Addressing the RFP for contracting of Aramark for the food service at The Evergreen State College and informing the public of current state.
Topics of interest include-
1-identification of contract timeline 2-who is making the final decisions 3-what is generating these decisions, nutrition or financial feasibility 4-participants from staff and public (Evergreen Community) 5-how informed is the community 6-other concerned stakeholders 7-potential for petition 8-sustainability factor 9-other solutions for food service 10-facalty involvement 11-possibility of forum or community panel
past TESC discussions
Open Letter to the Evergreen Community
This letter is in response to an email sent to the evergreen community on May 1st, 2012 regarding the dining services Request for Proposals (RFP) Committee. The email, with the subject "Developments in Residential and Dining Services", announced to the community that the current dining services contract will be ending in August of 2013.
The email contained a document that listed the various stakeholders represented on the committee, as well as presenting a tentative timeline for the process of drafting a RFP, reviewing submitted proposals from food service contractors, and recommending Evergreen's next dining services provider.
As concerned students and Evergreen community members, we are unsatisfied with the time allotted to the gathering of community feedback and opinion of dining services, which under the current tentative timeline is meant to take place this quarter (Spring 2012).
Considering that this announcement was not made until half way through the quarter, and provided no organized framework in which community feedback should be gathered, we request that this timeline be modified to allow for the community to respond in an organized and thoughtful manner.
The question of where our food comes from is an important one for the Evergreen community, and we propose that this process should be as transparent as possible to allow for all stakeholders (which includes all members of the community) to be meaningfully involved in the process.
As students engaged in the study of food systems and community activism, we would be more than willing to assist with the RFP process through research, helping to create an inclusive process for gathering of community feedback, and raising of community awareness on this important issue.
All interested members of the community should attend our interest meeting on ??? where we will identify key concerns and next steps.
Above is a link to a local food survey done by Kenyon College... a lot of it is not applicable, but I think it can help us get a sense of the types of questions to include.
Also this might be interesting: http://www.westminstercollege.edu/pdf/environmental_center/Campus%20Sustainability%20Food%20Survey.pdf
- How do you define local food?
- How highly do you value it?
- Do you believe that all community members should have equal say in where their food comes from?
- If an open use, community kitchen existed on campus, would you use it?
Looking at what services are available for food is important to any school but how do we make effective decisions that are informative? Are we as a community welcome to participate or are we subjected to decisions made by others due to financial incentives? Today in a changing global economy it is ever so important to understand what is local, sustainable, feasible, and healthy with consideration of what we eat. Nutrition should always be at the forefront of the minds of all students and the opportunity to participate is imperative. This is especially important for new students since the actions we take today will affect future students more than it will affect current students. This means that the foresight necessary to make these decisions must be selfless, informed, and practical at the very least. What do you know about your food and how it is prepared, served, selected, purchased, disposed, cleaned, and delivered? Would you like the opportunity to participate in this process?
Food is in many ways the center of life, it is, literally, what keeps us alive and breathing. Beyond this basic function, food also enlivens culture, and is a powerful source of identity, pride, and human connection. Nowadays, food is also highly political; the types of foods that people consume is often a reflection of their values and beliefs, and almost always a reflection of their economic status.
These two roles that food plays in the modern world; the first as a timeless and necessary source of energy, health and community, and the second, as a reflection of a person's financial means, are morally contradictory to each other: If food is necessary for life, why doesn't everyone have access to equally healthy food?
To answer this question we would have to delve deep into the complexities of the globalized economy, industrial mono-cropping, and the production of commodity foods which contain processed, subsidized crops such as corn and soy. This is a large task, but the main lesson to be conveyed here, is that it is profoundly important for communities to build and support local food systems.
Local food systems help to keep resources within communities, nurtures community involvement and sense of belonging, and helps to alleviate pressure on the natural environment. Engaging in a local food system is one of the most immediate and gratifying actions that an individual can take to help themselves grow and thrive within the context of a healthy community.