Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Finding food security on campus

    Nyla Owens
    A pan of precooked pulled pork sits on a low simmer to slowly reheat the pork to load the potatoes. The Edible Campus Meal Prep program allows students to develop useful life skills. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

    One challenge new college students face is how to keep themselves fed. Whether it means setting up a meal plan through school, learning the best take out options or discovering to budget groceries, we all learn something new in our first year away from home. 

    That’s why NIU’s Edible Campus Meal Prep program can be an important part of many students’ learning process. The program gives students space to learn recipes and techniques from Chef Bryan Flower as they prepare five meals for the week.

    Participation is no cost for NIU students and gives everyone the resources to better look out for themselves with the knowledge they earn through advice from Chef Flower.

    In order to make that transition to adulthood a little more manageable, more schools should follow in NIU’s footsteps to make healthier, more prepared students for the future. 

    Edible Campus makes sure to advertise their sessions, along with the ingredients being used, as free. The Monday sessions allow access to kitchen space and equipment, providing equity to those without a cooking space and access to quality food.

    Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as having limited or uncertain access to adequate food to meet one’s basic needs. It is a crisis among college attendees, but this struggle often goes unrecognized.

    Researchers at Temple University found that 1 in 4 undergraduate students in the U.S. do not know where their next meal will come from, and undergrads experience food insecurity at two times the rate of all U.S. households.

    This lack of quality food can affect the performance and health of students, as exhaustion from lack of important nutrients lower attendance and completion rates as students struggle to keep up with all that is lacking from their diet. The stress faced by food insecure students can even lead to a lower GPA, according to Health Affairs.

    Learning to cook healthy dishes for yourself establishes skills for the future without the structure of school and solidifies the importance of eating healthy.

    That’s why programs like Edible Campus are essential in upholding the health and wellbeing of students. Having options outside of dining halls offers students a chance to reach their full potential while attending their college or university. 

    More to Discover