Kitchen Cabinet Minutes

February 17 2014


Present: Jess Burggraf, Jim Dontje, Margo Druschell, George Elliot, Mark Hanson, Rebecca Hare, Lisa Heldke, Steve Kjellgren, Meghan Krause, Charlie Potts, Laura Shilling, Jeff Stocco, Rebecca Welp [missing?]


  1. Welcome and introduction: Meghan Krause, Wellness Director.
    1. Meghan discussed the fact that this new initiative—her position—is being met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. She has spent the first weeks in conversation with faculty and staff. She is working intensively with peer assistants to refocus their mission under the label of wellbeing.
    2. Regarding foci of her work, she noted that food allergies/sensitivities are up 300%. She mentioned the concept of “bioindividuality”: How do we think about food as information for how we are nourishing ourselves? Environmentally: she observed that the healthy choice often isn’t the easy choice. How do we make the healthy choices easier? How might we shift the environment to make healthy choices easy?
    3. Others on the committee chimed in with observations:

i.     Steve other ways to see connections with our food. Food as enjoyable, sustainable or not? We need to identify the next projects that can move our work along.

ii.     Laura: What about cultural background and wellbeing and having culturally appropriate food available? Pork labeling, availability of foods that “feel like home.”

iii.     Jeff: DS is always balancing a combination of individual needs and group issues/needs.

  1. 2.      Dining Service director download:
    1. a.      Steve announced that Sysco, US Foods and Apperts have consolidated (i.e. Sysco bought the other two). This presents problems for us in terms of product availability. (E.g. will Minnesota sourced products still be available in the food items we seek?)
    2. b.     The MVAC Food Hub: GAC is one of the first buyers to sign on to this. Fifty farming operations have participated. Gustavus’ participation helped them to net grants and also other customers, including Good Counsel, Mankato school district, and others.
    3. c.      Where are students meal plan balances and what about J-term credit? Students should see steve if they are out, or if they weren’t here in January.
    4. d.     Meal Plan rate/comparison/increase for 2014-15 in relation to USDA food cost projections: There will be a 1.9 percent increase in student food fee, but food prices are projected to rise 2.4 percent. How will we make this work?
    5. e.      The consumer issue: We’ve had several conversations about how “consumer mentality” shapes student expectations and responses to the services offered by DS, by Residential Life, and by other divisions of the college.

                                                    i.     TO organize these discussions, a new ad hoc subcommittee: Charlie will chair. Volunteers to serve on committee: Margo, Meghan, Charlie, Steve.

                                                  ii.     Jim: what about folding this work into “Return on Education.”

                                                 iii.     Rebecca revived the idea of doing an interview with Steve about Dining Service.

  1. Dietician updates: George updated us on the “Am I Hungry?” mindful eating program in which she is being trained (and has been certified). The program aims to teach participants how to be mindful and eat in the “instinctive cycle.” She announced that in March the program will be offered to faculty and staff: a limited enrollment means sign up early! After this test, it will be rolled out to students.
  2. 3.      Coke and GAC: As our relationship under the new contract unfolds, how do we want to use it? We focused our discussion of this multifaceted topic on just one issue at this meeting. After a number of people had to leave, we had an extensive discussion about the “Dasani Drops College Tour”: should we or shouldn’t we bring it to campus? Considerable discussion resulted in us deciding to do a Survey Monkey survey that presents the “pros” of bringing it and of not bringing it, and asking the student body to decide. Lisa and Jim to work on survey. [Note: this is in the works and should go out very soon. Encourage participation!]

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