Kyra Marie: Sustainable Human of Guelph

Kyra Marie is the founder of Support Local Guelph on Instagram. We were lucky enough to interview her about her experience with sustainability and her goals regarding her Instagram. These are the questions we asked, and her responses!


What is your sustainability pet peeve (single use disposables, ineffective legislation, food waste etc)?

“Probably my biggest sustainability pet peeve is when people don’t make any effort to try and be a little more sustainable. I am not perfect by any means, but I try to incorporate into my daily habits small changes that can make a big difference like stainless steel straws.”


What is your first memory of caring about sustainability? 

“My earliest memory of caring for sustainability was probably when I was in elementary school and my class was growing our own green beans. We took such good care of them like they were our little babies.”


What does sustainability mean to you? 

“Sustainability means to me just trying our best to take care of the planet we call home. I believe it is important to be mindful in making decisions that will be more environmentally friendly, whether they be large or small.”


What inspired you to make your Instagram?

“What inspired me to start Support Local Guelph was my love for shopping locally. Buying from small and local businesses, your helping someone in your community help make their dream a reality. I always loved shopping local, but didn’t know much about what we had in Guelph.  After starting this Instagram, I realized that there is more of a variety than I thought. So by advertising the different businesses we have in Guelph and surrounding areas I thought it would help others to show them what is available to us in our community and communities close to us.”


What do you hope to achieve with this Instagram? 

“What I hope to achieve with Support Local Guelph is more awareness what is in our community and the ones around us. If you can buy it locally, then why not help your neighbour.”

Follow her on instagram here!


Sustainability Groups on Campus

The University of Guelph has so many clubs, it can be hard to find the right one for you. We’ve made a list to narrow down the clubs that promote sustainability in different ways.

Just click on the club name to learn more!

Botany Club 

Enactus Guelph

Engineers for a Sustainable World 

Engineers without Borders

Environmental Governance Society

Environmental Sciences Student Executive 

Geography Student Association

Guelph Student for Environmental Change 

Meal Exchange 

Move out Madness 

Outdoors Club 

Oxfam @ Guelph 

Parks Education and Adventure club 

Project SOY 

Society for Ecological Restoration 

Wildlife Club

Universities Fighting World Hunger 

University of Guelph Horticulture Club 

Zoo, Exotic and Wildlife Club 

Are you in a sustainability club that didn’t make the list? Shoot us an email and we’ll add it in!

Upcycling transport pallets: A modern take on sustainability

In high school I worked for a company that had all their products delivered on skids, but as soon as the supplies were unpacked the skids were either tossed aside or the company would pay to have them picked up. I always thought there could be more done with these pallets and finally, a couple years down the road, I’ve come up with a variety of uses for them. The upcycling of palettes is something I’ve only familiarized myself with in recent years but the possibilities are plentiful. Already I’ve converted a handful of palettes into a bedframe because I needed more storage space in my university bedroom. I’ve helped a friend of mine turn a collection of palettes into outdoor décor pieces. A quick search on Pinterest or other idea sharing blogs offers a framework to spark inspiration from. The best part of breathing new life into skids is that they are so often disregarded and the ease to which it can be done will make any DIYer satisfied in no time at all.

Pallet Bedframe


 What you need: 8 – 48” x 40” pallets, 1 can of spray paint, wood paint, or wood stain, 4 medium sized containers for storage


How to assemble:

  1. Organize pallets into square shape in a manner that is the least wobbly.
  2. Once you’re satisfied with the placement of the pallets sketch out the slots that will be cut out. Cut out these slots.
  3. Reassemble the pallets.
  4. Paint or stain (your choice) the pallets.
  5. Congrats! Piece of cake.


The following links will outline other great pallet projects and uses for them:

Here’s an idea for an outdoor bar!

This one’s a bunch of outdoor furniture ideas!

Pretty cool looking cooler stand

Garden Terrace and other garden related projects

By Colton Lanthier


Meatless Monday: Liam’s Vegan Alfredo

Content created by Samantha Casey

Alfredo is a heavenly white pasta sauce, that is known for being rich and heavy with cream and butter! It is pure heaven and a great comfort food to make after a long day at work. However, I decided to take that comfort food and hit it with a twist of removing the traditional dairy products to make it completely vegan. It went from heavy rich dairy packed bowl to a veggie filled and no regrets comfort meal.

This recipe was inspired by my roommate, who turned vegetarian after reading a book on animal welfare and has subsequently become an amazing vegetarian cook. This actually inspired myself to cut dairy products from my diet and to be more adventurous with cooking. Thus, the recipe is named after him!

At first, I thought the idea of using cauliflower and almond milk to replace cream was going to end in a disaster that I would end up composting.  However, it is now my go-to work lunch, as it is so healthy and filling. It is the perfect summer work lunch, as it is super easy and lasts well in a reusable container over night. Making your own lunch and bringing it to work can help you save a ton of money and is a great way to easily sneak sustainability into your lifestyle!


1 head of Cauliflower (although peak season is the fall, they are available fresh year round because of our agricultural system)

1 cup of PLAIN almond milk 

1 (big) tablespoon of vegan or regular butter 

1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic 

2 handfuls of cut leaf spinach

Full box of linguine whole wheat pasta (or whatever your favourite noodle is)

Garlic salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pull cauliflower head apart until in bite sized pieces to make it easier to cook and blend
  2. Boil water and cook cauliflower for 5-7 minutes until tender. Tenderness can be tested with a fork.
  3. Place cauliflower into blender and add in almond milk, garlic, and tablespoon of butter. Salt and pepper can be added now or later!
  4. Blend on medium for 20 seconds or use the sauce function, if your blender has that function! The result should be a creamy and thick looking sauce that smells identical to alfredo sauce.
  5. Boil water for pasta and add in salt.
  6. Cook pasta until whatever is the preferred tenderness
  7. In sauce pan, add handfuls of spinach into pan and sautee until cooked.
  8. Add in alfredo sauce, I add in a ton! It is even good on its own, if your noodle to sauce ratio is off!
  9. Add in cooked noodles once they are strained out of water, then stir together with sauce and spinach.
  10. Place into bowls and serve! If making for lunch, put into reusable container with the lid OFF until cooled to prevent condensation on the lid from making the sauce water logged!
  11. If you have extra sauce, it lasts a long time (about a week) in the fridge in a container! So feel free to bottle any extra to use later on! The sauce would also make a great base for a pizza!
  12. Enjoy and take a pic tagging @sustainableuofg and @meatlessmonday on instagram or twitter to show off your efforts to eat consciously!



Meatless Monday – Swiss Chard and Chickpeas

This Meatless Monday is brought to you by my desire to eat more (and different) leafy greens in interesting ways. I adapted the recipe from Foodie Crush and have made it a few times now in a few different ways, and it has been delicious every time. I’ve eaten it as a side, as a main, and as leftovers so it’s obviously pretty versatile! Read on to learn how to make this tasty and good-for-you meatless recipe! Continue reading “Meatless Monday – Swiss Chard and Chickpeas”

Waste Free Wednesday: Bathroom Edition

Almost all toiletries come in some sort of plastic packaging, which can’t be recycled more than once. These are some tips to avoid sending more plastic to landfill.

First of all, you can save a lot of money and the environment by using household products as shampoo and conditioner. For conditioner, it’s as easy as oiling your hair with a preferred oil. Argan oil is known to be good for hair, and a cheaper option is coconut oil. For shampoo, this easy recipe has only 3 ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup castille soap
  • Essential oils!

If you’re not into crafts, stores like Lush provide a variety of waste free products, like shampoo and conditioner bars, tooth powder and mouthwash tabs.

Of course, if you’d be interested in tooth paste or regular mouthwash, there are brands that makes these with biodegradable packaging. Even if those options seem like too much, just switching to biodegradable or wooden toothbrushes will minimize your overall waste in your lifetime by a lot.

For lotions, one simple recipe can be used and adjusted as required for consistency. The two ingredients are beeswax and a carrier oil. The carrier oil can be any type of oil, preferably local. In Ontario, grapeseed oil is an excellent option since lots of it is produced in Niagara as a by-product of wine production. The consistency of the recipe can be adjusted by changing the concentrations of the two ingredients, where more beeswax would make a more solid product like lip balm and more oil would make a softer body lotion. Other ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter can give additional nutrients to the lotion. Essential oils can be added to give aroma to the products.

Shaving razors add up to be a lot of consumed plastic, especially if you’re using disposable razors. Metal safety razors last years and only require the purchase of new blades.

Avoiding plastic all together is not easy at first, but with a few simple lifestyle tips you can reduce a lot of waste. A major focus is to consume less – don’t buy things you don’t need. And when you need something, be mindful. It’s important to be aware of the contents of the product as well as the packaging it comes in.

Wendy Li: Sustainable Human of Guelph

Welcome to the third post for the Sustainable Humans of Guelph series!

Meet Wendy Li, a fourth year in the Landscape Architecture program; who is insanely passionate about sustainability communities and design!

Wendy is someone you always want to be your friend, because you KNOW she is going to do something incredible and be inspirational to everyone around her. I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy through our exchange to Lund University in Sweden and I am honestly so glad we went to the same place for exchange (Thanks CIP!). Her passion for unique building designs and European style architecture made every trip a fun learning one too! She even used her LA skills to identify a tree species while walking along a street in Warsaw, Poland. She is truly incredible and a really interesting person to know. She has a unique take on sustainability and an overall super kind personality. She also is a coordinator for this year’s Sustainability Week, so she is prime example of a sustainable human of Guelph!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy and her ideas around sustainability as well as her involvement with Sustainability Week. The following questions and answers are her responses!

What is your sustainability pet peeve?

“Running taps, plastic bags, Ontario’s recycling system (I went on exchange in the beautiful Lund, Sweden last year this time, and they differentiate between the coloured glass they recycle!!!) and the mentality that what we do on a local level doesn’t have an impact to change the status quo. And of course, it takes more research and energy to change your lifestyle or routine, but I promise you it feels amazing when you take the initiative to live by your values.  Small steps can include making conscious decisions as a consumer. And though I don’t have a perfect system,  one small change that I’ve made this year is that I’ve stopped plastic bagging my fruits and veggies (Honestly! it can be small changes like that which makes all the difference). Also always looking for suggestions of package free food options, and if you have any I would love to hear them!”

What is one sustainability initiative you would like to see at Guelph?

“More education about composting, and the Guelph Urban Organic Farm at the University of Guelph ( just because personally I don’t know that much about these topics and would love to learn more)! There are also so many cool initiatives going on in the city of Guelph at the local level I wish there were more of a connect between the education we learn in classrooms  and application. More partnerships between the university and local stores or organizations as a learning tool is definitely something I would love to see. “ 

What are you involved with on campus?

“Currently, I am one of the co-planners of Sustainability Week 2018! Super excited about unveiling the week to showcase all the hard work everyone has put in. It’s very encouraging to see such talented individuals who are passionate about various efforts to better our planet. In addition to that I am the publicist of the Landscape Architecture Student Society, and also a part of the Dragon Boat Club at the university. “

Can you talk a bit about your role in Sustainability Week? What do you hope people take out of your events?

“My role in S-Week as a co-planner zones in on Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is Sustainable Cities and Communities. I really hope to bring light to some components of what a sustainable city looks like through a Pecha Kucha talk and a Donuts and Doodle design charrette to showcase how individuals can contribute and play a part in their communities. Projects such as urban farming, community design, walk-ability in our streets or sustainable transportation, are all important pieces of the urban fabric puzzle which come together to shape our everyday lives. Though everyone says that good design should be 99% invisible, I really do believe that everyone should be involved in how our cities are built. It’s an interdisciplinary task which involves multiple stakeholders, and ultimately the community only gets better when everyone is involved.  Overall I hope everyone can get new insight or learn something new through the activities we have worked very hard to plan.”

What is an issue you are super passionate about?

“One issue I am passionate about is permaculture as a design philosophy. More specifically permaculture designs applied in orchards! I recently wrote my thesis about this topic and now I can’t look at almonds the same. I’m being serious. I think as a whole, our society has become more and more disconnected from the way food is produced, and a lot of the times we forget to think about the process behind the food on our tables. It’s problematic, and lets look at almonds for example. Almonds are grown on trees, and these nut trees go through intensive growth in the arrangement of mono-culture. Mono-culture especially in orchards which are embedded in the landscape for 10 plus years strips the land of the same nutrients and prevents biodiversity. Mono culture is usually a result of requiring an up in yield as a response to consumer demands, and since almonds are such a poster nut you can see why this is a concern. Almonds are a very water intensive crop, and need to be sustained in the events of droughts. California produces 80% of the worlds supply of almonds, and when you put the two together, nothing makes sense. In addition to this, there’s also the issue of pollinators. Because mono-culture is so intensive in the growth of one species, there is no habitat for bees for a good portion of the year, and did you know that bees have to be transported all they way from Florida in the back of trucks to pollinate these almond orchards? All in all, there’s a better way of designing for these food systems which is where permaculture comes into play. It mimics nature in creating as close to a closed loop system as possible, where landscapes can become self-sustaining in thinking beyond organic farming which still needs external input such as fertilizer! There is still a lot of research which needs to be done in this field and there aren’t too many precedents of commercial permaculture orchards. However I think this is an important topic in bringing us one step closer to sustainable food production!”

What would be your dream future career after graduating?

“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to answer this question, it hits way too close to home (I’m graduating this year, but also what is adulting?). I really love Landscape Architecture, it’s afforded me a way to see the world in which I never thought I would. Ever since being in this program, the way people interact with nature and landscapes have zoned in on a sharp focus, and it also has enough variety in terms of projects to keep me constantly learning. It’s such a far reaching field which has impact on how people live their lives, and I’m positive that my career path will stay close to this field. This is wishful thinking, but a company I would love to be involved in is Sidewalk Labs, which is an Alphabet company helping cities re imagine traditional ways of development to overcome a lot of major challenges.Traditional methods in city building are outdated in the face of climate change among other factors, and designing for resiliency should become more of primary concern now more than ever, which is what Sidewalk Labs is trying to address. Technology and innovation as a whole really fascinate me, but on the flip side, I think a dream job of mine has also been to just work in an alpaca farm, so I have some polarizing aspirations!”

 If you are also interested in learning more about how cities can be designed to be more sustainable or you also share a passion for Swedish recycling systems or permaculture, make sure you go attend Wendy’s events on March 20th or check them out online! FB:Guelphsweek or Instagram: @guelphsustainabilityweek