For Williams students on a reduced meal plan, one of the hardest things about buying groceries is getting to the store. Landon Marchant ‘20 this as saw an opportunity to fight food insecurity on campus during their spring semester internship with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. One of the results of their efforts is a new grocery delivery service with Wild Oats that students have been using throughout the summer.
Landon brainstormed with both Zilkha Center Director Amy Johns and Eleanor Lustig ‘18 to think of ways to make food shopping easier, including twice-weekly shuttle services to Stop & Shop and a farm share. Then Johns introduced the pair to David Durfee, the General Manager of Wild Oats. They met as a group in the Spring to hash out the details of a potential grocery delivery service. “After our initial meeting, Eleanor and I asked Wild Oats if they could deliver everything, and they heartily agreed,” they said.
Landon then worked with Maria Cruz, RD, LDN, nutritionist with Williams Health Services, and Bob Volpi, head of Dining Services, to establish a menu that would address the nutritional and dietary needs of students. Available products include pasta, canned goods, sliced ham, and even maple Skyr! Most of the items, excepting produce, granola and skyr, are offered at a reduced cost through Wild Oats’ “Coop Basics” program. Some items, including fresh produce, could not be marked down. “But their prices are still comparable to Stop and Shop prices,” said Landon.
The ordering process is simple:
- Students use the google form to select grocery items and quantities by 3pm on Tuesday
- Orders are delivered to the Envi Center Kitchen on Thursday Afternoon
- On Thursday afternoon, you will receive an email containing the total price of your order
- Pickup is between 4-6pm on Thursday, and pay for groceries with cash
Now that the service is up and running, Zilkha Center intern Jillian Jenkin ‘19 has paired up with Landon to supervise weekly orders, from the ordering stage to their delivery. Marchant and Lustig also created google docs with recipes from Caretaker farm, and a spreadsheet with links to various online recipes. Landon stressed the collaborative nature of the spreadsheet, saying, “I’m hoping that people will continue to add their recipes and link them in the google doc.”
If this service has steady participation throughout the summer, it may continue into the school year. “Now that we’ve provided this service, students are using it. That’s success in my book,” added Landon. “I hope we can continue to see great participation!”
You can access the grocery order form here. It’s open 24/7, but remember to enter your order by 3pm on Tuesday, so that your food can arrive that week. If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact Jillian ([email protected]) or Landon ([email protected]).
Sarah Ritzmann ’17 is a Sustainable Writing Intern for the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives