The Locavore Vegetarian Hoax

25 Oct

Everyone who was on the Smith College campus last week saw chalking, posters, Facebook groups and twitter feeds about Smith’s decision to go Locavore-Vegetartian. However the Smith College Board of Trustees never made such a decision, the whole thing was a prank organized by the introductory logic class at Smith. Food at Smith was already a hot topic and the logic experiment fit into the pre-existing conversation about food. Even though the decision to make Smith Locavore-Vegetarian was a hoax, the prank raised some profound questions such as “How much food does Smith buy local?” and “How much would you be willing to give up to be green?”

When I was  listening in on conversations students were having around campus a phrase constantly came up as a reason to not go Locavore, “I can’t function without coffee”. Smith students seemed to think that by going local, many of the foods and beverages they love would disappear. It seems that students were not willing to give up non-local foods to improve Smith’s environmental impact. But Smith has made choices to buy more locally produced food to serve in the dining hall in fact we are 35% local. Smith already purchases coffee from a local coffee roaster in Florence, MA, apples from Outlook Farm in Westhampton, MA, Dairy from a family owned business in New Britain, CT, and purchases in season vegetables from farms whenever possible. Some students supported the proposition that the college should go locavore but many were infuriated by the idea. The difference in opinion among students made me think about how much students would be willing to give up for the environment even those who agreed with Green practices(such as recycling and resource conservation). More students  angrily rejected the idea of going vegetarian.

One thing the logic experiment accomplished was to raise awareness about local and sustainable food, not just on Smith campus but off campus as well. One student’s twitter feed attracted the attention of a vegetarian magazine and an article about the Logic experiment was published in the Boston Globe. I would encourage students not to be angry about the fake proposition, but to think about the issues it brought up about bettering the environment through conscious decisions about food.

Nicole Downer 2014 CEEDS intern

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