The University of Winnipeg was once lambasted in the annual MacLean’s ranking of Canadian Universities for having some of the worst campus food in the country (which is saying a lot…). Instead of wallowing in self-pity and eating another Big Mac to dull the pain, they hired a young, idealistic executive chef and completely overhauled their food services program. They now offer real food based around fresh, predominantly local ingredients, and have made this change using a business model that not only provides jobs to inner-city residents, but also manages to turn a profit.
Food is not historically a major priority of university administrations. But having taken over the school’s top job in 2004, [University President Lloyd] Axworthy, the former minister of foreign affairs, grew tired of the harsh reviews. Two years ago, he decided to buy out the contract of its large, multinational catering firm. In its place, the school established its own arm’s-length culinary company, Diversity Foods, in partnership with local non-profit SEED Winnipeg.
Did you ever want a fast and easy way to save the environment randomly? Well, now you can! Some fun people have created a vending machine that sells seed bombs that you can then toss somewhere for fun and nature.
Made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, “seedbombs” are becoming an increasingly popular means combating the many forgotten grey spaces we encounter everyday-from sidewalk cracks to vacant lots and parking medians. They can be thrown anonymously into these derelict urban sites to temporarily reclaim and transform them into places worth looking at and caring for. The Greenaid dispensary simply makes these guerilla gardening efforts more accessible to all by appropriating the existing distribution system of the quarter operated candy machine. Using just the loose coins in your pocket, you can make a small but meaningful contribution to the beautification of your city!
The ‘doomsday vault’ is getting more attention and love to save seeds. They’ve created a new, expanded, goal to save 100,000 seeds. This is good news because having a well-kept seed bank to preserve biodiversity can prove invaluable if some of the plants die out or are struck by a horrible disease. THink of it has a global insurance policy on plants.
Countries participating in the programme including Ireland, have assembled extensive duplicate seed collections to match those held at home. These are then to be delivered to the vault which will hold them in perpetuity at -18 degrees, something that should keep them safe for thousands of years, Dr Fowler said.
By the end of February there will be about 400,000 varieties in the vault.
Ireland’s seeds are expected to arrive either later this month or by April, Dr Fowler said.
The ongoing project is separate to this new initiative to rescue threatened seed collections in 46 countries, he continued.
Many countries struggle to maintain their seed banks to an international standard, leaving them at risk of partial or even total loss.
“There are a number of small seed banks around the world where the facilities are pretty poor. The seeds are basically dying in their packages,” he said.
“If we sit and wait we will have another wave of extinctions in agricultural biodiversity.”
Trust staff will visit 49 institutes where seeds are held, using funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.