Students take action about cafeteria food

Carly Worden/The Watchdog
Carly Worden/The Watchdog

People make choices daily about the type of food they consume. Allergies and food sensitivities are gaining more awareness, and understanding exactly what people are consuming has become a pressing issue. Communications Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, Alex Clark is on a mission to make this decision a more informed one for people.

As of April, Clark is on a mission to see a food label on every product and meal the cafeteria sells.

“One thing we all deserve as consumers is to be clear on what it is we are buying. I feel having information about our food open and transparent helps people think critically about what it is they are eating, where it comes from and the impact it has on our world,” said Clark.

The food-labeling mission began with Clark creating an internship position aimed at creating a food committee, now recognized as the Sustainable Food Advisory Action Group. The food committee addresses the food service issues that students find important by meeting with staff, administrators, faculty, students and Food Services.

“We know much of our food is organic, with lots of it local; we are just working to find out for sure so we can start to label it,” said Clark.

If successful, products in the cafeteria will carry labels informing students that the food they are purchasing is organic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. SFAAG looks at whether the food is organic among other things. This takes time because the food provided comes from major distributors.

“Once implemented, this will be a huge step toward holistic sustainability at BC, and in an area that many people can relate to: food,” said ASG Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative Mackenzie Williamson.

Food services has been supportive and open to the creation of SFAAG. They have embraced the help of having a committee to collaborate on these student issues. So far, SFAAG has several very actively faculty and staff members contributing from Food Services, as well as some outspoken students.

“The process is difficult, though. This kind of project took the University of Washington seven years to accomplish, but I feel we are well on our way towards success is this area. We have a very passionate group of people working on this issue of labeling,” said Clark.

Students interested in sitting in on the committee should stop by the Sustainable Food Advisory Action Group’s table during Earth Week.

“With student opinion, we can better address what is important to everyone,” said Clark.