Skip directly to content

Food Day Campus Highlights

on December 6, 2012

This post is from Hannah Wolfe, National Food Day Coordinator for Real Food Challenge. 

October 24, 2012 marked the second annual Food Day, but looking at the numbers you'd never guess this national day of action is only two years old! 

At the moment, we know of 290 campuses that participated, hosting close to 900 events, and engaging approximately 99,814 students, faculty, dining staff, and other campus community members. (And no, none of those numbers are typos.)

Insane, right!?

Here are some of the highlights:


Appalachian State University - Boone, NC
Folks at Appalachian State University put together a jam-packed lineup of Food Day events. Film screenings were held throughout the week along with several meals featuring local ingredients. Food Day was also used to launch a month-long food drive benefitting local organizations fighting hunger, as well as recruiting volunteers to and fundraising for App State’s campus garden, the Edible Schoolyard. The largest event was a festival titled Know Your FACS (Food and Campus Sustainability), with booths and tables from over 30 campus and community organizations. Activities included baking cookies with solar power, creating your own vermicompost (compost using worms!), a seed swap, and more. More details can be found here.

University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH
University of Cincinnati student group FLOF (Fresh, Local, Organic Food) organized an outdoor festival on the main quad on their campus to celebrate Food Day. They created a small farmers market on campus with local vendors selling pre-made meals, fresh produce and desserts, while collecting photo petitions throughout the day (373 in total!). The fair also featured an interactive food mural (a chance paint what real food means to you!), free food from local restaurants and informational booths from organizations like Food and Water Watch and UC’s Student Dietetic Association, educating students on topics ranging from Genetically Engineered food to water tower gardening.


Williams College - Williamstown, MA
Williams College celebrated Food Day with a week’s worth of activities, ranging from a screening of Food Inc. to a panel discussion with farmers about the queer movement and agriculture, a visit to the food bank of western Massachusetts, and an open garden workday with the Williams Sustainable Growers. The lineup of events included several guest speakers: chef and author Barton Seaver spoke about restoring our relationships to each other, the ocean, and the land through food; and biologist and writer Joe Roman joined chef and activist Bun Lai to present a lecture on edible invasive species - which included a demo and tasting! A food and craft fair showcased student artisans, while a fair of local vendors and farmers was brought to campus to connect students more closely to their community. For more details (and there are many more!) check here.
UC San Diego - La Jolla, CA
Hoping to empower their fellow California voters to vote YES on Prop 37 in the upcoming election, UCSD’s Student Sustainability Collective hosted a panel discussion on GMO’s the evening before Food Day. Panelists included chefs, farmers, local food advocates and bestselling author Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology. For Food Day itself, UCSD’s resident RFC powerhouse Jessica Baltmanas organized a sustainable food expo, allowing students and community members the chance to meet and learn from local sustainable food suppliers, community organizations, and student initiatives driving the movement for real food in San Diego.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins’ RFC affiliate Real Food Hopkins hosted their 3rd annual 100 mile meal, celebrating Food Day with a dinner comprised of ingredients all sourced within 100 miles from Hopkins’ campus. The meal also served as part of the national premiere of Food Mythbusters as dinner guests got to view the film 2 days before its official release, and were treated to a guest appearance by Food Mythbusters creator Anna Lappe’! Students also tabled in one of their dining halls, collecting photo petitions and conducting a taste test between local and store-bought apples. Real Food Hopkins carried the Food Day energy over to October 25th, when they held a cooking demonstration for unfamiliar produce items grown in the campus garden (i.e. bitter greens, green tomatoes, etc.). 
Duke University - Durham, NC 
The Duke Real Food Campaign celebrated Food Day with “Food For Thought,” an outdoor banquet on Chapel Quad. Students, faculty, farmers, activists, food providers, and representatives from area restaurants shared a meal together and discussed ways to turn a more sustainable food system into reality. After perusing the real food buffet, attendees were given seating assignments based on the area of food most interesting to them - each table featured one or two ‘Food Experts’ to lead and incite discussion on the table’s designated theme. Experts ranged from a variety of backgrounds, including the Duke Campus Farm, Duke Law School, Bon Appetit Management Company, and many more. Food For Thought not only brought campus and community members together, it also served to rally support for the Duke Real Food Campaign’s efforts to make Duke the first school in the southeast to sign on to the Real Food Campus Commitment. 
University of Central Missouri - Warrensburg, MO
The University of Central Missouri’s Student Dietetics Association worked with the Collegiate Farm Bureau to organize a Food Day Fair on their campus where the SDA distributed information to their peers about creating a more sustainable diet. Activities included a Food Day quiz competition, sampling apples from the UCM farm, and a pop up art show by the Lexicon of Sustainability! SDA students also participated in a Food Day Crop Mob, gathering students to volunteer on a local urban farm where they planted garlic, built compost bins, and helped to prepare the farm for winter.
Lipscomb University - Nashville, TN
Fresh off the energy of one of Real Food Challenge’s Southeast leadership trainings, Emily Brunson and Maha Mortada coordinated the organizing efforts to celebrate Food Day on Lipscomb’s campus. On Food Day, Lipscomb’s main quad was filled to the brim: local vendors and on-campus organizations alike hosted informational booths about their work; a small farmers’ market was coordinated by Good Food for Good People, a Nashville cooperative of 200+ local farmers; cooking demonstrations were given by representatives from Whole Foods; and, to top it all off, it wouldn’t be Nashville without live music. The festival was complemented with screenings of the documentary Fresh, followed by a panel discussion involving members of Lipscomb’s campus and the surrounding Nashville community.
Loma Linda University - Loma Linda, CA
Loma Linda University hosted their first ever Food Day event this year! LLU organized an outdoor fair featuring local farmers and local chefs coming together to make affordable, sustainable, fair and healthy treats. Booths featured tips on how to eat real on a student budget and how to avoid the "dirty dozen," and a chance to win a book off the Food Day suggested reading list! That evening, LLU held a film screening of Nourish Short Films 2011 with profits going towards supporting the Phi U Honor Society in teaching the Food Day curriculum throughout the year.
Portland State University - Portland, OR
In honor of Food Day, PSU’s Food Action Collective worked with faculty and community organizations to host a Food Justice Symposium. Aimed to provide the campus with a more thorough understanding of food justice, the symposium consisted of a panel discussion with PSU faculty and community members, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. The event was catered by Nawitka Catering, a local organization that provides work experience, training, and employment opportunities for the Portland Native American community.
University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA
UI student organization Simply Food hosted a dinner Food Day evening at Trumpet Blossom, a new (it just opened in April!) vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Iowa City.  Simply Food will be there, tabling about our organization, Food Day and RFC.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from all dinners that evening went to Simply Food - what a great fundraising idea!
Chatham University - Pittsburgh, PA
Students in the Chatham University organization Naturality partnered with the Master’s in Food Studies Program and their dining hall to host a local lunch for Food Day. The lunch not only consisted of local food, but visits by local farmers and area sustainable food organizations, a screening of Food Mythbusters, and photo petitioning! Chatham was one winner of our photo petition competition, submitting the most creative, out-of-the-box photos - check them out here!
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 
The Local Food Club at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs celebrated Food Day with a delicious local meal, bringing students together over food. While enjoying home-made butternut squash soup, whole-grain bread and apple cider, the Local Food Club took the opportunity to engage folks in conversation about the importance of supporting their local foodshed, and eating both locally and seasonally. Students also took part in a photo petition - more photos can be seen here!
University of Maine, Orono - Orono, ME
At the University of Maine in Orono, the UMaine Green Team, Sustainable Agriculture Enthusiasts (SAgE), and the Nutrition Club collaborated to table and flyer the campus. The main component of their Food Day celebration was the kickoff of the UMaine Greens project, a student-run hoop-house where students will grow salad greens for use in the campus dining hall. Everyone who attended the launch of the hoop-house enjoyed a fresh meal made with produce donated from the local farmers’ market. 
University of Washington - Seattle, WA
To celebrate Food Day, the Real Food Challenge at UW joined the national launch of Food Mythbusters by organizing a screening for their peers in a cafe on campus. The event included a performance by a student band and a presentation by RFC at UW on real food!
For more photos, check our Food Day 2012 Facebook album.
Would you like to see your school's Food Day events featured in our blog? Fill out our evaluation form or contact Upload photos here (password: pumpkin) with your school's name in the image title.