Fresh produce on campus keeps students healthy

It’s easy to fall prey to junk food on campus, especially when healthy, fresh food options are hard to find.

After hearing such frustrations from many students while working at Juice Zone in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center, Amir Mostafavi looked for a way to provide kids with the option of a healthier dining choice.

Catering to the college lifestyle, Mostafavi created CampusProduce.com, an online company that allows GW students to order fruits, vegetables, vitamins and other supplements using their GWorld or other forms of payment.

“When District Market closed at J Street there was really no place on campus to get fresh produce,” said Mostafavi, who is also the owner of Helwell’s Juice Zone. “CampusProduce.com fills that void.”

Students who order from CampusProduce.com pick up their packages on Wednesday evenings and all day Thursday at the Juice Zone. Some of the package options include the “Fruit Bag,” the “Brain Bag” and the “Sniffles Bag.” Individual groceries including Clif Bars, Vitamin Water and health supplements can also be purchased.

Mostafavi said he thinks his company’s biggest strength is its partnership with local farmers.

“This way we’re able to offer seasonal fruit directly from the farmer to you,” Mostafavi said. “You are also supporting local farms and your community, which is great.”

When ordering the “Local Bag,” which varies from week to week depending in the season’s produce, students can also choose to donate to a local homeless shelter through CampusProduce’s partnership with GW F.E.E.D.

CampusProduce is not exclusively for GW students, but Mostafavi said they are his main focus right now.

Although the farmer’s market near campus also offers fresh local produce each Wednesday, Erin Davis, the Health and Wellness Center nutritionist, said she considers the convenience of CampusProduce to be one of its strongest selling points.

“It’s an easy, thoughtless way for busy college students to get their servings of fruits and vegetables,” Davis said.

Because it is so easy for students to slip into the convenience of grabbing a bag of chips, Davis said it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet.

The fruits and veggies CampusProduce offers provide fiber, B-vitamins and antioxidants important for people’s health and immunity, she said.

“Just make sure you get all the colors in,” Davis said.

Despite this new company’s distinctive approach to giving college students convenient food options around campus, they’re not the first business to do so.

DCSnacks also delivers daily packaged food options to the GW population as well as those living in the area. DCSnacks offers a very diverse range of products, from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to over-the-counter drugs. Both DCsnacks and CampusProduce accept GWorld. The differences between the two companies outnumber their similarities.

“I feel that CampusProduce is significantly different as we specialize in produce,” Mostafavi said. “Also, we are a weekly service.”

DCsnacks CEO Matt Mandell was not aware of CampusProduce, but seemed to agree with Mostafavi that the two companies offer very different merchandise.

In recent years Mandell has helped expand DCsnacks, formerly known as Campus Snacks. Mostafavi said he hopes CampusProduce will expand similarly, even to other colleges across the country.

“We’ve started out strong this year at GW,” Mostafavi said. “I am very optimistic about the future.”

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