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Elaine Forbush for Spectator

Dig Inn's sandwiches join the Morningside ranks of Milano, HamDel, and Westside.

Hey Columbia, we see your petition, and we raise you a sandwich. We looked on with growing interest as you got this movement off the ground, and we get the feeling you won't stop until sandwich equality reigns supreme. You guys are quick-witted, and honestly, we're pretty impressed. We endorse your quest for a sandwich ambassador, and as a sign of solidarity, will place your petition in our store in the heart of Morningside Heights and offer a 10 percent discount on all sandwiches for anyone that signs. We are with you, and we support the move toward sandwich democracy.

But sandwiches are only part of the bigger issue here. This is about more than just meat between two pieces of bread. Because let's be real, we fully support the desire to eat a sandwich a day, but we think you deserve a whole lot more than that. It should be easier to eat well in school while you're cramming for your midterms and all you've got is a box of ramen. We know being a student is tough, and it's even tougher with the added financial burdens you face now and will continue to face when you're done with college. The options for cheap, good food are few and far between. It's true. But you hold the key to your own destiny and your own sandwich paradise.

What might have started as a joke within the Columbia community is actually a larger signal of food inequality and what's wrong with our current food system. Why is it so hard for people everywhere to get a delicious and fresh meal at lunch time—OK, anytime—without breaking the bank? We think it's time we fight this good fight together. Local movements to bring this issue to the table have already started in our neighborhood, specifically an interfaith group's SNAP challenge in October to raise awareness about the difficulty of living on food stamps. Because sometimes it's more than just a sandwich—sometimes it's the fresh fruit and produce that we all deserve but few of us see in our daily meals. We're not saying you shouldn't eat a sandwich a day, but an apple is certainly a good place to start.

It's time to equalize good, wholesome food, and we support bringing the highest quality food at an accessible price point to the masses. This is why we support a sandwich ambassador. Talk is cheap, but sandwiches are not. Let's teach people to eat and live well on a budget. Let's bring food literacy programs into schools where students, teachers, and parents alike can learn to feed themselves balanced meals at a low cost. Let's end the gap between food producers and food consumers. Let's end the gap between sandwich producers and sandwich consumers. Let's build a sandwich democracy together. You, me, and the sandwich ambassador leading us all to a better tomorrow, a tomorrow we hope will be filled with sandwiches.

We want to set an example for the future. Not just for sandwich eaters now, but for future sandwich eaters, and future sandwich eaters after that. We take pride in providing the Columbia community a farm-to-counter sandwich for less than $10. Take note, sandwich ambassador.

The author is the founder of Dig Inn Seasonal Market.

To respond to this op-ed, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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