Hyper Local Salad Bar- Course Project Report:Ellen Sizer

 

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Overview of Project:

This overview has parts in it that are found in my proposal as well.

This project was inspired by the continuous and hard work I have put in to make OWU’s campus more vegan and vegetarian (“veg”) friendly. I have been meeting with representatives for OWU’s food service provider Chartwells on a bi-weekly basis for the last year to discuss ways in which I can turn my ambitions into a reality. Through this collaboration with Chartwells I was able to implement small changes in the menu here at OWU. There are more tofu options, an abundance of soymilk, and tofurky has been added to the rotation in weekly dishes. The proposed Local Food Sourced Salad Bar, to be located in the Smith Dining Hall, is an ambitious next step in accommodating the needs of veg students and promoting local foods. The local Seminary Hill Farm will supply salad and vegetables for the salad bar: this is the foundation for the “local” theme of the salad bar. Much of the food in the salad bar will be vegetarian and vegan. I also envision the proposed salad bar as a location to offer and promote local veg food. However, I do not think only vegetarians and vegans will use the salad bar, and than it is not necessary to advertise the salad bar as vegetarian and vegan. Ultimately, the proposed salad bar will be appetizing and healthy and appealing to all students. In other words, I propose a stealth expansion of local and vegan and vegetarian food on campus through the Local Food Sourced Salad Bar. I held a discussion/tasting on April 22nd, 2017 with Tadd Peterson and Noelle Deehr from Seminary Hill Farm, as well as Chartwells staff, and Del Sroufe who is co-owner at Wellness Forum Foods. For this tasting, I also invited some students with similar ambitions such as mine to make OWU more vegan and vegetarian friendly. I also invited Portia from Portia’s cafe and owners form Patty Cake Bakery, but they were unable to attend. The food was received well and Chartwells was impressed. I plan to continue to try and implement Seminary Hill Farm’s services into OWU dining service this coming Fall 2017.

Steps:

First I did some research.

Both of these articles analyze some of the social norms that come along with being “green” or following the “all organic” trend. I wanted to include these articles to highlight that I believe my project will not reflect a social movement, but will accommodate a wide range diets and backgrounds. I think this project will discourage people from eating the salad bar or the potential local foods from local venders. I think it will be a seamless transition anyone can and will enjoy. Even thought I agree with the green movement, I believe this project does not hinder the negative implications the “green” movement accommodates.

 

This periodical reflects a similar project that I am doing at St.  George’s campus. They completely ditched their food provider, which was Aramark, and decided to head the more sustainable and eco-friendly route by teaming up with local producers such as Harmony Organic dairy company. This periodical gives me hope in the potential success of my project and it also inspires me to contact St. George and discover more about the positive changes the food provider switch has made to the campus as a whole.

 

I was able to find research supporting the fact that locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetable reduces green house gas emissions. And that less transportation and smarter load sizes reduces the green house gas emission. One interesting fact the article, “The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada” found was that in order to reduce green house gases remarkably, it has to be a combination of factors. Less refrigeration, less transportation use, and most importantly, more organic practices will reduce greenhouse gasses amount. Event though these findings were focused on Canada, much of their research is based on the food industry located on a more global scale.

Initial Contact:

– Dr. Krygier introduced me to this project through the sustainability plan the sustainability task force created on Owen’s campus. I was extremely interested in making this idea into a reality considering my background in food and animal activism. Subsequently, Dr. Krygier and I met and talked about vendors to invite and to layout a game plan to get students and Chartwells on board. Dr. Krygier and I met frequently in order to discuss the next steps in the weeks leading up to the discussion/tasting.

The first step was to contact the vendors. Here is the initial email I sent to Tadd Peterson & Noelle Deer (Seminary Hill Farm), Del Sroufe (Wellness Forum Foods), Portia Yiamouyiannis (Portia’s cafe), and Jennie Scheinbach(PattyCake Bakery):

“My name is Ellen Sizer and I am a junior at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU). I am interested in collaborating with you and Seminary Hill Farm and Chartwell’s to create the hyper-local salad bar in the main dining hall at OWU. I have a deep interest in local food sources especially when they involve widening the variety of food for people seeking a plant based diet. I have worked with both Gene and Dan (Chartwells) over the past few years. Because of my involvement, Dr. Krygier suggested I would be a good candidate to help make the salad bar reality.  To start things off, I am hoping I could meet with you and discuss the project and how I can assist. I don’t have a car, but can figure out a way to get to MTSO. Let me know some times that work for you. The hours that work best for me are: Mondays at 1 or at 4, Tuesdays anytime Thursdays before 12, Fridays after 1”

Slowly, I got responses with a lot of enthusiasm and interest in helping me with the project. At this point, Dr. Krygier and I came up with a name for this project: “Hyper Local Salad Bar” Project.

My first meeting was the Tadd Peterson and Noelle Deer on February 28th. Prior to meeting with them I wrote up a proposal for this project and for a tangible document to refer to during the meeting with Tadd and Noelle. I am not going to include the proposal, because it is already located on the blog. However, I also wrote up a series of questions of ask during the meeting to ask.  and included an image of the questions here:

Here is a list of the answers and information I received during the meeting from Tadd and Noelle:

Answers:

Difficulties:

-budget – more expensive- needs to worked out with Dan and MTSO. Shouldn’t be a problem considering Smith is a set price.

-Difficult part: SEASONAL- cannot provide out of season product – not strawberries or peppers.

Promotion:

-tackle what it means to eat seasonal and promote it

– Local salad bar week? (need about 6-8 weeks notice for MTSO)

– Salad items would be sent to Smith and work staff would have to prepare.

– focus on launch for it- specialized week- from the response of students and then we plan on launch it in the fall.

-Connecting with different groups is helpful.

– Dr. Fink has discussed- mobile farmers market on campus.

Planning:

-Noelle makes production model-scale is like 100 salads a week-200 salads a week.

– use it as a lead up to a panel discussion or both. -tad is on board.

– list of available items and decide what we would try to do.

– food service has to cut- they provide the food not cut or anything

Suggestion: -salad bar with a recipe next to bar as well would be helpful

– Tadd can collaborate with local farms to get more items if demand.

 

– Additions:

-composed salads like “ready made salads”

 

– Panel Discussion

Tadd is on board to attending and would love to bring appetizers or micro greens.

 

What does sustainable mean?

Tadd: – ambiguous word

– doing things the best you can and most responsible

Noelle: being self reliant- it’s taking care of the whole system.

Why do you work here?

Tadd: -bc it was a unique opportunity to be the developer of all this. There is a lot of freedom.

Noelle -passionate about oversee a farm den work with like minded ppl- to supply ppl they deserve.

Why is “Local” Important?

Tadd:   -advantage: economic growth- food dollars local- product dollars local.= generates jobs

Noelle: -Supporting your community

With Tadd and Noelle on board, it was time to meet with the other vendors. Even though, Seminary Hill Farm is the only company that can support a community as large as OWU with local greens, it is beneficial for the discussion/tasting to have a diverse selection of food to taste and have a different opinions for the discussion.

I met with Del and Portia on March 26th. The time in between the meeting with Tadd and Noelle and Portia and Del is long due to many things. There was spring break, Portia and Del are busy people, and allocate funds for stipends towards the vendors. Also, during this time, Dr. Krygier invited the entire Geography 360 class to his house for dinner on March 22nd. I utilized Portia’s cafe and provided the veggie option to the class from Portia’s cafe located relatively close to Dr. Krieger’s house in Columbus. The response to the food was extremely positive and made sure to mention this to Portia when we met.

The meetings with Del and Portia were brief, but important. The main goal of the meetings were to formally and in person invite them to the discussion/tasting on April 22nd. I encouraged sample, but they were not required to be part of the event. I explained my proposal more in depth and why I want to do this project. I also go tore info on them and their history in the dietary and food business. Both vendors were very happy and please to see my enthusiasim and dedication to an important issue our culture is facing with our lack of value for food.

Almost immediately I sent out a formal invite via email to students, faculty, Chartwells staff, a den the lovely vendors. At this time, I was also able to get permission to use the Smith Dining Hall facilities. Here is the email for the vendors:

Invite:

“Hello,

I formally invite you to a tasting and discussion on April 22nd at 330 in Smith Hall (on the corner of Oak Hill Ave and S Liberty Street) with yourself and other local vendors and Chartwells(OWU dining service) to try some local food and talk about it! As I have said, you will be provided with a stipend as well as a covering cost for food. But to get a right estimate, how much would the food cost if you are to able to provide some? I don’t want to underpay you.

Please text me if that is more convenient: 513.324.4525

Thanks! Ellen ”

 

Here is the email for the students, staff, and Chartwells:

 

“Hello,

So some of you know this already, but I am trying to have local food to be part of the OWU dining experience. With that said, I am having a tasting and discussion on April 22nd at 330 in Smith with local vendors and Chartwells to try some local food and talk about it! I would love for all you to be there and support me, the mission, and the possibility of some positive change on this campus.”

 

I invited hundreds of students. A handful showed up to the tasting/discussion. However, that handful had positive reviews on the mission of the project and the food itself.

I would like to highlight that I also invited Chris Fink, a Health and Human Kinetics professor who is involved with similar projects and proposals in the food dining experience with Chartwells. He also has a partnership and want to say friendship with Tadd Peterson. He was able to come to the discussion/tasting and thoroughly enjoyed himself and wants to be kept in the loop with the developments of the project in the future.

Agenda for Discussion/Tasting:

This is copied from the email I sent to all the vendors and chartwells a few days before the event in order to get on the same page.

“1. The main discussion topic I would like for us to talk about is my project itself I wanted to get your feedback on how to improve it and ways I cold make it happen on OWU’s campus.

  1. With your guidance, I would want to talk about ways to make it more accessible for businesses like yours to expand so people can eat healthier and locally.
  2. I want to take time for you to tell a little bit about what you do and why you wanted to come.
  3. I hope there will be time for students to give feedback on the samples (if you brought any) and discuss ways they think I can continue my project.
  4. I want there to be some talk on the importance of sustainable eating and plant based eating”

The Event itself:

The day of the event, I printed out proposals for people to read while eating and then to discuss more in depth. About 10 students showed. Tadd and Noelle arrived with a variety of food including salad greens, radish sides, various dips, and bread. Everything was vegan expect for one dish. Del Sroufe brought three tubs of his very popular dish of spicy peanut noodles. Portia was not able to attend. After all the guests set out their food they gave a general introduction of themselves and their mission of the companies or projects they represent. Then everyone served themselves hefty helpings of all the food. After, we discussed the issues with distributing and providing services such as local and vegetarian food. We mentioned the difficulty comes from the undervalued and most of our society and associated network have toward food and consumption in general. We touched on the fact that ideally, collaborations between farmers and local vendors, liked he organizations I brought to the event would make distributing the foods and services that take the consideration and time food (I think) deserve a lot easier. However, there are always complications. Mostly those complications come from not having or getting enough money to sustain one’s business or oneself. Saddened by this reality, we remarked that events liked his get people talking and is a step in the right direction in achieving a more local and plant based diets in schools or restaurants even.

 

Recommendations

Due to the fact that this project will continue into the Fall of 2017 I do not have a lot to comment for this section. However, it is noteworthy to mention that it is hard to have stuff like this happen. Not just within OWU’s campus. But in discussing topics of distributing and selling products labeled vegan and local is hard. As I mentioned above, there just isn’t a big enough market for it, not enough collaboration, and our society as whole devalues their food. This project tis my way of changing all that in a small way. Next semester I hope to actually get Seminary Hill farms produce in the salad bar and hope to inspire students and Chartwells to notice the difference it makes to themselves, their bodies, the image of the school, and/or the environment. With this goal ahead of me I will do my best to make it happen successfully.

Contacts:

These contacts are also found in the proposal.

Tadd Petersen: Manager of Farm and Food at Seminary Hill Farm.

I am hoping he will be able to ignite the transition from current salad bar item to local salad bar items through his leadership at Seminary Hill Far. I also plan to ask him about his insight on the use of pesticides and the benefits of local food. Finally, I hope he will be able to be part of discussion panel and tasting at the end of the semester.

tpetersen@mtso.edu

 

Seminary Hill Farm Webpage: https://www.mtso.edu/ecotheology/seminary-hill-farm/

It is the farm located on Methodist Theological School in Ohio’s campus. They are committed to sustainability through theology and ecology. It is a great opportunity to take advantage of and I plan to work with them extensively in the next few weeks.

 

Dan Magee: Director of Dining Services for Chartwells at OWU. I am meeting with Dan bi-weekly basis to touch base on progress made in the project. Also Dan Magee is a source of information and works as a liaison to Chartwells and the potential reality of my project.

djmagee@owu.edu

 

 

Pattycake Bakery: Jennie Scheinbach

http://www.pattycakeveganbakery.com

Located in the heart of Columbus, Patty cake Bakery is an all vegan bakery that goes beyond their food in order to be sustainable as possible. On their website they list a multitude of habits the bakery does in order to maintain “green” and sustainable. Some of those habits include: compost all of our food waste, recycle everything, and reuse cardboard boxes to package wholesale orders. I plan to collaborate with them and hope they attend a panel and participate in a tasting at the end of the semester.

 

Del Sroufe :Wellness Forum Foods:

http://chefdelsroufe.com

http://wellnessforumfoods.com

Del Sroufe is a chef who has a main focus in plant based diet and cuisine, He is in the Worthington area and will be a great resource for advice in sustainability and for the panel and tasting I plan to invite him to and be in.

 

Portia’s Cafe: Portia Yiamouyiannis

http://www.portiascafe.com

  • This cafe located in Columbus is committed to sustainability and healthful options leaning toward the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. Their mission is to create an inviting space for all dietary needs. My goal is to speak with the owner and to get their view on sustainable living and ways to improve my project going forth. I also plan to invite them to the discussion panel and ask them to provide food for a tasting.

 

Appendix:

This appendix is also found in the proposal.

Shin, Yeon Ho, and Murat Hancer. “The role of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral           control, and moral norm in the intention to purchase local food products.” Journal Of           Foodservice Business Research 19, no. 4 (September 2016): 338-351. Academic Search          Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).

Hempel, Corinna, and Ulrich Hamm. “How important is local food to organic-minded c           consumers?.” Appetite 96, (January 2016): 309-318. Academic Search Complete,         EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).

 

Both of these articles analyze some of the social norms that come along with being “green” or following the “all organic” trend. I wanted to include these articles to highlight that I believe my project will not reflect a social movement, but will accommodate a wide range diets and backgrounds. I think this project will discourage people from eating the salad bar or the potential local foods from local venders. I think it will be a seamless transition anyone can and will enjoy. Even thought I agree with the green movement, I believe this project does not hinder the negative implications the “green” movement accommodates.

 

MACRAE, ROD, VIJAY CUDDEFORD, STEVEN B. YOUNG, and MOIRA MATSUBUCHI-          SHAW. 2013. “The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada.” Agroecology & Sustainable Food    Systems 37, no. 8: 933-963. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February        21, 2017).

 

I was able to find research supporting the fact that locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetable reduces green house gas emissions. And that less transportation and smarter load sizes reduces the green house gas emission. One interesting fact the article, “The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada” found was that in order to reduce green house gases remarkably, it has to be a combination of factors. Less refrigeration, less transportation use, and most importantly, more organic practices will reduce greenhouse gasses amount. Event though these findings were focused on Canada, much of their research is based on the food industry located on a more global scale.

 

HECK, ALEXANDRA. “A great campus food makeover.” Maclean’s 129, no. 44 (November 7,          2016): 74-77. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).

This periodical reflects a similar project that I am doing at St.  George’s campus. They completely ditched their food provider, which was Aramark, and decided to head the more sustainable and eco-friendly route by teaming up with local producers such as Harmony Organic dairy company. This periodical gives me hope in the potential success of my project and it also inspires me to contact St. George and discover more about the positive changes the food provider switch has made to the campus as a whole.

 

 

 

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