Krishna lunch arrives at SFC

Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:52 p.m.

With textbooks stacked in their folded arms, Santa Fe College students lined up outside the bookstore Wednesday - a telltale sign that a new semester was under way.

A short walk away from this group, another line formed. But these students were about to spend a lot less money.

They were there to plop down $4 for a lunch of spaghetti, vegetarian meatballs, salad, sesame snacks and tea.

Already a tradition at the University of Florida for nearly four decades, the Krishna lunch has arrived at Santa Fe this semester. It already appears to have the potential to become an institution on this campus, as well.

After all, college kids gravitate to cheap meals like moths to a flame.

"I think it's really convenient," said Alice Rix, 16, a Buchholz High student who is dual enrolled at Santa Fe. "It's hard to find vegetarian meals, especially on campus. And it's affordable, too.

"I was so excited when I found out they had Krishna lunch. I was like, 'Yes! I'll go right after class,' " he said.

Cooked at the Krishna temple in Alachua and served by a small cluster of volunteers stationed behind cafeteria tables, the Krishna lunch at Santa Fe College is nowhere near the scale of the operation at UF, which has been serving since 1971.

Keeping with Krishna beliefs, all dishes are vegetarian. Some of the greens are grown at the temple property in Alachua. The plates and spoons are all biodegradable and designed to break down in a year's time.

While one portion is sizable, the meals are all you can eat.

A member of the Alachua temple named Akuti - after the Sanskrit word for intention or eagerness - organized the lunch at Santa Fe. Akuti said she tried for 15 years to get a Krishna lunch started at this campus but could not because a vendor's contract at the school's cafeteria prohibited it.

Santa Fe spokesman Larry Keen said that, in the past, a cafeteria contract did keep other food vendors off campus. He said that's no longer the case now that Santa Fe has a food court, and that opened the way for the Krishna lunch.

"They're here and they're welcome," said Keen, who hit a Krishna lunch or two himself as a UF student in the 1970s.

The Krishna lunch at Santa Fe is served 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays near the campus bookstore and the S Building.

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