Sustainability

Terra Café serves local organic food for cheap

It’s late Wednesday morning. The savory smells of local and organic food are wafting out from the 5th floor of the Experimental Music and Performing Arts Center. Student volunteers are busy setting tables, filling pitchers with water, and arranging the kitchen in preparation for plating meals. Customers are about to start flooding in, and they will enjoy a delicious meal for a very affordable price. This is just a typical Wednesday at Terra Café.

Terra Café is a student volunteer-run restaurant that is committed to bringing local and organic food to the RPI campus. It works with Sodexo, the main food provider for campus, to plan menus and find locally sourced ingredients. It has a core set of volunteers who are dedicated to this cause and serve lunch joyously each week. Every Wednesday, two meal options are served: vegetarian and meat. The entrée is always accompanied by a side dish, a dessert, and a drink with unlimited refills. By having volunteers run the operation, Sodexo is able to serve the entire meal for the low cost of $7. This helps the cafe’s customers and other students/faculty members view local and organic food as a viable food option.

Additionally, each week the servers share a fact with the customers that has something to do with the meal or local and organic food in general. While they enjoy eating and serving food, the club also aims to educate people about the benefits of supporting nearby farms and eating food that is free of pesticides and herbicides. It also likes to provide sourcing information for the ingredients in the meals. This ensures to the customers that Terra Café is staying true to its cause and allows them to learn more about where their food is coming from. All of the food must come from Sodexo approved sources, and most of the ingredients are sourced locally within New York State.

Terra Café also aims to educate the community through other venues and not be limited by the Wednesday lunches. Members can often be found tabling at activities fairs and other various events, advertising our weekly lunches but also raising awareness for local food options in the area. Whenever they table, they serve food that was recently purchased at the Troy Farmers Market. This market is just downtown every single Saturday and has a wide variety of delicious food. By giving out free samples, people can get a taste for what the Farmers Market has to offer and learn about where it is and when it’s open.

Overall, Terra Café is a great place to enjoy lunch on a Wednesday, but it is also a dedicated club of people who love great, sustainable food. If you are looking to join a new club, it is always looking for more volunteers! Helping out at a Wednesday lunch for just an hour will earn you a tasty free meal! If you have any questions about Terra Café or local and organic food in general, don’t hesitate to e-mail tcpresident@union.rpi.edu. Here are the details for the Wednesday lunches: 5000 Level of EMPAC from 11 am–2 pm. The meal is $7 and Terra Café accepts cash, RAD, flex dollars, and credit cards. Venture out and eat something incredible, in more ways than one!

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