Offering a variety of organic and locally grown foods for students would lead to healthier lifestyles and a better environment.
Bigger, meatier, tastier? I could not believe it. It sounded more like a new Nathan’s Famous hot dog slogan than a testimonial heard about organic meat, but after my first bite, I was convinced.
All summer long, I ate organic, and Whole Foods replaced Shop Rite. Then the fall semester began, and returning to campus caused me to eat smaller portions with less protein and a more mediocre taste.
I do not mean to put down food that isn’t organic for the sake of doing such, but food that is environmentally beneficial with a better flavor sounds revolutionary. The USDA National Organic Program recognizes and defines organic food as, “meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products that come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.”
It does not sound too mouth-watering when it’s put into those terms, but I like to think of organic food as food the way nature intended.
Every time I turn around, I hear about the obesity rates in my generation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined obesity as a body mass index of 30 or higher. According to the CDC, Pennsylvania had an obesity prevalence of 27.4 percent as of 2009.
With collaboration like organic food, which benefits everyone involved, organic and even locally grown food options need to have a greater presence on Main Campus.
As a student with a meal plan and with my Diamond Dollars already spent, it is not economically wise for me to go to the Fresh Grocer to buy organic and locally grown food to cook meals. I would be wasting the money.
It would be refreshingly convenient if the cafeteria in the Student Center or the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria would incorporate an organic food station or consider having a day or two devoted to organic options.
When I walk between the dining halls within the Student Center and J&H, I notice there aren’t many vegetarian options besides the same three. So the idea of Temple going organic may seem unrealistic, especially given the economic woes.
But a school that is so diverse should diversify the food it provides to fuel its students.
Since the school year began, students at both New Jersey Institute of Technology and Susquehanna University developed indoor and outdoor gardens to provide the choice of organic and locally grown food.
The Temple News covered the opening of Temple Community Garden at 11th and Berks streets last September. The goal was for TCG founders to grow crops, sell them to the campus community and give the proceeds to the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Self Help And Resource Exchange food program, or SHARE, which helps people with their grocery bills.
More student participation in locally grown initiatives like TCG, and even off-campus places like the Greensgrow Farm in nearby Fishtown, would certainly encourage Main Campus and Sodexo to consider offering more organic and locally grown food options, and maybe even collaborate with such sustainable places.
Jillian Weir-Reeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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