The National Union of Students (NUS) has joined over 60 organisations as part of the Eating Better Alliance to accelerate action for less and better meat and dairy.
The NUS are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. They represent the interests of more than seven million students. When you take into consideration procurement, catering and campus shops with regard to the universities and colleges and then also the shopping habits, affordability, health and cooking skills of the students, that is a big potential impact on the food system.
Jamie Agombar, Head of Sustainability at the NUS has said: ‘NUS will be proud to publicly support Eating Better’s vision and mission in its communications with UK universities, colleges and their students.’
The NUS’ decision to join Eating Better has been led by Student Eats. Student Eats is part of the sustainability work delivered through the NUS and their aim is to put sustainable food at the heart of university and college campuses across the UK.
Over the coming years Student Eats plans to work on collaborative projects to help effect change towards the sale and purchase of more sustainable food options, being part of Eating Better will help support them in this.
Alongside waste free, local, seasonal, Fairtrade, healthy and campus-grown, one of Student Eats core principles is eating less but better meat and dairy. They actively support students and their institutions to choose 100% pasture fed, organic, high welfare local meat and to only eat it occasionally.
Student-led social enterprises (created through the Student Eats enterprise programme) have so far sold over £106,000 of food in line with their core sustainability principles and improved the employability skills of over 1200 students.
Student Eats has also worked with students to set up community gardens on their campuses. These spaces grow fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as improve local biodiversity. There are currently more than 60 growing sites all over the UK that are supported by Student Eats and who are encouraged to further the message of eating more sustainably.
Simon Billing, Executive Director at Eating Better has said: ‘The Eating Better Alliance is made up of a diverse and influential group of organisations with expertise in environment, farming, food, social justice and animal welfare. The NUS’ decision to join will add a new dimension in terms of how we engage with and learn from students.’
Young people are leading awareness raising about biodiversity loss and climate change. But,
Eating Better’s latest YouGov survey found that whilst 18-24 year olds have a good understanding of the links between what they eat and the environmental impact, they need support to turn this understanding into action. While not all students are in this demographic Eating Better’s engagement with the NUS and Student Eats can help to accelerate action.