With the Canadian dollar hovering at 70 cents, the cost of fruits and vegetables has skyrocketed, making grocery shopping more difficult for Ryerson students.
The cost of fresh vegetables in Ontario rose by 7.2 per cent while fresh fruit rose by 3.7 per cent from November to December last year, according to the consumer price index released by Statistics Canada.
Ellison Chang, a first-year student, is already making use of Ryerson’s resources as he roams the Good Food Centre’s small rooms filled with soup, hot chocolate and canned fruits.
“It is really convenient coming to the Good Food Centre and stocking up on food because it is helping me feed myself,” he said. “I eat these items at home and sometimes even in class.”
The Good Food Centre on campus gives assistance to students who are finding it hard to stock their cupboards themselves by providing access to free food items. According to the website, they believe that students “shouldn’t have to choose between textbooks, rent and food.”
Candy Huangh, one of the centre’s coordinators, says she has noticed an increase in the amount of students who have been signing up to receive food.
“Because the Canadian dollar is decreasing and tuition is getting higher, I hear people complaining about that when they come to visit the room all the time,” Huangh said.
“Students need to know that they can come here if they experience food insecurity or financial difficulty. Our food services are here to help, ” she said, adding that she hopes more people discover the Good Food Centre as many don’t know that they have a room right on campus to help them.
The rise in food prices will not be affecting campus eateries like Oakham Cafe and the Ram in the Rye, said Rick Knapp, food and beverage manager for both popular student eateries.
“I look at the prices at the end of every school year and decide whether prices need to be changed for the following year,” he said.
For some students, like first-year student Matthew McAllister, the soaring food prices add on to already expensive tuition, transportation and living expenses. “I am paying more than usual just to feed myself,” he said.
The CBC reported that the price of food basics goes up about one per cent for every cent the Canadian dollar loses.
McAllister added, “So what do I do? Starve myself and pay for my textbooks or just pray the dollar doesn’t get any lower?”
This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Jan. 27, 2016.