There is a new organization on campus and they are striving to be heard. Conscientious Foodies was founded by juniors Marjorie McNaughton and Jenifer Andrews. While Conscientious Foodies has gotten a reputation of only being interested in vegetarian/vegan lifestyles, this is not true.
Yes, they certainly advocate and encourage an organic, healthy diet, this does not mean they do not accept meat-lovers into their group! They want people from all different lifestyles to join their group wishing to be educated about the food system.
The main aim of the group is to educate students about different issues regarding our food systems as a whole. These issues include: animal cruelty, negative impacts on the environment, and negative impacts on our health from some of the foods we ingest. “We’re about giving your body what [it] needs,” says Alysa Latona, secretary of Conscientious Foodies. During our interview, she raised a good point: the group is focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and decisions about what foods students eat; they put no emphasis on being “skinny” or “thin.”
Their main aim for our campus is to push for a wider food selection in the cafeteria. Their goal is to help give students a variety of healthier options for those who are vegetarian, vegan, or those with health issues that makes it harder for them to find foods to eat in the cafeteria. In short, they want the food variety to be more equal between those less than healthy foods and the healthier ones. After all, the campus spends a lot of time advocating for healthier decisions regarding food during Ranger Wellness, why are we not seeing any of these healthier foods being served in the cafeteria? “We’ve been trying to get students to fill out comment cards [in the cafeteria] because it seems like [Sodexo] listens to them,” McNaughton says.
Conscientious Foodies is planning on doing a presentation during Ranger Wellness this semester about healthier food choices, nutrition, and issues that exist in the food system. They are also co-hosting the documentary Tapped with the Environmental Club (a group they are closed affiliated with) on March 3rd; Tapped takes a deeper look into the role bottled water plays on our health, environment, and such.
So, why should students care about eating healthier? Latona has a simply answer, “You are what you eat.” We have all heard doctors, our parents, and the media griping about how when you eat healthier you feel better and have more energy. After learning more about nutrition and healthier food choices, perhaps we will find that they were right. Latona also mentions how it would be a feat for Parkside to be the first campus to eliminate “the freshmen fifteen.”
Conscientious Foodies is working on releasing a survey in the near future that will question students about their satisfaction with the food served in the cafeteria, what changes they would like to see made, any health reasons that may be prohibiting them from eating at the cafeteria because the foods they can eat are not served, and more. A more in-depth look at the survey will come up as soon as more details are fleshed out about it.
If you are interested and would like to learn more about Conscientious Foodies, be sure to stop in on one of the meetings, which take place on Tuesdays at 12:30 in room 273 of the library.