Getting vegan food into cafeterias

November 15, 2010

Hannah left a comment last week where she mentioned working with her school’s cafeteria to get more vegan options, so I asked her to share some of her best tips:

Here’s the part I missed in this video: the whole reason I reached out to Hannah in the first place was how she put it, that she was “helping the school to improve their vegan options,” which is such a great way to look at things that frames the rest of the problem perfectly.

Maybe things have changed, and I hope they have, but when I was in school for the first year the meal plan was mandatory and there wasn’t enough broccoli in the salad bar to keep me nourished, let alone to burn through the minimum deposit.  I wasn’t vegan until a few years later, but I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to approach things like Hannah has – if you’re “trapped” in a bad food supply situation at your cafeteria you need to take a look at this one.

And if you’ve freed yourself by working with some cafeteria people, let us know what worked for you in the comments!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

James November 16, 2010 at 6:21 am

I have no tips for this specific project, but lots of people have done it before and could tell you what works. PETA has materials ready if you ask them, and whatever you think of PETA, they are old hands at this kind of thing.

Matt November 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Hi Jason et al
My wife works in a large office building which features a caf for staff. It is even subsidized by the employer to help promote productivity with fewer trips out and, in their words, health and wellness. The employer subsidizes the catering contractor for all entrees. As a result the consistently meat and cheese based entrees are $4. Salad is considered a side and your typical Iceberg- carrot-radish-grandmother favourite (the only option) is $9. After trying to explain what a vegan is etc to the “chef”, to no avail (vegetable soup cannot be made without chicken stock in his opinion), my wife has joined the health and wellness committee that is funding the slow death of it’s employees. We’ll see how committed they are to change.

Erin November 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Here’s a tip, go to a vegan-friendly school! What a great way to support schools that are offering healthy and diverse choices.

My alma matter is #2, and I can say that it was amazing.

Erin November 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Yeah, there was supposed to be a link with my comment…

Jason November 16, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Matt, this is driving me crazy – there was a company in Ontario, decent sized, that veganized (or at least vegetarianized) their entire staff cafeteria several years back, but I can’t for the life of me remember who they were, so I can’t tell if they’re still around and/or still veg. It’d be great if we could track down a company to use as an example for other places to follow, especially if they have absentee stats from before and after… Urgh, this is going to bug me all night…

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