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Dissatisfied with Farm Bill, students take food policy into own hands on Food Day 2013

on October 20, 2013




Tuesday, October 22nd          


 Kate Klein, 770-714-9951

  David Schwartz, 401-601-5545




Dissatisfied with Farm Bill, students take food policy into own hands on Food Day 2013


At students’ urging, 3 major universities commit to purchase millions in just and sustainable food; thousands more raise awareness, declaring #TheRealFoodMovementIsHere

NATIONAL -- Disappointed by the lack of effective farm and food policy nationwide, this Food Day (October 24th) students from 350 colleges and universities nationwide willraise awareness and launch efforts to change food policies, locally. Students are expected to host over 140,000 attendees at more than 450 Food Day events in 46 states. Campus Food Day events will range from hosting lectures, documentary screenings and organizing petition drives, to events unveiling new university food purchasing policies. Real Food Challenge, the largest national student organization committed to building a just and sustainable food economy, collaborated with Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to coordinate the national day of action on campus. In order to highlight this work, students are participating in a national photo action tagged on social media with #TheRealFoodMovementIsHere.


“The fact that as students, we’re able to work within our institutions and then work together across the country to change our food system -- which ultimately affects the whole world -- shows the incredible way we, as millennials, are making our voices heard,” points out Annie Steeves, a fourth year at The University of New Hampshire (UNH). Referring to a national food policy pledge recently taken up by 22 universities, she explains: “By signing the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment on Food Day, huge institutions are committing to Food Day’s vision of healthy, sustainable, affordable, and fair food for all.” Students’ campaign for the Commitment at UNH was not successful in time for Food Day, but they are focused on achieving their goal in the near future.

At one of their Food Day events, Johns Hopkins University, Northeastern University, and The University of Massachusetts - Amherst will all formally sign on to the Real Food Campus Commitment, committing to source 20% of their food from local, fair, sustainable and humane farms and food businesses. Hamilton students, stirred by the realization that their school could commit to a higher percentage, decided to delay their Commitment signing until after Food Day, focused on achieving a 30% real food pledge. Together, these three universities bring the number of signatories to 22, representing over $55 million in annual purchases pledged to ‘real food.’ Each school will also inaugurate a new food policy committee on campus and adopt rigorous new transparency standards regarding product origin and vendor social responsibility. Nationally, colleges and universities spend $5 billion to feed students each year.

“We can’t address some of the biggest problems we have as a society -- healthcare, the economy and the environment -- unless we address food,” comments Anim Steel, executive director of Real Food Generation, which sponsors the Challenge. “Congress may be broken, but students are crafting transformational policies and programs every day to start to address these huge issues.”

Food Day events of all kinds will be documented through a nationwide ‘photo action’, tagged with #TheRealFoodMovementIsHere. The photos aim to reclaim the mainstream dialogue about agriculture and food in The United States by highlighting the work young people are doing to guarantee a sustainable and just futur

e. Each photo will include one unifying phrase: “The Real Food Movement is Here.”

Campus Food Day highlights include:

  •  Students from multiple Boston-area universities--including  Tufts, Northeastern, Brandeis, and Boston University--are breaking down traditional rivalries bybuilding an inter-campus organizing network and planning multiple Food Day events to bolster each others’ campaigns for real food. More info here.

  • At Portland State University, in Portland, OR, students are hosting a food policy panel to shed new light on campus food policy and how students can have a say. More info here.

  • The University of Wisconsin, Madison, students are hosting a Real Food Week, including a petition drive on Food Day for the Real Food Campus Commitment. More info here.

  • Students at The University of Maryland, College Park are hosting a meal sourced from recovered food from the campus dining hall and a local farm to spark discussion about food waste. More info here.

Students join more hundreds of thousands of Americans of all walks of life who will participate in more than 4,500 events nationwide.


Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a national student organization dedicated to creating a just and sustainable food system. Real Food Challenge mobilizes students and campus stakeholders to shift college and university food spending to local, fair, ecological and humane food sources. To date, RFC has shifted $60 million in institutional purchases to ‘real food.’

Food Day is the nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. Spearheaded by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and backed by a diverse advisory board of food leaders and organizations, the ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.