I do not know enough about the current situation, but I wanted to give some background about why former students pushed for the original switch to Bon Appétit. In the Fall of 2011, a group called Food for Thought organized a series of food-related events called “From Global to Local: How Food Connects.” This series included the documentary “Lunch Line,” a presentation and Q&A with local farmer Karen Hudson and rancher Terry Spence on their work again confinement feedlots and a workshop with representatives from the Real Food Challenge. In part because of these events, groups of students, faculty and community members began meeting around the topic of food. There was a food book club, meetings about on-campus growing and the Sustainable Food Systems class Spring Term of 2012. With the help of Nic Mink, former Environmental Studies Faculty, many students (myself included) worked on various community projects, like strengthening the Galesburg Farmers Market attendance and exploring adding more local food to the caf. We are also some of the people who helped explore funding and lobbied the administration for the greenhouses and helped with Peter Schwartzman’s inaugural Urban Agriculture class growing season.
After attending a conference at Lawrence and because of our own academic work in a series of food policy-related classes, many of us felt that the switch to Bon Appétit was a good one. Because I don’t feel I have a full understanding about what’s going on in real time on campus, I won’t defend what is currently happening in Knox Dining Services. But I do think it is important for current students to note that the administration made this switch only after several years of student-driven work to contract a Dining Services provider that would have the experience to handle on-campus growing and negotiate with local farmers and ranchers.
-Gretta Reed, Class of 2013