Posts Tagged ‘Aladdin Food Management Services’

KTVO’s Kate Allt: From the earth to your plate; one university’s lesson in sustainable agriculture

May 25, 2012

From the earth to your plate; one university’s lesson in sustainable agriculture

By Kate Allt

Friday, May 25, 2012

Greenhouses at Maharishi University KTVO’s Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — The cafeteria at Maharishi University is like no other dining hall on any campus in the country. Every meal is vegetarian and organic, and many of the ingredients are grown right on campus by students and staff.

Ayurvedic food preparation, which pays particular attention to seasonal foods, is a growing trend and the roots of the movement are planted in the greenhouses at Maharishi University.

“This greenhouse has been here since 2004; we put it up,” said Steve McLaskey, Director of the Maharishi organic farm. “The university had been organic – the food service had been organic for quite a number of years before that and then in 2003, they decided to take the next step and grow as much of their own food as possible.”

Maharishi’s greenhouse is the first of its size to grow crops year-round in a cold climate. The students and staff who work with the plants have learned much more than identifying a cucumber from a zucchini.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of growing good produce and providing it to the university,” McLaskey said. “We also sell at the Golden Dome market, the little market on campus, and at the farmer’s market, and I get a lot of comments from customers who appreciate the quality, the freshness.

“When we’re eating good food, then the action that happens from putting good things in is more directed and its more focused,” said Molly Haviland, a MUM student. “So it goes along with the principle of do less, accomplish more.”

James Gavin, a worker at the greenhouse, said he has learned so much from working at the greenhouse and it has improved his quality of life.

“This greenhouse is a real opportunity for all of us… and for the county, I think,” he said.

“I really encourage everyone to grow their own garden and to look up alternative methods of making sure everything is natural, no chemicals, and everything like that,” said student Sultan Salah. “So I would say the experience of working with fresh vegetables is probably the best experience.”

“We grow some of the tastiest vegetables there are,” said Edward Hipp, another greenhouse worker. “When its fresh off the plant, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Then – fresh off the plant – the food goes to the Maharishi kitchens, where vegetarian, organic recipes and Ayurvedic methods are utilized.

“We’re trying to keep all the Ayurvedic guidelines in touch with the recipes so that it still tastes really good for everybody,” said Sharon Stinogel, Maharishi Executive Chef. “So it’s kind of a challenge, but it’s fun.”

“Since we’ve arrived here at Maharishi, we’ve shared the fact that organic and vegetarian is out there,” said Ken Zimmerman, food service director at Aladdin Food Management Services. “There’s a lot of our accounts that do offer organic vegetarian but not on a wide range like we do here in Fairfield.”

The cafeteria serves 800 to 1,000 people a day and after the meal, the leftover food is collected to be turned into compost, completing the cycle back to the earth.

1 comment:

Sharalyn Pliler · Maharishi University of Management

In my book, THE RELUCTANT VEGETARIAN, I make the point that it’s ever more important to eat organic than it is to be a vegetarian, but at the MUM cafeteria, where I love to go to eat, we can have it all. Good food, safe food, and good company. :-) I love MUM!

Maharishi University of Management featured in Education Executive Magazine — Spring 2012

April 14, 2012

Maharishi University of Management

Higher Education – Spring 2012 (pages 62-63)

Open Mindedness

Transcendental Meditation® helps students at Maharishi University of Management enhance their learning, the institution says.

All successful administrators believe firmly in the missions of their institutions, but the connection runs deeper for Dr. Craig Pearson, executive vice president of Maharishi University of Management (MUM). After graduating from Duke University in 1971 and feeling disillusioned from the tumultuous impact of the Vietnam War, Pearson discovered the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM).

“I saw a need for change, and I wanted to participate in that and I wanted it to be meaningful,” Pearson says. “Finally, I realized it would be a nice contribution to make to this society that I lived in if I taught TM.” After he became versed in teaching TM, Pearson discovered an opportunity to teach at MUM, and what has followed has been a learning experience that has lasted more than 30 years.

“I’ve had just an amazing range of opportunities and experiences here,” Pearson says.

Located in Fairfield, Iowa, MUM was founded on the practice of TM, brought to light from the ancient Vedic tradition by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a Vedic sage who taught the practice in his native India before traveling the world with it. Not a religion or philosophy, TM is a simple, effortless technique practiced for 20 minutes at the start and end of each day that allows the mind to settle to a state of inner quiet. Those who practice TM say it can help expand consciousness and expand the mind’s capacity for learning. This is why the university’s approach is called Consciousness-BasedSM education.

“This is huge for education,” Pearson says, adding that studies have shown growth of intelligence and other measures of personal development to level off during adolescence. Practicing TM, research suggests, unfreezes that potential and allows the mind to continue growing.

Same, But Different

Aside from the beginning and end of each day, when students and faculty join in practicing TM, Pearson says MUM offers the same curriculum one would find at a top university elsewhere in the world. “If you or anybody were to come to MUM and walk around during the day, you would find a lot that’s similar to what’s going on in universities around the world,” he says. “If you were to go into a Shakespeare class, it’s the same Shakespeare.”

Where MUM differs from other universities, of course, is the 20-minute TM sessions twice a day, built into the daily schedule. Pearson says this has a profound impact on the campus culture and in the performance of its student body and the overall feeling on the campus. Pearson says TM significantly reduces stress and mental fatigue by allowing the mind effortlessly to relax and settle inward rather than focus on the outside world.

“These days, one of the things most problematic on college campuses is stress,” he says.

Through TM, students at MUM are able to expand their consciousness to a point where learning and personal growth are practically unlimited, Pearson claims. The implications for higher education are significant, he adds. “Now human development can be unfrozen, now it can continue to develop,” he says, adding that the university has found student IQs increase after enrolling. One study, for example, found IQ to increase an average of 4 points after one year and 9 points after 4 years.

Expanding Future

The university’s application of TM in the curriculum has implications for more than student performance and stress levels, Pearson says. It also affects enrollment trends, as nearly 75 percent of MUM’s student body consists of transfer students from other institutions. Most of them discover the university on the Internet, but an increasing number are hearing about it by word of mouth.

“Since that’s our mission, students come because they’re attracted to the mission,” Pearson says. “They transfer because they’re not satisfied with where they are.”

As the concept of meditation becomes more popular through yoga classes and other fitness regimens, MUM has seen a long-term upswing in enrollment. The university’s current enrollment of about 1,100 is double what it was five years ago, and nearly triple what it was 10 years ago, according to Pearson. “Now, meditation is mainstream and the idea of meditation in education isn’t so unusual,” he adds.

To deal with the continuing growth, the university 11 years ago embarked on an ambitious campaign to reconstruct its campus. Originally built as Parson’s College before it closed in 1973, the MUM campus has torn down 45 old buildings and has invested substantially in renovating a number of others. Additionally, 60-plus new buildings have been constructed on campus. The newest building is the university’s Sustainable Living Center, which, when completed, will be unique in the world, embodying four different sustainable building philosophies and completely off the grid with respect to heating/cooling, electricity, water, and sewage. Pearson says the university’s commitment to sustainability is another attractive feature for many students, citing the campus’ all-organic, vegetarian menu.

Pearson says the university hopes to reach an enrollment of 2,000 in the years to come, with a long-term vision of approximately 8,000 students. To help achieve that goal it has established an endowment campaign with an initial goal of $50 million. Pearson says the campaign has received some very good initial support, and that those funds will be used for scholarships, faculty support, academic programs, and campus development.

Seeing the university grow has been a rewarding experience for Pearson, and he says he believes the education students receive at MUM will give them a consciousness-based approach to decision making that will be needed to solve the world’s greatest problems.

“It’s one thing to change the way we get our power or food, but our students recognize there needs to be a change in the kind of consciousness that created those types of problems, and I’m very inspired by that,” he says.

—Chris Petersen

Copyright 2012 Education Executive Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Links to the online version with only one photo: and digital edition: of the two-page layout containing photos of Craig Pearson, Argiro Student Center, MUM campus, and the Aladdin Food Management Services ad.

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