The Sustainability Student...Adam Chiaravalle Cares Edition 3

August 14, 2016 at 21:20 pm

I constantly partake in the lost art of eaves dropping, sometimes it works but most of the time I get burned. My latest mission of dropping eaves brought music to my ears as I heard a group of students say  “This Mac Farmstand really should be open everyday of the week for the entire year”. Unfortunately, for most of the year Mac Farmstand is not available!


When Mac Farmstand is gone, the Student Center resembles a miniature Wall Street. Places such as Starbucks, Booster Juice, Tim Hortons and Pizza Pizza stake their claim on the student body and profit greatly as a result. We can do better because contrary to popular belief, we students have a lot of power and we can vote with our wallets on which foods we want to eat. Speaking about voting with wallets, 200 people a day visited Mac Farmstand last year and their votes stated they wanted local food! Looking past the social and economical implications of eating local food, local food simply tastes better. Having said that, imagine if McMaster had a year round local food eatery that provided hot foods!


The students at the University of Guelph do not have to imagine such a place because 100 mile grille, a food vendor at Guelph, defies campus logic as it goes out of its way to source local ingredients and makes all it’s food from scratch! Simply put, Guelph seriously cares about what their students are eating. Can you imagine a university having a 10-foot high wall of homemade condiments such as peach salsa and zucchini relish? Better yet, a university making their own hamburgers by grinding locally sourced beef? Let me state this clearly again in case you missed it, the University of Guelph, which is in the same country and province as McMaster and is only 40 minutes away, makes their own condiments and burgers! I am baffled, bewildered and perplexed by the fact that we here at Mac are okay with frozen burgers being taken out of spooky cardboard boxes that were packaged in un-human like industrial factories and came from… well who actually knows! These frozen burgers are a case of plagiarism as these burgers are not La Piazza’s work. We pride ourselves on academic integrity why can’t we have food integrity too?


Road kill has more life, personality and probably a better taste than most frozen burgers but let us move on to more worthy conversations. Executive Sous Chef Gord College from Guelph’s hospitality services says that “freshness and quality of ingredients is the recipe for success and the key to making award winning food”. Oddly enough, quality ingredients also seem like the key to nourishing the student mind. Sadly, as I am writing I see two students in the student center baptizing their pizza in dipping sauce. I feel like going up to these kids and shouting to them “Why would you choose to eat this, when you could be eating a delectable burger made from locally sourced beef”. In reality, no one is forced to eat the mediocre food at McMaster but rather students have no real options as it is either mediocre or semi mediocre food or if your really unlucky that plagiarism burger.


At the paradise that is called the University of Guelph, students are in a dilemma of their own, as they need to choose between amazing and fantastic food. Can you imagine that even if your choice of food at Guelph is wrong you’re actually right because no matter what you decide to eat it will be great? For example, If you went to Guelph you could get: the French Toast Sandwich stuffed with 100 Mile Apple Butter, local cheddar, and Ontario bacon orA ground chuck burger on a local sourdough bun with roasted red pepper, tomato relish, Woolwich Dairy goat cheese, local pea shoots and balsamic drizzle… excuse me while I cry.


I know what your thinking, a place like 100 Mile Grille does not really exist and trust me I believed the same thing. This is why I called Guelph’s hospitality services and they told me that they really are real. More over, Guelph is actually following through on the concept of sustainability by sourcing local food. Sustainability is a concept that McMaster highly values too, but Mac shows its appreciation for sustainability by spending money on having prominent intellectuals like Naomi Kline, Bill McKibben and various other speakers talk about sustainability. You know that saying our parents told us when we were 13 about walking the walk and talking the talk; yea well McMaster did not get this talk from their parents as McMaster loves to talk sustainability but it does not practice what it preaches when it comes to sustainable food.


Thankfully, due to the tireless effort and passion of students we have a service at McMaster called Mac Farmstand. Imagine if the big wigs at McMaster really got behind and seriously supported Mac Farmstand with impressive funding…Imagine if there was a Mac Farmstand forever!  

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