Kitchen Cabinet Meeting Minutes October 13, 2014 Posted on October 13th, 2014 by

Gustavus Kitchen Cabinet

October 13, 2014


Lisa Heldke, Jim Dontje, Steve Kjgellren, Paul Matzke, Judy Douglas, Meghan Krause,  Saskia Raether, Katie Feterl (Greens) Mark Hanson, Margo Druschell, George Elliott, Chuck Niederriter


Greens Projects

Toxic Tater March is a National event and the Greens are supporting this on campus. Katie explained the ideas behind the movement. McDonald’s purchases potatoes from farmers who use pesticides and this brings attention to how the pesticides affect what we eat and those in the communities that grow the potatoes. There is a protest letter that is put together by the organization and the idea is to get Gustavus students to sign the letter and take it to the local McDonalds. Thoughtful discussion was brought up by Margo asking if you can grow potatoes without pesticides, probably not but are there creative ways of using less pesticides and what alternatives are being presented to McDonalds. Steve also brought up that it is a challenge to the corporation as well; they need to have a consistent product. Great discussion looking at it from both angles.   Steve made note that Rapid Russet is our preferred vendor for potatoes and they are in the Park Rapids area.


Outstanding in the Field Meal – Katie noted that they were hoping to partner with Big Hill Farm but fast losing the season and time so they may try and do a mixer with the St. Peter Co-op.


Compost Collection in the Residence Halls – Is there a way to bring compost buckets back in the Residence halls as they were in Southwest before.  These are currently located in the Courtyard and there are graphics on it as to what goes where. This was a senior class project for 2014.  Steve noted that at present we don’t have people to sort the compost so if there is a contaminated item in the compost; the whole bin ends up in the trash, not in the compost.  We did talk at the last meeting about compost, recycling, and how to make some type of uniform collection on campus. The proposal was ambitious and given to Physical Plant. The plan is still there and there is a meeting in the future to talk about where we are at with the proposal.  We are purchasing less Gustieware as Dining Service is collecting it Monday thru Friday across campus.   Fewer items are going in to the trash by having collection bins available at many locations across campus. It was noted that on busy weekends such as this past weekend there is a need for weekend collection as by Monday morning it starts to look pretty trashy. This will be addressed so it does not happen in the future. Note that all of this is on a learning curve as with any new program you need to work out the glitches in the system.


Hydroponics System –There was discussion about being able to use the green house as a good place to set up a hydroponics system.  A transfer student had worked with a hydroponics system at their old school and there is interest here to see if we could make it work.  It is an interesting way to avoid the soil issues and extend the system. The system uses a lot less water than a traditional system.


Updates on Wellbeing –Meghan followed up from last month’s discussion surrounding more options for catering.  Four objectives have been identified: Provide information on food choices that have not previously been considered. Customize information for the Gustavus community. Offer creative alternatives to popular food choices. Evaluate the changes after the options are implemented. The goal is to have a final draft by the next Kitchen Cabinet meeting and other KC members are welcome to join in on the discussion. Meghan noted there is an intern who is working on the project as well and that will be helpful on many levels of moving the information forward.

There is also an interest from a few students on following up on the water conversation and doing some water tasting.



Community Member at Large – Judy Douglas is a great advocate for our Dining Services and she wanted to high light a few items that we want to continue promoting as the work has been so positive.

Coke grant –Applications are due by November 1 and we continually advertise for more proposals.  We certainly have a fair number of proposals but we note we are starting to get them from the same people and this is an awesome way for others to do some great work on campus. The KC members asked if we should be doing more for outreach. It was noted we could put it on faculty L more consistently as well as keeping them in the daily announcements.


Food Hub – There was a good article in the Free Press and it was noted we are the only institution using it at present, although others believe it is a great idea.


National Ranking – This was brought up again as we ranked 24th out of 2000 schools for food.  Steve noted again that the numbers may be skewed as how the organizations solicit the information is not very clear. And we do have great food on campus and Judy wanted to make sure we continue to high light all the work that is done in Dining Service.  At the beginning of the year Steve did point out in a few different ways that we did rank number 7. Kitchen Cabinet also wanted to make note that out of the MIAC schools, we have been most cost effective in our meal plan pricing. Last year we had some press in The Weekly and this might be a good time to highlight our services again and how we compare to like schools.


Where Am I Eating – Members of KC were wondering if that was a good choice.  Meghan noted that out of her group half had not even read the book, another quarter had only read some of the book.  The conversation was not all that inspired as well. Chuck’s group was more interested in this book than books from previous years. It sounded like it just varied from group to group.  It was noted that the author was on campus earlier in the semester than in years past and some questioned if the program was as well promoted as it has been in years past. The Fair Trade group felt good about the program and it seemed to give them some momentum.  The Fair Trade fashion show had an enthusiastic group and the room was full for Kelsey that evening.


Programs in the Evelyn Young Dining Room– There will be a policy from the Dean of Students office.  And although it is a great place to program, hey, captive audience and everyone is eating.  But for those students who really just want to enjoy their meal or study while eating (although this does not promote mindful eating) having a program in the dining room really is not conducive to talking, studying, enjoying a meal without all the commotion. We will no longer being doing any type of programs in the dining room during meal service times. There are a few that will happen this year as they have already been scheduled, but moving forward we will not program in the space during meal times. It was noted that 10 am student videos are still fine.


Green House, Composting – Jim gave us an overview on the use of the Green house.  Composting is going well and Jim has been able to take a hands off approach over the summer, which was the intent that the program would be sustainable without his contribution.  There has been a concern with the sensor on the control and that is being looked in to. It sometimes only takes a month to turn the compost around and some of the compost has been used at Big Hill Farm. Gustavus will continue to evaluate what the compost will be used for.



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