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The sheaf publishing society

VOL.111/ISSUE 23


ssu e

MARCH 05, 2020

e h T YOUR UNI VE R S I T Y O F SAS K ATC H E WA N ST UDE NT NE WS PA P E R SINCE 1912 The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

o oF

thesheaf.com @usasksheaf

FEATURE The dark history of food and drink



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nykole King editor@thesheaf.com NEWS EDITOR Ana Cristina Camacho news@thesheaf.com

SPORTS & HEALTH EDITOR VACANT sportshealth@thesheaf.com

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Gathering of Indigenous STEM students builds kinship across the country The national conference held at the U of S connects underrepresented youth with new opportunities in their field.

CULTURE EDITOR Tomilola Ojo culture@thesheaf.com OPINIONS EDITOR Erin Matthews opinions@thesheaf.com STAFF WRITER Noah Callaghan staffwriter@thesheaf.com COPY EDITOR J.C. Balicanta Narag copy@thesheaf.com LAYOUT MANAGER Aqsa Hussain layout@thesheaf.com PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Victoria Becker photo@thesheaf.com GRAPHICS EDITOR Shawna Langer graphics@thesheaf.com WEB EDITOR Minh Au Duong web@thesheaf.com OUTREACH DIRECTOR Sophia Lagimodiere outreach@thesheaf.com AD & BUSINESS MANAGER Shantelle Hrytsak ads@thesheaf.com BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mikaila Ortynsky Laura Chartier Matthew Taylor Sonia Kalburgi Emily Klatt Naomi Zurenvinski


ADVERTISING (306) 966 8688 EDITORIAL (306) 966 8689 COVER PHOTO

Wardah Mahmood @oatrageousoatmeal Mission // The mission of the Sheaf is to inform and entertain students by addressing issues relevant to life on campus, in the city or in the province. The newspaper serves as a forum for discussion on a wide range of issues that concern students. Written for students, by students, it provides unique insight into university issues through a student perspective. The staff of editors, photographers and artists collaborate with volunteers as student journalists to create a product relevant to students on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Land Acknowledgement // The Sheaf acknowledges that our office is built on Treaty Six Territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and affirm both the importance of our relationship with Indigenous peoples and students at the U of S and our commitment to recognize and remain accountable for our collective history.

Two event participants have a conversation at the Canadian Light Source booth during the .caISES conference at the University of Saskatchewan on Feb. 29, 2020. | Riley Deacon


The third annual Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society gathering was an opportunity for Indigenous students in STEM programs to create meaningful relationships with industry professionals and showcase their own research. The University of Saskatchewan’s .caISES chapter was founded last year by Micheala Merasty and Julia Doucette-Garr, who are currently co-presidents of the student group. The pair had the idea to start the group after attending the 2018 .caISES conference in Calgary. Merasty says the Saskatoon conference was an amazing experience because of the relationships that it fostered. “Every time I’ve been to a .caISES conference, you can feel the kinship that is built over a short weekend, and so by the end of this it feels like we’re a family,” Merasty said. The three-day gathering sold all of its 170 tickets and was the largest Canadian .caISES event yet. This year’s theme focused on how sustainability relates to land, water, energy and engag-

ing Indigenous youth in STEM. Representation was another concept discussed throughout the conference, and how connecting Indigenous STEM students with professional mentors increases access and equity across the disciplines. When Merasty began her studies, she felt that as an Indigenous mother, she was the “polar opposite” of who the colonial education system was built for; she thought she would be alone on her journey. Merasty says that experiencing a room filled with Indigenous STEM scholars and professionals at .caISES events can be very encouraging. “Having these people who work in areas where we don’t have a lot of representation and just being able to see them, it builds that excitement that we are Indigenous and we can do anything we want,” Merasty said. Throughout the event, educational sessions were held on a range of topics from outreach education initiatives for teaching math and science in First Nation schools to strategies for diversifying the STEM community through traditional Indigenous ways of knowing.

The conference also showcased students’ research. Merasty, who took part in a student panel presenting on health and resiliency, says that when USask .caISES did a call for abstracts, they were able to accept all of the applications. “We gave them that space to show us their work and it was amazing,” Merasty said. A number of industry professionals were also in attendance, many of which had over 20 years of experience within mining or other major industries. Many expressed their excitement at seeing the changes being made at a societal level to continue diversifying the STEM community. As Merasty is near to completing her degree in environmental biology, she is now making sure the .caISES chapter goes on after she graduates. She is focused ratifying the group with the student’s union and making plans for the group’s future. “We also want to start doing more programming; a lot of [effort] has been focused on getting people to conferences and planning conferences,” Merasty said. “But now that we’ve jumped

over this big accomplishment, we really need to settle down and connect with each other in the ways that we’ve been talking about over this weekend.” Sandy Bonny, the College of Arts and Science’s team leader for the Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways and STEM Access Initiatives, says that hosting the national conference a year after the creation of the USask .caISES chapter is like “a dream becoming a reality.” “Saskatchewan has a large Indigenous population and there are a lot of gatherings around culture… Those are a really vital part of Saskatoon’s cultural fabric, but often what we’ve heard students here say is that even when they find those places of belonging they’re often the only STEM person,” Bonny said. “So this is a really unique forum where people can connect as members of treaty communities but also as STEM professionals. The people here are often minorities in multiple worlds so bringing them together is really powerful.”

Legal // The Sheaf, published weekly during the academic year and periodically from May through August, is an incorporated non-profit that is, in part, student-body funded by way of a direct levy paid by all part- and full-time undergraduate students at the U of S. The remainder of the revenue is generated through advertising. The financial affairs are governed by a Board of Directors, most of whom are students. Membership in the Sheaf Publishing Society is open to all undergraduate students at the U of S, who are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper. Absolutely no experience is required! The opinions expressed in the Sheaf do not necessarily reflect those of the Sheaf Publishing Society Inc. The Sheaf reserves the right to refuse to accept or print any material deemed unfit for publication, as determined by the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief has the right to veto any submission deemed unfit for the Society newspaper. In determining this, the Editor-in-Chief will decide if the article or artwork would be of interest to a significant portion of the Society and benefit the welfare of Sheaf readers. The Sheaf will not publish any racist, sexist, homophobic or libellous material.

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Food Centre program fights food insecurity with online shopping-like system The uFood program is meant to decrease barriers for students to access emergency food hampers. DOMINIQUE PANKO

The online Emergency Food Hamper ordering system, uFood, helps students without reliable access to food get much-needed groceries. In 2019, the campus Food Centre supplied between 24 to 79 Emergency Food Hampers each month, but research indicates that there is a much greater need for the service in the community. Since stigma may still be a barrier for students when trying to access the service, the uFood online platform, which has now been active for a little more than a year, allows students to sign up for the Emergency Food Hampers without having to physically go to the Food Centre office. Jillian Rogers is the Food Centre co-ordinator with the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union. She says that

food insecurity is a bigger problem than people realize, which contributes to the stigma. “Because people don’t think it’s that common, there is that stigma of not wanting to access a food bank or thinking that there will be some sort of repercussions if people find out you’re accessing a bank,” Rogers said. “We are working and doing our best to try and mitigate those stigmatizations.” There has been research done on just how pervasive food insecurity is on the University of Saskatchewan campus. A study released in 2017 by Rachel Engler-Stringer, associate professor for the department of community health and epidemiology, “found that 39.5 per cent of students were food insecure to some degree.” Engler-Stringer’s research had a sample size of 4,500 students who were classified into three categories of food

insecurity: marginal, moderate and severe. She found that 7.5 per cent of the student body was severely food insecure, meaning that they were skipping entire days’ worth of meals to help cope. There is also evidence of food insecurity being a wider issue outside campus. While the Food Centre gives out less than a hundred Emergency Food Hampers each month, the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s 2019 annual report says that in the previous year they served 227,361 people throughout the city with 83,207 hampers. Rogers says the best way to help students feel less stigmatized is to avoid asking about a student’s situation. “We don’t ask questions. I think that’s the biggest thing when it comes to reducing the stigma,” Rogers said. “We just don’t [ask].” When using the uFood platform, students can order the hampers without having

to face many of the common barriers. “We want to make it as accessible as possible so it's just online; no questions, [you] can just submit, you get an email, you can pick it up,” Rogers said. An added benefit of the online program is that students can select which items they want. “The difference being [that] it’s customizable,” Rogers said. “So that’s done online; it’s meant to kind of feel like an online shopping experience.” Unfortunately, there are some potential problems with not asking any questions ahead of giving out food hampers. Rogers hopes that only students who are having trouble accessing food use the service. “We find that one of the main problems is word gets out about the program and then you have students coming in who don’t truly need the program,” Rogers said.

“Again, we’re not asking the questions of whether or not you need it.” However, the reduced barriers mean that the Emergency Food Hampers can better help students in times of need. “There aren’t any restrictions to accessing it,” Rogers said. “We don’t ask for income, or we don’t ask for what your circumstances are — we don’t care about that. If you come to us and say, ‘I need help. I need food,’ we are here to provide that for you.” You can find more information about uFood and order an Emergency Food Hamper at ussu.ca/ufood.

Students’ council votes against another SGM following “failed” attempt The executive says they are not playing “hot potato” with the issue. ANA CRISTINA CAMACHO


After the Special General Meeting on Feb. 6 adjourned immediately after being called to order, many were left with the question of what would happen to the motions that had been up for vote. The University Students’ Council meeting on Feb. 27 saw Arts and Science representative Sarah Foley put forward a motion for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union to hold another SGM on March 26. This would allow students to address the issues that could not be voted on at the previous meeting. “This was a USSU administrative mistake,” Foley said. “So I think it is our responsibility as a sitting council to deal with this.” While the SGM on Feb. 6 was adjourned early due to a lack of quorum, the USSU chairperson’s decision to do so has been criticized by students. It was the chairperson’s call not to wait for the meeting to reach quorum nor al-

low for the members present to vote on whether to adjourn the meeting to a later time. The SGM cost the students’ union around $2,100 and the chairperson has since officially resigned. The USSU executive spoke against holding another SGM this term because of concerns about timing. President Regan Ratt-Misponas says that the executive is not trying to avoid responsibility by making this recommendation to the council. “We spent a lot of time trying to ensure that all the amendments that were proposed could be addressed. So we’re in no way trying to play hot potato with these issues or these concerns,” RattMisponas said. The executive expressed concern with the tight time frame for having another SGM, especially so late in the term and towards the end of their time in office. They also brought up that it is already too late for the bylaw changes to come into place before the USSU 2020 elections.

“I think that we wish we could do something, but in terms of timing … it just does not make sense at this time,” Ratt-Misponas said. Autumn LaRose-Smith, vice-president student affairs, says that the next USSU executive might put forward during their term their own solutions to issues. The main issue being discussed in the aftermath of the Feb. 6 SGM is a motion that would have allowed international students to run for executive positions within the union. “I want nothing more than to be able to say that we did it,” LaRose-Smith said. “But just to say that we did it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the right thing to do… They might put forward a better motion.” International students have been advocating for this change since September 2019 and are eager to see it happen. One of the main concerns at the USC meeting was that if the council voted not to have an SGM, the international students’ cause would remain

unresolved despite the USSU’s public promise to help them. “If we don’t hold an SGM to make up for the one we lost, and if for any reason the proposed amendments don't pass at the next AGM, then the invested parties could hold us at least partly responsible for those not passing — and it would be fair of them to do so,” a council member said. However, the concerns about timing won in the end; Foley’s motion was voted down. The next time students

can submit amendments to the USSU bylaws will be at the AGM in November 2020. For now, Ratt-Misponas has committed to putting a suggestion to revisit the international students’ concerns on his transition document for the next USSU president to keep in mind. “That doesn’t mean that they necessarily will; that is up to the decision of that executive,” Ratt-Misponas said. “But I am willing to put that within my transition package.”

University Students’ Council members talk amongst themselves prior to their meeting in the Roy Romanow Council Chambers at the U of S on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. | Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor

NEWS / 3


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U of S students rally to make post-secondary more affordable Students spoke up about the financial pressure resulting from tuition increases. KRISTINE JONES A. DEL SOCORRO

Students of the University of Saskatchewan rallied on Feb. 27 in an effort to push the provincial government to help make post-secondary more affordable for everyone. Despite the chilly weather, around 50 students stood together in the U of S Bowl, holding signs and listening intently as each speaker took turns explaining the magnitude of the situation. “We should be kept front of mind and top of the cheques to sign and not treated as an after-

thought,” said Jamie Bell, the U of S Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance. The USSU planned and led the rally as a way to build momentum behind their six calls to action for the Government of Saskatchewan ahead of the new provincial budget. These calls surround the issue of funding for students and the university, and were first released by the union in December 2019. At the rally, USSU President Regan Ratt-Misponas said that the demands were reasonable for the provincial government to address in a timely manner.



DRIVE March 23 -April 3 2020

“These six points are very small changes that we are hoping that the Government of Saskatchewan will implement in this next provincial budget,” Ratt-Misponas said. “And these six points add to the larger picture of ensuring that post-secondary education is affordable and accessible for the students today and the students to come.” Miguel Dela Peña, a thirdyear English honours student who attended the rally, says tuition is a big concern for him and most university students. “It’s discouraging, to say the least. By the time I finish my undergrad, [tuition will] already have gone up quite a bit from today and I already think it’s a lot right now,” Dela Peña said. “I’m doing a master’s so I can get a better chance at a better job to pay off student debt, but now it just seems like it’s gonna bury me deeper.” One of the calls to action by the USSU is for the province to offer scholarships, grants and bursaries for international students. Abhineet Goswami, the

University Students’ Council international students’ representative, voiced his frustrations with how the international students’ tuition differential is a barrier for his and his peers’ success. “I am hundreds of miles apart from my home, paying [more than] twice the amount of [domestic] tuition. I have no other choice because I have to survive here. This is not just my story. This is the story of all international students,” Goswami said. “The university uses fancy words like “internationalization,” “diversity,” “equality,” “inclusiveness,” but [when we] come here and do a reality check, [they] seem to be wrong.” The rally came shortly after the university’s proposed hikes to graduate tuition, still to be approved by the Board of Governors on March 23. The proposed increases would mean that graduate students’ tuition would go up 50 per cent or more in the next five years. U of S professor Claire Card, one of the speakers at the rally, says that students are frustrated about the

lack of consultation for these big tuition increases. “What we’ve experienced is [that] consultation seems to take the form of announcements. We aren’t really consulted at all,” Card said. “Let’s be real that enormous debt is a discouragement [from] attending university. Right now, all paths lead to banks and loans.” The USSU followed up on the rally’s requests during their conversation with Minister of Advanced Education Tina Beaudry-Mellor during the University Students’ Council meeting later on the same day. While the minister seemed receptive to the students’ calls to action, she made no promises. Ratt-Misponas emphasizes that for the province’s growth plans to succeed, they will need a stronger commitment to education affordability. “The province of Saskatchewan is now working on growth and to ensure growth, this is the place that we need to start,” Ratt-Misponas said. “It starts with students.”



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U of S students rally outside of the Administration Building on Feb. 27, 2020. | Kristine Jones A. del Socorro

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Men’s hockey claims 11th Canada West title and set sights on nationals The team leaves their mark by hanging the first banner to be won in their new home. JENNA PATRICIAN

In front of the first ever soldout crowd in Merlis Belsher Place on Saturday night, every Huskies player was dialled in and left it all out on the ice. There was no question that the dogs were going to do whatever it took to bring the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy home. They certainly did not disappoint the 2,667 fans who attended the game, successfully sweeping the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in two games to earn the first Canada West Championship in the new barn. It was a remarkable night, especially for the quartet of graduating Huskies who won the last championship in the rusty Rutherford Rink in 2016, and now in the new Merlis Belsher Place. “The atmosphere in this rink was amazing to get the first win here at Merlis, the first championship, it was incredible,” said fifth-year forward Logan McVeigh. “The crowd came out and cheered us on, it was awesome.” While everyone is expecting another Alberta-Saskatchewan match up, the UBC Thunderbirds shocked the hockey world as they upset the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the semi-finals. The Thunderbirds prevailed over the Alberta Golden Bears in a best of three series, preventing the arch-nemesis of the Huskies from appearing in the CW finals for the ninth year in a row. For the past 24 years, the top prize in Canada West has been lifted by only two provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan. The UBC men’s hockey team was seeking to change this as the program has not advanced to the CW championship since 1978, and is still chasing their first championship title. The Friday night faceoff ended with a 3-2 Huskies victory over the Thunderbirds, thanks to the tallies of Jordan Tkatch, Carson Stadnyk and Layne Young. Young, who is one of the few non-WHL graduates on the team, scored his first post-season goal for the Huskies. UBC rallied with a goal in the dying seconds of the third period, bringing them one point away from the Huskies’ lead, but were unable to complete their comeback. On the Saturday night clash, the Dogs broke out with an early

University of Saskatchewan Huskies defenceman Tanner Lishchynsky lifts the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy after winning the Canada West men’s hockey championship at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon, SK, on Feb. 29, 2020. | Heywood Yu

2-0 lead in the first period, with tallies from Levi Cable and leading scorer Carson Stadnyk. Canada West rookie of the year Jared Dymytriw maintained his season-long powerful performance, notching his second assist of the weekend on Stadnyk’s goal. The Thunderbirds pushed back hard in the second period, with a gritty and physical frame. The Huskies adapted and shifted to a more defensive game, as the players blocked shots left and right, stopping multiple offensive rushes with hard backchecks. The emotional cracks started to show in UBC’s front, taking 30 minutes of penalties in the second period alone. The team finished the night with 56 penalty minutes, including three 10­-minute misconducts. Cooler-heads prevailed on the Huskies’ end of the ice, with the Dogs maintaining their composure. They demonstrated the class of a frequent championship contender. Huskie forward Jeff Faith’s goal was called back with three minutes and 31 seconds left in the second, but rallied back and 54 seconds later found the back of the net once again. Levi Cable scored his second goal of the game, giving him a three-point weekend to finish the Canada West season with 28 points. The dynamic fifth-year forward also earned the UBC Hockey Alumni Trophy for

sportsmanship and ability, having only 18 penalty minutes in his five years with the Huskies. The third period was heated, with a brawl in front of the UBC net with four minutes left in the game. The Thunderbirds scored their lone goal of the game on the resulting power play with three minutes and 16 seconds left in the third period. Thunderbirds forward Jake Kryski, who scored in the Friday night contest as well, was given the goal after the puck deflected off Huskies defenceman Sam Ruopp’s stick. The crowd went wild as the final seconds ticked away. The Huskies held on tight to win the game 3-1 and took home the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy, crowning the University of Saskatchewan the king of west for the 11th time. Kohl Bauml credits the slow

start that the team faced at the beginning of the season for pushing the team. “It’s good to face a bit of adversity,” the fifth-year hometown hero said. “We had to pick it up, and from that third weekend on, I wouldn’t say we let off the gas for one game.” “For us to end up with the trophy and these medals around our neck shows the resiliency of our team and dedication to character of all the guys in the room and coaching staff.” The Huskies now look to the east in their quest to claim the national title at the University Cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which runs from March 12-15. “We get a week off, we get back into it,” said Hudson Bay product, Levi Cable. “We still got a bigger goal in mind and I’d like to end my five years winning a national championship.”




Moccasin Launching

Suicide Empire Friday, March 6, 7 pM

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Discussing & Signing

Re-Origin of Species Thursday, March 12, 7 pM

University of Saskatchewan Huskies defenceman Colby Harmsworth, right, hugs Huskies forward Carson Stadnyk after winning the Canada West men’s hockey championship at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon, SK, on Feb. 29, 2020. | Heywood Yu sheaf mar 5 to mar 11, 2020.indd 1

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Women’s basketball win Canada West Championship The team made some “key stops at the end” of the fourth to pull ahead and win the title, coach Thomaidis says. NYKOLE KING


For a packed audience, the Huskies women’s basketball team kept everyone on the edge of their seat by staying ahead with a narrow margin almost the entire game. As the minutes dwindled down, it looked uncertain at times. Yet the Huskies captured the Canada West title, their fourth in the past five years, against the University of Alberta Pandas, winning 62-51. The Huskies had expected to go on the road to face the number-one ranked team in the CW league, the Calgary Dinos, in the championship game. However, an upset against the Pandas in the semi-finals led to them falling out of the playoffs. With the Huskies ranked second, they played the Pandas on their home turf in the Physical Activity Complex, which was a welcomed surprise. But with the change in

playoff format, scrapping the best of three in the quarter and semifinals, the Huskies had it all riding on one high­pressure game. In the first period, the teams tied twice, and the Pandas barely squeaked a lead over the Huskies six minutes in. However, the Huskies worked hard on defense in the second, allowing the Pandas to only make five points. “They had a tough night shooting in the first half,” said Lisa Thomaidis, head coach of the Huskies women’s basketball team. “We knew they were going to make a run in the second, but we hung in strong.” In their playoff games this year, the Huskies have struggled with maintaining their lead, often dropping it in the third to rally hard in the end. It was no different in the championship game. After a tough third that had the Pandas edging closer, the Huskies were quick on their turnovers. It was fourth-year Summer Masikewich who had the au-

University of Saskatchewan Huskies celebrate their victory of the 2019-20 Canada West Championship by posing for a photo following their win against the U of A Pandas at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon, SK, on Feb. 28, 2020. | Yasmine El-Gayed

dience on their feet. With just over two minutes left on the clock, her three-pointer shot in the fourth launched the Huskies forward. The key players were Masikewich and fifth-year Sabine

Dukate, who both earned 17 points. Dukate attempted six three-pointers and landed two, and from second-year Carly Ahlstrom came 10 rebounds. The women’s team is in

Ottawa for the U SPORTS Championship over the weekend, which is the second time in program history that the team is heading into the final eight ranked number one in the nation.

Faith Leaders’ Council’s Good Breakfast serves students hungry for food and company Twice a week, the USask Community Centre offers a delicious meal and savoury discussions.

Students attend the Good Breakfast at the USask Community Centre on Feb.27, 2020. | Noah Callaghan/ Staff Writer


Walk through Marquis Hall after 8 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and chances are you will hear a buzzing chatter and the sound of coffee being poured coming from the USask Community Centre. Inside, you’ll see people, seeking food and friendship while enjoying the Good Breakfast. The Faith Leaders’ Council was created by the University of Saskatchewan two years ago and includes representatives from multiple religions and denominations who help support the


campus community’s spiritual wellness. Ecumenical Christian faith leader David Kim-Craig has helped organize the Good Breakfast since it started last year. He says the initiative was made to address food security on campus. The idea was proposed to the faith leaders by the former Graduate Students' Association president. “It struck me at the time that I knew a number of different congregations in the city, and that a number of them would be willing to prepare muffins or something very simple for breakfast,” Kim-Craig said.

Not long after the Good Breakfast program began, it became so popular that they expanded the service to twice a week. KimCraig now co-runs the program with the Lutheran faith leader George Hind, who looks after the Wednesday breakfast. The free breakfast serves a delectable spread of toast, fruit, muffins and hard boiled eggs. This light meal can be taken to go by students rushing to a morning class, but people are encouraged to stay and chat. Although the program was started as a food security initiative, Kim-Craig quickly discovered that many people were coming because they were also “just hungry for company.” “I never anticipated that the response would have been so positive,” Kim-Craig said. “I think a lot of the energy of the breakfast comes from the fact that people are just looking for some community.” He says that the majority of the Good Breakfast’s attendees are international students. Kim-Craig believes it can be challenging for students from other countries to make meaningful connections during their exchange.

He says the “magic” of the Good Breakfast comes from the fact that these students are so willing to interact with one another. “Nobody is sitting at their own tables, or speaking their own language or in their own clique,” Kim-Craig said. “Everybody is sitting together and getting to know one another. Intentionally, people are doing that and it’s creating a really great little family.” Catherine Davila is a student from Peru who is a first year toxicology master’s student at the U of S. She has been attending the Good Breakfast regularly since the fall and appreciates having a day of the week where she can save time and money by not having to prepare breakfast. Davila enjoys the fact that if you don’t have time to stay for breakfast, you can take your food to go. As an international student, she finds it very valuable to have a service where people can share their experiences. “The special thing here is that you can find people from different countries, learn about other countries, people’s backgrounds

and their ideas,” Davila said. “Also, you can improve your conversational skills if you’re like me and English isn’t your first language.” The U of S faith leaders are trained to support the campus community and work to promote spiritual wellness. Kim-Craig says the program is inclusive to everyone who wants breakfast and people are not required to have any religious belief to come. But a “side effect,” which surprised him, was that conversations about faith often emerge, especially around the holidays. He says that physical, mental and spiritual health as well as having a sense of belonging are all related parts of well-being. Because of this, he believes that having a place like the Good Breakfast for students to connect can make a huge difference. “It can go both ways because lonely students are often students that are not eating well, and if you don’t have money to buy food you can be lonely,” Kim-Craig said. “But if you’re lonely you can have no appetite, so it’s all an interconnected thing.”



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Food, festivals and the Philippines: How food brings us together Food is deeply rooted in Ilocano culture and gives people something to bond over. J.C. BALICANTA NARAG


Saskatoon food festivals are sometimes dismissed as just another summer event. Despite what some people might believe, these festivals showcase diversity and build bridges for us to experience other people’s cultures. Food is a deliciously apt uniting factor all over the world, and we see this in the food festivals that occur in the islands of the Philippines. During food festivals, the sounds of the drums usually signal that the parade is near. As it passes your house, you might see the bright colours from the dancers who are holding garlic. Next, you see the horse carriages are adorned with garlic as well. This scene is the familiar look of the food parades in the Philippines, and in particular, the famous garlic festival. This herb that you add to your meals is an important crop of the Ilocos region, a northern section in the Philippines where the proud Ilocanos live. Apart from its

diverse traditions from province to province, the Ilocos region also has a multitude of well-defined food cultures that set it apart. The most important of these foods is garlic, dubbed as the “white gold” of Ilocos. Most of the province’s food, and perhaps the rest of the world’s too, has garlic in it. Sinait, Ilocos Sur, is the garlic capital of the north. Its annual festival of bawang, which is Ilocano for garlic, happens from the first of May to the third. The purpose of the festival is to support Ilocano farmers in mass producing garlic with modern technology, showcasing how important this herb is to the Filipinos. However, the Sinait bawang festival isn’t the only popular one in the Ilocos region. In Ilocos Norte, the town of Pinili — which means to choose — also celebrates the well-renowned herb. The town contributes to the 1,880 hectares of garlic farm in all of Ilocos Norte, accounting for almost 4,500 tons of garlic produced in the north. With this much garlic production happening, it’s no surprise

that Pinili is the ‘chosen’ town for the festival. The garlic fest brings many people from various countries across the world. During the colourful parades, the locals use bulbs of garlic to adorn themselves and their kalesas, or horse carriages, as they dance in the street. There are also parade floats, usually with a person sitting at the top who is a contestant for one of the town’s many contests. And of course, there’s the peryahan, which is similar to The Saskatoon Exhibition but the prizes are not always stuffed toys — kids can win money or food, too. The heritage centre of Ilocos, which is Vigan, Ilocos Sur, also holds a food festival. It is to honour yet another central food in the Philippines — longanisa. So imagine the previous scene described, but it’s with fake, small-sized sausages used as a decoration. Yes, it’s quite a sight to behold. These festivals are just from one region in the Philippines, and the country is made of more than 7,600 islands, so you can imagine just

how many festivals there are. What makes these festivals special is how deeply important food is in the culture. Of course, this isn’t only true for the Philippines. One way or another, food brings people together. It has its own way of bringing prosperity among friends and strangers. We see this in Canada today with the Saskatoon Folkfest Festival and the Regina Mosaic Festival. These festivals aim to edu-

cate and create mutual understanding of the diverse ethnic groups of Saskatoon and Regina. There are performances, vendors and food. Perhaps this is why food is important to any culture in the world. When we find ourselves in the house of a friend who doesn’t speak the same language as you, food is always there to help. It garners an understanding and fosters a great relationship between you and the rest of the world.

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The dark history of food and drink Some of the most innocuous food and beverages have the strangest stories to tell..


here are some peculiar backstories, hidden histories, strange mysteries and even the origins of urban legends hiding in your bars and cupboards. Take a look back in time at cocktail cures, poisoned candy and the off-label uses for popular breakfast cereal.

Raise your spirits

Gin and tonic

This good old British beverage — a splash of lime, herby gin and bubbly tonic — has been a staple in bars for about 100 years. But what are the murky origins of this drink? Well, the popular mid-range gin Bombay Sapphire answers part o f that question. One look at the label and you will notice the hallmarks of the imperial British rule, down to its India-inspired name and stark portrait of Queen Victoria. The G&T was created by the British East India Company during the occupation of the country in the nineteenth century. It was a tasty way for the colonist Brits to safe-guard themselves from malaria. Tonic water was originally created not as a mix for your favourite clear booze, but as an antimalarial treatment. The “tonic” portion of the water comes from dissolved quinine, a bitter substance that’s found in cinchona tree bark used to treat malaria for centuries. Mixing it in water was a better way to consume the terrible tasting drug. A splash of gin and a squeeze of lime made it even more palatable. The tonic water we consume today is still made with quinine, but in much lower doses. It won’t protect you from malaria, but if you’ve ever drank the stuff under a black light you will see that it glows bright blue — the UV light makes the quinine fluoresce.

Flickr / Richard

Medicinal whiskey


Other tonics of interest

Coca-Cola and 7 Up were pharmacy-marketed concoctions. Coca-Cola was created by biochemist and wounded confederate soldier John Pemberton, who found himself addicted to morphine after the Civil War. “Nerve tonics” were all the rage then and Pemberton was determined to create a drink that would help him kick the narcotics and improve his health. This is where the “cocaine” in Coca-Cola story rings true — cocaine was considered the wonder drug of choice in the late 1800s. Originally, 7 Up was known as Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Sodas and the name gives away its secret medicinal ingredient — lithium to “raise the spirits.” Lithium is still a commonly used medication to effectively treat bipolar disorder. It was removed from the drink in 1948.

Beer has a long history that dates back to antiquity, but one of its most interesting historical facts comes from the Middle Ages, which may be our origin story for contemporary witches. Brewing was traditionally a woman’s work, and in the 1300s, they were referred to as alewives. Often single or widowed, these women brewed beer over black cauldrons, wearing tall black hats to advertise their beer and stand out of the crowd. Alewives often owned alehouses, a place where their brews were made and served. To signal that they were open for business, they would hang a broomstick outside the doorway. The brewing and drinking business picked up after the Black Death devastated Europe, when people began to gather more frequently at alehouses. Men saw an opportunity for a lucrative career in brewing and began to slander the alewives, pushing them out of the business. Larger pubs opened up and men solidified themselves in the business. Somewhere along the way, the classic cartoon witch adopted the alewives’ uniforms.

A Poisoned past

Deadly sweet

A single cherry pit contains enough cyanide to knock you down if the pit is cracked open and eaten.

G&Ts aren’t the only medicinal drink of the past — plain old whiskey has a long history of being used to treat cold and flu symptoms. The hot toddy, which is lemon and honey ‘tea’ with a splash of bourbon, is still a popular comfort drink to get you through your latest respiratory illness. But in the early 1900s, medicinal whiskey was a popular item during prohibition and could be purchased with a prescription from your local pharmacist. In 1918, when the Spanish flu hit North America, medicinal whiskey and other alcoholic drinks were hailed as a way to keep the disease at bay. Pharmacists in Saskatoon handed out up to eight ounce prescriptions. This idea of medicinal alcohol may have been attributed to an on-campus incident during the pandemic. The University of Saskatchewan was quarantined during the influenza outbreak, and it is reported that two pharmacy students drank cocktails of methyl alcohol, poured from the chemistry lab taps. While whiskey’s medicinal benefits are up for debate, there is no doubt that methyl alcohol will seriously mess you up. One of the students died and the other lost his sight. It is said that to avoid scandal, University President Walter Murray convinced the young man’s father and the coroner to document the official cause of death as influenza. Flickr / army.arch



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Witches brew?

The G&T was created by the British East India Company during the occupation of the country in the nineteenth century. It was a tasty way for the colonist Brits to safe-guard themselves from malaria.


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Each year, we hear about poisoned Halloween candy, but these stories rarely, if ever, materialize into something concrete. Where does the fear of poisoned candy come from? Well, it may have something to do with the Bradford sweets poisoning seeping into our collective consciousness. On Oct. 30, 1858, in the village of Bradford, England, nearly 200 people fell ill and 21 died after a deadly mistake was made in the candy-making process of shop owner Humbug Billy’s most popular treat. Instead of 12 pounds of a filler known as ‘daft,’ 12 pounds of arsenic was added to the batch of peppermint candies. The arsenic wasn’t labeled properly and was grabbed by mistake during a supply purchase. As children began to fall ill, it was thought that they were dying of cholera, but it soon became apparent that many in the town had been poisoned. Each sweet contained enough arsenic to kill two people.

Bad apples

Snow White falls into a deep sleep after taking a bite of a poisoned apple. While this fairy tale fruit was delivered by the Evil Queen, disguised as a wicked witch, apples have a deadly secret at their core. Cyanide, one of the most famous poisons in recent history, hides inside the tiny innocuous apple seed. Now, the dose is what makes the poison — meaning that an apple seed isn’t going to harm you. But 200 seeds or 40 apples may be enough to strike you down. Apples aren’t the only ones. Most stone fruits — peaches, plums and cherries — contain cyanide in the pit. A single cherry pit contains enough cyanide to knock you down if the pit is cracked open and eaten. In 2017, a man in the UK cracked open and ate the “almond-like texture” of three pits. He had to be treated in hospital for cyanide poisoning.

A wholesome breakfast

Hot Toddy. | Flickr / Patrick Truby

Wellcome Images

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes have been a breakfast staple for generations, but this crunchy cereal got its start as the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a turn-of-the-twentieth-century medical spa. Imagine the movie A Cure for Wellness but with less tentacles. John Harvey Kellogg was the head of this wellness retreat and wanted a bland digestible breakfast item that would be easy for his guests to digest — improving their health. The corn flake was born. Kellogg didn’t just think that bland food was good for your physical health, he thought that it would benefit your spiritual health as well. Staunchly against masturbation, Kellogg thought that bland foods, like corn flakes, would stop this “sinful” activity.



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Which fast food joint has the best hash browns? Hash browns come in all shapes and sizes, but we all have our favourite place. TOMILOLA OJO CULTURE EDITOR

When you’re in a hurry and looking for a quick breakfast to keep you running ‘til lunch, fast food comes to the rescue with all its grease and preservative-filled goodness. And what compliments breakfast better than hash browns? It’s the perfect companion to every breakfast wrap or English muffin sandwich. Though it is self-evident that hashbrowns are great food at the baseline, there are levels to it. Which fast food joint has the best hash browns? Here’s a ranking — though not a comprehensive one — of the best hash browns in town. 4. Burger King Coming in at fourth place are the Burger King “hash browns.” I have some feelings about this one because they’re smaller and

bite-sized. Personally, I think hash browns should be either shredded or in the traditional patty shape. So let’s call these what they are — tater tots. They are saved by their convenient size, which makes them better suited for kids or hash brown rookies. They aren’t greasy, but a bit too potato-ey for me. Honestly, I can’t get over the fact that these hash browns are actually tater tots, which is why they come in at fourth place.

2. Tim Hortons If you just love potatoes, these are the hash browns for you. While they’re not the best ones out there, they’re not that bad either. Tim’s hash browns have an appetizing golden brown look and a great crunch to them on the outside, but the insides are a bit too mushy for my taste. They’re also a little dry, so make sure you get some dipping sauce or a drink to pair with this one.

Finally, if you’ve been to Tim’s more than once, you know that their food changes with the hour, location, weather and worker. There is no such thing as consistency in the world of Tim Hortons, so take this one with a grain of salt. It’s kind of a toss-up that depends on which location you go to. 1. McDonald’s If you’re looking for the best hash browns while you’re on

the run, look no further than to the famous golden arches. These ones are for the connoisseurs. Their hash browns have all the elements of goodness. They’re golden brown with a beautifully satisfying crunch, they almost melt in your mouth and the flavour is there. This is one of McDonald’s best options and is made even better by the fact that, unlike the ice cream machine, the hash brown machine is never broken.

3. Taco Bell These hash browns are a bit skinnier than you’d expect, which adds to the crunchiness. However, it’s almost overpowering and kind of feels like all crunch and no potato. There isn’t much to say about these hash browns. They’re just alright. Pair it with a burrito and some Tums and you’re golden. Shawna Langer/ Graphics Editor



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Be gay and stay in Wittenberg: The moral of Hamlet Why avenge your father’s death when you can just go on cute dates with your boyfriend? EUNICE-GRACE DOMINGO

It seems like everybody and their dog has an opinion about Hamlet and what this play all means. Lord knows people write theses, dissertations and lectures about it. Anyone who’s gotten this far in academia has probably read it either for a class or due to peer pressure. (Yes, peer pressure. My high school had a very toxic literary culture surrounding Hamlet and, on more than one occasion, some people bullied — not me, definitely not me at all, nope, who would do that? — others into reading it.) It’s safe to say people haven’t shut up about this play since my man, Willy Shakes, published it in 1603. And the analyses and commentaries have been great, don’t get me wrong. It’s a warning tale against procrastination, a novel testament to what it means to be fundamentally

human, an exploration of the moralistic divide between the self and state. I’ve heard it all, but I think people have really missed out on a very key possibility — what if Hamlet just stayed in university and went on cute dates with Horatio instead of screwing everything up back home in Denmark? I think this is a very valid hypothesis, mostly because it solves literally all of the play’s problems. I mean, Hamlet Senior is still dead and Claudius gets away with murdering him. But hey, Hamlet finds a new daddy in Horatio and Gertrude still has a man in Claudius. Also, for the killjoys who are saying Hamlet and Horatio weren’t dating — it’s basically accepted among fan forums that they’re in love, at least in the abyss of very serious, very legit English academic society — and I’m rolling with it for this particular argument. Say what you want about ei-

ther character’s sexuality, but when Hamlet literally died in Horatio’s arms, Horatio sobbed and threatened suicide because a world without his dear prince was too horrible to live in. So chew on that. Anyway, the iconic funeral/ wedding/Hamlet’s­- tempertantrum scene happens soon after Horatio confirms all the ghostly stuff is totally legit, and further supports my hypothesis. Claudius tells our protagonist to maybe just chill a little — “Your dad’s dead, yeah it sucks, but he ain’t coming back anytime soon. Please be okay with me having sex with your mom.” After Hamlet cries about it a little, Horatio rushes in and the sweet prince is absolutely delighted to see his boyfriend. As you all know, a bunch of shit proceeds to happen. Some were less moral than others — couldn’t Hamlet have at least pulled that arras back to make sure he was stabbing the right guy? Geez. Everything ends with pret-

Yashica Bither

ty much everyone dead and Fortinbras storming the castle and becoming the new king of Denmark. Horatio’s left behind to tell Hamlet’s story. It’s all very sad. So I’m just saying, Hamlet

should’ve just stayed in Wittenberg and used his mouth for something other than the long-winded soliloquies everyone is so tired of hearing. The rest doesn’t have to be silence, Hamlet! It can be gay!

In their defence: A guide to inclusivity of everyone, for everyone The words we use hold power to make or break someone’s day, so let’s be careful how we use them. GAVIN ROBERTSON

In the wake of third-wave feminism exists a deeper understanding of identity, bringing on a slew of labels to express ourselves with. Though each has its own niche differences, the sense of home lies within the language. Language itself is ephemeral, changing from generation to generation. As each new generation of kids grows up and searches for their unique identities, their lingo adapts and develops. Teens today use jargon rife with gems like “this is lit” and “that’s facts,” but you’d be hardpressed to find anyone older than 25 who wholly understands the minutiae of what makes a song a banger versus a bop. Concurrently, the powerful “well, I never” has been lost to us. Part of living in a more “woke” era is the gain of new terminology and labels. With a grand elaboration of our understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity underway, we have new ways to describe them — and ultimately, ourselves and each other.

But how on Earth can we possibly accommodate the people who are just seeking attention with their weird labels and intentionally making life difficult for the “normal” folk? While the ignorance behind such complaints is another discussion altogether, the answer is deceptively simple and lies within one of the most elementary components of our language — pronouns. Yes, you really can get by with only minor adjustments to how you use some of the earliest words you learned. We’re all well-versed in the usage of he/him and she/her pronouns. Since the majority of Earth’s population identifies within the socially-constructed gender binary, we get a lot of daily practice out of those ones. It’s the pronouns that we were never formally taught that some find tricky. So what should you say? How do you refer to people who haven’t told you their preferred pronouns? Simply put, use they/them. Gender-neutral, grammaticallycorrect and respectful, this is a perfect catch-all in cases where

you aren’t sure of someone’s pronouns or gender identity. In fact, everyone already uses they/ them pronouns in regular conversation. Picture this — you’ve just grabbed your go-to Starbucks order and are about to sit down to start some well-needed midterm studying. When you get there, you see a pair of earbuds left on the table. Kindly, you take them to the barista and explain that someone forgot their earbuds. Right then, you used “their” to refer to a person of unknown gender identity. It’s in a proper sentence, you’re referring to a single person, and it makes sense. A gendered pronoun could also have fit, but it just feels better to phrase it with “their.” Where, then, does “his or her” fall in? Used frequently in lengthy sections of text attempting to be gender-neutral, this series of words is perhaps a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Not only does it read abhorrently when used repetitively in a paragraph, but it enforces deep-seated ideas of male supremacy, with men addressed first.

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Try forming a sentence where “his or her” fits but flip the order. You’re left with “her or his,” which — though superficially more mindful of women — sounds much more fake. These failed attempts at inclusivity through amalgamations of binary pronouns just don’t cut it, no matter how you slice it. Whether you feign “wokeness” by putting the female pronoun first or just fall into the patriarchal regular and frame “her” as an afterthought, you exclude the growing margin of people who don’t fit either. The discussion of preferred

gender pronouns extends much further than the three discussed here. Neopronouns, and even the desire to be referred to exclusively by name, are both finding footholds, and this can feel confusing for people not exposed to these pronouns though, but it doesn’t have to be. They/them pronouns are respectful and avoid possibly harmful assumptions. Be it a new coworker, a classmate, a server, a stranger or anyone else whose preferred pronouns you don’t know, be kind and gracious with your use of pronouns. They’ll thank you.


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For more information on each position go to thesheaf.com/hiring Send your cover letter, resume and portfolio to hiring@thesheaf.com by noon Monday, March 9, 2020


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Nutritional options are lacking on campus Are we forced to choose between affordable and healthy? MITCH ROHRKE

We’ve likely heard it all: “I want to eat healthier,” “I want to exercise more” or, better yet, “I wish I had a fast metabolism, then I could eat junk food all day.” These phrases infiltrate the minds of students every day. When you get to university, you realize that now you have total control of your diet. So if mom and dad weren’t always the healthiest at home, now you can be. Or maybe at home, meals were always satiating and nutritious, but now you don’t know how to cook. On top of that, you might not be as active as you were in high school. Where does that lead us? Weight gain. Stress and schoolwork don’t care about your weight. They’ll always be there, whether you’re a first-year or a seventh-year student up until 4 a.m. So what is the university doing to help with this fear? Nothing. It’s not just the university though, it’s also society’s influence on our values. Just recently, there was an article written about someone having proposed an idea to replace the Sheaf with a McDonald’s. Society has taught us to de-value material resources and replace them with, what? Quar-

ter pounders with cheese? What will last you longer? An article that provides you with information you can hold for a lifetime or a Big Mac with fries that gives you 1,146 calories and feelings of regret? You decide. Another issue surrounding student’s nutrition is the food services offered on campus. While it can be argued that “everything is healthy in moderation,” there are limited healthy options for food on campus. So what do you do when you need a quick bite because you’ve been on campus for 12 hours? You hit up the Lower Place Riel food court, where you’re instantly met with the smell of greasy pizza, fried chicken and Circle K hot dogs. It’s no wonder university weight gain is a reality. The university provides us with minimal healthy meal options. Sure, there is Choices in STM that offers kale salads but for triple the price of a Circle K hot dog. We might be in charge of our diets, but the majority of us are broke students who jump at the next sale of ramen and hot dogs. So on top of eating unhealthy and calorie-dense foods at home, we almost always choose the cheapest items at the university. The result? If you have cereal for break-

Students sit in lower Place Riel at the U of S on Feb. 28, 2020. | Aqsa Hussain/ Layout Manager

fast and grab your Tim Hortons or Starbucks fix, you are looking at over 400 calories. Have a mid-morning snack? For a granola bar, add 190 calories. At lunch, you want to get the most bang for your buck so you hit up the Flaming Wok. Now, no nutrition information is available but on average that sweet and sour pork and noodle one item plate will be roughly 700 calories. A late afternoon snack of a Tim Hortons muffin is another 340 calories. Throw some “healthy” carrots and ranch dip?

That ranch might cost you 200 extra calories. Supper hits and you are craving noodles so you boil up some ramen, a hot dog, top it with a slice of cheese — 850 calories, baby. But we aren’t done yet, are we? Alternatively, if you start with half of a cup of oatmeal, a banana and peanut butter with a Tim Horton’s chaser, that’s 489 calories. At lunch, you have come prepared with a portioned meal of chicken and rice for around 500 calories. Snack it up with raw veggies with lite ranch and a turkey

sandwich for a healthy snack before you eat a healthy 500 calorie supper of portioned salmon and potatoes. Add a cookie, some fruit and cracker snacks later. As you can see, the second option is healthier but it will also be more costly for your wallet. By not having cheap, healthy food options — other than the fruit in Upper Place Riel every week — students are increasingly finding it difficult to live a healthy lifestyle away from home. All numbers on calorie counts came from myfitnesspal.com.

Unhealthy food: A friend or foe? It’s good to maintain a healthy relationship with food for our mental and physical health. THEA PEARCE

Food — we all need it and we definitely couldn’t live without it. However, in a day and age where social media reigns supreme, it is often difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with food. In a society of ever-changing ideals and narratives of how the average person should look, many people develop a restrictive outlook on what they are eating. The foods we consume are often directly correlated with our body image. People might think that a healthy diet will ultimately lead to society’s physique du jour. This perspective perpetuates a negative mindset surrounding food that has historically been portrayed as “unhealthy,” and people begin to categorize foods as “bad” or “good.” Good food is commonly perceived as fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein. Don’t get me wrong, these foods are

wonderful for your body and provide people with the nutrients and energy that they need. However, junk foods are given a bad rap due to the fact that they are often high sources of fat, sugar or carbohydrates. These kinds of food are seen as impediments to living a healthy lifestyle. It has become all too common for the average person to eat what they believe is a healthy diet only to think they’ve “ruined it” with a small treat or snack. I can even admit to doing this myself. While I’m not condoning eating junk food all day, everything is perfectly fine in moderation. Eating high calorie foods is just a part of life for most people. It is unsustainable to think that the average person can eat whole, natural healthy meals 24/7. In fact, allowing yourself to have a nice treat every once in a while can actually spare you from binge eating later. Our society’s portrayal of food fuels these misconceptions

of how people should eat and, by extension, body image. People feel like they have to eat a certain way and if they don’t follow that routine all of the time, they have somehow failed to achieve their goals. This type of mindset may lead to eating disorders or restrictive eating, where people refuse to consume anything other than what they deemed as necessary to achieve a particular physique. At the end of the day, all food is fuel for the human body. More importantly, food is also a huge part of life. Many social events and gatherings are entirely based around it. If you are afraid to eat certain things, how can you truly enjoy yourself in these settings? Some of the best memories in life are those turkey dinners with your family, ice cream dates with your significant other or movie dates with friends. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food can translate to a better social life and a

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healthier outlook on life itself. It is so important to always remember that you control what you eat and what you eat should not control you. Each and every person in this world is special in their own way, regardless of how they choose to eat or how they look. Instead of worrying so much about not looking like that Instagram model after you at a big meal with loved ones think about how you feel. As well, please refrain from making

comments about what other people eat because they may be facing demons that you are unaware of. Food should ultimately be your friend, not your enemy. Maintaining a healthy relationship with what you eat is a crucial part of loving yourself. Instead of labelling food as “good” or “bad,” take into account what makes you feel the best. Life is too short to place your self-worth in the hands of the food that you eat.



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Ask an Agro: Reap the benefits of beef Raising cattle can have positive ecological impacts.


Between the increasing prevalence of plant-based protein and negative messaging from media and celebrities, it has become popular to blame meat production for many of the world’s environmental problems. Yet livestock, beef cattle in particular, can actually enhance the sustainability of ecosystems and global food security. One of the most common ways to assess an industry’s environmental impact is to analyze its carbon footprint. Cattle are often labeled as the major cause of climate change. Although the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations attributes 65 per cent of the livestock industry’s environmental footprint to beef, animal agriculture makes up only 14.5 per cent of all carbon emissions. However, livestock also enhances the health of the pastures they inhabit. Grazing is a natural function in grassland ecosystems, allowing for new growth of carbon-sequestering plants, seed dispersal and maintaining the biodiversity of both plants and animals. According to the Beef Cattle

Research Council, native grasslands can store as much as 200 tonnes of carbon per hectare. However, without cattle grazing, grass growth is affected. Through carefully managed grazing systems, cattle can be used to enhance grassland health so that they even offset their own carbon emissions. In the right ecological conditions, livestock can help keep carbon from entering the atmosphere by preventing soil degradation, which prevents greenhouse gasses from leaving the ground. Producers who feed grainbased diets to their cattle have also found ways to introduce initiatives to reduce carbon emissions substantially. This includes the use of certain feed additives which inhibit methanogenic micro-organisms in the digestive tract. Still, there is much more to environmental sustainability than carbon emissions. Cattle production is often criticized for the amounts of land and water it requires. But livestock are also capable of making use of resources that can’t be transferred to crop production. In addition to benefiting grassland ecosystems, cattle grazing

A herd of cattle graze on a hill in a Saskatchewan farm. | Emma Cross

can take place on marginal lands, which are not well suited for crop growth. Even cattle, which are fed grain-based diets, make use of grains that do not meet human consumption standards. As such, cattle are an important avenue for the use of resources which would otherwise go to waste. Although beef production requires a substantial amount of water, much of this water does not meet quality standards for human consumption. Switching those marginal grazing areas to cropland as an alternative food source is not a feasible option either since crops demand more

water on that type of land. Canadian beef producers have plenty to celebrate in terms of environmental progress. A 2015 study funded by the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster saw a 14 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from production of the same amount of beef between 1981 and 2011. This reduction is largely due to improved feed efficiency of livestock, meaning that animals can use less feed to produce the same amount of meat. Another study found that Canadian beef production used 17 per cent less water in 2011 than in 1981. If consumers continue

to support the beef industry, further progress and innovation can occur. While it is easy to point a finger at the potential negative impacts of beef cattle on the environment, their role in global food security is very important to consider. Beef is an excellent source of protein and many other essential nutrients, and as it turns out, has a production cycle that stands to aid ecological functions. From the standpoint of both social and environmental sustainability, it seems there is more to beef than just a pretty taste.

Ask an Agro: A taste for food waste We can rescue food that is destined for the trash. ERIN ANDERSON

What do 1.3 million Ford Escapes, 400,000 African elephants and 48 Titanics have in common? The answer is that they weigh close to 2.2 million tonnes, which is equal to the amount of edible food wasted in Canada every year. Food waste is detrimental economically, environmentally and socially, yet the issue is largely ignored. It is not just the physical food wasted, but all the resources, inputs and dollars put in to growing the food are wasted, too. Household food waste costs Canadians about $17 billion per year. Yes, that is billion, with a B. Food wasted by Canadian households contributes 9.8 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere per year, which is equivalent to that emitted by 2.1 million cars. Currently in Canada, there are over 4 mil-


lion people that are food insecure. I could continue throwing statistics at you, but I think I’ve proven my point. Food waste needs to be reduced, period. So why hasn’t it already? The truth is that people tend to ignore the problem. It’s easy to waste food when it’s convenient. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to food waste when everyone else around you does the same. Society’s attitude towards food waste is often indifferent and oblivious. It is in desperate need of an update. Luckily, there are things you can do to help curb the waste. My goal is not to make you feel guilty or attacked. I’m simply offering suggestions on how you can do your part to make the food waste problem better. There are a few obvious ways that I’m sure have been preached to you before — like only buy what you will eat, compost unavoidable waste like eggshells or spent coffee

grounds or buy locally produced food for a lower carbon impact. These practices are clearly beneficial to your wallet and the environment. However, I want to talk about food rescue, something you maybe haven’t heard about before. Food rescue is the process of taking edible food destined for waste and redistributing it to people in need. In Saskatoon, there is a food rescue program called FoodRenew. Founded by four University of Saskatchewan alumni, FoodRenew has partnered with both businesses and recipient organizations in need of food donations. They act as a delivery service, collecting food that would be otherwise wasted from businesses and dropping it off at organizations for those struggling with food insecurity to access. They have many partner businesses, such as Picaro, Una and Red Lobster. They are even

partnered with the University of Saskatchewan Culinary Services. Their recipients include organizations such as The Lighthouse Supported Living, Westside Community Centre and SaskNative Rentals Inc. Food waste is a significant problem in Canada, yet it is se-

verely overlooked. At the end of the day, reducing food waste is our responsibility and can help battle food insecurity. Not only will it help us save money, but it will help the environment and people in need as well. Go to www.foodrenew.ca for more information or to volunteer to rescue food.

A pantry full of food photographed in Erin Matthews’ home on March 3, 2020. | Erin Matthews


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