At Spring Plenary in 2016, “The Good Food Resolution” was passed. In it was a commitment by the Food Systems Working Group (a joint student and administration team) to make at least 20% of Haverford’s Dining Center (DC) food ecologically sustainable by 2020.
This year, the Food Systems Working Group is tackling ice cream. Haverford currently has Jack and Jill Ice Cream provide the scoopable and novelty variety ice creams in the DC, but this soon may change. On November 15, the Food Systems Working Group hosted an ice cream tasting event for students to taste organic and sustainable scoopable ice cream from local PA company Urban Churn. The choices were chocolate, vanilla, lavender lemon and honey, and dairy free mint chip. After tasting, students voted on whether to make the switch to Urban Churn or to stick with Jack and Jill.
General Manager of Dining Services Joe Binotto detailed the pros of switching to Urban Churn, saying, “There’s a lot of positives to the Urban Churn [ice cream]. It’s locally sourced cows, locally produced, so the commercial perspective is greatly reduced. There’s no chemicals in it, so that’s healthy for you. Most of the ingredients are organic, which is very popular. It’s got a flavor profile unlike any type of commercial ice cream, so it’s really an upgrade. I think it’s a win-win from that perspective. I also think it’s a win because to do this we have to make some changes to the other ice cream products that we’re selling. Right now we have this limitless number of novelties; if we make this change, that will go away … they’re really not good for the environment.”
Binotto also commented on the financial implications of this change. He stated, “It is a more costly product, but we believe that if we modify some of the other products we’re servicing now like the individually wrapped ice cream — if we remove that — the savings from that will go towards providing much better ice cream. Maybe we don’t serve [the new ice cream] all day long, but maybe it becomes a true treat and it’s only at dinner.”
Mercedes Davis ‘20 “really like[s]” the Urban Churn ice cream and believes it is “very good and very rich.” Davis is in favor of making the switch to Urban Churn, remarking, “I think it’s a very good decision, especially from the sheets they’re handing out about the amount of waste they’ll not make.”
Mathilde Denegre ‘21 shared her opinions on the tasting event. Denegre said, “I tried all the flavors but vanilla. I thought they were all really good especially the lavender and I’m excited to see the school embrace more local and organic food choices.” Denegre also supports the switch for non-environmental benefits, explaining, “It’s good for the local economy and it gives dairy-free and vegan students more dessert options.”
Student Co-Head of the Food Systems Working Group Amelia Keyser-Gibson ‘18 told The Clerk about the significance of and process behind choosing Urban Churn. Keyser-Gibson stated, “The idea with this ice cream is it’s a full product change that will count towards our 20%. We identified a couple of vendors that make ice cream in the area and then we taste-tested some of them. We figured this one was the best because they can fulfill our yield and they were very agreeable to specializing it towards what students wanted.”
Lieve de Bree ‘21 does not support the switch to Urban Churn. De Bree said, “[The Urban Churn ice cream] was delicious. I wasn’t a big fan of the vegan option — it just wasn’t that tasty. The chocolate and vanilla, I must admit, were great, but I don’t know if I’d be willing to sacrifice the ice cream that we have now for it. There’s a lot of choice — I can get whatever I want and whenever I want it. I like the freedom to be able to choose and I also like being able to grab a packet and walk out of the DC.”
The results from the student voting are anticipated to be released soon. If most of the student body is in favor of the switch, it will happen.