Students, faculty and staff speak their minds about food on campus

grdn1Most students aren’t aware that there is a place where feedback about the cafeteria food can be submitted. “There is a comment box,” Sustainable Foods Coordinator Osha Morningstar said, but “it’s not very versatile, very usable or ADA accessible, but it is there nonetheless.”
Bellevue College students, faculty and staff have been coming together to recognize and address the concerns they have about the food available on campus. Topics that have been brought to the table include local and immediate hunger relief programs, with efforts particularly concerned with feeding BC students, faculty and staff that are in need of food, as well as the quality and prices of the food already available in the cafeteria.
In the future, Bellevue College will offer housing opportunities to international students. With that will come an on-campus convenience store, which should offer healthy, local foods, “as opposed to food you could find at a gas station,” Morningstar said. Currently, the BC cafeteria cannot certify that any of its food items are totally free of cross-contaminants (such as gluten, milk, soy, etc.), rendering the daily offerings inedible to those with allergies or dietary restrictions.
A BC student, Poppy Powell, said of the cafeteria food: “It’s overpriced, which limits it to a very select group of people who can afford to eat here, and the food they serve is nasty.” She was one of many who were previously unaware that there is a comment box available.
“A lot of people think of sustainability as just ‘save the environment,’” said Lana Mack, who will be the incoming ASG environmental and social responsibility representative starting in July.  “There are three parts of sustainability,” she continued, which are “the environment, the economic structure and the social structure,” Mack added, “[Food] can’t just be in the hands of the administration; it can’t just be in the hands of the students; it can’t be just in the hands of ASG; it needs to be a school-wide contribution.”
Currently, the food grown by the garden club is up for grabs for all of those who consider themselves members of the club, but there is no external destination for surplus produce. “We want it [the food grown by the garden club] to go back to campus,” said Maddy Buckley, who serves as the president of the BC garden club. The prospect of food grown on campus being used to make the items for sale in the cafeteria is something that has been implemented at other colleges and universities, including the University of Washington.
There is a common theme around campus that food equity and accessibility should take higher priority.  Many of those who are working towards achieving these goals would like to see a coalition form between food services and the general campus community. “This summer,” said Michael Hanson, member of the sustainable foods group and BC intructor, “We’re hoping we’ll get some movement  from administration.”