Seed + Sprout will replace the vacant space where previous vendor D’Lush was in Price Center. The project, headed by University Centers and the University Centers Advisory Board, is tentatively set to open in fall of 2018.
Hughston M. Hagues, the Assistant Director of Retail Operations at University Centers, explained the background of the new vendor to Price Center.
“Seed + Sprout is a small, independent organization with restaurant experiences in Chicago and Africa,” Hagues told the UCSD Guardian.
The restaurant’s goal is to create “Complete + Delicious Nutrition in a fast effective format” through offering macro bowls in a variety of options such as breakfast meals and vegetarian options.
“Seed + Sprout will fill the gap in efficient high-volume healthy food,” reads the restaurant concept and service format. “Our purpose is clear, to offer delicious and healthy nourishment to the UCSD campus at a fair price.”
The organization is keeping these principles in mind by offering convenient, customizable and balanced options for their bowls made with local, fresh ingredients.
D’Lush was evicted in June 2016 for failure to pay rent, thus opening the space to new vendors. Since then, UCEN and UCAB have been working closely to assess the needs of the student body and find a suitable vendor that will fulfill those needs.
UCAB Chair Luke Wang explained that they followed UCEN guidelines for vendor selection.
“When space 1605 (formerly D’Lush space) became available to University Centers, the board went ahead and decided a Request for Proposal concept for the space,” Wang told the Guardian. “With the concept statement released to the public, all restaurants interested would submit their proposals to University Centers, which then gets scored and reviewed by a committee of UCAB.”
Wang emphasized how the process was student-centered and driven.
“The proposal outlines [that we were looking for] a health conscious restaurant that would cater to the wide, diverse student needs at UC San Diego,” he said. “The entire process from the concept statement to the final proposal review is done by students with an emphasis on putting the students’ needs first.”
UCAB Vice Chair Ashley Awe elaborated on the different considerations that went into selecting vendors.
“There’s a ton of factors that I thought about, including the quality of food, if they could accommodate dietary restrictions, how well the vendor would fit into the UCSD community and their proposed sustainability practices,” Awe explained.
Both Wang and Awe share similar sentiments about Seed + Sprout’s potential to fill a gap in the food options on campus for many students seeking healthier options.
“With a specific emphasis on no fried food, Seed + Sprout gives everyone something they can enjoy,” Wang said. “[Whether] that be a more vegetable-centric meal or something that is protein rich or even gluten free.”
Eleanor Roosevelt College freshman Rhiannon Koh feels optimistic about the new addition to Price Center.
“I feel like it’s a really good move because it’s showing that UCSD is being more inclusive for people with certain diet restrictions,” Koh said. “Roots is a great place, but having Seed + Sprout is easier for people who don’t have dining dollars and it’s also centrally located.”
ERC senior Hannah Sazon, a longtime vegan, expressed enthusiasm for a more vegetable-centric restaurant option in Price Center as well.
“I think that UCSD has a lot of vegan options if you’re a longtime vegan — we generally know how to make do with what we have,” Sazon told the Guardian. “I think it’s important to have [a vegetarian-focused vendor] on campus because even veganized meals of ‘junk’ food is healthier than its meaty counterpart (because there’s no cholesterol in vegan food, there’s a healthy dose of fiber, and usually more nutrient dense), it makes the transition to eating more meat-free meals easier when there are more options and options that are familiar to one’s previous way of eating, and it’s overall better for the environment.”
Awe sees Seed + Sprout as a way to enhance the student experience on campus for many who feel that healthy food is inaccessible.
“My hope is that the UC San Diego community will have an on-campus option for healthy eating at an affordable price,” Awe told the Guardian. “[I also hope that] those with dietary restrictions will find a place where they can eat good, healthy meals easily.”
Wang is hopeful that UCEN and UCAB can work together for an opening in fall of 2018.