About Real Food Challenge
Real Food Challenge is a program of Real Food Generation, a fiscally-sponsored project of Third Sector New England. The Real Food Challenge began as an independent, self-funded program of The Food Project, inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization basedin Boston, MA. The mission of the Real Food Challenge (RFC) is to harness the power of youth and universities to build a healthy, fair, and green food economy. By 2020, we aim to shift $1 billion of annual college food purchases away from industrial agriculture towards local, sustainable, and fair sources. We do this by training and supporting students to lead ‘real food campaigns’ on their campuses.
From mounting food crises abroad, to rising rates of diabetes and obesity at home; from the carbon emitted by agriculture to the human rights abuses in the fields, it's clear our food system is in need of major change. There is a growing movement of college students working to address food issues on campus. Over 300 institutions already have college farms, fair trade initiatives, or farm-to-cafeteria programs, and the number is growing every day. The Real Food Challenge leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system.
Real Food Challenge’s GET REAL! Campaign provides a platform to expand and amplify existing real food efforts in higher education and push new schools to join in. Our primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what we call “real food”—by 2020. The Real Food Challenge maintains a national network of student food activists working on campuses across the country, providing opportunities for networking, learning, and leadership development for thousands of emerging leaders.
WHAT WE DO
• Summits: Real Food Challenge organizers plan regional local gatherings to build the movement through information sharing and networking.
• Trainings: RFC supports new campus and national leaders in the food movement through a variety of leadership development opportunities.
• Campus Visits: RFC organizers lead regional road trips to bring the RFC training experience to individual schools.
• Days of Action: RFC collaborates with partner organizations to participate in national and international days of action, such as Food Day and 350’s 10/10/10 Day of Action.
• The Campus Commitment: The Real Food Campus Commitment allows university presidents to exercise leadership by committing their institution to purchase 20% real food by 2020, track their progress, and share their successes.
• The Calculator: This is a tool for assessing and tracking institutional food purchasing over time, which gives schools a clear picture of how much they are actually investing in real food. The Real Food Calculator is going live as a fully web-based application in Fall/Winter 2012.
The Real Food Challenge is supported by charitable foundations, individual donors, and event-based revenue such as registration fees. Foundations represent the majority of our funding. Below is a complete list of foundation supporters, past and present.
Cedar Tree Foundation
Clif Bar Foundation
High Meadows Foundation
John Merck Fund
New World Foundation
Small Planet Fund
The Zimmerman Foundation
Town Creek Foundation
Special thanks to the Zimmerman Foundation and the Cedar Tree Foundation who invested in us when RFC was still just an idea. Indeed, we appreciate all of the funders out there who allow initiatives like ours to push the envelope, take risks, and serve our communities.