Some students face higher prices for meal plans, and colleges are focusing on cutting the cost of food service
a bit of a dated article, but it brings up some important topics. for instance, the decision to serve healthier food versus lower cost food is a conversation that hampshire folks are always engaged in, especially now that we’re creating a new food contract. on the one hand, yes, who wouldn’t want to have delicious healthy food served in the dining commons? and why shouldn’t students be entitled to such foods when their meal plans are multiple thousands of dollars each year, and in many circumstances students are not given an option to opt out. i think hampshire’s exceeds $4000 at this point, but it’s at least half that, not sure as i don’t buy one because i live in one of the on-campus apartments. that said those apartments are relatively difficult to get into and if you live in the dorms (the only other alternative is off-campus, which has its own set of complications as we’re in a mostly rural area) you’re not given an option.
so why not always healthy, organic, local, fair trade, w/e food? there’s a few good reasons. coming from my experience at hampshire, food plans are not part of the financial aid package (this is not the case for all institutions), and with more expensive food comes a higher price for students. this can be very prohibitive to low-income folks, and education should not be limited to the economic elite. another consideration to take into account is how culturally appropriate the food is. that is, does it contextually make sense and/or is it appropriative?
food is a seriously touchy issue, and i didn’t really realize how much so until i came to college. there are a lot of other things that need to be discussed when making decisions about food such as where to source it from, how to prepare it, who prepares it, what they’re paid, how much to sell it for, and so on. we will try to address a few, but definitely not all, of these topics to the best of our abilities in our next podcast. keep on the lookout for it :)