January 2016 Kitchen Cabinet Meeting Minutes

Posted on January 11th, 2016 by

Kitchen Cabinet
January 11, 2016

Margo Druschel, Erin Kuiper, Brady Kelley, Jessica Braun, Gwen Saliares,Cameron Reischauer, George Elliott , Chuck Niederriter, Mark Hanson , Steve Kjellgren, Audi Dickey,
Molly Yunkers, Charlie Keller, Abby Nistler, Hayley Nemmers, Jeri Miller, Amos Johnson, James Dontje,

Fair Trade
The Fair Trade designation was discussed. Student Senate and the Cabinet signed off and we are now a Fair Trade Campus. It was noted that there was meaningful discussion about being a Fair Trade campus which included President Bergman. Fair Trade fits with the values we have on campus and going forward the campus community as a whole will look at ways to integrate Fair Trade items. The next step may be looking at procurement of products on campus; certainly Dining Service has done so much already. Margo also wanted to note having the declaration and being a Fair Trade college is a significant accomplishment. Steve brought forward the question: What are the obvious opportunities on campus? Molly noted the BookMark is working to get products back. Alta Gracia hit a rough patch and Molly hopes to be working with them again to get fair trade t-shirts back in to the BookMark. There will be a t-shirt coming from Alta Gracia at the end of the month. Molly has set an initial goal that 10% of clothing will be Fair Trade. The challenge is finding a vendor that is up and running and can handle some volume of orders. Molly has also connected with Goodtime in Mankato and they may be a good resource for us. Molly plans to have a t-shirt contest where students can pick the shirt that is ordered and in the future having a contest where students can actually design the shirt.
Grady and Margo have been talking about t-shirts across campus and possibly a partnership with Goodtime in Mankato. It was noted that there are challenges in finding affordable clothing that is Fair Trade or responsibly sourced and in the quantity that is needed. Molly also noted variety is an issue as well.
In regards to procurement there is a whole next step area linking Fair Trade with sustainability and the environment. And the Fair Trade Association can be helpful in connecting us with Fair Trade sources. Transparency from vendors is also helpful in making decisions. Molly noted you can visit websites to obtain more information and you really have to explore the site, which can be time consuming, and you still may not get the answers you are seeking. The question was raised, “What type of resources do we need on campus to make a decision”. At present Molly has laid a foundation so it may be helpful initially to connect with Molly.
Margo noted that a Representative from One.org (a development organization that works in South Africa) will be coming to the Mankato area to speak at St. John’s Episcopal Church on January 31, 2016, which is the beginning of touring week on campus so there would not be any possibility of having the person on campus.
What can students do to support Fair Trade? Hayley noted you can still join the campus organization. And you can support Fair Trade on campus by participating in the campus events, bringing it up in the classroom and just by being aware of it.
The question also came up that outside of purchasing Fair Trade items what else can we do as a campus. Suggestions such as looking at the condition or environment the workers are in, researching a company’s social responsibility states or environmental statement and if it can’t meet Fair Trade standards does it meet some other standard that fits our core values or beliefs. The National fair trade organization can be helpful as there has been a lot of work done around procurement.

Campus Kitchen
Lisa sent an email to the Campus Kitchens at MSU-Mankato to further explore if we can partner with them somehow so our leftover food does not go to dirt. We are lucky that we can compost but if we have edible food we would like to see it used in a different manner. It sounds as if there are drivers willing to drive the food over to Mankato if that is an option.

Kitchen Cabinet Table Topics
This week’s topic in the Dining Room will be ingredient awareness. There will be 4 or 5 ingredient lists available and participants can guess the menu item they are combined to make. This event will highlight the Nutrition Labeling program that is available on the web.
Other topic suggestions that would be fun and engaging:
Meal Plan Money/Myth Busters – Breakdown of where the money goes and be able to ask any questions about Dining Service, Meal Plans, Food Procurement and Preparation.
Plate waste – Opening up the discussion on plate waste. We do have a lot less than most colleges.
Portions – Perhaps partnering with Health Service on portions. Or what are “normal portions”?
Sustainability Fair/Local vendors we source from. Earth Week is in April. BookMark can be added to this as well.

Coke grants
Heather will pull together the Coke Grant Committee and look long and hard at how we are doing the process. Just to make sure we are on the right track. Steve noted it is a lot of work and is questioning if there is a better way to do this that makes it more efficient.


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