Has Your College Taken the Challenge?

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jul 6, 2011 in , , | No Comments

In America, $5 billion a year is spent on food at colleges and universities–what’s the impact?

In the Summer 2011 edition of World Ark, Heifer International‘s magazine, (a great organization which allows people to invest in a unique program that helps struggling families world-wide to provide for themselves), I found an interview by Anna Lappe highlighting a student movement. Interviewed was Katie Blanchard, a recent grad of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and an alum of Real Food Challenge–a group started by college students who began thinking about the impact of college and university food purchases. They created a network to support and educate students about food that is healthy, fair for workers, and good for the planet.

“…Real Food Challenge…boasts more than 5,000 student members and 350 schools and has shifted more than $32 million in school purchases toward sustainable and fair food,” Lappe writes. Ms. Blanchard states in her interview, “Real Food Challenge is a student movement to change the purchasing policies of campus corporate food service away from an industrial, chemical food system toward a food system that truly nourishes consumers, producers, communities and the Earth.” A mammoth undertaking, to say the least, but the group is dedicated to their mission.

Ms. Blanchard states the group has done much more, “We’re also helping the campus adopt the ‘Real Food Calculator,’ a tool that helps schools assess what percentage of their food is “real”–indicators like fair trade, local, humane meat–and to help them move in that direction.”

Find out how you and your campus can make a difference by visiting the Real Food Challenge website. If you aren’t a participant in Heifer International yet, check out their program and give a cow, pig, or flock of chickens to a worthy family! And if you’re employed, see if your employer is one of the more than 13,000 companies across the U.S. who will match your contribution to Heifer International. Make a big difference today!


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