What do we want? Real food. When do we want it? Now!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Graduate student Jacob Wibe and 312 signatories agree "Western needs “Real Food Now.”

Earlier this week, Wibe started a petition to persuade Western’s Hospitality Services to offer healthier and more affordable food alternatives on campus.

The Real Food Now petition reads: “Are you sick of the fast food at [Centrespot in the University Community Centre?]

“We want a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers three to four daily alternatives for lunch and dinner. Eating on campus should be about convenience, health and affordable prices.”

So far 312 students have signed the petition, but Wibe said he is confident his goal of 5,000 online signatures will be reached.

“Look at the options " Pizza Pizza, Harvey’s and Manchu Wok. None of those are healthy,” Wibe said. “The only things I eat are wraps and sandwiches.”

Anne Zok, nutrition manager for Hospitality Services, said feedback from students is welcome, and new health food initiatives in the UCC are on the way.

“I’m very proud of our program, but there’s always room for improvement,” Zok said. She described a kiosk that will appear in Centrespot sometime in the next couple weeks.

“We hope to introduce something that will give customers a nutritional breakdown,” she said. “As you add to your plate, it will tally the calories.”

Zok also noted students can eat fast food and still choose healthy options. “Not all fast food has to be unhealthy " let’s face it, we all want our food fast.”

To enhance your eating experience on campus, Zok recommended choosing leafy greens in salads and wraps, and avoiding high-fat dressings. Zok said even pizza can be a healthy option, if students choose whole wheat crust and vegetables.

“The onus is on the customer to make choices and make recommendations,” Zok said.

“We have a number of ways to receive feedback,” Frank Miller, director of Hospitality Services, said. One way is to contact Hospitality Services directly by email at foodcomments@uwo.ca.

Zok said some nutrition-based initiatives have been unsuccessful in the past. Five years ago, the “Just Like Home” counter was put to rest since it was unpopular among students.

To sign the Real Food Now petition, visit www.realfoodnow.ca.

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