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Urban Cultivator

With sustainability, nutrition and affordability top of mind, York University Food Services has installed an Urban Cultivator in the Stong College Healthy Kitchen to grow fresh greens in-house.

The new kitchen greenhouse will help to not only reduce the University’s carbon footprint, but also to provide a readily available supply of local, fresh ingredients for campus food preparation. Featured in Maclean’s magazine and the Globe and Mail, but most famous for its debut on CBC’s "Dragons Den," Food Service’s latest dining addition is an all-in-one indoor garden that can be used 365 days of the year to provide perfect growing conditions for a variety of fresh greens and herbs.

The current harvest includes baby kale, which is used daily at the salad bars and in everyday recipes in the dining facilities. Booster Juice on campus is also now using the freshly grown kale for their smoothie “boosters” instead of outsourcing the ingredient.

Chef Abdel Belkadi, Aramark’s executive chef at York University’s Keele campus for over two years now, has always supported healthier menu options and he caters to dietary needs such as gluten-free, halal, vegan, vegetarian and sustainable. His vision, plus the University’s desire to provide the ultimate dining experience, has led to many great achievements such as the Healthy Kitchen and the Urban Cultivator. Belkadi is excited to be growing his ingredients right in his own kitchen.

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