Dear St. Lawrence…

Let me start out by saying that you have the best no-bake cookies that I have ever tasted. Including my Mom’s, whose cooking I am very partial to. Even Dana’s chocolate no-bakes are filled to the brim with peanut buttery goodness; soft and heartwarming.

That sentiment expressed, there are a lot of other things about St Lawrence that I could say: some good, some bad, and some constructive criticism. I have decided, instead, to focus on that topic that no-bake cookies fit into – food.

Out of all the colleges that I applied to and toured, St Lawrence rated 2nd best on my list of cafeteria catches. The main reason that SLU fell to my top choice of Unity College was the fact that very little of the food provided to students, faculty, staff, and community members was local. Being both a local community member and a student worker at Dana Dining Hall, I know for a fact that this can be changed. And it won’t be ignored.

In the past two years I have been here, the number of organized, committed students working to incorporate more local food into our dining has exploded. Now, Dana has not been completely rejecting the wants and needs of the students. We have a whole new gluten-free section to accommodate the growing number allergic and aware students. But local food is not a new issue, and not a new project. Dana has been buying small amounts of local vegetables and greens from North Country Grown Cooperative for quite a few years now. However, those veggies make up a minute amount the food served, local herbs are rarely thrown in the mix, and eggs and meat, while understandably difficult to use in small numbers, have not even hit the plates of most St Lawrence students.

The need is not money. The need is pressure. The need is questions. The need is to have not just students pushing for local foods, but faculty, staff, trustees, and community members. Now, I know that the students and community members are working hard on the issue. So where is our support from the trustees, the alumni, and the staff? Why are there no locally grown shoots in Dana? (A plentiful local product) How about kale, and who says the zucchinis need to be a certain length to be eaten? Why, for goodness sake, are the herbs in Dana’s raised herb beds, never harvested?  Students on the ground are asking those hard questions. I can only hope that you, St Lawrence – you alumni, you trustees, you whose money is being donated – can help us ask those hard questions. It’s time we take some responsibility here in Canton.

Respectfully Making Change,

Catherine Bennett

Class of 2016

Local Farm of the Month: Little Grasse

Little Grasse Farm is literally in our backyard here at St. Lawrence, so how can we not appreciate it?

If you have ever wanted to get involved locally, Little Grasse is a good place to start.  They have lots of events every month ranging from open houses to workshops to nature walks!

Have you ever wished that you could have some more freshies in your mini-fridge?  Ever thought about getting a CSA?  CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and Little Grasse are experts on that.

019two of our own food justicans, Kyra and Emma, helping out at Little Grasse farm this fall.

Visit their own blog for more info, or maybe even stop by the farm to say hello!

Learn more about Little Grasse and their FOODWORKS project here.

peace, love, and food

-SLU Food Justice Club

Dear St. Lawrence…

Hi, I’m Carina and I am a junior at St. Lawrence University. I am writing this letter because my education at St. Lawrence has taught me the significance of people’s decision on what food they buy and eat.
I am a Global Studies and Environmental Studies double major and have become very passionate about these subjects. My professors have been really inspiring and made me want to live how they teach. My environmental professors have taught me the significance of living locally and organically. When doing this you are supporting the local economy, have less of a carbon footprint, promote food safety and promote variety. From St. Lawrence professors and speakers, I have become aware of how crucial climate change is; we need to do everything we can to have less of a carbon footprint. Local organic food is also incredibly more nutritious and tasteful.
I’m interested in local food because of how it promotes a much healthier and tasteful diet, as well as being more environmentally friendly. It is hard to live how I want at school though because there are not enough options to live organically and locally. I am supportive of meat, but am a vegetarian because there isn’t any local nor organic meat on campus.
I am asking that we have more options because it is what the student body wants and should have the right to. Options would include Dana and the Pub having more organic and local meat, more vegetables and labeling because we deserve the right to know what is being put in our body. Food highly effects one’s health and mood as well as the local and global economy and environment.
Thank you very much for reading this and I hope you highly consider these positive changes.
Sincerely,
Carina Taliaferro
Class of 2015

To Whom it May Concern…

My name is Megan McGregor and I am a junior here at St. Lawrence. I believe, and I know, that our dining facilities work hard to satisfy students—it’s not an easy task. However, that being said I feel that there are some important issues that need to be addressed.

Firstly, I am a vegetarian and have been for the greater majority of my life. At home I receive adequate nutrients and feel healthy because I have access to the necessary ingredients to help sustain me. When I’m at college I have to take vitamins and supplements to fulfill my daily value and proper energy level. Now, I know SLU cannot be equivalent to home but I do feel like there is room for improvement. I would really like to see more variety with the vegetarian meals. There is more out there than just soy chicken cutlets, overcooked veggie burgers and tofu. I would like to see tempeh, soy meatballs and also a variety of veggie burgers (Morningstar).

Secondly, I would really like to know the ingredients that go in to making the dish. If there was a write up next to each dish telling one both the ingredients and the nutrition information, I would feel more comfortable eating the food. There are lots of other schools that practice this and it doesn’t seem like this would be too difficult of a task.

Lastly, and I believe most importantly, I would like to see more local foods in our dining facilities. The North Country is a breeding place for fresh and local produce why do we not utilize it? I enjoy the efforts to have local apples and peaches, but I believe SLU should make more of an effort to cook with local foods. Make local tomato sauce, squash or zucchini dishes with local produce—the ideas are endless. We are very fortunate to live in such a mecca for fresh food, why would we neglect it?

I know that there are a lot of students at SLU, and working to please everyone is difficult but there are a lot of students looking for a change and a shift to a more sustainable and local standpoint. As a member of Food Justice, I can say that I would be more than willing to help the dining services with a project like this. SLU embodies the mission of student incorporation and feedback and this is a prime example of how to make a change.

Thank you and have a great day!

Best,

Megan McGregor

Class of 2015

Dear St. Lawrence…

My name is Emlyn Crocker and I am writing to express my discontent with the meal plan options currently offered at St. Lawrence and to share what I see as possible solutions. Now in my third year here, I have come to feel that dining services does not do as much as it could to accommodate the individual student’s needs. As an institution that prides itself in being forward thinking and progressive, I feel that St. Lawrence could do more to look after the dietary interests of their students. I firmly believe that what an individual chooses to put into his or her body is a right, not a privilege.

I feel very strongly about food choice and it plays a large part in how I live my life.  I choose not to eat meat or dairy primarily for ethical reasons but also out of socio-economic concerns. I feel that since the Green Revolution food has become delocalized to such an extreme that we have become disconnected as a country with food cultivation and growth. This has impacted both our economic state and our health as a population. Rather than following a meal plan, I would rather put my money into local farms, casting my vote for more sustainable, local food options for everyone in the future.

Current flexible meal plan options favor seniors and members of Greek Houses and select theme houses, with no option to be off the meal plan entirely without living off campus. As this is not a feasible option for all students, I propose several solutions. First, that dining services reevaluate the proportion of food sourced locally and organically and second that it engage more actively in gathering and processing feedback from students. I hope that someday I will have as much faith and appreciation for the dining services at St. Lawrence as I have for the academics.

 

Sincerely,

Emlyn Crocker

Class of 2015

Dear St. Lawrence…

My name is Amy Feiereisel, and I am currently a junior at St. Lawrence. I am writing this letter because I want to express my concerns about and hopes for the food systems in place at St. Lawrence University.

My food mission is pretty simple: eat responsibly and sustainably grown whole foods, with as high a percentage as possible coming from the local area. For me, eating is not only a method of survival, but a way to vote for a healthier, better future. Unfortunately, the dining system here at St. Lawrence doesn’t meet these needs. While it does its best for people with diagnosed allergies, the Dining system isn’t friendly to the ethical eater who eats the way they do as a choice, a statement, and an economic vote.

I would love to see change in these ways: more vegetable options in Dana and the Pub, labeling of foods, organic produce past the small section in the salad bar, organic meat,  more local foods being used, and more meal plan options. One size does not fit all, and St. Lawrence, as a school touting sustainability and a “green image”, needs to live up to all it promises.

Sincerely,

Amy Feiereisel

Class of 2015