Cape Breton University Students Develop Pop-Up Grocery Store to Test Solutions to Student Food Insecurity

With support from the Government of Nova Scotia, a group of Cape Breton University students have been hard at work testing a solution to food insecurity among the student population. Their concept, Nova Nourishment Pop-Up Grocery, takes place on CBU’s campus and provides access to simple, everyday grocery items. The Government of Nova Scotia supports a group of innovation and entrepreneurship “Sandboxes” across the province and has challenged students in five Nova Scotia universities to research issues associated with this problem and to create and test possible solutions. 

“The most obvious issues with food security are related to affordability, but there are other things that contribute to the problem,” says Alyssa Buchanan, Intern-Manager of the CBU Nova Nourishment Pop-Up Grocery and fourth-year Bachelor of Science student. “We’ve interviewed students and found issues such as food preparation, cultural preferences and transportation also contribute to the barriers that students encounter.” 

Many international students at CBU rely exclusively on public transit to purchase groceries. For some, a trip to the grocery store could be a four-hour process via multiple bus routes. “By making groceries available at CBU, students can purchase some of the food they need without a long, and often challenging, trip to the grocery store,” says Chika Iwuji, a Nigerian student attending CBU. In addition to the pop-up grocery stores, Nova Nourishment interns have developed a meal-prep pack that provides students with ingredients needed to prepare popular home-cooked recipes from India and Nigeria such as Jollof Rice and Kichidi.

CBU’s Nova Nourishment interns have successfully operated four Nova Nourishment Pop-Up Grocery events as a test of the concept. Their final event will take place on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at 4:00pm in the CBU Cafeteria. They hope to take this prototype idea to other campuses across the province and test it among other student communities. 

To learn more about Nova Nourishment, please visit