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Potato gets bigger share

by Archives April 4, 2001
Now in its second year of existence, The People’s Potato is growing – in more ways than one.
Concordia’s recent referendum granted the organization more money and more space for next year. By September, students will pay 25 cents per credit to finance the project, which will also acquire additional space on the seventh floor of the Hall Building. This is good news for the students and faculty who benefit
from the service, which provides vegan lunches for a small donation.
The new fee, which is 20 cents higher than the current one, will allow the organization more autonomy than it has had in the past. Until now, The People’s Potato has gotten the bulk of its funding from the university.
“This fee allows us to operate completely independently,” said Project Co-ordinator Zev Tiefenbach. Thanks to the increase, “we know that our funding base is completely solidified.”
The People’s Potato currently serves about 400 people a day, filling the basement of Reggie’s to capacity. Tiefenbach said the demand is much greater, and more space and resources would allow the project to accommodate up to 650
people. The organization’s request for additional space would therefore
facilitate cooking, food preparation, storage and serving for a larger portion of the Concordia community.
Finding available space on the seventh floor was a necessity because “the transportation of large, heavy containers of food down elevators and stairs from the seventh floor kitchen to the serving area … is less than ideal,” said
Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Rector, Services.
Concordia’s Auxiliary Services and Facilities Operations are expected to work on the expansion over the summer to ensure that the new space will be ready by September.
Di Grappa said the referendum vote would not affect negotiations between The People’s Potato and the university, since Concordia had already agreed to the request for more space prior to the vote.
The support of the Concordia community has been exceptional, Tiefenbach said.
“People have been tremendously supportive. The administration and the student union have been behind us 100 per cent.”
The next step in the project’s expansion is to purchase more equipment and take advantage of the new space. Down the road, Tiefenbach said, a breakfast shift may be added to the service.
Concordia students make up at least 85 per cent of the customer base, Tiefenbach said, but the organization has no way of monitoring who is eating there.
However, The People’s Potato “is centred on the Concordia community,” he said.
“Our demand exceeds our supply, and we don’t really have the ability to expand beyond Concordia.”
The organization’s expansion will ensure that the much-needed service will continue to be available to those who need it.
“I want to congratulate The People’s Potato for their wonderful initiative and I am pleased that we have been able to contribute, in small part, to its success and will continue to contribute in the future,” Di Grappa said.

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