The first-of-its-kind initiative is a groundbreaking way to combat on-campus food insecurity
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Since April 17, the Aggie Compass Basic Need Center’s new AggieEats food truck has been on campus serving lunch five days a week. The pay-as-you-can program is designed to “increase student access to delicious, nutritious, healthy food and other basic needs resources,” according to its website.
In 2020, the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey found that 42% of UC Davis students have experienced times of low to very low food security. AggieEats was created to address this issue by providing food to students who might be unable to afford it at any given time — or who simply find themselves stuck on campus and hungry.
To some, this might sound too good to be true, but it’s not! Access to fresh, yummy food at prices that are manageable is definitely not the norm, but it should be. The Editorial Board commends this novel initiative and encourages you to take advantage of and raise awareness about it so that other schools and communities might adopt similar programs.
Even if you don’t feel that you “need” to use the truck — maybe you have AggieCash set to expire in June or the walk from SciLec to the CoHo between classes seems manageable — it’s a resource that Aggie Compass has created for all students, and you should use it. How much you choose to pay for your meal is anonymous, and purchasing a low-cost or free meal from AggieEats both normalizes using the program and shows UC Davis that it is well-received and in demand.
If you aren’t on campus at lunchtime or prefer to bring lunch from home but feel that you could benefit from food security support in another way, there are other resources on campus that are available to students. The Pantry, an ASUCD unit, provides free produce, shelf-stable food goods and more, and is open in the MU and online seven days a week. They also host a Mobile Pantry by the Silo every Tuesday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. “Fruit and Veggie Up!” offers free produce from the Student Farm on Mondays from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. on the Quad.
“Freedges” located around campus — both at the Silo and MU — as well as in downtown Davis are also available for anyone to donate food to or take food from as needed. The Freedge program is funded by The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) and is yet another reason to vote on the TGIF Fee Referendum measure on the ASUCD spring election ballot. Voting closes on Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m., and TGIF not only needs to get a majority of votes in favor of renewal, but also hit 20% voter turnout to pass. Voting for TGIF’s fee referendum is a free and easy way to help ensure the Freedge program and others like it are able to continue at UC Davis.
Beyond voting, utilizing the resources listed above and spreading the word about their availability, you can also help support campus food security in other ways. If you want to volunteer your time, the Pantry and the Student Farm are both run almost entirely by students. Or, if you do find yourself in a position to pay for a lunch on campus, do so at the AggieEats truck! It will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at various campus locations, listed here. Having a filling, nutritious meal during the day is something we should all have access to, and the AggieEats truck is making it possible for 500 more students on our campus every weekday.
Written by: The Editorial Board