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Action Ideas

Planning an action can be as simple as taking an event you already have planned—a harvest dinner, a movie screening, a protest—and registering it online with us.

OR, you can plan an action especially for FOOD DAY on October 24th.

Whatever you do, have fun, get creative, and think about how you can best impact your campus and community food system. And don’t forget to take a photo!

For a list of additional action ideas, click here. If you’re still stuck, check out our Guide to Launch or just contact us.


Real Food Photo-Op (for all actions)

Send a message to your school’s administration and to students around the country: students at your school want REAL FOOD NOW.

Start by gathering a group for your photo shoot. Four, five, or fifty people will do. Make some flashy signs that read “Real Food Now!” Feel free to make additional signs with slogans relevant to your campus.

Find a location that highlights the potential for “real food” on your campus and in your community: think dining halls, local farms, the university president’s office, food banks, community gardens, industrial kitchens, etc. Get creative! How can you best represent this exciting future?

When you’re all ready: CLICK!

Variation: Start a photo petition. Instead of one big group shot, take your signs around campus with you. Set up a table in a well-trafficked area and ask people to stop and pose with your signs. While you’re at it, give them some information on real food activity at your school and invite them to your next event!

Make sure to send us your pics as soon as you have ‘em! Email them to with “Real Food Now Photo” in the subject line.


ACTION IDEA #1: Comment Card Campaign

Most food service operations have comment cards or suggestion boards available for student feedback on their service. Often the operators are responsive to student demand. Most of the comments they usually receive, however, are about specific dishes, missing condiments, or recipe suggestions. Your comments cards will let them know loud and clear that students care about the quality and health of their food AS WELL AS where and how it was produced, processed and transported. Students want Real Food Now!

Recruit a team to go out and solicit comments. Set up a table at a well-trafficked area on campus or at a related event. Don’t wait for people to come up to you! Go up to talk to students. Most students want better food on campus and will be happy to fill out a card. After they stop to write, use the opportunity to talk to them about all the exciting Real Food activities going on at your campus and how they can help. When you gather a critical mass of cards (depending on your school size and culture), deliver them to your food service operators.

Variation: Plan your goals ahead of time! Write out a formal letter that outlines the changes you’d like to see on campus (ex. 20% real food by 2020). When you hand in all your comment cards, hand over the letter and request a meeting to discuss how, together, you might help them reach such ambitious targets. Let them know you want to work collaboratively on this issue because it’s one that students care about.

ACTION IDEA #2: Real Food Roundtable

A great place to start—roundtables are a useful way to make new connections, brainstorm ideas, set collective goals, and plan some concrete next steps to get moving.

There are often a variety of students, student organizations, professors, and others who are concerned with real food. Gather key student leaders, activists, and allies to start folks talking about real food and the possibilities for food system change on your campus and in your community. You can spark real change in your campus food system—all it takes is getting the right people together to get the ball rolling.

Use the Real Food Wheel to highlight the interconnectedness of the issues—how health, labor, agriculture, climate change, and social justice all converge in our food system.

Variation: This a great first step; a way to rally key leaders around the issue of real food. All big changes start with little conversations, solid relationships, and a clear vision for the future. The roundtable can be held before, after, or in conjunction with a larger public event. But don’t let things fizzle! Follow up on your next steps.


Part rally. Part teach-in. Part picnic. Hold a public “eat-in” to highlight the need for real food on your campus. Set up shop in front of your cafeteria, a local fast food chain, a central green, or prominent campus building. Recruit friends, classmates, fellow activists, faculty and other community leaders to gather and share real food together.

Get creative: Put up giant signs that explain the purpose of the event, entice passerbys to join you with costumes and free food. This is a great way to celebrate real food, educate your peers, and press your school to step up to the challenge: REAL FOOD NOW!

Variation: Turn the eat-in into a cookout. Invite local bands. Get the grill going. Turn the event into a fair of real food solutions, including tables with information, representatives from local organizations, and easy ways for anyone to get involved.

For more action ideas, click here