Giving Thanks for a Local and Organic Thanksgiving
Even with finals around the corner, while there are plenty of reasons to feel stressed and unlucky, it is important to remember how lucky we are to be at Occidental College.
Thanksgiving break has come and gone, but as we head into finals, it is still equally important to remember the necessity of giving thanks. And in the spirit of thanks (and of giving), we strive to support a sustainable, ethical economy. Food is something that connects everyone. It is the baseline on which the rest of our lives are built; the fuel that keeps us going. So to keep moving in a positive direction – not just individually, but societally – it is important to make sure that the food that ends up on our plate is the food that we would want to be involved in growing, packing, shipping and preparing. We are what we eat, after all! (So don’t forget to be delicious, and get tomorrow’s Winterfest Feast!)
At the Marketplace, we celebrated a Local and Organic Thanksgiving; by buying local and organic, and by cooking from scratch, we are able to support the principles for sustainable food in which we believe. Take, for instance, our new commitment to the Real Food Challenge. That commitment mandates a steady shift from conventional food, to products produced in a socially or environmentally sustainable manner; our current goal is 30% Real Food by 2020.
This year the Marketplace’s Local and Organic Thanksgiving was a huge success. For many, it lived up to its hard-earned reputation as the best Marketplace meal of the year. Considering how convoluted the food system is, it would take a book to discuss the producers for every ingredient involved in a meal as complex as Thanksgiving – so we’ll have to stick to the highlights.
The centerpiece was Mary’s Free Range Turkey. Raised locally in the Central Valley, with an all-vegetarian diet and plenty of room to roam, these birds are lucky enough to have a Certified Humane life. For vegans on campus, we served grilled Cauliflower Steaks, grown by Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville. The entrée carving stations were accompanied by a range of sides; local and organic roasted butternut squash, from John Givens Farm, organic mashed potatoes from Stukel Mountain, and a local and organic veggie medley with peppers, onions, broccoli, zucchini, and more, from Lakeside, Givens, Cal-Organics, and County Line Harvest. Not only were these items grown or raised to a healthy organic perfection, they also support small, family owned businesses in California.
We feel lucky to be working with local businesses. After all, we’re batting for the same team, working on a sustainable local economy. That’s why we didn’t just keep the delicious, sustainable food on campus; Oxy’s Own donated 110 pounds of local and organic Thanksgiving food to the LA Family Housing, for neighborhood families to enjoy.
Here’s to wishing that everyone could get to eat at least partly local and organic for the rest of this holiday season – once they’ve made it through the gauntlet of finals, of course. And if you’re looking for a bit of comfort food to help you survive the gauntlet, don’t miss out on Breakfast for Dinner, served this Monday.
Johnson Student Center, 2nd Floor