Student Dietetic Association (02/13/2012) | Spotlight

Thinking outside of the ‘nutritional’ box

Student Dietetic Association launches Farm Box Program at Cal State L.A.

Photo of Student Dietetic Association students at the 2011 International Food Day.
With a commitment to community health and nutrition, the Student Dietetic Association at CSULA celebrated International Food Day on Oct. 24, 2011.

Photo of students eating outside of the Golden Eagle food court.
For their report, public health majors conducted a survey of more than 300 CSULA students to produce a relatively accurate picture of the health status of the CSULA student body population.

Pushing for a healthier campus community, the Student Dietetic Association (SDA) recently developed the Farm Box Program, a service to help increase access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables at Cal State L.A.

According to a recent health report provided by the University’s Department of Public Health (PH), entitled “Heath and Healthcare at CSULA & Surrounding Communities,” nutrition and the related obesity epidemic are among the health challenges on campus and in the neighboring community. The Farm Box Program aims to address some of the issues presented in this research, conducted by PH students under the supervision of Department Chair Walter Zelman.

“The Farm Box Program is a subscription service offering produce pick up about twice a month and includes a newsletter with healthy recipes created by SDA members,” said nutrition major Kayla McGrill. “For the convenience of campus faculty and staff members, we can also deliver the produce to their offices.”

Packed with seasonal vegetables and fruits that are available, such as strawberries, oranges, artichokes, arugulas, and bell peppers, the farm boxes will be distributed May 15, 1-3 p.m., and June 5, 1-3 p.m., in front of the University-Student Union.

Through the Nutrition 418 course, CSULA students are also involved with composing health tips, nutrition articles and recipes for the newsletter. Most recipes will take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

Working with Equitable Roots, and in consultation with Assistant Professor Mandy Graves Hillstrom, the nutrition student team worked tirelessly to finally reach their target to launch the Farm Box Program.

Hillstrom said she is proud of the students and their commitment to this community service project. Also, she indicated that the support of Equitable Roots and the College of Health and Human Services made it possible.

“I’m excited to be bringing organic produce to CSULA,” said nutrition major Michelle Katz. “ hopefully we will be providing an opportunity for students to eat better.”

McGrill, who recently toured a local community farm with other SDA members, added that fresh produce should be more easily accessible, especially to those on campus.

“Studies state that those who eat healthier do better overall in school, as well as improve in their concentration in class,” said McGrill. “We, the Student Dietetic Association, want to encourage everyone to eat healthy and subscribe to the Farm Box Program.”

The “Health and Healthcare at CSULA & Surrounding Communities” report will soon be available for reference in CSULA’s Department of Public Health, which is located in Simpson Tower, room 302.

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