Concordia Student-Run Food Groups Research Project

Research Methods


The Concordia Student Run Food Groups Research Project consists of an online archive that displays information about the student run food groups at Concordia University.  This project was developed to provide an institutional memory of the student-run food projects – past, present and future – on campus at Concordia University.

Furthermore, the goal of this project is to help Concordia, other universities, institutions and communities develop and implement better food practices. Concordia students are pioneers of socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, cooperative, and democratic food services. They have developed a multitude of organizations that grow food, process food, distribute food and manage food waste. These groups provide examples of how to build more ideal food systems.

This archive is part of an ontological process because it is in the state of perpetual change. ‘Results’ are posted on a regular basis; we make our video interviews available once they are edited, and we post other information when it becomes available to us. Student groups are not static entities, they change over time. Members come and go affecting the direction of the organizations internally (within themselves) and externally (in relation to other groups). New groups form and old groups sometimes cease their activities. In consequence, the landscape of food groups at Concordia changes over time as does the information on this archive.

The research project consists of two phases:

1 – Gather as much research as possible regarding food services at Concordia University; the student and administration run food services from as far back as we can find until present (2016).  Make this information available to the general public.

2 – Synthesize the information obtained during phase 1 in order to make recommendations on how to build the most ideal food system at Concordia University, in communities and other public institutions.

Phase 1

Methods of Gathering Information

We are currently in phase 1 of the project. Phase 1 will last until the end of the summer 2016. We are currently employing 4 main methods of gathering information:


1 – We are conducting video interviews with participants who have been involved, and/or continue to be part of the ‘food movement’ at Concordia University. This includes founders of student run food groups, students who played instrumental political roles (in unions, on various university committees), members of the  administration, and professors from/at Concordia as well as a variety of other important people involved in this movement. We also obtained interviews with members of the community to discuss how the student run food projects provide value to the neighbourhoods surrounding Concordia. In addition, we obtained interviews from professors and researchers about food topics that relate to their research, teachings and/or publications.

2 – We are gathering news articles that were written about the food services at Concordia in the student newspapers (The Link and The Concordian) as well as the Concordia Archive Department. We are also gathering news articles that were written about the food services at Concordia from other news sources.

3 – We are gathering information about Concordia’s food services in other media forms. We are collecting a variety of videos, papers written by former students, and old interviews in raw format, among others.

4 – We are gathering information about ‘ideal food system’ metrics in order to help synthesize the information about the Concordia food groups. Furthermore, we are also gathering research on other socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, cooperative and democratic food practices in other communities and institutions, especially other universities.

We post the information and video interviews once they are edited/obtained. Visit our site regularly, we frequently have new information available.

If you have any information to contribute, please let us know!

Phase 2

Synthesizing the Information Editing the Feature Length Documentary

Phase 2 will begin in the summer of 2016.  The research team will analyse the information obtained in phase 1 in order to create:

1 – A complete timeline of the food services at Concordia; student run and administrative food services.

2 – A feature length documentary movie about Concordia’s food groups. The documentary will address aspects of the food system at Concordia including the history of the food movement, critique of the multinational food system, and ideas as to how we can build an ideal food system, success and failures of the student-run organizations, how pedagogical models have contributed to the development of the food system at Concordia. Since 2014, we have been capturing the day to day interactions of a variety of people from these organizations. These moments help illustrate how these groups work, internally.

3 – An interactive organizational map of the food services at Concordia. We have begin preliminary work on this project already.

4 – Recommendations for action! We hope that what is learned from this project will help Concordia University, other schools, communities and institutions develop and implement better food practices.