The Fight for Real Food on Campus | Civil Eats

The Fight for Real Food on Campus

“Real Food Now!” is the rallying cry of a new generation of student leaders on college campuses this fall. In October, thousands of students on hundreds of campuses will participate in a national month of action, challenging their schools to invest in food that is healthy, local, fair, ecologically sound and humane. The month of action kicks off the Real Food Challenge, a new national campaign with the mission to build a student movement for just and sustainable food. As the international food crisis worsens, students from Hawaii to New Hampshire will organize grassroots “protest potlucks,” community teach-ins and real food roundtables, working locally and directly to address the problems in the global food system.

The Real Food Challenge has an ambitious goal: to redirect 20% of all food purchased by colleges and universities (currently $4 billion) to Real Food by 2020. Led by students, the campaign advocates collaboration, commitment and collective action as a means of transforming the university food service industry. The campaign also trains and empowers students to tackle food as an issue that determines our health, the sustainability of our lifestyles and the conditions of our communities and planet.

A key feature of the Real Food Challenge is its emphasis on uniting existing networks in order to amplify the work of student farmers, fair trade and farmworker rights activists, local food advocates, climate change leaders and mindful eaters. In November of 2007 the Challenge held its first Real Food Summit, drawing a diverse group of student leaders from 47 different colleges and universities throughout the Northeast. This fall, the Real Food Now! Month of Action will engage over 300 campuses across the United States.

Student leaders working to bring Real Food to their college campuses will be at Slow Food Nation to present at Changemakers Day and to participate in the Youth Food Movement Program. They will be among 200 students and young farmers, cooks, artisans and activists joining the Eat-In on Labor Day, a “protest potluck” and demonstration in the spirit of Slow Food Nation’s theme, “Come to the Table.” The Real Food Challenge is being launched by The Food Project, the California Student Sustainability Coalition and a diverse group of allied organizations, including United Students for Fair Trade, Slow Food on Campus, the Student/Farmworker Alliance and others. Learn more at www.realfoodchallenge.org.

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Image courtesy of Yale Sustainable Food Project

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Gordon Jenkins is the Time for Lunch Campaign Coordinator at Slow Food USA. He is the Director of Eat-Ins.org and was an organizer for Slow Food Nation 2008. He has served as an assistant to Alice Waters and as a student farmer and writer for the Yale Sustainable Food Project. Read more >

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