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Campus News

Warren Wilson College Cowpie Student-Workers Ask for More Organic Food

by Nadia M. Pappalardo, staff writer

Cowpie is built on the ideology that feeding the Warren Wilson community vegetarian, local, and organic meals is a top priority. With options like tempeh burgers, kale, and salad made from our very own garden, Cowpie makes every effort to keep up their standards. What has recently been in question is exactly how much of Cowpie’s produce is organic and how much of their produce comes from the Warren Wilson garden.

The general belief from the student body and faculty is that the food from Cowpie is largely local and organic. According to acting General Manager for Sodexo Brian O’Loughlin, the actual ratio of organic to non-organic products today is roughly sixty percent organic to forty percent non-organic.

O’Loughlin is responsible for how the budget of Gladfelter and Cowpie is distributed. He explained that with the recent inflation of food costs, some items have to be switched from organic to non-organic.

“With buying organic products, there is a significant price difference,” says O’Loughlin. “We recently switched our dried beans from organic to non-organic because the difference in price is a lot. Also, with the beans already being dried out, it is not as important to invest money in them being organic opposed to other items.”

While some students believe that providing organic and local food consistently is the main priority of Cowpie, others think that touching up the appearance of the dining area was worth investing in.

“I don’t go to Cowpie that often, but I like the new renovation,” says junior Michael Carter. “I think it makes it look classy.”

Some of Cowpie’s budget has been used to re-model part of their kitchen. A new desk for the card-swiper has been installed, along with new lights over the serving center and holders for utensils. There have been mixed feelings on whether or not this investment was worth-while. Some students feel that the new look to Cowpie is beneficial to their dining experience, but others think it should not have been done.

Hannah Mason, a sophomore who works at Cowpie, believes that the budget could be spread out in a way that provides people who come to Cowpie daily with what they truly want.

“I get it. I understand why they are doing what they are doing with the budget,” Mason says. “The thing that bothers me is that the people that come to Cowpie every day want good food and the budget is not being distributed well enough for that. The comments from the comment board demand more healthy items like kiwi and tempeh, but we don’t have the ability to get it for them.”

Cowpie crew members say that they can guarantee that if the produce is from the garden on campus, it is organic and local. If it is not, there is no promise that what is being ordered will be organic or local.

“We get maybe 20 to 25 percent of our vegetables from the garden,” says Mason. “It has always been that way.”

Many members of the Wilson community feel like Gladfelter and Cowpie are completely separate entities, but Sodexo owns and operates both kitchens.

“Sodexo is in charge of both Gladfelter and Cowpie. We have been supporting Cowpie for years and are always trying to work together with what they truly want,” says Tammy Adams, acting Administrative Assistant for Sodexo on campus.

The Cowpie crew still remains loyal to its goal to cook vegetarian, locally-grown, organic meals as much as it can and wants to continue to collaborate with Sodexo to make this all possible.

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