In partnership with the Concordia Food Coalition, Professor Erik Chevrier and the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability, CultivAction Solidarity Cooperative proposes to offer five students paid internships, for credit, to work with the Concordia Microgreens Program, Loyola Farm and the Concordia Farmers Market. Students will get credit through the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability internship program, where they will participate in 120 hours of experiential learning for three credits. Two students will work at the Loyola farm, two students will grow microgreens and one student will help coordinate the market. This program encourages students to contribute to campus food sovereignty because they will produce food for the student cafes (like the Hive) and provide affordable community sponsored agriculture (CSA baskets) to the Concordia community. This program helps Concordia advance their commitment to advancing hands-on learning and placemaking in urban agriculture and directly supports the Sustainable Food Plan Strategy 8 “Enhance promotion, support and education around the sale of campus and community-grown food through farmers markets”.
On-campus, student-run food production is crucial to building a sustainable and sovereign food system at Concordia. This is a proposal to restart a microgreen growing initiative in the Concordia Greenhouse and provide organic, nutritious greens to Concordians. The Four Season Growing Program previously provided weekly community-sponsored agriculture (CSA) baskets and supplied the Hive with microgreens. We will re-establish these production points and eventually build more capacity for local, sustainable food production initiatives. This project aims to grow over 20lbs of microgreens per week in the Concordia Greenhouse to sell to the Hive Café, at a reduced bulk price, as well as to individual Concordia community members through a CSA program.
Equipping students with agriculture skills is crucial to improve sustainability and food sovereignty at Concordia. Sections 1.2 and 1.6, of the Sustainability Action Plan explicitly call for more hands-on urban agriculture learning opportunities and more student-led food-growing projects.
There is immense demand amongst students for urban agriculture education, but there is a lack of food-related experiential learning courses at the university, and courses offered off-campus are prohibitively expensive (ex. a permaculture course offered at McGill costs $800). This makes agricultural education inaccessible to most students.
With this Living Labs funding, Co-op CultivAction Urban Agriculture School will offer a free summer-long hands-on farming course for 20 Concordia students. Professor Erik Chevrier and Dr. Mohamed Al-Duais (PhD in plant biology) will teach the course along with expert guest instructors. The course will hold lessons at the Duff Ct. Urban Farm in Lachine and gardens on the Loyola Campus such as mind.heart.mouth and the City Farm School plot. Along with formal instruction, students will do several hours per week of hands-on, directed experiential learning at these gardens, providing value to the Concordia campus.