New vending machines bring fresh food to campus

  Photo by Abby Robb   An EC student makes a purchase from the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine in the Frick Center.

Photo by Abby Robb

An EC student makes a purchase from the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine in the Frick Center.

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

New vending machines have been placed around campus that offer students healthier snacking options.

Farmer’s Fridge vending machines have been recently installed at Elmhurst College with three campus locations: Faganel Hall, Frick Center, and the A.C. Buehler Library Cafe.

Director of Dining Services Kelly Schmelter feels these new vending options give an answer to the difficult to solve problem of healthy after hours meal and snacking options.

“We struggle I think a lot with the after hours options for the students and this was a great option for them, so that’s kind of how the idea to bring Farmer’s Fridge to campus came about,” said Schmelter

Through a partnership with the company, EC received the three vending machines free of charge. A percentage of the vending machine profits go to the college while Farmer’s Fridge receives the rest of the revenue. Schmelter declined to comment on the percentage EC takes.

According to the Farmer’s Fridge website, the Chicago based company has a mission to provide people with easy access to healthy food through their fresh salad jars and snacks vending machines.

Each vending machine provides an assortment of fresh salads and healthy snacks made daily in Chicago’s Fulton Market district with local produce.

The vending machines are restocked with fresh goods at 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. All foods that are leftover by the end of the day are removed and donated to a local pantry of the company’s choice as stated on its website.

With its mission of sustainability, the new vending machines have sparked a lot of interest.

“I’m  especially excited because they have a special compartment in the machine where you can put your empty jars in after you used them and I believe the company reuses or recycles these jars. I think it goes very well with our sustainable efforts on campus,” said Lisa Dubin who is student leader for Food Recovery Network, the organization on campus that leads sustainable efforts. 

The Fridges have particularly been popular with student athletes at EC, who usually look for healthy options. 

First year student and member of the EC Men’s Lacrosse team Ryan Moran agreed.

“I know a lot of guys on the team really like them. It provides healthier options than a cookie or a muffin and its good stuff.” said Moran.

“There was a soccer team that came in from out of state and they were taking pictures with the vending machines because they never seen it before and thought it was a unique idea,” said Schmelter. 

With the concept relatively new, EC is working to increase the number of users.

“We are working with the Farmer’s Fridge company to format their machine, which now only takes credit card, to also accept J-Pass,” said Schmelter. “Eventually students would be able to use their credit card or their J-Pass, which we hope will be a big draw.”

Schmelter agreed food options from the Fridge, a salad costing $8, may be a little pricey, but said you’re getting your money’s worth because it’s a good meal.

“I’m all about healthy and trying to get the kids healthy and sustainable food, which is really important to me. I wouldn’t promote this if I didn’t stand behind it,” said Schmelter.