Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

research impact

For the period 2015–19

№ relevant publications: 451

№ times cited: 4,168

key stats

Dining Services food waste (Lister, Peter Lougheed Hall, and Catering operated by Dining Services): 37 685 kg

Number of graduates from agriculture and aquaculture courses that include sustainability aspects in 2020/21: 475

sample Courses

Stewardship

Lean Path food waste tracking

Lister Hall and Peter Lougheed Hall both use a cloud-based service to track and separate food waste in their cafeterias. This enables more efficient ordering and organics composting.

Campus Food Bank

Since 1991, this student-run service has provided food for thousands in the university community. They also educate clients on healthy eating, affordable shopping and cooking skills.

🔗 Hunger on Campus: A Multi-Method Study of Food Insecurity among Post-Secondary Students at the University of Alberta by Mahitab A Hanbazaza

🔗 Hunger on Campus: Food Insecurity among Post-Secondary Students with Children at the University of Alberta by Sarah D Lee

Sustainable Food Working Group

The Sustainable Food Working Group advances the university’s social, economic and environmental sustainability performance as it relates to sustainable food, primarily by making progress on food-related goals identified in the 2016-2020 Sustainability Plan.

Dining and Food

The University of Alberta is committed to providing healthy, affordable and sustainable food options for everyone across all of its campuses. 

The institution's primary dining contractor has committed to sourcing and serving more healthy, affordable, responsible and sustainable foods. This includes purchasing more local, ecological and humane foods as well as sustainable seafood and FairTrade and RainForest Alliance certified products

Additionally, food vendors on campus offer a variety of healthy and affordable meal options that suit vegetarian, vegan, halal, gluten-free and organic diets. A complete list of North Campus food outlets can be accessed online. Similarly, Lister Residence and Peter Lougheed Hall have a meal plan that provides residents with a variety of nutritious options. The Get the Good Stuff label  makes healthy and balanced food choices easy to spot. The Campus Dish page provides information on food-related health and wellness

North Campus Farmers’ Market

Hosted by the Students' Union, the University of Alberta Farmers' Market is open to the public and runs weekly from September to April. The market gives the university community easy access to local businesses, products and food. Customers can directly engage with the people who raise, grow or make their food or create or design goods and crafts.

Simultaneously, the market sheds light on issues of food security, sustainable business practices and food production. Sustain SU's educational efforts include hosting other sustainability-related organizations at the market and encouraging market attendees to engage with the vendors, ask questions and learn about what these organizations do.

Camrose Campus Farmers Market

The Camrose Campus Farmers Market was launched in October 2019 and is open each Saturday in the Forum Building at Augustana Campus. In its first five months it hosted over 70 different vendors.


Outreach

Heritage Chickens

The Poultry Research Centre maintains and develops the genetic stock of rare chicken breeds, including six breeds that have been maintained since 1965. Their egg delivery and backyard flock programs promote citizen science and provide a way for their conservation programs to become financially self-supporting. 

Sustainable food labeling in residence

In Lister Residence and Peter Lougheed Hall, menu items are labelled to help students quickly find sustainable and alternative food options. Labels include: vegetarian, vegan, sustainable, locally grown, no gluten, halal and plant powered.


Research

Prairie Urban Farm

Prairie Urban Farm is a one-acre, mixed crop, community food system in the University of Alberta's South Campus. Directed by Faculty of ALES professor Debra J. Davidson, this garden provides skill-building opportunities in alternative, regenerative ways of growing food within the city. A primary aim of the garden is to demonstrate the need for food security (access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food). Its mission is to support activities that contribute to knowledge and understanding of, and capacity for, enhancing production innovations, regional food security and food sovereignty in urban agriculture in an ecologically sustainable manner.

 

Access to sustainable agriculture knowledge and technology

All of the research centres and facilities at the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) incorporate aspects of sustainability into their work. They also provide knowledge exchange to farmers and local food producers to improve sustainable farming practices. 

ALES organizes a number of provincial, national and international conferences and workshops on agriculture, sustainability and food that facilitate transfer of knowledge, skills and technology to local and national farmers and food producers. Through collaboration with researchers, local farmers and food producers can access university facilities (e.g. labs, technology, plant stocks) allowing them to improve sustainable farming knowledge and practices

The Agri-Food Discovery Place (AFDP)

Opened in June 2006, the AFDP pilot plant facility is part of the Agricultural Food & Nutritional Science Department (AFNS). This unique facility is the first in Canada to have a meat safety and processing research unit and solvent extraction capabilities that are housed under one roof but function as completely separate wings of the business and have separate air handling systems. The Agri-Food Discovery Place links research in food safety, agricultural technology and functional foods with industry collaborators (including local farmers and food producers) who help make agriculture more sustainable.

Food Safety & Sustainability Engineering (FSSE) Research Program

Food Safety & Sustainability Engineering (FSSE) Research Program at the University of Alberta focuses on the development of advanced, green, sustainable technologies (e.g. atmospheric non-thermal plasma, LED processing, 3D printing/additive manufacturing of food) to improve food safety and the overall sustainability of food systems.

Dairy Research and Technology Centre

The Dairy Research and Technology Centre (DRTC) was established in 1997 as a joint venture between the University of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) and Alberta Milk. This union brings together the resources of all partners with the vision to be Canada's leading centre for excellence in dairy research, teaching and technology transfer. The DRTC’s mission is to develop knowledge and technologies which ensure the growth and sustainability of the Canadian dairy industry. The primary objectives of the DRTC are to:

1) Conduct research with a focus on:

  • optimizing production efficiency and sustainability

  • enhancing the nutritional quality of milk and value-added processing

  • enriching and extracting milk components that are beneficial for human health

2) Maintain excellence in teaching dairy nutrition, digestive physiology, production management, and milk and dairy product processing

3) Transfer information and technology to stakeholders in the dairy industry (including local farmers and food producers)

The Breton Plots

The Breton Plots research facility consists of two research areas: the Classical Plots and the Hendrigan Plots.

  • The Classical Plots, established in 1929, were the first research plots at the facility. These plots were designed to find a “system of farming suitable for the wooded soil belt.” The “Gray-Wooded” soils are now known as Gray Luvisolic soils and occur in the northern interior plains of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The largest area occurs in Alberta (20 million hectares), of which 5.7 million hectares are potentially arable. Today, the Breton Plots are a model of how diverse cropping practices affect typical Gray Luvisolic soils.

  • The Hendrigan Plots were named for Lou Hendrigan, a local farmer who believed the best agricultural system for the Gray soils was a continuous forage system, grown to feed cattle on a mixed farm. He thought the best forage for the area was a mixture of fescue grass, which is suited to the soil and climate, and a legume such as White Dutch Clover. The purpose of the clover is to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and supply it to the soil, and the grass adds organic matter, especially because of its large root systems.

Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch

The Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch is located within the Central Parkland Natural Subregion of Alberta and covers approximately 5,000 hectares, more than half of which is dominated by native vegetation characteristic of aspen parkland. The ranch was established in 1960 as a beef cattle breeding facility and is now home to a herd of approximately 850 head of cattle, each of which has been genetically sequenced. Researchers working at the Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch have access to ample accommodations as well as lab and storage space.


Notable Stories

🔗 Study finds nearly half of UAlberta Campus Food Bank users are severely food insecure

MSc nutrition graduate Jasmine Farahbakhsh co-authored a study with community nutrition researcher Noreen Willows that found that almost half the users of the Campus Food Bank ate so little, it affected their physical health, mental health and their academic performance.

🔗 Solar power: Coming to a greenhouse near you

Combining research, testing and innovative technologies, the Solar Greenhouse project will transform the Campus Community Garden. A ready-made solar greenhouse created by Exceed Solar will become a laboratory for testing growing performance in a cold Northern climate and evaluating the ability to support an aquaculture installation.