McGill gets generous with their tomato harvest in Ste. Anne de Bellevue

By Lisa Baum

There was a bumper crop at the Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue this week, as the tomatoes were harvested as part of the McGill Feeding McGill project. Organized by the Macdonald Campus Horticultural Centre, and supported by the McGill Sustainability Fund, the initiative provides locally grown fruits and vegetables to the university’s downtown residences.

The residence diners at McGill University feed over 2,700 students every day. Using locally grown food is not only beneficial to the sustainability of the university’s food supplies, but also helps to reduce their overall carbon footprint. This project feeds thousands of Montreal’s students on a yearly basis by providing seasonal ingredients to the University’s Food and Dining Services Department. McGill Feeding McGill is now in its fifth year of operation, and the organizers were feeling generous with their supplies. An event held in the Lower Field on Aug. 27 saw members of the public invited to sample the delights of the harvest in various guises. Enlisting the help of 100 volunteers, the team were able of offer a free five course tomato themed meal including tomato salsa, Greek salad, tomato pizza and even a 200 pound tomato cake!

Just one part of McGill’s wider sustainability strategy, the McGill Feeding McGill project boasts social, financial and environmental benefits and has been popularly received since its inception. For example, in 2010 over 22,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables were provided through the scheme, saving the extra stretch on the University’s coffers.

Furthermore, the 15 hectares of farmland which make up the Horticultural Research Centre is among the very small amount of farmland left on the island of Montreal—thus preserving a highly prized research and teaching facility.

This year’s tomato harvest also allowed the project to donate approximately 2,000 pounds of tomato salad to organizations that help feed Montrealers in need, including the Old Brewery Mission, Moisson Montreal and Meals on Wheels.

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