Just last Monday on Mar 10 at 1:00 p.m.., FAST held a “FAST MOB” – their version of a flash mob. What is FAST you ask? FAST stands for Food Affordability for Students Today, which is one of Brock’s on-campus groups that has dedicated their time to make the food that is available for students more affordable. FAST first launched two years ago through a student-led petition that was created by Brock University Psychology undergraduate Peter Henen. The FAST members worked together to campaign for FAST by tabling and forming a Facebook page called Lower Food Prices at Brock University. Through Henen’s petition, FAST was able to form a subsequent petition to the student body, which asked, “Do you support the creation of a $2.00 per year fee for hiring of a lobbyist to confront Sodexo’s high food prices on campus as per the memorandum of Understanding?” The petition received over 500 signatures in less than 24 hours and thus was put before BUSU to request to run in the referendum.
FAST’s main goal is to obviously lower food prices at Brock. Through the OPIRG website, FAST mentions a few of the ways they want to improve food at Brock. Their improvements include having at least ten healthy and affordable meals available at all times around campus, at least one very low cost-item available, as well as letting students have the opportunity to run and encourage food distribution services. They also mention the right to have affordable food on campus that is fairly traded, sustainable and allowing vegan and vegetarian options as part of the movement. They have stated they want in reduction in overall costs without employees suffering their wages, and even adding open food locations on campus on weekends. One of their biggest points is that the meal plan system needs to change, in terms of when the funds expire and the locations that they are available at. FAST also puts a huge emphasis on the fact that the food should be affordable but also healthy.
FAST is an independent group that is not affiliated with OPIRG-Brock or Fed Up The Affordable Food Project. The two groups are entirely distinct due to one main reason: FAST aims to lower current food prices on campus by Sodexo owned food services at Brock – especially in Guernsey Market because it is one of the few food-providers open on weekends. In this way they differ from Fed-Up whose efforts are mainly directed towards providing different alternatives on Campus.
“Fed-up is providing a more political solution, where FAST is more of a social solution,” explained Henen.
The “FAST MOB” was held to raise awareness. Not only did FAST want to let themselves be known around campus, but they also wanted to gain the students’ attention in helping with their food affordability goals. “Students don’t realize the power they have over the system, and this was a demonstration of the will of students to stand up for this cause to spark up the courage in students – the courage to reach for a positive change,” said Henen.
For more information on Brock FAST, visit their twitter page @brockufast or their Facebook page at Lowerfoodpricesatbrock. You can also email FAST at AffordableFood@YourBrock.org. FAST is always looking for more people to help the movement. If you are interested in supporting the cause, please contact Peter Henen at Ph11ut@brocku.ca to volunteer.