bowls of food on a table

Food & Nutrition

Food is a complex issue including the food environment on campus, the broader food system in the Okanagan, and food security. Having adequate, secure access to food supports wellbeing. Previous Voice research has been used to influence new food contracts, ensure available drinking water in every building on campus has appropriate signage indicating the water has been treated, and most recently, the opening a one-of-a-kind Community Wellness Hub in Picnic with a variety of food programs to build food skills and literacy amongst university students.  

The food programming PICNIC are funded by the generous financial contributions of the Student Union of UBC, funding support through the UBC Affordability Task Force, and grants.


1. Food Skills Workshop

Person Cooking

Registration Required | Wednesdays & Thursdays | 5:00-6:30pm | Sept-April | Picnic (UNC 122B)

Our peer-led food skills workshops exist to foster food skills and community while providing students with a free meal. Recipes and dialogues are intentionally selected to increase confidence in food selection and planning, food preparation, food safety, and storage skills. All skill levels are welcome to join. Learn basic meal prepping skills, food budgeting skills, how to build a balanced meal, and more! 

Workshops are held twice weekly Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-6:30pm. Participants must register beforehand to secure their spot. Registration operates on a first come, first serve basis. Registration for the following week’s workshops goes live the Wednesday before the workshop at 9am. Participants can register by clicking on the link below. Bring a container in case there are leftovers!

Upcoming workshops:

  • March 13 & 14 – Tofu Fajitas
  • March 20 & 21 – Fried Rice
  • March 27 & 28 – Rajma Chawal (Kidney Beans & Rice)
  • April 3 & 4 – Butter Chicken Biryani
  • April 10 & 11 – TBA

Q: The workshop I want to attend is sold out, is there a waitlist?

We do not have a waitlist at this time. There be may no-shows the evening of the workshop, if a participant has not arrived by 5:10pm their spot will be given to a walk-in.  

Q: What if I have dietary restrictions or preferences?  

A: Most of our recipes are vegetarian, with occasional exceptions. We do our best to accommodate dietary preferences, such as dairy and gluten free. Allergens will be noted beside each recipe. Picnic is not an allergen-free facility and we cannot guarantee the food has not been cross-contaminated with other allergens. 

Q: I have class during the workshop, is there any way to still participate? 

A: Workshops are offered at two different times each week. The recipe will be posted on our website before each workshop so you can prepare the meal at home.  

Q: I registered for a workshop but can no longer attend. What do I do? 

A: This is a high demand program. If you have registered and then realize you won’t be able to attend the workshop, please cancel your order on Eventbrite or email to remove your name ASAP to allow other participants to register. Thank you!! 

Q: Does it cost anything to participate? 

A: Nope, workshops are free for UBCO students! 

2. Breakfast Program


Drop-In | Monday – Friday | 8:30-10:30am | Sept-April | Picnic (UNC 122B)

Eating breakfast can support wellbeing. Eating enough and regularly throughout the day can support mood, cognitive ability, and concentration – fueling a busy day of classes or studying. Grab and go items are available (for free!) in Picnic Mondays 9:00-10:30am and Tuesday to Friday from 8:30-10:30am. Nondairy options are available.  

Here’s an idea of the kinds of items to expect; milk and chocolate milk, non-dairy milk, Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt (dairy free), cheese portions, fresh fruit, granola bars, almonds. 

Person Cooking

3. Community Meal

Drop-In | Tuesdays | 12:00-1:30pm (or until the food runs out, whichever comes first!) | Sept-April | Picnic (UNC 122B)

Build community, share culture, and enjoy a free, nourishing meal. A large batch of primarily plant-based meals will be prepared and served by Picnic and partners. Meals are free and open to all members of the UBCO community. Meals are served every Tuesday starting at noon and ending at 1:30pm, or when the food runs out – whichever comes first! Participants are required to bring their own clean container to take their food with them, in an effort to reduce waste.  

Are you part of a group or club on campus and hoping to share a dish with your community? If you have an idea for something you would like to see, please do not hesitate to share it. We will take event requests on a case-by-case basis, depending on staffing availability, schedule openings, and alignment with goals of community building and celebrating culture. Email for inquiries.  


Community Meal dates for the 2023-2024
  • September 12, 2023 
  • September 26, 2023 
  • October 10, 2023 
  • October 24, 2023 
  • November 7, 2023 
  • November 28, 2023 
  • January 9, 2023 
  • January 23, 2024 
  • January 30, 2024
  • February 6, 2024 
  • February 13, 2024
  • February 27, 2024
  • March 5, 2024 
  • March 12, 2024
  • March 19, 2024 
  • March 26, 2024
  • April 2, 2024

4. Community Market

Every other Tuesday| 10:30am-2:00pm | Sept- April | University Way (Or inside EME if weather is bad)

Welcome to the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Community Market! 

Discover local and sustainable businesses at our Community Market. Located outside UNC/EME (weather dependent), the market connects the University with the greater community. By showcasing the best products from local farms and artisans, the market is a great shopping experience and strengthens the ties between the university and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Community Market also provides an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to showcase a project, initiative, club, and more to the campus community. 

Do you have a question, suggestion, or want to become a vendor or promote a campus initiative at the UBCO Farmers Market? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at 

Community Market dates for the 2023-2024
  • September 19, 2023 
  • October 3, 2023 
  • October 17, 2023 
  • October 31, 2023 
  • November 21, 2023 
  • December 5, 2023 
  • January 16, 2024 
  • January 30, 2024 
  • February 13, 2024 
  • February 27, 2024 
  • March 12, 2024 
  • March 26, 2024
  • April 9, 2024
Person Cooking

5. Wellness Cart

Drop-In | Mondays | 1-2pm | Sept-April | Various locations across campus

Accessible wellness information and resources to go. An extension of our traditional programming, the mobile Wellness Cart is run by student staff containing nourishing snacks and wellness resources. The cart will go out once per week to various campus locations, including the Library, Commons, Fipke, Nechako, and more. Topics range from food and nutrition, mental health, sexual health, harm reduction and more. The cart will include information to increase awareness about available on and off campus resources available.   


Need to go grocery shopping but don't have a way to get there? Hitch a ride with us! Sign up using our eventbrite. Check the calendar for alternating schedule!

6. Grocery Bus

Alternating Thursdays at 2:00pm and Fridays at 6:00pm


The SUO (UBCO Student’s Union) provides a weekly bus ride for students to get groceries. Students who sign up for the grocery bus will meet in F lot on Thursdays and G lot on Fridays. We will board the bus together. Students will have approximately 45 minutes to shop, and will again board the bus before it travels back to campus.

Please be aware that the bus will promptly leave Superstore at 2:00pm on Thursdays and at 6:00pm on Fridays. If you are late getting back to the bus, you will be responsible for making your own way home. Don’t forget to bring your reusable grocery bags and shopping lists!

Please refer to the calendar schedule to avoid any confusion. This is an alternating schedule, Thursday one week, Friday the next. We will meet in the parking lot (F for Thursdays, G for Fridays), look for the staff member holding the sign!

For updates follow @pantryfoodbank on Instagram.


Information and Resources

two students eating together

Wellbeing Scholar, Sarah Clement and Casey Hamilton, Campus Wellness Specialist, teamed up to continue their work to address the high rates of student food insecurity at UBCO. Building on their previous work, in this phase they focused on establishing partnerships to support the development of a physical food hub and explored opportunities for physical food hub pilot projects including a campus farmers’ market, a campus food production initiative (e.g., community garden or market garden), a food rescue program, and a campus-wide dialogue program focused on implementing climate-friendly food systems. Their vision for a physical food hub includes a physical space on campus that is supported by an interlocking network of projects, departments, individuals, and partners that enable student and community food security as well as food systems transformation. 

How We Got Here

student getting food
January 2023 – Grand Opening of Physical Food Hub at UBCO

We brought together UBC Okanagan executives with our Student Union Leadership to have a cooking contest to showcase some of the values we are trying to demonstrate through Picnic – cooking skills, nourishing food, and community.

May 2021 – Launching Partnerships for a Physical Food Hub at UBCO
August 2020 – Envisioning a Physical Food Hub at UBCO

UBC Wellbeing Scholar, Sarah Clement, and the Campus Wellness Voice team conducted the first phase of the Physical Food Hub at UBCO project. Phase 1 was completed between May – August 2020 and included the following: 

  • A literature review about food hubs, student food security, food security and climate change, and placemaking, 
  • An environmental scan of 25 food security initiatives and food hub spaces at post-secondary institutions and in communities across Canada and held 13 interviews with food security leaders at post-secondary institutions and national food security organizations, 
  • 23 community consultation sessions with 109 UBC Okanagan campus community members to develop a vision for a physical food hub at UBC Okanagan. 

We heard unanimously that a physical food hub is important for supporting food security at our campus and that we must work towards its development. Recommendations moving forward include: 

1. The formation of a multi-stakeholder committee for the planning and development of a physical food hub at UBCO. The committee is to include students, staff, and faculty. 

2. We suggest that the first priority of this committee is to determine the high-level governance structure of the physical food hub. Multiple consultation sessions have revealed that the Physical Food Hub may be best housed within the Associate Vice President Students portfolio with appropriate staffing. The consultation process also revealed that staffing is essential. Physical space and funding are the next priorities after governance. 

3. The university administration and planning departments must prioritize the physical food hub in development and construction on campus; the construction of new buildings on campus and/or renovations of existing buildings. The university administration must also prioritize allocating outdoor space for the outdoor component of the food hub. 

April 2017 - Voice Uncovers Student Food Insecurity

The Campus Wellness Voice team led by Casey Hamilton, Campus Wellness Specialist, analyzed data collected on the UBCO campus to describe student food insecurity. The team found that 42% of undergraduate students participating in the survey reported food insecurity. These findings point to the risk for food insecurity among students who are already vulnerable to socio-economic inequity due to belonging to marginalized groups. The findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education.