Student club promotes healthy food supply

September 11, 2009 - 4:18am

Christine LoScerbo is a student who walks the talk.

Merging her interests in urban planning, sustainability, and urban agriculture, this third-year Vancouver Island University (VIU) Geography student recently published her first article in Plan Canada, the official publication of the Canadian Institute of Planners. 

Along with co-author Dr. Pamela Shaw from VIU’s Geography Department, LoScerbo examined the issue of food security and highlighted the work of a group of VIU students who formed the Solutions Network, a sustainability club at the Nanaimo campus.

“Food security is a broad topic that looks at more than just an immediately accessible food supply but also at the quantity and quantity of locally produced sustainable food sources,” said Shaw. “Christine  and other members of the Solutions Network have been employing grassroots methods to address food security and strengthen the ties between the campus and the surrounding community.”

In a small area over by the library, members of the campus Solutions Network have been busy designing, building, planting, and now harvesting from an on-campus community garden.  “Our first crops were strawberries, winter greens, herbs, peas, and garlic” said LoScerbo. “Eventually, we hope to supply foodstuffs to the VIU Culinary Arts Institute and other campus users.  In the future, we plan to extend the reach of the garden, creating a strong link between the campus and the wider community.” 

LoScerbo said students and community members have been increasing connections through food forums, demonstration projects, a Sustainability Fair, and involvement in local farmers’ markets.

Dr. Shaw said the production and distribution of food is seldom considered by most urbanites. “Most of us are pretty detached from the origins of our foodstuffs, and don’t spend much time thinking about the transportation infrastructure, water systems, waste management, and energy costs of food production and distribution,” she said. “Through groups like the Solutions Network and motivated students at Vancouver Island University, so much can be done to remedy the disconnect between agriculture and urban life.”

For more information, email Christine LoScerbo at or Pamela Shaw at  See the Solutions: A Sustainability Network website at to learn more about their vision to cultivate a campus community that practices and celebrates sustainable ways of living in connection with the wider community.

Tags: In the Community

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email