hand opening fridge

Food security for students

Do you need help getting enough food?

bags of groceries

What is food security?

The four components of food security relate to:

  • availability (sufficient access to food)
  • access (being able to obtain/purchase food) 
  • utilization/consumption (adequate dietary intake of food and/or the body’s ability to absorb nutrients)
  • stability (permanent and stable access to food)

Being food secure means having reliable, stable, permanent and affordable access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food. In 2021, Maclean’s reported that approximately 40 per cent of post-secondary students in Canada are food insecure – so, if you find yourself in this position, you’re not alone.


Available supports

Here are some ways UCalgary students can access support related to food security:

The SU Campus Food Bank offers a year-round emergency food relief service to UCalgary’s campus community. This relief is provided through nutritionally-sound hampers assembled in accordance with the Canada Food Guide. The SU Campus Food Bank also provides access to emergency snacks, the Good Food Box program (affordable produce) and can pass along information regarding food relief resources available both on and off-campus.

To speak confidentially to one of our volunteers about your food security needs, call 403.220.8599 or email foodbank@ucalgary.ca.

In addition to regular hampers available all year, the SU Food Bank provides Ramadan food hampers for campus community members who need support to celebrate the occasion, as well as Holiday hampers prior to the winter break. Ramadan and Holiday hampers can be requested as an add-on to a regular hamper request, or they can be ordered as a stand-alone hamper.

The SU Food Bank also runs an annual Adopt-a-Family program that provides holidays gifts to student families with limited resources. This program accepts applications in November, and gifts are distributed in early December.

The Students' Union Campus Food Bank is a depot for the Good Food Box program, run under the Community Kitchen Program of Calgary where anyone can purchase boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price. 

Box Options (please note that weights are approximate): 

  • Small Box: $30
    15-20lbs* of fruits and vegetables  
  • Medium Box: $35
    25-30lbs* of fruits and vegetables  
  • Large Box: $40 
    35-40lbs* of fruits and vegetables 

Orders can be made at the SU Campus Food Bank/Volunteer Services Office. Cash only and must bring payment at time of order. These are the 2023 order dates for SU Campus Food Bank depot. They may be different for depots around the city. There is no box in December.  

2023 Order Deadlines and Pickup Dates

May 30 (pickup June 7) 

June 20 (pickup June 28) 

August 22 (pickup August 30) 

September 19 (pickup September 27) 

October 17 (pickup October 25) 

November 14 (pickup November 22) 

*no December dates 

The Students' Greatest Needs fund initiative provides eligible students with financial support through gift cards that can be used toward groceries, bus passes, and other basic needs.  

Funding is not guaranteed and is a one-time disbursement. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  

To access this fund, students must be referred from a Student Support Advisor through Student Wellness Services. Students can make an appointment by calling 403-210-9355 during business hours, booking online, or emailing SWSmentalhealth@ucalgary.ca. Appointments are held during business hours (9am – 4pm) and can be done virtually or in-person. Students will be required to provide information about their financial resources and expenses.  

The Fresh Fruit Initiative, provided by Student and Enrolment Services, provides offices with a bowl of fresh fruit each week for students to grab. It is the goal of this initiative to provide accessible, and nutritious snacks for the campus community! Apples and oranges are available in the following offices:

  • Life Design Hub (MSC 171)
  • Student Union Main Office (MSC 251)
  • International Student Services (MSC 275)
  • Writing Symbols Lodge (MSC 390Z)
  • Student Wellness Services (MSC 370)
  • Women’s Resource Centre (MSC 482)
  • Faith and Spirituality Centre (MSC  487)
  • Student Accessibility Services (MSC 452)
  • Student Success Centre (TFDL 3rd floor)

Fresh Routes brings healthy and affordable groceries to the campus community, including fruits, vegetables, eggs and whole grains. Bring a reusable bag and get some shopping done!

Main Campus:

Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The Nest at 102-250 Collegiate Blvd NW, Crowsnest Hall

Foothills Campus: 

Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Health Sciences Centre Mall (by stairs to library)

Food Justice Now (FJN) is a student run UCalgary initiative that was created for the purpose of addressing Food Insecurity on campus. Currently FJN focuses on monthly free meal events that provide gf/v meals to anyone without judgement alongside providing education about food insecurity on campus.  

The most up to date information about Food Justice Now can be found on Instagram at @food_justice_now

The University of Calgary houses various edible gardens on its main campus where people can pick fresh fruits like apples, pears, apricots, black currents, nanking cherries and more. Harvesting these is encouraged so pick what you need. Find these gardens across campus by using this map.

Edible gardens are a Food Security initiative led by the Office of Sustainability’s Campus as a Learning Lab to increase access to healthy and nutritious food.

Foothills Campus Community Pantry is a grassroots initiative to support the food needs of the Foothills campus community. Located in the Health Sciences Centre atrium (also known as Hippocrates Mall) at Foothill campus, the community pantry operates on a “share what you can, take what you need” model.

All campus community members take or donate non-perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning essentials.