Report: Campus food services not meeting student needs

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Food services on Ontario campuses are not meeting the needs of students, according to a report released today by the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. The Final Report of the Task Force on Campus Food Services compiles data collected from students' unions, campus groups and more than 7,000 individual students on the affordability, accessibility, quality and diversity of food options at Ontario colleges and universities.

"This report confirms the concerns students have raised about access to healthy, affordable and diverse food on campuses," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "When a student cannot afford to eat healthy food, their academic performance and health suffer."

Sixty-three per cent of students said they do not think food on campus is affordable and 62 per cent said quality of food does not reflect the high costs. Yesterday, a report released by the Ontario Association of Food Banks found that there has been a significant jump in the number of students and recent graduates using Ontario food banks.

The task force also found that 84 per cent of students want greater access to fresh produce on campus and 71 per cent believe there are not enough late night food options. A lack of vegan, vegetarian, Kosher and Halal food options were also identified as a barrier to students accessing food on campus.

"No student should have to study on an empty stomach," said Woods. "Institutions have a responsibility to ensure that students can access affordable food that meets their dietary needs at school."

Some of the solutions presented by students to improve campus food services include installing additional cooking facilities in residences and more microwaves on campus, implementing student-run food cooperatives, holding regular farmers markets on campus and offering more flexible meal plans.

The full report can be viewed at cfsontario.ca.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province's largest student organization, representing more than 300,000 college and university students at 38 students' unions in all regions of the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information:

Alastair Woods, Chairperson: (647) 378-8942 (cell) or chairperson@cfsontario.ca

Kaley Kennedy, Communications Coordinator: (647) 302-3891 (cell) or communications@cfsontario.ca