Self-operated vs. corporate contract: A study of food procurement at two universities in Manitoba

  • Michaela Bohunicky
  • Annette Aurélie Desmarais University of Manitoba
  • Meghan Entz University of Waterloo
Keywords: university food procurement, student activism, food system transformation


Public institutions are increasingly being pressured to demonstrate how they are meeting their responsibilities and obligations to sustainability. Yet there is little academic research on food procurement at universities in Canada. This article examines issues related to procurement of local and sustainable food at two academic institutions in Manitoba: the University of Winnipeg (UW) and the University of Manitoba (UM). Following Brown et al.’s (2012) call for transformational change, we argue that the experiences at each university demonstrate that a food system transformation can best occur by moving away from corporate food service contracts. The ability to do so is dependent on a number of other factors including, but not limited to: political will of the administration, student activism and support from non-university sectors.

Original Research Article