Food for Thought(ful Students)
By: Erin Kreischer '13
Issue: Winter 2013
At Juniata, students are constantly thinking about food. Will I go to Baker or Eagles Landing for lunch? Should I have a third mound of baked ziti? Do gummy bears and cookies count as a balanced breakfast?
Indulging aside, many Juniata students are genuinely concerned with nutrition and food sustainability. And, because issues of regulated soda sizes and new school lunch standards are continuously in the news, food quality is creating a lot of national buzz. Juniata students are ahead of the curve in understanding the importance of buying nutritional, fresh, local, and chemical-free produce, meats, and food staples.
Cara Mayo '13, a student organizer of an on-campus herb garden, is just one student taking a role in implementing new sustainability methods across campus.
It is important to show people that food doesn't come from a store, Mayo says.
You can see where it is grown, and pick it from the ground.
Eleanor Provias '13, a member of Juniata’s popular club, the Student Food Initiative (SFI), explains,
It's really easy to get involved at Juniata and take charge. The faculty, academic departments, and administration are all helpful and supportive.
With faculty and administrative help and approval, the SFI created a Local, Organic, Vegetarian, and Ethical (L.O.V.E.) food line in our cafeteria several years ago, where many vegetables originate from an on-campus, student-organized garden.
When students aren't eating on campus, they can join the community in eating sustainably at several cafés and can purchase local goods to stock up their refrigerators. In Huntingdon, Pa., and the surrounding area, there are plenty of locations to purchase local, wholesome goods.
The Huntingdon Farmers' Market
A seasonal, weekly Farmers' Market is the gathering place for Juniata professors, employees, students and community members. The market is comprised of vendors thrilled to sell their freshest flowers, ripest produce, homemade pastas, smoothies, cheeses, honey, bread and baked goods. To let consumers know what's in stock, the Huntingdon County Farmers' Market provides the community with weekly updates of available produce via their Facebook page. Better yet, the market is within minutes of campus. Maxwell Martin, a resident of Juniata College's Eco-House, says,
I've ridden my bicycle and taken my backpack there and loaded it up with stuff.
There are also opportunities for purchasing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. By purchasing a share, you support the farm and the farm provides you with weekly or bi-weekly produce. You can drive to the farm to pick it up or take advantage of drop-off locations—one of which is on Juniata’s campus so no car is necessary.
Student Food Initiative
At Juniata, it isn't enough to eat well, it is also important to know how to share your favorite food with others. The SFI hosts a local harvest dinner at Juniata where members of SFI cook dinner with sustainable products and serve a meal to students and local farmer.
The great thing about the dinner is how much the farmers love coming here, Provias says.
This is a dinner celebrating and appreciating them for what they do.
It's also important to know how to sustainably trash your leftovers. At Juniata's off-campus residential Eco-House, students compost their food scraps, leaves and grass clippings, but their efforts don't end there.
We put up signage near the functional compost system outside, explaining what a compost is, how you can use it, and what is going on inside, says Max Martin '13.
The Eco-House also plans on hosting events to explain and discuss composting and sustainable living to interested students and community members.