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7 Things We Learned From a Massive Real Food Road Trip:

on October 1, 2014
1) Focus on that Contract! Focus on that Contract!
After years with Sodexo, the University of Vermont is opening up their contract for new bidders.  After some serious research and advocacy efforts by The Real Food Working Group on campus, badass real food focused language got put into the university's desired specs:
…mandates that whatever company takes over, they hit the university's commitment to 20% real food BEFORE 2020, provide invoices for the Calculator in digital format, offer culturally diverse food offerings, provide complete transparency on rebates ("kickbacks") from big food manufacturers.  …oh, and this: "An incentive plan for Vendor’s management team that… is not predicated on maximizing food rebates."  Check it out!
2) The Fight For Real Food goes beyond just Colleges
At the University of Utah, students and administrators are setting their sights not only on signing Real Food Campus Commitment to change the food for it's 32,000 students, but also extend the commitment to cover the University Hospital, which serves nearly 1,000,000 people a year (including 3,500 babies!).

3) Finding Common Ground Between Movements is Critical
At Ohio State University, student leaders are simultaneously launching three inspiring campaigns: 1) for the Real Food Campus Commitment, 2) to Boot the Braids (kick Wendy's off campus for their mistreatment of farmworkers), and 3) for Fair Bananas (to end exploitation on banana plantations and support farmer co-ops in Latin America!).  All connected.  All critical.  And all working for a just food system, together.
4) Wild Game.
Yup -- when students at The University of Montana did their Real Food Calculator assessment, they found an invoice for wild game! We're not sure how it got there, but we're sure it tasted great!  It's amazing to see how our Commitment Signatories continue to push boundaries and find creative ways to educate their campuses and support sustainable food systems.
5) We've got to Beat 'BAMA!!
Yes, some rivalries die hard.  Real Food camapaigns are rolling at schools throughout the Southeastern Athletic Conference (SEC).  When leaders at Auburn University at University of Tennessee, Knoxville were asked what their campaign goals were, their answers were unequivical: Beat Alabama.
6) State-wide campaigns are... Harder, Better, Faster Stronger!!
Students at University of North Carolina, Pembroke are teaming up with the NC 10% campaign this year.  NC10% is a campaign to get all state institutions and all North Carolinians (!) to shift at least 10% of their food spending to local foods.  At UNCP we're taking it twice as far and fast -- and hope to spread the movement! 
7) Kittens.  Always, Kittens.
Nothing livens up a 4-week long stint on the road than kittens.  It's just a fact.  

Congrats to all the amazing RFC leaders and organizers who've put in so much time into campaign planning, recruiting, building power, and most of all, pushing for a truly just and sustainable food system in hard hit communities across the country. 
....ok, and just one more kitten... for the road! :)