Becca Falik ’04 will be rushing to Commons today to eat raisins.
That’s right — raisins.
Beginning today, raisins and a few other food items will be added to Commons’ organic food menu. Falik and other members of the student group advocating organic foods, Food from the Earth, said they are excited about Yale Dining Services’ move toward organic foods. But members said the fight they began last year is far from over.
The new food items are raisins, organic brown rice, quinoa, yellow split peas, pearled barley and honey. They will be supplied by Northeast Cooperatives of Vermont instead of Yale’s normal food supplier, Sysco Corp.
Yale Dining Services already buys and uses organic tofu, soy milk and one type of sliced bread.
The first meal to incorporate one of the new ingredients will be offered at the Pan Geos Granary station in Commons for dinner Tuesday. But foods like raisins and honey will be out and available today.
“We’re all basically forced to eat at the dining halls — we’re lucky to have them — it’s just hard if you don’t believe in where the food is coming from,” Falik said. “We’re working towards something and already seeing little products of what we’re working for.”
Falik envisions ultimately being able to eat meals in the dining hall made up entirely of organic foods. But for that to happen, Dining Services will have to change its priorities, she said. Student interest in organic foods could help them do that, she added.
Incorporating the six organic food items was complicated by budget constraints, Falik said. No costs will increase because Dining Services and Food from the Earth members picked organic food items that overall could be bought for the same price as the same Sysco brand non-organic foods.
In the past, Dining Services has bought organic foods, like soy milk, through Sysco — which bought it from organic food companies. Now, Dining Services will buy straight from the organic food vendors.
Few other schools offer many organic foods. Falik pointed out that Stanford University has an organic food facility. And organic foods are available at small schools like Wesleyan and Bates colleges. Dining Services Executive Dietitian Karen Dougherty said the only school she knows that makes organic foods available on a regular basis is New Hampshire boarding school Phillips Exeter Academy.
“We think it’s cutting edge,” Dougherty said, “although the national trend to support organics and sustainable agriculture is definitely growing.”
Dining Services will cater a purely organic party this spring for Food from the Earth.
Members of the young group are hopeful for more changes and happy with those that have occurred so far.
Since Food from the Earth’s founding last spring, Dining Services has catered an organic meal, Durfee’s has begun to offer organic foods and the Slifka Center’s Kosher Kitchen has begun offering organic food selections.