As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, a reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Are there any vegetarian groups here?”
While there aren’t any vegetarian-specific groups on campus, one vegan group is taking their first steps this fall.
Senior anthropology major Flora Bescansa Luers began Food for Thought, a recognized student organization, this semester with vegan-based meal classes and student involvement in organic farming.
To combat the difficulty of being vegan, Bescansa Luers said she wanted to provide an opportunity for more students to engage in a vegan lifestyle with guest speakers, volunteer possibilities and cooking classes.
“I’ve tried to stay as strict to veganism as possible, but sometimes it isn’t the most accessible or realistic, especially in the Midwest,” Bescansa Luers said.
Prior to becoming an RSO, Bescansa Luers said Food for Thought began as a way to connect students with the organic farms on campus.
“I started it as just an initiative trying to set up a farmer’s market in collaboration with student organic farms, and then to get more people involved with organic farming and also learning about nutrition and trying to fight food insecurity through that avenue,” Bescansa Luers said.
After the organic farming season ends, Bescansa Luers said the Food for Thought group will be gathering leftover produce and distributing it to the Husker Pantry and other programs at UNL. This produce will also be used for their cooking classes that will be kicking off within the next month.
“It’s just something to show people how you can easily and affordably implement plant-based meals,” Bescansa Luers said.
Bescansa Luers said the group meets the first Monday of every month and plans on the cooking classes to be held on select Wednesdays. The first class will take place on Nov. 3, and they will be making kale-lentil soup.
Students who are seeking vegetarian advice regarding meal planning can also contact the Campus Recreation Center Wellness Kitchen.
Marissa Pakiz, wellness and nutrition education coordinator and registered dietitian at the recreation center, said that nutrition consultations are available by appointment.
“If we have a vegetarian student who is looking to speak with a registered dietitian, just to make sure that they’re getting all their nutrients in and are following a balanced diet, then they can come in and speak with a dietitian,” Pakiz said.
Student groups and organizations can also request private cooking classes through Campus Recreation that are focused on plant-based options.
In addition to classes and nutrition consultations, the Wellness Kitchen also provides Meal Kit Mondays. These four-serving meal kits include a recipe card and pre-portioned ingredients for $15 per meal. Pakiz said that three options are available on certain Mondays, and one meal is always a vegetarian or vegan option. These meal kits must be pre-ordered.
Students can also create their own RSO to cater their group towards their specific vegetarian and vegan needs by following the steps given by student affairs.