The Tree House, a Small Living Unit, fed students homemade vegetarian and vegan food at their veggie meal night last Thursday.
The meal was free and open to the campus and was held at the Tree House. Sophomore Alex Kerensky, the house moderator, and sophomore Michael Cormier organized the meal as one of the many programs put on by the house each semester.
The veggie meal night is a regular Tree House program.
“I don’t know how long it’s been going on, actually,” Kerensky said. “It’s happened as long as I’ve been at Ohio Wesleyan.”
Veggie meal nights bring people to Tree House and show them what the community in the house is like, but the primary goal is to show people that vegetarian and vegan food is accessible and can taste good.
“It’s important to tell the community about the benefits of vegetarianism,” Kerensky said. “We want to show that you can make delicious food out of locally-grown ingredients.”
The meal began with kale and sweet potato soup with lemon and cumin, followed by pizza with spinach and basil pesto, tomato, eggplant, and mozzarella and gruyère cheeses. The food was purchased from a community market, and past meals have been bought at the farmers market on Sandusky Street.
“It’s actually more affordable than people think,” Kerensky said. “We spent about $100 this time, and we usually feed between 50 and 80 people over the course of a night.”
Bringing people together and cultivating a sense of community is one of Cormier’s favorite parts of veggie
“It’s really nice to prepare food with the house and invite others to share it with us,” Cormier said. “It’s a Tree House tradition that really builds community.”
Sophomore Melodie Beeman-Black was one of the many students to enjoy Tree House’s vegetarian and vegan offerings.
“I’ve always really enjoyed these meals because they use organic ingredients, and it’s nice to hang out with people and have a good, healthy meal,” Beeman-Black said. “I’m a vegan and there aren’t many options here on campus for me.”
Promoting healthy, accessible food options to students is important to Kerensky, who would like to start a blog about making healthy meals out of food that can be purchased at the Thomson corner store.
Cormier shares his passion for accessible, healthy meals, and looks to community sources like the community market for organic options.
“Realistically, it seems strange to buy processed food from hundreds of miles away if you have local, organic food right where you live,” Cormier said. “It’s important to show people how easy it can be to make this food with ingredients bought right here.”
The meals are planned sporadically throughout the semester, and although they don’t have a date planned for the next one, Cormier has already begun planning the menu.
“I’m thinking about doing Mexican, there are so many good flavors,” Cormier said.