Helping students kick the KD and Ramen habit

Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

By Brandon Gillet

The SFUO food bank and the Sustainable Development Centre (SDC) are hosting free cooking classes for students on the third Thursday of every month. This SDC and the Student Federation of uOttawa (SFUO) initiative teaches students how to cook healthy meals for less by using products from the Good Food Box, an SFUO food bank program. Although these classes will usually be held in the UCU Terminus, locations and times may vary, so students are encouraged to check the SDC and SFUO Facebook events pages.

The class held on November 20, which was titled “Salads and Dressings 101” and featured food donated by Chartwells, was especially geared to Wellness Week. However, most classes are taught by Taylor Davidson, the Food Banks volunteer supervisor, who shows students how to cook a variety of meals with vegetables found in the Good Food Box.

“The vegetables are local and/or organic, and oftentimes, they’re unfamiliar to students,” said Gabrielle Arkett, SDC Coordinator. “So we try and promote creativity in the kitchen, as well as talking about how to build a pantry, so that students can make something delicious out of anything they get in the Good Food Box.”

According to Arkett, the idea for these classes was sparked by the motivation and love that she and Davidson have for affordable vegetables and food education. Students can sign up for the cooking classes by registering with the SFUO, or they can just drop by the UCU Terminus.

“I would also encourage signing up for the Good Food Box by going to the Food Bank the first week of every month. Pick a size/cost, and then the box will come the third week of every month,” said Arkett.

Friel Residence cooking up tips for new students

Not to be outdone, Friel Residence (at 240 Friel) offers cooking classes every other Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m., with products and services provided by Urban Element. These classes are part of an initiative spearheaded by Carine Belanger known as the Residence Life program, which mentors first-year students to help them adapt to university life. Last year, Belanger started these classes informally by gathering a few of her friends in residence to learn how to cook “$5 meals” from another friend, who is a chef.

The initiative has since been extended to students across campus, but will continue to take place in the Friel Residence kitchen. The classes are currently free, but may charge a minimal fee in future.

“We want to give them the skills to move out of res next year, not have a meal plan, or have to eat Kraft Dinnerall the time,” said Belanger.

To register for SFUO classes, students can send an email to sustainability@sfuo.ca or foodbank@sfuo.ca, and are reminded to check their Facebook pages for info on future classes and other events. Students interested in classes at Friel Residence can email Carine Belanger at belangc@uOttawa.ca

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