Tomatoes return to campus
“So now we’re back in tomato land,” said Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager of Bon Appétit.
After months without tomatoes from Dining Services, tomatoes will be sold again by the end of next week.
During the winter growing season, the only source of available tomatoes was in Florida, where many companies were not paying their tomato pickers sufficient salaries in the view of Dining Services. Therefore, Dining Services stopped purchasing tomatoes from these farms.
Now, with the change of season, tomatoes are available from California and Mexico. According to Siddiqui, Dining Services has found tomato farms in these areas that pay their tomato pickers sufficient wages and follow standards deemed appropriate.
Siddiqui was hoping that Dining Services would be able to bring tomatoes back to campus sooner, after negotiating with the companies; but he is still glad they are coming back now.
Siddiqui expects students to be very excited to be able to purchase tomatoes again. “I hope nobody has a tomato fight,” Siddiqui said.
In the past month, he said he has received more e-mails asking questions about tomatoes than any other topic since he has been at Wash. U.
Siddiqui commended students on the stand they have taken, which has made a difference not only at the University, but also nationwide.
“It’s bigger than a sandwich,” Siddiqui said. “It was a stand that this community and University took in believing in taking care of social issues, which I think is extremely important, and I think Wash. U. has influenced the national market to help promote sensible and responsible farming.”
Other universities have looked into the standards of their tomato suppliers as well, since Dining Services made this decision to stop purchasing tomatoes.
In addition, several farms have evaluated their standards for the future, according to Siddiqui. Therefore, he is hopeful that this will not be an issue again.
While missing tomatoes from their daily diets, many students still were glad that Dining Services had not been purchasing tomatoes from the farms in Florida.
“I like tomatoes, and I’m glad to hear that they found a way to supply them to the student body without being a party to human rights violations,” senior Elena Losey said.
Another student, freshman Sarah Garay, did not even miss her tomatoes because she said she understood the reasons that the University did not have them.
“Don’t get me wrong, I like tomatoes, but it just wasn’t a priority and I understand the context [of why we didn’t have them],” Garay said.
Other students mentioned that they were relieved that there is now a better selection of vegetables on campus so students have more healthy eating options to choose from.
“We should have a whole supply of vegetables,” junior Roshni Shah said. “I’m a tomato lover.”
Further, students and others on campus have been able to purchase food items with tomatoes from Subway or Aramark throughout this period of time, as those companies are not under Dining Services’ umbrella.
“If people really wanted [tomatoes], then people were going [to Subway] for them,” Garay said.