PURPLE is the New Black: Sustainability movement takes root in the Diana

By Amelia Rosen

Angelina Muller, Katheryn Thayer,
 and Shivina Harjani, BC ’13

Have you seen the booth dressed with delicious, fresh food that’s set up in the Diana every week? Well, if you have, you have seen “Purple et al.”, a “sustainability movement” started by three innovative Barnard juniors: Shivina Harjani, Angelia Muller, and Katheryn Thayer. Shivina explained that they want Purple et al to be known as a movement, instead of a student group, because it is supported by more than solely students—professors, local business owners, and people in the community participate as well. There “is so much talent at Barnard” but a lot of it is being used for Columbia-based clubs and programs, so Shivina states that they hope the organization will promote “Barnard’s street cred” in particular.

Photo by Stephen Yang

Although Purple et al. currently provides us with delectable meals every Monday from 12-2 in the Diana, its purpose does not revolve exclusively around food. This “nomadic café” is just the first movement, part of a mission the creators identify as “Eat PURPLE.” They chose the café as the first establishment for the PURPLE movement because they believe that “food is a way of starting good conversation,” says Shivina. Next, they hope to begin a “nomadic library.”

Until the second venture starts, let’s focus on the current, mouth-watering one: food! To begin with, PURPLE served an aromatic, fall-inspired salad of fresh, peppery arugula topped with toasted pear slices and sprinkled with spiced pumpkin seeds and tangy chèvre. Next, I chose the pecorino-roasted acorn squash gratin for my main dish. Although I’m certain the coconut green curry that was also offered would have been equally satisfying, I knew that I made the correct choice as soon as I devoured my first bite: sweet, mild squash perfectly contrasted by the sharp cheese, and dusted with pepper for an extra kick of flavor. It was the ideal fall pick-me-up.

Last, and certainly not least, the dessert. There was a choice of three delectable offerings: hand-pulled sea salt agave caramels, truffles enveloped in crushed hazelnuts, and amaretto rice krispie treats. I was so indecisive about my dessert choice that I was “forced” to try all three. The crackling, caramelized exterior of the rick krispie treat stole my heart, and thus I chose it as my “top” dessert selection of the day. Yet, all the desserts were tempting enough to make you long for a second… or, even third helping. If the Eat PURPLE offerings don’t make you crave fall and the delicious, sustainable goodies that accompany it, I don’t know what will.

On that note, I recommend everyone trek to the Diana next Monday to sample the sustainable movement’s scrumptious lunch. As you may have heard, PURPLE is the new black…

[Click on any photo to view enlarged and in a slideshow format]

Photo by Stephen Yang


Amelia is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photos courtesy of Stephen Yang and Amelia Rosen.

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