By Owen Roberts
It’s already Canada’s “food university.” This fall, even more food options will be available on the University of Guelph campus through several new ventures.
Hospitality Services will roll out a funky-looking food truck called the Caffeine Canteen. Besides offering up java, the vehicle will provide baked goods made in a new specialty kitchen — the third such specialty kitchen on campus — being built in Creelman Hall.
A produce-processing kitchen already specializes in local food, and the butchery room turns out most of the 340 kilograms of local ground beef consumed each week when students are on campus.
Although planning is still under way, the new kitchen’s baked goods will likely be pastries such as scones and muffins, as well as some specialty breads. The Caffeine Canteen will also have a grill to supply breakfast sandwiches for outdoor events or for a quick grab-and-go between classes.
The new truck is intended to help alleviate long morning coffee and food lines at the University Centre in particular. It will serve locally roasted Planet Bean coffee.
This brew — likely to be branded as Gryphon Blend — will also be available at a grab-and-go kiosk in the new College of Business and Economics Building on College Avenue, occupying the refurbished Macdonald Hall.
“We wanted to profile a local company with a commitment to fair trade across the supply chain,” says dean Julia Christensen Hughes. “The fact that Planet Bean operates as a cooperative was a bonus. We have partnered with the company on development of case studies that expose students to alternative and sustainable business models. Having them as part of our new home seemed like the right thing to do.”
A percentage of Gryphon Blend sales will go to U of G athletics to support women’s varsity scholarships.
Gryphon Blend will also be sold at Planet Bean downtown Guelph, along with U of G Gryphon-branded clothing. This clothing is made under a sustainable code of conduct, mirroring the fair trade principles of Planet Bean.
Before the Caffeine Canteen hits the road, U of G’s existing food truck — Gryph N’ Grille, which served about 7,500 meals in its first year of operation — will get an updated menu for the fall. A changing daily menu will feature items such as fish tacos.
Earlier this summer, Hospitality Services invited other Guelph food truck operators to take part in on-campus activities such as sporting events and special activities. Partner food trucks will be able to accept University of Guelph meal cards.
Mark Kenny, food procurement manager for Hospitality Services, looks forward to an orientation event in September when eight food trucks will line up along Winegard Walk, facing Johnston Green.
“Having Guelph food trucks on campus is a new approach here, unique for everyone, and we’re really excited to watch it develop,” says Kenny.