The Saga of Holy Cow Shows We're All Connected

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), May 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Saga of Holy Cow Shows We're All Connected


Byline: Thomas Veeman

Do you ever get strange songs stuck in your head? It happens to me often when I wash dishes at the Holy Cow Cafe.

Usually I can trace the songs back to where I last heard them. But I have no idea where that "Dem Dry Bones" song came from that haunted me at the dish pit on Tuesday, after the wonderful news broke that our owners and the Erb Memorial Union had signed a new five-year lease agreement to keep the Holy Cow on the University of Oregon campus.

I know only that it played on, over and over, through my head: "The leg bone's connected to the hip bone, the hip bone's connected to the back bone, the back bone's connected to the shoulder bone, the shoulder bone's connected to the ..."

The Holy Cow Cafe had been embroiled in a controversy concerning the renewal of its lease at the EMU's food court. A few months ago, a committee representing the EMU decided not to renew the Holy Cow's lease and to offer the space to the Laughing Planet Cafe instead.

Many were angry that neither customers nor the Holy Cow were informed or involved in making the decision, and many others were upset to lose a cafe, which, in its 10-year tenure at the UO, has become a local icon for sustainable, organic business practices and tasty vegetarian food.

I don't know all the details of what happened; I am just thankful that public support and legal pressure have prevailed and that the Holy Cow can keep cranking out its famous pad Thais.

I have worked for the Holy Cow Cafe since September. As a literature student, I needed a job close to the library, one with a student-friendly schedule. Now, I prepare and serve food at lunchtime and wash dishes in the afternoons. It's not a glorious job, but there is something special about it that has to do with connectivity.

I think of the broad-smiling Eugene resident who brought the cilantro in the morning, his hands thick from having chosen years ago to do the good hard work of weeding over the easier path of using herbicide. Our business allows growers such as him to sustain their businesses; it is the richly colored produce from local suppliers that allows good, delicious food to grace our reusable plates and nourish our customers.

These customers, in turn, nourish us with the means to keep the cycle going, and they nourish us with the good vibes effused by choosing to respect their bodies and their community with wholesome, local food. The whole thing together forms a web of feel-good interconnectivity. …

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