The “Live Clean, Eat Dirty” campaign at Deerfield Academy has undoubtedly achieved critical success: the health benefits associated with fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats have been widely disseminated around the school, and these salubrious options are now readily available in the Dining Hall.
The Greer Store and Koch Café, however, don’t stress the endeavor towards healthy eating as well as the Dining Hall does. The inclusion of healthy snacks—like the cowboy nuts, granola bars, as well as the online table of nutrients and calories associated with each food option—have been tremendous steps in the right direction—but more can be done, very easily. The most notable difference, in my opinion, between the Dining Hall efforts towards healthy eating, and those of the Koch or Greer, is the lack of availability of fresh—and free—fruit in the Greer Store and Koch Café.
The fact of the matter is, students are confronted with a choice at the Greer and Koch, more so than they are at the Dining Hall. And I don’t condemn choice: I think it is as perfectly acceptable to purchase a buffalo panini or a grilled CC, as it is a parfait, or some fruit salad. But if fruit—like apples, bananas, and oranges—were displayed as a free option, some students might reconsider eating a cinnamon bun before lunch and instead just pick up an apple before class.
The chief concern for money-making enterprises like the Koch or Greer would be a reduction in generated revenue because of the free fruit option. However, I think this fear can be easily assuaged in three ways: primarily there can be a limit on the amount of fruit a student takes, with something like a “Take one, please” sign. Next, the type of fruit displayed for free can be contingent on the seasonal prices of the fruit; apples could be displayed in the fall, when they are in season and presumably cheaper, while pears and oranges could be offered in the winter. Finally, this notion of free fruit could run on a trial basis, say, for one month: if too much revenue is lost, fruit could once again be priced at 70 cents.
But this proposal goes beyond the revenue question of the Greer and Koch: If we want to truly promote healthy eating at Deerfield, couldn’t this prove to be a simple, but effective change? And if the fruit in the Dining Hall and Koch and Greer comes from the same shipment, why does the price differ by $.70?