Acadia University is the first in Canada to achieve an Organic Campus designation from the Canada Organic Trade Association. The certification was awarded during Organic Week activities held at the University, located in Mi’kma’ki, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, from September 12-18, 2022.
Research suggests that 18-24-year-olds are the largest consumer group of organic products. Their demand for sustainable, organic, and local options is what prompted the creation of the Organic Campus program. The goal of Acadia’s designation is to help students access food that fits with their values at their academic institution.
“Acadia students are globally minded and discriminating about the food we serve on campus," said Dr. Peter Ricketts, Acadia's President and Vice-Chancellor. "This designation recognizes our commitment to them and high standards for optimizing health and sustainability in food services.”
The Organic Campus Program requires participating institutions to carry organic products and feature organic educational resources online. A steering committee involving students and administrators must also be established to manage procurement programs for organic products.
“We are thrilled that Acadia University jumped on board, sourcing organic products for campus and holding events to educate students," said Tia Loftsgard, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association. "Acadia has been enthusiastic about their commitment to the program, and we are pleased they received their official designation as an Organic Campus during Organic Week."
Acadia began working with the Canada Organic Trade Association in early 2022. In March, the partners launched the National Organic Campus program along with the sponsor Nature’s Path Organics.
Following the launch, the Acadia Sustainability Office, Acadia Dining Services, and several student leaders collaborated to meet the requirements and establish the program on campus.
The program will build on past and current initiatives at Acadia, focusing on sustainable food and student education.
In 1893, Acadia established the Wolfville School of Horticultural and today, programs like biology, nutrition and dietetics, and community development continue to embed food systems in education and service for students.
From its early beginnings until 1956, Acadia operated a campus farm where students worked for room and board to grow food for the campus. In 2008, students started a new campus and community organic farm focusing on teaching, research, and community service.
Today, Acadia has comprehensive food service and operations strategies on campus. The new Organic Campus program will help Acadia meet the sustainable food goals outlined in this plan. It will also help the University meet its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production.
The next steps in the Acadia organic program are promoting organic products across the campus, increasing institutional procurement of organic products, and continuing to support local organic producers such as JUST US! and Tap Root Farms.
For more information about the program at Acadia, visit sustainability.acadiau.ca
To learn more about COTA, visit https://canada-organic.ca/en/organic