodeoxo supports local businesses and communities by purchasing from local producers and growers.
  • In April, Sodexo runs a month-long program called Servathon. This raises funds, collects non-perishable food items and donates the time of their staff to support local Food Banks and other hunger-related charities.
  • Shifr to cage-free egg sources as part of their Better Tomorrow Plan.

Saint John

The Dining Services at UNB Saint John are organized by Chartwells.

Chartwells has incorporated Wellness and Sustainability as key pillars of its food service. They make efforts to source healthy food locally, to support the community.