Smart University Dining

As students are becoming more concerned about food quality and sustainability and nutrition issues, universities are challenged to adjust their menus to fit the needs of their student population. There are two common options for sustainable eating – organic and local. Organic food is grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides. Local food might not be organic, but has a smaller “footprint” because it travels fewer miles, and it supports the local community.

The University of California, Berkeley has committed to organic salad bars in their dining halls. The largest dining hall on campus, and the three others, have certified Organic salad bars. They have a separate prep station, and the organic veggies are not usually mixed into other meals. Most of the salad bar food comes from a 150 mile radius (sounds local to me).

Kenyon College in Ohio uses local food, including a student-run farm right on campus. Check out Kenyon’s Food for Thought, a program designed to help local farmers and provide quality food at the same time.

Duke University also uses organic and locally grown food. About 20% organic and 35-70% local food can be enjoyed at Duke. Green Mountain College has a Farm and Food Project, which focuses on local foods. They have a student run farm, but like many small farms, they aren’t pursuing organic certification because of costs, and limited options. Plus, they say people know how the food is grown and they trust the students. They do, however, run their greenhouses on solar and wind power, and students can “participate in our internship program with the vineyard, farm, and agricultural museum at Brunnenburg Castle in Italy.” Excellent!

University Business

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5 thoughts on “Smart University Dining

  1. And how about the fine dining at our own University of Akron? Not so good. The new student center has a food court that looks like an airport terminal — all the fast food varieties at your command.

    Say Terra, are you still a vegan? I read your series in your old blog and then it stopped. I just switched over for the second try in my life, having been vegetarian since age 20. I think this time has been easier as there are more resources locally.

  2. Village Green, the dining at UA is not great, but could be getting better. I read that they’re accommodating gluten allergies. I went to OU and could only eat salad or grilled cheese every day because of the vegetarianism. I’ve been burned out on salad ever since.

    I’m not quite a full vegan. I did the Master Cleanser (have you done it?) and realized that cheese was probably causing my migraines, so I switched to soy cheese and soy milk, but I still love honey, and I eat regular cheese if I’m at a restaurant. I’m glad the soy cheese melts. That was my biggest fear.

    You’re right about there being more resources. We shop at Krieger’s and absolutely love it!

    It’s funny when people ask me what I eat as a vegetarian, because I eat something different every night, cook from scratch at home, and always have fresh food. I can’t imagine ever going back. I can imagine becoming vegan.

  3. You are right — there is much more to consider going vegan other than giving up eggs and dairy products like not using cane sugar because it is manufactured with the use of charred animal bones. The more I read about bee hive collapse, the less interested I am in using honey, so I just bought a bottle of maple syrup and some molasses to have on hand. I’ve been experimenting with various egg substitutes for baking — do you have any favorites?

    I looked up info on the Master Cleanser and I don’t think I have what it takes to go through with it. I did once achieve a three day fast on a rural farm in PA, staying in a tent far removed from other people. I did water and fruit juice and that was it.

  4. Definitely. We use turbinado (sp?) sugar because of the animal bones.

    I ran out of eggs once when I “needed” cookies, so I found that you can use applesauce or bananas for baking. we’ve tried both and preferred the applesauce in cookies, especially cinnamon applesauce. Yum!

    I should try harder to get the eggs out of the diet. We use egg-beaters or something, but they’re still made with eggs. I have a long way to go. 🙂

    Here’s a link about egg substitutes

    Have you seen soy margarine? We get Willow Run Soybean Margarine from Krieger and just love it! It seems to be cheaper than butter too.

  5. Thanks for that link — some very attractive recipes there. I’ve been using arrowroot as an egg replacer for some recipes and it works really well.

    I’ve stopped at Krieger’s in the past, especially when Mr Fun’s was just around the corner, Haven’t been there in quite a while. I’ll check it out the next time I do a Village Thrift/Mr Fun run up State Rd. Mostly I shop at Mustard Seed. Acme #1 has an organic section now. The Giant Eagle at South Plaza used to have one. I went in one day and they had taken all the good things and spread them all over the store. Now it is like hide and seek to find various soy/organic products in that store.

    One good thing about trying to go vegan is that you immediately realize that all labels must be read. Anything processed invariably has some kind of dairy or egg product in it, along with scads of “additives.” The vegan diet forces you to reflect on everything you eat.

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