New Leaf: D-Hall incorporates organic and local options

By Lauren Belcher |
Photo by Philip C. Sunkel IV

PHOTO CAPTION: Chelsea Hubbell tries out new organic options at the Dining Hall’s vegetarian station.

The Flagler College Dining Hall has finally embraced the sustainability and organic movements.

It is now providing organic products within its already popular, vegetarian/vegan section.

According to Executive Chef Keith Atkins, the station is now 70 percent organic and those products are also locally grown in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

“Now it can to be a vegetarian station one day,” Atkins said. “It can be a vegan station. And then, in those two stations, it can be organic.”

Some of the products Atkins mentioned as organic are most of the vegetables such as: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, bok choy and bean-sprouts. Some of the fruit, he said, is also organic.

The Dining Hall is also looking into using some of the produce from the Flagler College Hunger Initiative gardens located on campus.

Atkins said he will talk with ARAMARK about the liabilities and judge whether or not this partnership is possible.

“It would be nice to say we’re doing something and it’s Flagler grown,” he said.

Organic is defined as food that is grown “without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation,” according to

Growing food this way keeps these chemicals out of the equation. These farms don’t contribute to chemical runoff or chemically-saturated soils. It’s a much healthier alternative to non-organic products, although it’s also much more expensive.

Atkins said another addition to the vegetarian/vegan station is the hummus bar on Wednesdays.

The hummus bar features three different types of hummus – black bean, roasted red pepper, basil and garlic – and pita or tortilla chips.

“It actually went very, very well,” Atkins said about hummus bar on Wednesday. “This is the third Wednesday we would have done it. It went so well the first two Wednesdays that we bought all the hummus out of the SYSCO warehouse. I ordered eight cases today and none of them came.”

He is very excited about the success of the new station and is open to more student-proposed changes.

“They’re eating us out of house and home,” he said.

Lauren Belcher is managing editor for The Gargoyle. In her column, New Leaf, she introduces environmental issues and offers ways to fight environmental destruction. She is a Communication major and Environmental Science minor at Flagler College.

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