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Writing a letter to Big Army and Local/Big Commissary

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  • Writing a letter to Big Army and Local/Big Commissary

    I need your help guys. For a while I have been amassing information and support for writing a couple of letters to both the local commissary, "Big Commissary," and the army dining service.

    But I am terribly uncharming. And I can't persuade anyone to do anything. I am more of a behind the scene person. So, Alpha types, I need your help.

    THE DINING FACILITIES

    This one could also help students with meal plans actually. Clearly, this is going to be a tight budget plan. As much as I would love to see the army leading the way a variety of fresh veg and antibiotic/hormone free/organic meats and dairy at a minimum, I know that's simply not feasible. The issues I really want to see changed are the availability of unprocessed meats, no more margarine or processed vegetable oils, and availability of produce while keeping extra costs to a minimum.

    One major issue with the mains is the high level of processing. This seems to be the same wherever I have been (both stateside and abroad). About 40-50% of the time there is not a choice of unprocessed meat (exe: fish with a huge wad of creamy breadcrumbs on top, breaded fried meat, or meatballs in gravy). This would be a simple policy of having at least one unprocessed main per meal.

    However, when that unprocessed main is percent, for example the roast chicken, it is often baked in margarine. This is a hard one as I see it, because a lot of the crap food gets dumped in school and the military (go figure, the future and defense of the nation, sorry mini rant over). Here I would have to do some hard convincing against a body that has already publicly sided with "no noticeable effect of health" to see a switch from PUFAs to traditional oils.

    THE COMMISSARY

    I skipped straight here because I can combine the last bit of the DFAC and the commissary. Being overseas is definitely worse for produce availability in both places. I think the reason is because all the food sold on post has to be USDA checked. The KATUSA snack bar is labeled "eat at your own risk." Seriously. So again, price here is a major concern.

    The biggest problem I see here is reliability and availability, which are both hard when you are having to have food flown or shipped in. A lot of the produce isn't very good. I have picked up numerous rotten tomatoes, soggy greens, and even winter squash with mold all over it. One thing I could see to alleviate this is buying local, and we do actually have a single shelf of local foods. My first goal would be to see that expanded, but again, USDA might be tough.

    Another thing I would like to see, and I feel is possible here because the commissary is at least mostly an independent company from the tax dependent DFAC, is hormone free/antibiotic free, organic, and pastured goods. We do actually have a small (and frequently out of stock) selection of pastured dairy and butter (eek! It's so good). We also have a couple of local chickens which are by Korean law not allowed to have antibiotics or hormones in the feed. Last winter, we got New Zealand lamb which is usually grass fed. It was pure joy. I would like to see more of that.

    Those are my basic goals: less processed crap, no more processed vegetable oils, fresher produce, and availability of hormone/antibiotic free animal products (pastured/organic would be stellar but I'm okay with baby steps). The bonuses would be the fitter force the army is always hooting after, less chronic disease for you all lovely people to pay for. The cost, updating the DFAC menus, getting new suppliers, and more careful planning.

    I will post the information I plan on using and drafting up the letters here for you all to go over. From what I know of army style planning, if they aren't handed a complete, specific, step by step plan with dates and all, they won't even look at it, so if anyone has any experience with this stuff, feel free to help as much as you want. I'll need it.

  • #2
    War Is A Racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, 1935

    war-is-a-racket-general-smedley-butler-USMC.gif

    but war is a racket- the contractors selling the food are friendly with the men apportioning the public funds. It is not about anything you are going to address in your letter.

    You might have some luck if you stuff the envelope containing the letter with $100 bills.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mr.Perfidy View Post
      War Is A Racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, 1935

      [ATTACH=CONFIG]12406[/ATTACH]

      but war is a racket- the contractors selling the food are friendly with the men apportioning the public funds. It is not about anything you are going to address in your letter.

      You might have some luck if you stuff the envelope containing the letter with $100 bills.
      Haha yeah I really have no hope other than being an annoyance.

      But then again I am an annoying person.

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      • #4
        If you want to annoy them, then you should disperse copies of General Butler's book like johnny appleseed
        "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

        Jack london, "Before Adam"

        Comment


        • #5
          You can, supposedly, request that they carry items at your commissary by contacting the commissary's store director. I haven't tried, as we live too far off-post to bother driving there to buy sketchy-looking meat or try to pick through the pathetic veggie selection even if they would get items I requested. I'd rather eat Walmart meat than the stuff they sell at the commissary here. And we live in the states too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mr.perfidy View Post
            if you want to annoy them, then you should disperse copies of general butler's book like johnny appleseed
            free copies for everyone.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Danni View Post
              You can, supposedly, request that they carry items at your commissary by contacting the commissary's store director. I haven't tried, as we live too far off-post to bother driving there to buy sketchy-looking meat or try to pick through the pathetic veggie selection even if they would get items I requested. I'd rather eat Walmart meat than the stuff they sell at the commissary here. And we live in the states too.
              I did get a chance to talk with our store manager. I know I plan on writing two letters for the commissary, one to our local store and one to the biggest supplier I can find. I guess US Foods or whoever they are. Our director seems like a really nice lady, so hopefully if I can get some help with fine tuning we can work something out.

              I am in the opposite bunch where the next closest place to buy equally suspicious though at least antibiotic/hormone free is a twenty minute bus ride to the Korean market. I know there is are people willing to buy good food (you should see the way the coconut oil flies from the shelves; you literally had to be lucky and snap it up within two weeks). It would help if it were easier for us to get to though.

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              • #8
                So as far as the information I wanted to put into the commissary letter, I found this article awhile back. http://chriskresser.com/why-grass-fed-trumps-grain-fed

                I also found a few NIH articles that I can pull from. Specifics to follow... As far as bringing in more meats its really going to take a lot of planning. And I don't really know how willing they are to do that, even though they already do for a few things like the NZ lamb. I am also not sure how to approach the antibiotics because of the government's stance on them being harmless. I still feel there's a market for both, and even if it's small, at least we would have the choice and the demand.

                I walked by as they were unloading the sodas yesterday into a spare crate the size of a semi trailer. We may get rotten tomatoes but god forbid we run out of coca cola. That just wouldn't be American! 2x face palm combo.

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                • #9
                  yes.it have some luck if you stuff the envelope containing the letter with $100 bills.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Shenanigans and I have had to eat at the dining facility this week. I feel like I'm about to spew greasy half digested food, and my stomach is bloated up like a balloon. And this is from the beef and broccoli. Whut?

                    I was thinking of ways to get around the cheapo oils without saying switch to good (non excess grain/soy eating) fats. I think using the concept of give us an option of simple, steamed protein and veg each day, then let the soldiers decide if they want to cover it in cheap margarine could play into the overweight problem. That way, it can look like a "normal CW" healthy decision by whatever commander wants to snap that one up.

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                    • #11
                      An acquaintance of mine had some success by claiming that the contractors providing meals at his base were not meeting the terms of their contract by not adhering to the Army's requirements about nutrition and variety or something. I forgot exactly what it was about, but he gained about 40 pounds in two years eating at that chow hall.

                      Start with the regs, at least as far as the DFAC goes.

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                      • #12
                        I don't buy much at our (stateside) commissary. The meat is CAFO and the produce is old; it goes bad within a day or two. And I don't care what they say, it's NOT cheaper than off-base, unless maybe they're basing that on the price for cat litter and dog food.

                        Good luck with writing the commissary and dining facility folks. I can't see that much will be changed, it all comes down to $$ and the crap "food" is cheapest. I'd recommend that you send copies of those letters to your government representatives. Not that our gov't reps do much, but sometimes they'll jump through hoops for military folks.

                        Do you have to eat in the mess hall? Can you get something from a military doc that will let you out of that? I'm sure there are people with allergies or other food sensitivities that don't have to eat in the dining facility.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goldie View Post
                          Do you have to eat in the mess hall? Can you get something from a military doc that will let you out of that? I'm sure there are people with allergies or other food sensitivities that don't have to eat in the dining facility.
                          Yeah, my buddy got a doctor's note saying he did not have to eat in the DFAC in Korea. They stopped taking the food money out of his check and he went out and bought his own food (frozen pizza but eh, what can you do?)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by canio6 View Post
                            Yeah, my buddy got a doctor's note saying he did not have to eat in the DFAC in Korea. They stopped taking the food money out of his check and he went out and bought his own food (frozen pizza but eh, what can you do?)
                            (Thanks guys for the constructive comments)

                            Gah we used to get separate rations, but due to sequestration, they took those away even for shift workers who work during DFAC hours and nights. I'm still sort of shocked at this.

                            I would LOVE a doctor's note, but my unit sucks lol. And the TMC. Obviously.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Goldie View Post
                              I don't buy much at our (stateside) commissary. The meat is CAFO and the produce is old; it goes bad within a day or two. And I don't care what they say, it's NOT cheaper than off-base, unless maybe they're basing that on the price for cat litter and dog food.

                              Good luck with writing the commissary and dining facility folks. I can't see that much will be changed, it all comes down to $$ and the crap "food" is cheapest. I'd recommend that you send copies of those letters to your government representatives. Not that our gov't reps do much, but sometimes they'll jump through hoops for military folks.

                              Do you have to eat in the mess hall? Can you get something from a military doc that will let you out of that? I'm sure there are people with allergies or other food sensitivities that don't have to eat in the dining facility.
                              I have problems with food going bad so fast. I basically only buy my milk (whole pastured whut?! But it's out of stock often, haven't had butter in a month), and frozen veg and fruit, garlic, coconut milk... Stuff that I don't want ten of from the economy and lasts. I buy most of my meat in the markets regardless of the cost (you can bet when the NZ lamb shows up I'm all over that... Where is it this year commissary??)

                              You guys are right, the commissary is hella expensive and low quality. It just bugs me and the stoopid idealist in me can't let it be for long. I'd like to support it if only the quality was better. :/:

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