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The grub is greener on the other side

Pangea's Kitchen, University of Winnipeg.
Photo Credit: Courtney Schwegel, The Uniter

The construction on Langside Street at Portage Avenue isn't the only things that's up and coming at the University of Winnipeg.

With the opening of the new student residence, McFeetors Hall in August 2009, came a new meal plan. Diversity Food Services is a joint venture between the University of Winnipeg's Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) & SEED Winnipeg, designed to feed 176 students who live in residence. The plan also must cater to the nearly 9,200 students at the university.

Students have the option of choosing a light or regular meal plan (14 meals or 16 meals a week). They are then given a meal card with a declining balance, which they can swipe at point of purchase. At the end of the term the credit disappears, instead of carrying on into the next.

Diversity Food Services offers students, staff, and community members three options:

  • Café Bodhi – located in Lockhart Hall serves beverages and snacks like cappuccinos, espressos, muffins, and granola. “Things you can purchase quick and move on to your class rapidly,” said Lydia Warkentin, Manager of Campus Living (Food Services) at the University of Winnipeg.

  • The MALECÓN – on the 4th floor Centennial Hall is a place to find a warm meal, as well as multi-ethnic options like rice bowl, noodle bowl, and wraps.

  • Pangea’s Kitchen – grill in Riddell Hall serves breakfast, lunch and supper, with a rotating menu. There is always a vegan and vegetarian option. Other fare include bison burgers, quesadillas, and hand cut fries.

All locations have drinks, salads, wraps, desserts, and fruit cups.

The university hired Ben Kramer from Dandelion Eatery and Café in Osborne Village to be head chef. Kramer tries to use as many local and organic sources as he can although he is still open to suggestions from students. When Asian students came to him and said they would like white rice instead of brown rice he made the change.

“We still want it to be healthy but we’ll also try and meet needs,” said Cindy Coker, Executive Director of SEED Winnipeg.

“I’d say it’s definitely been a mixed review but I’d say it’s weighted more positive than negative," says Warkentin. "We’re working very hard on educating [students] and making this part of their growing experience, and I think it’s been very positive."

“The biggest indicator [of success] for us is that the sales are at least 25 per cent -30 per cent above projections,” says Coker. "A much larger group of folks are using the food service than were last year.”

“I like the idea that is fair trade and organic," says 18-year-old Lance Walters-Unrau a Theatre & Film major at the University of Winnipeg from Boissevain who lives in McFeetors Hall. "Although I think a lot of those issues are "green washed" and simply another method of advertising, it shows that the university is at least trying to care about the world in an environmental and social way, or at least look like they are."

I had potato salad and a vegan brownie from Pangea’s Kitchen that were delicious. I'd say the food is a vast improvement from regular cafeteria fare.

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Robin Dudgeon of Red River College

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:43

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