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Real Food Rising: National Summit 2013

October 11-14th, 2013

Minneapolis, MN

What to Expect | Resources | Travel Scholarships | Make your Payment | Facebook Event


Registration for Real Food Rising is Now Closed

This October, 250 student leaders on the cutting edge of the food movement will gather in Minneapolis, MN for an exciting event. The Real Food Challenge National Summit will bring together delegations of leaders from 75+ colleges and universities around the country for a weekend full of training, strategizing and action.  

What to Expect

At the summit, you will get a chance to meet Real Food Challenge student leaders from all corners of the U.S. as we build solidarity across regions, food service providers and interest groups.  Together we'll talk about farm-to-institution basics, challenging corporate dominance in our food system, how dynamics of institutionalized racism and other forms of oppression impact our work and the nuts and bolts of building successful student groups and campaigns.  We'll also hear from farmers, food chain workers and other food justice leaders in the upper Midwest!
The gathering will build on recent campaign successes.  In March, following years of grassroots organizing, food service giant Sodexo signed a Food Chain Transparency Agreement with Real Food Challenge—ensuring students at the 850+ Sodexo-contracted campuses have a real opportunity to learn about the food on campus.  Meanwhile, local student campaigns have won commitments from their universities, shifting over $50 million of purchasing dollars to local farms and sustainable food businesses.
This summit is also one step in a larger organizing effort.  Attendees will return to their campuses ready to run real food campaigns – re-directing institutional food dollars to small and mid-size farmers, fair trade cooperatives, and sustainable agriculture.  

With Food Day 2013 also coming this fall -- shaping up to be the largest mobilization in food movement history -- there’s plenty more inspiring action to come!

We weren't the first ones to recognize the powerful sound of Real Food Rising! It's also the name of an amazing food initiative in Utah, empowering young people to fight hunger. We encourage you to learn more and follow their great work!

Program & Agenda

Organizing. Leadership. Power. Winning! The content of Real Food Rising will be a mix of general body programming and workshop breakouts speaking to particular topics in these themes. Dozens of sessions to choose from include:

  • Storytelling & Public Narrative in Organizing
  • Be the News: Social Media, Social Movements & Getting Good Press
  • Recruitment and Retention: Mobilize Folks and Build a Strong Leadership Team
  • What does Solidarity Mean? Models from the Farmworker Justice Movement
  • Empowered Knowledge: Popular Education and Campus Organizing
  • How to Kick Butt in Meetings with Big Shots... and Other Messaging Challenges
  • Farm-to-College-to-YOU: How to Build Partnerships with Local Farmers
  • Planning your Awesome Real Food Campaign from Start to Finish

...And that's just a sampling!

We have also invited food justice leaders from the Minneapolis area (and beyond) to engage in a food justice panel. Panelists include organizers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Minneapolis' own LaDonna Redmond!

The summit runs Friday evening through Monday mid-day. Expect to be actively engaged (with plenty of breaks and time to socialize) from ~8:00 in the morning to 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Please see Resources for additional information about the schedule.

Lodging & Accomodations

As in past National Summits, we'll be staying at churches in the Minneapolis community which have generously offered their space. This helps us keep the cost of conference registration affordable for students. There will be 2-3 housing sites within walking distance of the conference site (transit also available). Housing will be co-ed, and we will be sleeping on floors, so please plan to pack a sleeping bag, pad, and pillow. If you would prefer alternative housing accomodations, please contact See resources for a full packing list for Real Food Rising!

Here is a map of conference locations including housing sites, showers, and all programming sites. You will be provided with a printed map at registration.


Sign Up

Registration for Real Food Rising closed October 1. You can contact your regional organizer to be placed on a wait list.
Each school is allotted 2-5 student delegates including one delegation leader to act as a liaison between their delegation and the Real Food Rising planning team.
Key Dates
  • Friday, September 20, 2013
    • Early Bird Registration and Discounted Registration Fees End
    • Registration Deadline for Delegation Leaders
    • Travel Scholarship Deadline - Round 1
  • Tuesday, October 1, 2013: 
    • FINAL deadline for all registration
    • Travel Scholarship applications close

***Are you coming from the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast? Sign up for the bus and roadtrip with fellow RFC'ers!

Registration Fees

The registration fee includes the cost of meals, space and materials, all programming, and housing. The actual cost of the conference is approximately $200 per person. The Real Food Rising planning team (which consists of student leaders just like you!) has been working hard through grassroots fundraising to lower the cost of the registration fee for conference participants. However, to support the participation of others through scholarships, we encourage you to register at the highest level that you can afford. Regardless of the level you pay, your registration fee will cover all of the essentials.  

Early Registration until September 20: $200 - $40 [You have the option to choose the full, the subsidized early bird, or the subsized regular fee]

Regular Registration: Sliding Scale $200-$80 [You have the option to choose the full or the subsidized regular fee]

Registration Fees

Are you riding the East Coast Bus out to Minneapolis?

Use the button below to make your contribution to the cost of the bus.  The actual price of each seat is $200, but the link below allows you to pay whatever amount you have available to you. Please check in with the Regional Field Organizer or Coordinator before finalizing payment.



Fundraising is a key skill for organizing, and an important part of attending Real Food Rising! Here are some resources to help you get there!

  • Check out the RFC Campus Guide to Fundraising [PDF]
  • Get in touch with your Regional Real Food Organizer for additional support in fudraising!
  • We offered 2 webinars for students about fundraising for the summit. "Get the $$ to get to Real Food Rising" was offered September 4th and 18th. Talk to your regional organizer to learn about the fundraising skills that were covered!
On Friday afternoon, you will travel from the airport or train or bus station to the conference site via public transportation. Plan on a 45-60 minute bus ride. Here are some resources to help:
Conference Agenda
  • Note that it takes 45 minutes-1 hour to travel to the conference site by public transportation from the airport. Please build this time into your travel plans.
  • If you have questions, email
Schedule at a Glance
This schedule is tentative and subject to change
12:00-1:00 Short Course Check in 
1:00-5:30 Short Courses/Field Trips
4:00-5:30 Regular Check In
5:30 Official Welcome
Evening Programming
Workshop session 1
Food Justice Panel
Workshop session 2
Regional Breakouts
Evening Entertainment
Foodservice Breakouts
Workshop Session 3
On- and Off-campus Actions
Sunday Closing Programming
Campaign Planning & Regional Follow Up time
11:00 AM Close of conference
What to Bring
Here's a full Packing List of suggested items to bring. Highlights include a sleeping bag, bus fare, campus apparel, and your Real Food Wheel if you have one!

Travel Scholarships

The travel scholarship application period is now closed

We are committed to ensuring that the financial burden associated with travel does not prevent students from attending Real Food Rising 2013. However, we have limited funds for travel scholarships, so not all students who apply will receive assistance. Students who go to schools that are unable to adequately support them to attend the conference will be first priority. We also believe fundraising is an important skill for all student organizers to practice!

Travel Scholarship Information

  • Scholarships will be given out on a case-by-case basis, based on the criteria in the Travel Scholarship Application. Criteria on the application include financial need, strength of fundraising plan, involvement with Real Food Challenge, and ability to bring fresh or underrepresented perspectives to the summit.

  • All scholarship recipients will be expected to fundraise for at least a portion of their travel costs — i.e. we will give out partial or “matching” scholarship grants

  • Scholarships are solely for travel expenses; all attendees are expected to pay their own registration fees

  • *The initial application deadline is Friday, September 20. Priority is given to students who apply before this date. Additional scholarships may be awarded after this time, funding pending, as long as applications are received by Monday, October 1. Travel scholarships are granted on a rolling basis, so apply early — it is highly advantageous to apply before September 20, as that is when the first round of decisions are made.

  • To be considered for a scholarship you must also register for  the conference.

  • Scholarships will be granted in the form of reimbursements. You will be reimbursed 2-3 weeks after attending the conference. If a reimbursement is a barrier to your application, please contact Siri Simons []

  • We will do our best to respond to your scholarship application within 2-3 weeks.

The travel scholarship application period is now closed.