The new Farm Stand snack concession, which opened last Wednesday in the basement of Maples Pavilion, allows Stanford athletes to refuel between classes, practice and lifts by making nutrition more convenient and efficient to fit busy schedules. The Farm Stand opened as a response to an NCAA ruling last spring.
The Stanford Athletic Department increased its funding for nutrition this quarter and set up a more convenient resource for athletes to refuel when time and energy are limited. At the Farm Stand, athletes can choose up to three items a day from a variety of snacks including an assortment of fruit, trail mix, granola bars and even some prepared items like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and overnight oats.
The new stand follows an NCAA ruling last April that adopted proposals allowing universities to provide Division I student athletes with unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation, and in addition to the meal plan covered by their scholarships.
Previously, students were allotted three meals a day or a food stipend, but dietitians and sports coaches alike lobbied to break the “fruits, nuts, bagels (no spreads)” restriction and expand offerings to include more whole foods rather than being limited to sports nutrition supplements like Muscle Milk. The proposals took effect Aug. 1 this year, but the new Farm Stand is still in its initial stages of development.
“Some schools have really extensive training tables and nutrition programs, which is what we’re hoping to get to with this, eventually,” said Jessie Starcevich, who works at the Farm Stand and as an assistant to Kristen Gravani, Director of Sports Nutrition in the Department of Athletics.
The Farm Stand is open from 7:30–9:30 a.m., and from 2–4 p.m. These abbreviated hours were intentionally planned to be outside of lunch and dinner hours, so as to discourage athletes from using the Farm Stand snacks as a substitute for complete meals at these times. On Monday, the Farm Stand was closed in the afternoon due to an electrical fire at Maples Pavilion but resumed normal service the following morning, with no shortage of hungry student-athletes looking for a post-workout pick-me-up.
Some athletes, like synchronized swimmer Shiree Lee ’18, appreciated the accessibility of this latest amenity, but note that the system isn’t perfect yet.
“The Farm Stand is a really practical way to get snacks in between practice and class, but I do wish that the ‘three item’ system accounted for the fact that not all snacks are equal — a cheese stick isn’t quite as filling as a bagel,” Lee said.
Nevertheless, the swipe system is used to account for who is using the Farm Stand and what items are most popular with athletes, who still benefit from using their ID cards to swipe for food without using any of their meal swipes or meal plan dollars regardless of what snacks they choose.
According to Gravani, the goal was to provide “more mini-meal options” to “close that gap between what dining halls can provide and what the athletes actually need.”
Gravani revealed a desire to offer sandwiches and similar “protein accessible” options as the Farm Stand expands in the future and expressed her excitement for the program.
“It’s a big step for Stanford Athletics; we haven’t had anything like it before,” Gravani said. “So far, from what I’ve seen, the athletes are excited about it, too, which always makes me happy.”
Contact Sandra Ortellado at sortella ‘at’ stanford.edu.