Many other non-local organic options are available in the convenience stores. So if we provide an organic item, we will charge what that cost us. The chefs worked with the food service to prepare the meal.
Flyers and labeling of the foods served help to educate them. They also put together provocative menus of food system issues. For many students, these dinners were their first encounters with organic, locally-grown food.
Part of this national gathering was a Regional, Seasonal Food Banquet. Because the conference banquet stressed the importance of local food — not just organic — the food service organized a meal that was largely local and seasonal. The meals also serve as opportunities to educate and inform dining center administrators and staff.
Throughout, students consider the relative impacts of access, demand, cost, stakeholder interests, administrative issues, history, and power, and consider the relative strengths of voluntary, governmental, legal and other strategies.
Fessenden sees education of his staff as a vital step in the process of bringing local food to campus dining centers: The dinners featured organic meat, dairy, and late summer produce such as carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, watermelon, cabbage, and onions. Discussions and lectures consider applicability of lessons gained from the study of Baltimore to other food systems.
Quotes from his presentation are included below. I am hoping that as years go by that more people will get into processing. In contrast, food service administrators pay less for kitchen staff at other colleges and UW campuses where local economies are more depressed. Over the ensuing years, the Center has primarily helped the food service find local farmers.
Catering customers, students, and others on campus have made many requests for farm-direct and organic food on the menu. Based on the success of the locally grown and organic meals at the conference, and because of requests from other catering customers for the same type of menu, the Memorial Union decided in late July to create a section of their menu devoted entirely to locally grown and organic food.
But during the fall dinners, educational efforts were even more effective. We find they seldom balk at prices, so that helps. It just about killed us and our vendors who were trying to provide us with food. When the prices for organic or local items are higher than the prices of their conventional counterparts, Housing Food Service charges more for them.
Fessenden explains the flexibility that their a la carte meal plan gives them: Since the Union does an enormous amount of conference catering during the summer, vegetable and fruit growers will be able to supply a wide variety of fresh produce.
That was a big mistake. Student interns and CIAS staff offered samples of organic vegetables grown in the student garden on campus, and talked with students while they waited in line.
Also, bringing in local talent— chefs from local restaurants to come in and help prepare these products—really helped. This worked well, since each student who came in saw the big, colorful display. Students consider what it would take to improve these systems to assure access for all to nutritious, adequate, affordable food; to address diet-related disease; to create just and sustainable food labor conditions; increase the supply of and demand for healthy and sustainably produced foods; and to reduce food system environmental harms.
The food service administrators were provided with a list of local organic growers and marketing cooperatives providing meat, vegetables, and dairy products. Students "go backstage" with tour guides at a supermarket, an emergency food center, an urban farm, a rural farm, and an aquaponics facility.
So that allows us a lot of freedom being able to offer most anything that the customer wants… Students are more concerned with what they want than what it costs.
Early in the fall of the semester, each of the dining centers served a dinner that featured organic and locally grown food. If you experience technical difficulties with this site, please contact our webmaster: We have built some of these bridges though.
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