Adam Kuranishi, a fellow in Honda’s office who is a vegetarian for health reasons, said the group’s next step — if the salad bar offerings are not noticeably changed — is to land a face-to-face meeting with RA representatives to understand the limitations to increasing vegetarian offerings in the cafeterias.
He added that as the population of Capitol Hill becomes more diverse, the cafeteria offerings need to shift to accommodate the changing needs of those who work in Congress.
“As we’re starting to see members of Congress and staff coming from different backgrounds, races and ethnicities, there’s this need to be more inclusive,” said Kuranishi. “I think there needs to be a recognition of the landscape within Capitol Hill by making some incremental shifts [in the cafeterias].”
For now, Kuranishi and Shank said they and other members of the Vegetarian Caucus bring supplemental proteins from home to make up for the lack of options in the cafeterias. However, they said, since they are constituents on Capitol Hill, RA should want their business. Supplying healthier vegetarian options may benefit other staffers and tourists who frequent the eateries, they added.
“If they’re concerned about food going bad, if it’s a demand issue, maybe it’s on us to do a poll to communicate to management,” Shank said of proving the market for vegetarian and vegan offerings. “But often if you provide it, people will come. If tourists come, they will get what’s available to them, and they might consume it just because it’s there.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.