February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Students plan flash mob to call for more local dining hall foods

The Towers Dining Hall is expected to be flooded with a sea of green this Friday afternoon as students plan a flash mob with Slowfood Ithaca College to demand more local and organic foods from the Sodexo, the college’s food service provider.

Those participating in the mob plan to congregate and enter the Towers Dining Hall as a group to dine at the Fresh Food Market in completely green clothing, according to the Facebook event set up by Slowfood Ithaca College that has 39 confirmed guests.

The Fresh Food Market is a portion of the dining hall dedicated to more local and organic foods. Emily Shaw, co-president of Slowfood Ithaca College, said the goal of this flash mob is to gain the attention of the campus and encourage people to choose this location for their dining experience.

“We really need the Fresh Food Market to kind of have that interest and have the students going there and having that food sell out, so they know this is something people do care about and want on campus,” Shaw said.

According to Jeff Scott, general manager of Ithaca Dining Services, about 11 percent of Sodexo food is locally grown and produced.

Shaw said she recognizes the club also needs to be realistic in its demands, so Slowfood Ithaca College will define products as “local” as long as they are purchased within 250 miles of the college.

In a discussion panel pertaining to local and organic foods held in IC Square on Nov. 17, Stephanie Bresnick, a member of Slowfood IC, said the organization also plans to emphasize the importance of labeling, so students will understand what is in their food and where it is coming from.

“We want to do a study and figure out where the food is coming from, but the problem is they don’t even know where it is coming from,” Bresnick said. “So that’s how we are having a problem getting hard facts because they don’t know where the food is coming from. They just open up the back boxes and place it there.”

Stephanie Piech, Sodexo’s sustainability coordinator, said Sodexo is aiming to be sustainable, focusing on food and the process surrounding it. However, the only way both Sodexo and environmental groups can work together to meet these objectives is to show a clear demand from the majority of students, she said.

“I think it’s great,” Piech said. “What I have tried to empower many students, including Slowfood students, to do is to eat at the places where we do offer things that they like or that they agree with or support, like the Fresh Food Market, because that’s where we can expand if they show their support by actually eating there.”

Shaw said the group is hoping the flash mob will pressure Sodexo to back up those words.