Ten Spots to Try Next Time You Forget Your Lunch

by Erin Child

Forgot your lunch? Too busy to cook? Consider grabbing a friend (or five) and trying out one of these ten eateries near campus. Compiled from a quick survey (a big thanks to the fifteen students who responded!), I’ve got recommendations for holes-in-the-wall that you’ve probably walked by already, hidden gems, and local & national chains with healthy lunch options. Though numbered, this list isn’t meant to be a ranking. Walking times are measured from Jaharis. Cheers & happy eating!

  1. My Thai Vegan Café

3 Beach St. (4 min walk)

My Thai Vegan Café is a popular spot with students. With ample food and bubble tea options, it’s a fun place to come with a friend. Their lunch special runs from noon to 3pm, and for $8 you get the soup-of-the-day, plus either one fried spring roll or two fried dumplings, hot Jasmine tea, and your entrée. One Friedman student surveyed recommended the Mango Curry (it has great coconut flavor!).

  1. The Little Kitchen

22 Kneeland St (2 min walk)

I recently experienced The Little Kitchen for the first time, and boy is it delicious and filling! Pretty much everything costs less than $10 and the portions provide more than enough for lunch and then another meal. Students love their steamed lotus leaf options, highly recommending the chicken and mushroom option.  One student likes that they have a selection of food that they “haven’t seen in other restaurants around Chinatown.” As it’s basically across the street from school, it’s a must to check out.

  1. Clover Food Lab

160 Federal St (11 min walk)

Clover is a local chain that has many food trucks and storefront locations throughout the greater Boston area. Clover is a vegetarian/vegan joint that tries to source their ingredients as locally as possible. They’ve also recently started serving the Impossible Burger at the Harvard Square location and hopefully it will come downtown soon. Lunch there generally costs between $8-$11. Personally, I am mildly obsessed with their chickpea fritter platters. Clover is slightly further away than other options, but worth the walk!

  1. Gourmet Dumpling House

52 Beach St (4 min walk)

I have it on good authority that Gourmet Dumpling House is a wonderful place to bring a bunch of friends, order a ton of food and stuff yourself with savory dumplings and other Chinese dishes. The prices are great, and the food is delicious. If you’re looking for a dumpling fix, one student recommends the mini juicy pork dumplings and Szechuan dumplings, which will “run you about $12.”

  1. Irashi

8 Kneeland St (3 min walk)

Irashi is a sushi and teriyaki restaurant with a great lunch deal. From 11am-4pm, you can buy miso soup, salad and two sushi rolls for under $14. They offer many different combinations of rolls, so there are plenty of options to choose from! If you’re a sushi lover, other places to check out include Avana Sushi (42 Beach St) or Whole Foods (348 Harrison Ave)—the Hirsch Library in the Sackler building recently started serving sushi, but reviews are mixed.

  1. sweetgreen

354 Harrison Ave (7 min walk)

sweetgreen is a national salad & grain bowl chain beloved by many Friedman students. Their bowls are always chock full of veggies, so you get a guaranteed healthy lunch. They easily accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, so it’s a stress-free stop for many. Lunch starts at about $9, and can increase to $15+ depending on the bowl you choose and what toppings you add (for example, avocado is an extra $2). Students recommend the ‘The Shroomami Bowl’, ‘Harvest Salad’, and ‘My special salad’ (not actually on the menu, and sadly that student did not give us their special ingredient combination).

  1. Chinatown Café

262 Harrison Ave (3 min walk)

Next time you’re thinking of walking down to the Ink Block complex (home to sweetgreen and Whole Foods), consider stopping into the Chinatown Café (it’s that restaurant with the kitchen right on Harrison with hanging ducks in the window). Students say that they have great BBQ, and you get a lot of food for the price. They take cash only, but lunch won’t cost much more than $8 when you get one their rice, meat and veggie combo plates.

  1. 163 Vietnamese Sandwich

66 Harrison Ave (3 min walk)

The banh mi at 163 Vietnamese Sandwich are reportedly delicious, come with vegetarian and meat options, and cost less than $5 each (cash only). The restaurant has seats, but it’s almost always crowded, so you’re better off grabbing a sandwich, or a noodle or rice meal (under $10) to go. Like many spots in Chinatown, they also have bubble tea (yum!).

  1. Boston Kitchen Pizza

1 Stuart St (4 min walk)

Have four minutes to spare and four dollars in your pocket? Run over to Boston Kitchen Pizza for a quick slice. One student recommended the Spinach & Roasted Garlic slice, which will run you less than $4 and sounds delicious! (If you’re looking for cheap eats and not interested in Pizza, The Dumping King at 42 Beach St is another great option.)

  1. Pho Pasteur

682 Washington St (4 min walk)

Pho Pastuer, a Vietnamese restaurant, is but one pho spot in a neighborhood of many (Pho Hoa at 17 Beach St. was also recommended by another student), but it’s been a favorite of mine since I moved to Boston five years ago. Their pho portions are GIANT, cost from $8-$9.50, and is simply the best food on a rainy and cold November day. They have a large menu that offers more than just pho (if that’s not your thing), and offer both take out and sit-down service.

*Bonus Reminder*

Sackler

145 Harrison Ave (30 second walk)

You forgot your lunch, you literally have no time and you’re looking for a cheap, healthy fix? Seriously consider the salad bar on the 4th floor of the Sackler Library. A small salad will run you $5 and they cram the container full of veggies. Sometimes the best option is right in front of you.

Erin Child is a second year NICBC student in the dual MS-DPD program. Up until now, if she ran out of time to pack a lunch she would stubbornly & hangrily wait until she was home to eat. After writing this list she’s been inspired to try new things. Erin is thrilled to be joining the Sprout team as the social media editor this year, and is looking forward to your great articles!

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Alumna Interview: Elizabeth Whelan

by Sarah McClung

Sarah McClung interviews Elizabeth Whelan, a Friedman alumna, about her work with Save the Children in Myanmar and how her degree has helped her in the field.

Friedman alumna Elizabeth Whelan. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Whelan.

Friedman alumna Elizabeth Whelan. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Whelan.

I wish I could write that this interview took place over soup dumplings at Xi Yang Yang Xiao Long Bao Dumplings in Yangon, Myanmar. Sadly, that was not the case, but that is where I met Friedman alumna Elizabeth Whelan on a rainy day this summer. Last year, I was fortunate enough to receive support from the Dr. Elie J. Baghdady Memorial Fund, established by Friedman School alumna Georgette Baghdady in memory of her father to help students interested in humanitarian work gain experience overseas.  I learned that Whelan, currently working with Save the Children in Myanmar, was a recipient a few years back. She graciously agreed to an interview for The Sprout, in which we discussed where her degree has taken her, advice for current students, and some fond memories of the program and life in Boston.

For nearly two years, Whelan has been working for the international NGO Save the Children in Myanmar. She supports the Leveraging Essential Nutrition Actions to Reduce Malnutrition (LEARN) project with the goal of “increasing the capacity of local and international non-government organizations to deliver a more comprehensive approach to food security that includes all three food security pillars: availability, access, and utilization.” She loves living in Yangon and has found being in the midst of the country’s national transition fascinating. (Myanmar was formerly known as Burma until 1989.) She also expressed something I found to be true about Myanmar: the people are some of the warmest and most helpful you will ever meet.

I asked Whelan about how she ended up at Friedman and she shared an impactful experience from her days volunteering with Partners in Health in Haiti in which she was watching a nurse fit a child with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) with a nasal gastric tube. Knowing malnutrition is preventable, Whelan said that it was at that moment she realized that nutrition—in some form—was her calling. Whelan walked me back further in her superhero origin story and explained that her father was an agricultural economist and his work brought the family to Zambia where they lived for five years, during which time the country experienced a famine. As a result, her interest in nutrition and food security began at an early age.

“Friedman really seemed like an obvious decision,” said Whelan. She explained that in the seven years between completing of her undergraduate degree and starting graduate school, she considered other career paths, including nurse midwifery and photography. Whelan realized that all of her work was hunger-related and rather than dismiss the pattern as coincidence, she decided better to recognize it and find a place to pursue her passion more formally.

Some of Whelan’s fondest memories of Friedman include sharing her learning experience (and food!) with other students. “It was nice to be around people who like to cook,” she noted of casual interactions like the Wednesday seminars that made the Jaharis auditorium look like a tapas bar with people breaking out their mason jars and Tupperware full of delectable leftovers.

I am preparing to complete my MS in the FPAN program in December and had to ask Whelan about her last semester. “Plans came through towards the end,” she explained. She applied and was accepted into the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) International Fellows program, which ended up taking her to Ghana after a three-month consultancy with Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Paris, facilitated by Professor Jennie Coates. “Don’t stress about the future and trust that things will fall into place. Tufts has a fantastic reputation in the nutrition community. There’s brand recognition.” I asked if there was anything she wished someone had told her when she was a student and she talked about how graduating with a degree with nutrition in the title creates the expectation that you are a nutrition science expert.

When asked about coursework, Whelan explained that she could not think of a Friedman class that had not come up at some point in her professional life directly or indirectly. She specifically mentioned Professor Jennie Coates’ Monitoring and Evaluation class, Nutrition Science with Professor Diane McKay, Survey Research with Professor Bea Rogers, Professor Will Masters’ economics class, and even though Statistics with Professor Bob Houser was really “painful,” was very useful. Whelan also mentioned a directed study on determinants of sustainability under Professor Coates and Professor Rogers on Title II Food Aid Exit Strategies, which extended into her second year and allowed her to apply what she had learned in other classes in a more “real world” context.

“The thing about Friedman is that the professors are of such high caliber,” said Whelan explaining that she regularly comes across research published by Tufts professors.

I offered to relay messages back to Friedman professors and Whelan said the following:

  • Professor Coates: “I’m impressed by and grateful for the impact you and the food security tools you’ve developed have had on international development. My colleagues and I rely on them regularly.”
  • Professor Rogers: “I didn’t realize how much I learned in survey research, one of the most useful courses I took at Friedman.”
  • Professor Masters: “Your words from a lecture years ago stuck with me, something along the lines of ‘economics is walking back in the chain of causality until you would make the same decision as a farmer, or vendor, or some other person in a low income context. We don’t always understand why people make certain decisions but people are generally doing their best to survive and we need to understand their daily realities.’ These words have proven true and useful working in the field.”

And I of course had to ask Whelan about food. She found it difficult to name just one favorite, but some of her top picks include soup dumplings, fruits (particularly some of the exotic ones from Myanmar like mangosteen and pomelo), classic pecan pie, and—my favorite response—vanilla baked goods, including highly processed yellow cake from the grocery store – we’re talking sheet cake from Stop & Shop.

When asked to name her favorite things about Boston, Whelan mentioned fond memories of the walk from the T to the Medford campus, Prana Power Yoga, quintessential pubs and coffee shops, and living amongst so many students and feeling like a part of a larger academic community.

I knew after our soup dumpling lunch that Whelan was someone I wanted to keep up with. Work in international development can be disheartening, and I come across people who have become demoralized and cynical more often than individuals who have a positive outlook. Whelan obviously genuinely enjoys her work, and it was inspiring to speak with her about her efforts in the field as I prepare to leave Friedman. To learn more about LEARN or Save the Children, you can check out their websites. And should you find yourself in Yangon, do reach out to one very impressive alumna.

Sarah McClung is a second-year, second-semester FPAN student hoping to use her Friedman degree to help feed hungry people… but not like as a waitress. Please send any job leads. But like seriously.

Overdue for Overtime

by Julie Kurtz

A new California law just enacted the most revolutionary labor standards since the creation of the 40-hour work week.  What is it?  Well, it’s the 40-hour work week. But will it improve equality? Will it impact the cost of your food? Will equitable farm labor make your vegetables healthier? And will the new law change the curriculum at Friedman?

On Monday September 12th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed monumental legislation that should be of interest to all Friedman students. California Assembly Bill 1066 will require that agricultural workers be paid overtime for working more than eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week. While this may seem like a no-brainer, the current standard requires workers to work 10 hours/day and 60 hours/week before earning their overtime pay. The changes will be incremental starting in 2019, with full realization of the law by 2022 for most farms and 2025 for farms with fewer than 25 employees.

We take for granted the forty-hour week as a cornerstone of American work ethics, representing fair working hours and honoring the dignity of work. Many industries had a forty-hour workweek in place well before the 20th century. In the heat of the workers’ rights movements, victory came with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, guaranteeing a maximum work hour week—or overtime compensation when forty hours were surpassed.

However, agricultural workers were exempt.

As were domestic workers.

In the 1930s African-Americans were disproportionately employed in agricultural and domestic labor. President Roosevelt signed the Fair Labors Standards Act knowing it was a compromise with Southern Congressmen who had a vested interest in excluding black employees to preserve the plantation-style economy of sharecroppers and black domestic workers.

While there are practical reasons why agricultural workers remained excluded from the labor rights that most Americans enjoy, mostly related to seasonality, it is clear that enormous power differentials persist between farm laborers and farm owners. In California more than 90% of farm laborers are Latino, and 80% are immigrants. Given the long history of labor exploitation in US Agriculture, what does it mean that the agricultural giant California has set this precedent of equality? Will the new overtime legislation be effective? Or are there loopholes that will inevitably allow the continued overworking of farm laborers? Will other states follow in California’s footsteps? And finally, to bring things back home, why should California Assembly Bill 1066 be discussed at 150 Harrison Avenue?

One of Friedman’s great strengths is our integrated approach to food. Friedman extends into every corner of the food system, from cutting edge nutritional science, consumer behavior, and food policy economics, to the environmental impacts of agriculture. Our system-wide approach enables Friedman to engage one of the most complex challenges on the planet: how to feed ourselves. But there is a realm where our reach rarely extends: labor.

I came to Friedman in part because we ask questions like “Is this tomato that is grown in nutrient-rich biodynamic soils healthier than a conventional tomato? Is it healthier for our bodies? Is it healthier for the land and for the sustainability of agriculture?” I’m thrilled that my education is helping me answer and provide insight to those questions. I’m less certain where on this campus we can ask: “Is this tomato that was grown by an equitably-paid farmer who has access to healthcare, leisure time, and education, as healthy as a tomato grown by a farmer who works 12-hour days, sees her children only briefly at dawn and night, and lacks a nutritious diet, time for education, and access to medical attention?”

Can healthy food come from an exploited workforce?

Second-year students from Friedman’s Agricultural Science & Policy II course recognized this gap in our education and knowledge. We do not feel equipped to evaluate and understand the impact of California’s new law in the grander context of the food system. As policy students we frequently discuss the “inputs” that go into our food: technology, land, and fertilizers. Labor is another input. But labor is people. We need a different set of tools to consider the migrant harvesters, the meat processors, the truck drivers, and the line cooks—the people without whom nutrition students would have nothing to study in the first place.

Fortunately we have a supportive faculty who has recognized the hole, and are working alongside us to bridge the gap. In fact, the entire Friedman community is invited to help bridge the gap:

  • In October the Friedman Seminar Committee will meet to determine Spring 2017 Seminar speakers and they will consider agricultural labor experts. To that end, students are invited (as they always are) to send speaker suggestions to Christian.Peters@tufts.edu.
  • Due to student requests, two AFE core courses (Nutr215 and Nutr333) will dedicate classroom time to address farm labor and the new California law. Interested students are invited to attend those lecture and discussion dates, and can email Timothy.Griffin@tufts.edu for more information.
  • As Friedman administration seeks to hire new faculty, we urge consideration of candidates with expertise in farm labor, food system law and justice.
  • Second-year AFE student Caitlin Joseph is spearheading a student-directed course on Agricultural Labor Policy and Justice in Spring 2017. Students interested in joining should contact her at Caitlin.Joseph@tufts.edu.

California AB 1066 did not materialize out of nowhere. How does its signing fit into the broader picture of dismantling inequality in the food system? As Friedman students and faculty, can we satisfactorily discuss nourishment if we are not equally concerned with the welfare of those who bring food to our table? What models exist to dismantle this systemic oppression? What impacts will those models have on the environment, on the economy, on nutrition, on academia, and mostly pertinently, on the labor force? And how can we integrate those models into the Friedman curriculum?

Julie Kurtz is in her second semester of the AFE program. She landed at Friedman after acting professionally in San Francisco, practicing Emergency Medicine in Minnesota, and farming in Bolivia.