UCSB students have long yearned for a smarter and more sensible way to eat, but getting healthy and delicious food at affordable prices seems like a pipe dream. What we need is a way to “go green” without consequently going broke. One student group has taken care to notice our growing concern and now labors in our stead to get us what we want.
Familiarize yourself with them now. The conscientious members of the Student Food Collective, an Office of Student Life group, dedicate themselves to providing us with healthy, ecologically sustainable and ethically sound food while at the same time reducing our environmental impact and supporting our local agricultural economy. They place as equal an emphasis on educating about sustainable practices as they do in implementing them.
Their current brainchild is called the “I.V. Food for Thought” project. Through close work and collaboration with Associated Students, SFC plans to provide us with two new excellent places where we can get our nutritious and affordable grub on. The first is a trendy mobile food cart substantially unlike the ones currently sprinkled about campus. SFC’s cart boasts a technologically superior design, powered via solar panel installations. Not only would it be a sick aesthetic addition to behold on our campus, but also a point of pride in the capability of student initiative and mindfulness. The second place is even more tantalizing. SFC plans to re-purpose the restaurant space at 6521 Pardall Rd. — across from Chino’s — into a lively sit-down café. Think of it as Natural Café meets Backyard Bowls and the Daily Grind. They envision it as a chill place to eat, hang and study while also serving as a venue for live music, group events and film screenings. The café’s menu will feature great tasting food that also emphasizes the importance of locally and ethically sourced ingredients. They expect the average meal to be modestly priced around seven dollars. Additionally, they plan to nourish an organic raised bed garden to use as a food source and as an educational workshop space.
Again, SFC is in the business of serving us. What grows out of the “I.V. Food for Thought” project does not aim to seek profit. In collaboration with A.S., their goal is to provide a service to UCSB students akin to the A.S. Bike Shop. Student needs provided by student funds. Our Legislative Council has already collected $250,000 in favor of bringing SFC’s project to fruition.
For around the last four years, A.S. has seriously entertained a student-run restaurant service on campus as an alternative to current options. It was natural, then, that they sought the guidance and advice this past Winter Quarter of the Student Food Collective. SFC’s robust vision for healthy and affordable sustainable food sources on campus meshed well with A.S.’s idea of a student run venture. Together, they are now engaging in early contractual stages of a five year lease at the Pardall locale. The bulk of potential Spring 2011 funds will be used for amenities typically associated with a restaurant start up, such as pragmatic and stylistic renovations, lighting, educational materials, furniture, inventory and staff wages.
Why should we be excited about this? Why is the arrival of these services worthy of our anticipation? First of all, SFC’s is a rather novel endeavor. Through their efforts, we can come to represent a university whose students seek to boldly empower themselves, taking sensible initiative and control over what we eat and how it impacts us, our community and our environment. Furthermore, SFC’s proclaimed mission stands as one we back wholeheartedly: to foster a coalition of like-minded individuals and organizations co-creating, living, learning and nourishing spaces that embody sustainable practices in all aspects.
Looking toward our future, the viability of our current environmental practices appears grim. But, we, the most revolutionary generation in human history, can put the world on our backs. The efforts of SFC in collaboration with A.S. aim to “fire the first shots” of environmental sensibility. I, for one, am standing behind them. Where will you stand?