Foss revamps menus but keeps meat in the mix
Over the past few weeks, rumors have been circulating around campus that Foss Dining Hall is transitioning to become completely vegetarian. In a recent interview, Dining Services Manager Terry Landry clarified, “Absolutely not.”
Sodexo, the College’s food contract service, implemented a pilot program two weeks ago for testing new vegetarian and vegan recipes on the Hill. According to Landry, Colby is currently the only institution at which Sodexo is offering these innovative meals. Dining Services is responsible for gauging students’ reactions to recipes and determining whether these experimental dishes are popular enough to remain on the menus.
This pilot program has encouraged Landry to revamp all of Foss’ offerings, meat and meatless alike. “I’m in the process of adding fish to my menus,” Landry said, “because I’ve had a request for it.” He has also researched different chicken and turkey recipes in order to keep Foss interesting for all students, regardless of their dietary habits. Landry, who has been an employee of the College since the late 1990s, recognizes that Foss tends to attract a distinct crowd because of its vegetarian friendliness. “At least since the ’70s, all the counterculture has come to Foss,” he said. “They bring alternate eating styles and habits, so with the demand of that, it’s the students who really grow the program.”
Currently, Foss meal options are approximately 80 percent vegan or vegetarian and 20 percent meat, according to Landry. “The other halls are the opposite, and that formula won’t change,” he explained. Even if Sodexo’s restructured program meets success in Foss, this will not permanently affect the amount of meatless options in Roberts and Dana dining halls.
Although Landry only oversees Foss’s production, he noted that Dana and Roberts “will also be experimenting and trying some vegan and vegetarian options, not to increase their offerings, but to relook at what they are currently offering.”
Since 2010, however, Roberts and Dana have had one distinctive vegetarian-friendly feature that Foss lacks: Meatless Mondays. On alternating Mondays, these two dining halls strictly offer vegetarian options in order to decrease “the risk for chronic preventable disease and reduce the fuel, land and water needs currently being used by livestock,” according the Colby Sustainability Brochure for 2011-12. Foss offers enough meatless items to avoid instituting the Meatless Monday program.
Many students complain about the limited vegetarian options available to students on weekends, when Dana is the only dining hall open from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. However, Landry is also in the process of examining Dana’s menus, “only in the respect that I will be looking at their weekend vegetarian and vegan options…and maybe relook at some of the things we can do for breakfast,” he said.
In the weeks to come, Foss will be providing more tempeh options, as well as introducing grains such as farro, spelt and kamut to students. “Not only are we feeding the student body, but in a lot of cases we are educating the student body,” Landry said.