In previous decades, the quality of food in many college cafeterias varied widely, and many institutions began to serve more mass-produced entrees as their enrollments began to rise after World War II. This pendulum is beginning to swing back the other way, as more than 200 universities and close to 400 school districts are starting to give more support to a farm-to-cafeteria movement that attempts to build menus around fresh local ingredients. One such institution is Middlebury College in Vermont, which has been well known for years for serving Ben and Jerry’s brand ice cream in its dining halls. As of late, the liberal arts college has also begun to use heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, and other foodstuffs grown in close proximity to campus. As certain pundits have been quick to point out, making this transition is not always easy, as food costs are often significantly higher and variations in growing conditions and climate can make certain products impossible to find locally. Interestingly enough, a number of college administrators and the like have noted that this movement is both increasingly more socially responsible and also serves as a marketing tool that appeals to baby boomer parents who assisted in the creation of the organic food movement a generation ago.
The first link leads to a fine article on the farm-to-cafeteria movement from this Wednesday’s _New York Times_. The article also includes a multimedia slide show that is definitely worth a look. The second link will take users to an article from Tuesday’s _Detroit Free Press_ which provides some current coverage of the continuing effort to restrict certain high-fat and high-sugar food products in America’s high school cafeterias and vending machines. The third link will whisk visitors away to a piece by Jennifer Rickard of _The Oklahoma Daily_ in which she talks about the relationship between diet and study skills. The fourth link takes visitors to the Farmtocollege.org site, which contains compelling information about this movement and also offers some helpful online resources about starting and maintaining such farm-to-college programs. The fifth link leads to a news story about St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, N.Y., which recently received the dubious distinction of having the worst campus food, as recorded in the Princeton Review’s publication, “Best 361 Colleges”. The final link will take visitors to a very important link offered by the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Here visitors can learn about the lost art (and science) of packing a safe lunch for young and old alike.