Last week, UR Dining Services announced that Danforth will start serving only organically-sourced food, after several students protested animal cruelty by after a deer entered in Strong Memorial Hospital. While some health and environmentally-conscious students appreciated the gesture, many demanded even more meaningful change. “It’s a step in the right direction,” freshman Rachele Pianto said, “but I have friends who break out in hives if they’re even in the same room as gluten, and I really think they should do more to help them.”
“Plus, can you believe this campus still uses GMOs? Like, really? Have you been to Chipotle?” When prompted for evidence about the ill effects of gluten or genetically modified organisms, she replied, “I just feel better when I stop eating gluten and make decisions based on anecdote and social pressures.” Asked whether social pressures were worth demonizing drought-resistant, high-nutrient crops that could save millions of the starving poor in places around the world, Pianto looked confused before confidently asking, “Well that’s what they tell you, but then how do you explain Ebola?”
In the face of such logical outrage, Dining Services is planning additional food supply changes that will be available starting next year. “Bojangles,” a Dining official, agreed to speak about internal planning only under a pseudonym. The dining halls will almost definitely go through with plans to go completely peanut-free, non-GMO and anti-gluten, but other options are on the table, as well. “We’re looking at alternative farms to start getting more responsibly raised meat and poultry for next year,” Bojangles said. “One of the most exciting opportunities we’re looking at is getting our poultry from The Left Wing, a local farm dedicated to responsible chicken-raising practices. No antibiotics or hormones of course, and before slaughter, each chicken signs an affidavit that it’s never seen a cage in its lifetime, let alone lived in one. Those affidavits would be kept on file so that any concerned diners can see proof that their chicken is certified cage-free.”
Local interest in responsible food sources has given rise to a number of local farms with more proactive animal rights policies: Bojangles explained, “We have a few more far-reaching initiatives under consideration as well. Next year you could be eating porkchops that had access to universal pre-K and hamburgers whose calves will have health insurance, regardless of pre-existing conditions.”
Eyeing other potential student concerns, Dining is even considering extending similar policies to their dairy produce.
“The strawberry yogurt will no longer be pink, to avoid perpetuating traditional gender roles, and we will stop serving reduced-fat and skim milk, in an effort to dissuade unhealthy dairy body image stereotypes,” Bojangles said. Pressed on what efforts would go into reducing produce cruelty, Bojangles responded, “All of the apples, pears, peaches and bananas we serve will be picked at night while they’re asleep so that they won’t feel any pain. We will also be eliminating the salad counter and soup pots, putting the soups and veggies on the floor so they can be free-range through every step from production to preparation, to presentation and consumption.”
In a concurrent but seemingly unrelated announcement, Dining announced that prices for meal plans would increase by 57 percent next year, citing, “increased overhead” and “crippling food supply inefficiency.”
Franklin is a member of the class of 2017.