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Slow Food URI brings local, healthy fare to campus

By Audrey O'Neil
On April 11, 2012


In an effort to better their eating habits, students on campus are beginning to turn to organic foods. One student organization at the University of Rhode Island is finding ways to enjoy foods in their natural forms.

Founded three years ago, the organization Slow Food URI focuses on the principles of good, clean and fair food. Slow Food URI supports food that is healthy, nutritious and good for people. They ensure the food is produced by environmentally sound practices, and that those who produce the food are treated fairly. 

Nutrition and dietetics major, Alyssa Neill, has been the president of Slow Food URI for two years and hopes to increase mindful-social eating throughout the URI community.

"Slow Food URI works to restore the pleasure of eating while bringing a sense of awareness back to what food is, food is whole and is not processed," Neill said. "Food is the corn on the cob, not the maltodextrin derived from corn in a processed power bar and it's vital to know the integrity of our food, and to know that eating should be just as pleasurable as it is medicinal."

The organization is working hard to bring local food to the URI campus and is sponsoring the Local Food Market on the Quadrangle today and every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from now until May 9. The Local Food Market consists of popular vendors throughout Rhode Island, including  a Tallulah's Taco cart that uses only locally-sourced produce and meat.  Another vendor, chef Jake Rojas, was nominated for best chef of 2012 by Food and Wine magazine for his Newport restaurant. Other vendors included at the event are the Coffee Guy, who makes cold pressed coffee and Bravo Wood Fired Pizza with locally sourced toppings. Another vendor, Great Harvest Bread Co. is also organic and grinds all of their own grains to bake fresh bread and muffins daily.

Slow food URI will host another Local Food Market in the fall, which will be held on Tuesdays.

The next goal for the organization is to expand the Local Food Market and have more local food available throughout the dining halls.

 "Dining is an amazing operation because they buy only the best products, listen to the students' ideas and work hard to run very successful dining halls. However as we learn about how food impacts our bodies as well as our communities, it is essential that we focus on food with integrity," Neill said. "Life is fast, eating slow might just save us."

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