Fordham University Law student Michael Zimmerman seems like a real sweetheart. When he's not working on the roof garden he started atop of the St. Paul the Apostle Church parish house, he's organizing a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) group he founded. Besides bringing fresh produce to participating students and faculty, the C.S.A. also donated lots of extra vegetables and fruit to the local soup kitchen. But no good deed goes unpunished by the administrators of higher eduction—Fordham has effectively shut down Zimmerman's C.S.A., prohibiting it from operating on campus.
A spokesman for the school tells the Times that there's no one reason for shutting down the C.S.A., explaining that the decision was based on a variety of things: "the specter of infestation, concerns about honoring the university’s food service contracts, and the program’s potential interference with construction at the law school." But something tells us one of those reasons is more important than the others. After all, Zimmerman points out that since the C.S.A. distributed its produce outside, infestation was a non-issue.
As for the construction excuse, the path to the patio where the C.S.A. met is still unobstructed. Which leaves us with the food service contracts. The company that holds that contract is none other than Sodexo, the foreign company that will probably be bringing mediocre generic food to Coney Island next summer. Sodexo, you may recall, has been fined by New York State for overcharging New York students and denying black employees promotions. Some people think the company is kind of unscrupulous! And given Sodexo's track record, you can imagine their reaction to students and faculty getting fresh fruits and vegetables on campus, when they really ought to be buying that stuff in the cafeteria.
Of course, this is all speculation, and Zimmerman remains perplexed. And you can understand why, when even the associate dean for academic affairs praises the C.S.A. as an "innovative program" that "really piggybacks on a larger movement, urban farming and local food, and it does it in the context where we have a service mission. It’s been great."