Where can a vegetarian eat on campus?

Kamri Jackson

Kamri Jackson

GROSSMONT COLLEGE, Sept. 14 — Many students might attest to the fact that it has become rather difficult to find nourishment on campus. Besides the fact that the Cafeteria has been disintegrated for remodeling, it is another hunt altogether to attain food !

Grossmont is quite barren of food between the maltodextrin, monosodium maltrate, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors. These are clearly unnatural ingredients, yet they are distributed in bulk and sold to the campus majority.

As a vegetarian myself, I recently went on a campus-wide hunt to see what foods might be available to sustain myself and other vegetarian/health foodies alike. I headed toward the 51 and 55 building to see if any food was available in the temporary Cafeteria. After looking through their menu I found one option: a “vegetarian patty burger” (fresh avocado may be added for a fee).

Grossmont students Ariel Pemberton, Josiah Pemberton, and Brianna Lambert said during a group discussion that there is a lack of good food at reasonable prices in the Cafeteria. As a result, they either bring food from home with them, or to wait to go off campus in order to purchase something more affordable.  None of them had in fact purchased anything from the Cafeteria. 

My search continued as I looked adjacent to the Cafeteria, inside the small market. There I spotted pre-packaged smoothies (no preservatives), fresh mixed fruit cups, and purified water. Between the Market and Cafeteria there was only a handful of non-dairy and preservative free options. I was unable to speak with the cooks or workers, because of the busy rush throughout the day. 

As you can imagine,  I was also unsuccessful when searching through various food or beverage vending machines spread about campus. 

Not until I walked inside of Grossmont‘s bookstore, did I come across a variety of vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options. Real food, at last!

Book seller Debra Rider is a vegetarian herself, and is eager to serve the diverse Grossmont Community by implementing various healthy options at the bookstore. Her effort is evident in the “healthy choices, a better alternative” section which has a growing selection of natural/vegetarian items. Items include fruit and nut bars, vegetarian jerky, organic peanut butter packs, and vegan/gluten free cookies.

Furthermore, right across from the small natural section, you can find raw nuts such as almonds and cashews. The book store is also the only place on campus that sells 1-liter bottles of water, in order to carry enough water to remain hydrated during class. Rider also stated that the “healthy items brings in a lot of business.”

I spotted one happy customer right outside. Veronica Johnson,  a vegan and nursing major, shared that“ This campus had the biggest selection for vegans/vegetarians.”  By the same token, she also stated that she wished “they had a larger selection of fresh veggies and fruits.”

Although the bookstore is currently owned by Barnes and Nobles, Rider and store supervisor Janet Althaus are eager to get the student body involved in the affairs of the bookstore which includes the options we have for food.

Acclaimed UC Berkeley journalist, Michael Pollen  states it simply: there are “food like substances.”  Apparently, many of the items that we ingest are not comprised of much nutrition at all. The Webster’s dictionary defines food as “something that nourishes, sustains, and supplies.” In other words, the food we eat should keep us vital and energetic. Natural, alkaline foods possess that. We are natural beings who need natural foods in order to sustain ourselves.  This is the “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” as Michael Pollen would say. 

The hunting and gathering of nutritious, edible food on campus is not the easiest task, but it is indeed possible. As a student body, we have the ability to bring more healthy alternatives by supporting what is available as well as suggesting more options for the future.

I bid the Grossmont College Community fair game, and good hunting!

Jackson is a student in Media Communications 132, which produces the online GC Summit