We're mobilizing young people to redefine real food and build a food system that benefits everyone.
Since 2008, we’ve been training and supporting students to lead campaigns and make Real Food product shifts on their campuses. To date, we’ve won commitments to local, sustainable, fair, and/or humane food sources at 80+ schools, amounting to $80+ million annually. Our Real Food Challenge program also maintains the Real Food Standards and equips students to monitor their school’s purchases with our Real Food Calculator.
Real Food Generation (the organization that encompasses both Real Food Challenge and our new movement, Uprooted & Rising) is also a founding member of the Real Meals Campaign, a groundbreaking, intergenerational coalition to oppose the sweetheart deals between the cafeteria corporations on our campuses and the Big Food corporations that lock out community producers.
Real Food Challenge leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair, and green food system.
Real Food Challenge aims to shift $1 billion (20%) of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and unhealthy food and towards local & community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources—what we call Real Food—by 2020.
All of our work comes back to six core, guiding principles:
The Movement Principle
The Youth Principle
The Partnership Principle
The Multicultural Principle
The Participatory Principle
The Real Food Challenge began in 2007 when it was founded by a committed group of student activists, national food movement leaders, and higher education sustainability experts. Amidst growing movements for farmworker justice, international fair trade, student farms and gardens, and local food, Real Food Challenge launched as a means to amplify student voices and focus our collective efforts on real change in higher education and in the food industry.
With the support of the California Student Sustainability Coalition, The Food Project, and a number of other national partners, Real Food Challenge became an independent, self-funded program of The Food Project in 2008. Today, Real Food Challenge operates as a self-funded, fiscally sponsored project of TSNE MissionWorks.
Since its founding, Real Food Challenge has built a powerful network of hundreds of student leaders while educating and training tens of thousands of young people across the country. These students have won shifts of over $80 million in campus cafeteria dollars to local, ecologically sound, fair, and humane farms and food businesses.