Fordham Shuts Down 3L’s Farm Program, Makes ‘Catch-22’ Demand for Catering Permit
Posted Sep 19, 2011 6:56 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Fordham University has shut down a third-year law student’s farm-share program that benefited a local soup kitchen as well as students and faculty hungering for fresh produce.
The university claimed the Farm to Fordham program needed a catering permit, the New York Times reports. Buyers had paid about $150 a semester for a share of a farm's harvest. Unclaimed produce had gone to a soup kitchen operated by the Church of St. Paul the Apostle.
Farm to Fordham’s founder, 3L Michael Zimmerman, had tried to obtain the catering permit, but the state and local governments refused to grant it because they don’t issue or require permits for agricultural sharing programs, the story says. Bob Howe, Fordham’s director of communications, acknowledged in an interview with the Times that the permit demand was “a Catch-22.”
Howe cited other concerns, but Zimmerman discounted them. Howe claimed there was a possibility of infestation, but the deliveries took place outside. Howe cited the university’s food service contracts, but the program does not appear to compete with services provided by the university’s catering service. Howe cited possible interference with construction near the delivery site, but the path to the patio where produce is picked up “remains largely unimpeded,” the story says.
The law school had supported the program before the university banned it. Even the law school dean, Michael Martin, had enrolled as a member.