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New School Year, New Team: Keeping It Real

on September 23, 2011

Who's behind the Real Food Challenge?  Who's been planning the 6 regional trainingsthis summer?  Who's behind the big Food Day mobilization?  Who's your biggest ally in making real food change on your campus?

These guys:

Estefanía Narváez, Northeast Coordinator


Estefania graduated in December 2010 from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, which she mobilized to become one of the first Fair Trade Universities in the country.Being born and raised in Ecuador nurtured her lifelong concern for justice. She is an organizer and activist passionate about making real changes to build sustainable food systems, alleviate poverty and hunger, and to let our world breathe some clean air. After a long time of shifting from one home to another, she is now settled in Boston supporting student food justice initiatives in the Northeast. When she is not organizing she is dancing salsa, eating Ecuadorean food and riding her bike in the sun. Contact her at

Carmen Black, Midwest Field Organizer

Growing up in rural Iowa, food and farming were basic parts of life, and Carmen learned a lot about corn, pigs, and what to cook for potlucks in churches. As her curiosity about the world outside of Solon, Iowa grew, so did her interest in social justice and peace. This lead her to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana where she majored in Peace and Global Studies and Spanish. While living at the Earlham student-operated Miller Farm, she was able to see the connection between her interest in peace studies and her passion for food and farming. She now feels passionately about spreading the Real Food Challenge all over the Midwest, where so much food is grown. She also loves, goats, dancing, Indonesian Gamelan music, and making pie. Sometime this fall or winter she will be moving to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and is looking forward to bringing RFC to Appalachia as well! Contact here at

Read about all 10 Regional Field Organizers.

These Regional Field Organizers are pumped to support your campus--as you transition away from factory farms and industrially processed food and towards the real deal.  Contact them with your questions.  Hit them up with your frustrations. Call them to connect with other leading schools in your region.

Meanwhile, the school year is starting, and 19 All-Star student groups are leading the charge as a part of the Grassroots Leaders Project:

Duke University, Durham, NC
The Duke University Real Food Campaign works through the Environmental Alliance, the largest student-run environmental organization on campus, and in addition to emphasizing the importance of real food for environmental sustainability, we are also interested in issues of health and social justice. Ben Soltoff, class of 2012, and Ariana Qayumi, class of 2014, run the campaign along with a core group of dedicated students. Last year, we set up the Real Food Calculator for the Great Hall, a Bon Appetit-operated eatery that is one of the most popular dining locations on campus. This year, we are working to build a coalition of food-related groups at Duke. Our goal for the year is to have the administration officially commit to increasing the amount of real food available in Duke’s eateries. We are very excited to be part of the Grassroots Leaders Project because it will allow us to connect to a network of other students working on similar goals around the country.

Drew University, Madison, NJ
Drew University’s Students for Sustainable Food (SFSF) is a relatively new group working towards improving the dining hall by increasing its use of fairly traded, humane, organic, and local ingredients on campus. We all share a concern for the environment and what our food system is doing to it, and hope to enact changes on campus to reflect a more sustainable and responsible relationship with our food. Fair trade coffee, more local produce, and humane meat products are just a few of our goals; a student garden is already under way and we would love to see that produce incorporated into the dining hall as well! We’re really excited to be a part of RFC’s Grassroots Leaders Project and can’t wait to work with everyone! 

Check out the other Grassroots Leaders teams.  Note: There's still time to apply to join the Grassroots Leaders Project for this year.

In case you thought you were alone--forget about it.  Our movement is strong--we're rocking this cause.  Let's make it happen.