Listen to a conversation between a student and the director of the student cafeteria.
Hi, I...I'm sorry to interrupt. Could I ask you a few questions?
[abruptly]Sure, but if it's about your meal plan, you'll need to go to room 45, just down the hall...
Uh, no. I'm OK with my meal plan. I'm actually here about the food in the student cafeteria.
Oh, uh, we do feed a lot of students, so we can't always honor individual requests. I'm sure you understand...
Of course, it's just that I'm a little concerned- I mean, a lot of us are-that a lot of the food you serve isn't really that healthy. Like, there's so many deep-fried foods.
As a matter of fact, we recently changed the type of oil we use in our fryer; it's the healthiest available.
[incredulous] And would you believe that at least 10 students have already complained that their French fries and fried chicken don't taste as good since we switched?!
Well, I try not to eat too many fried foods, anyway.
I'm just aware that... um, you see, I used to work in a natural food store, and they had all this literature advising people to eat fresh, organically grown food.
Working there really opened my eyes.
Did you come to the Organic Food Festival we had last year to celebrate Earth Day?
No, sorry, I must've missed that.
We served only certified organic food, most of which was from local farms.
It's not something we can afford to do on a daily basis, and there aren't too many organic farms around here.
But sometimes the produce we offer is organically grown; it depends on the season and the prices, of course.
That's good to know. I like the fact that organic farms don't use chemical pesticides, or anything that can pollute the soil or the water.
I do, too, but let me ask you this: is it better for the environment to buy locally grown produce that's not certified as organic, or is it better to get organically grown fruits and vegetables that must be trucked in from California- 3,000 miles away?
What about the fossil fuels burned by the truck's engine, plus the expense of shipping food across long distances?
And, nutritionally speaking, an apple's an apple, however it's grown.
I see your point. It's not so clear cut.
Why don't you visit our cafeteria's Web site?
We list all our food suppliers, you know, where we buy the food that we serve.
And the site also suggests ways to make your overall diet a healthy one.
You can also find some charts listing fat and calorie content for different types of seafood, meats, and the other major food groups.
I didn't realize you thought about these things so carefully.
I just noticed all the high-calorie food in the cafeteria.
Well, we have to give choices so everyone's satisfied.
But if you wish to pursue this further, I suggest that you talk to my boss.
That's OK. Seems like you're doing what you can.