A week ago, on October 24th, the nation celebrated Food Day and we saw over 225 campuses unite and spread the message about the importance of "real" food. This kicked off numerous events and even prompted entire Food Weeks to be celebrated on various campuses. Here are more highlights from events that lasted throughout last week.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Along with a Food Day film festival, UNC hosted a farmer's market on campus, and a documentary screening that was co-hosted by Animal Welfare Approved and the producers of the documentary "Food Forward." Local restaurants provided free hors d'oeuvres made with sustainable, local meat products. A panel followed the documentary that featured the director of AWA, the producer of Food Forward, a local hog farmer, a professor in the Nutrition department who researches sustainable food production, and Laura Schoenfeld, a student representative. FLO (Fair, Local, Organic), an on campus group that seeks to educate the student community about sustainable food, is currently working with the UNC administration to shift at least 20% of the university's budget towards real food with the RFC Get Real Campaign.
Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins kicked off their Food Day celebrations with photo petitions in one of their dining halls to engage students in the sustainability movement. On Saturday, the Real Food Hopkins group hosted their second 100 Mile Meal for over 80 guests. It took 18 students and over 160 hours of sourcing, preparing, cooking, and serving, but the meal was almost entirely comprised of local food from within 100 miles of Baltimore. The seasonally-inspired meal was comprised of warm apple cider, whole grain walnut bread, sweet potato spread, marinated maple kale salad, wheat berry and black bean salad (w/goat cheese on side), roasted veggies (butternut squash, beets, purple cauliflower, onions, brussels sprouts), chicken stew, and apple-pear crumble. Their primary goal for the event was to bridge connections among faculty, staff, students, and community members advocating for changes in the food system. The theme of their event was “Real Food”: From Cafeterias to Communities and was reflected in their guest panel that included Brent Kim, MHS, Farming for the Future Program Officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Gladys Burrell, JHU food service worker and member of UNITE HERE; and Cheryl Carmona and Aliza Sollins, urban gardeners and community organizers at Boone Street Urban Farm.
University of Georgia, Athens
Real Food UGA collaborated with UGArden to present a joint fundraiser dinner, "A Night at the Garden" for 90 guests. The dinner, whose proceeds will go to support real food initiatives, featured food donations from numerous local restaurants that source responsibly produced food. The event also showcased local musical guests Rebecca Jones and Grinnin Bear. Later in the week they screened the Greenhorns documentary that explores the lives of America’s young farming community. One of the farm-to-table bakeries featured in the flim, and located in Athens, donated baked goods (such as pig shaped shortbread cookies!) for the event. They also hosted panel discussion with UGA professors from the College of Public Health and the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
To celebrate Food Day, the Sustainable Food Project, a student group at Harvard that plans to launch the RFC Get Real campaign, hosted a panel and discussion on food production, quality, and how Harvard can become a leader in the real food movement. The panel consisted of dining hall workers, students, and Jesse Yurow, one of the Northeast RFOs. Fresh, delicious, and 100% real breads baked together by dining hall workers and SFP members were also served. The goal of the event was to formally "come out" to other students, discuss some of the realities and challenges of modern food production, and amass as much student support and energy as possible before jumping into the real food campaign. The event also celebrated the recent success of the student campaign asking the dining hall to serve cage free eggs.
University of Scranton, PA
At the University of Scranton, student groups arranged a diverse schedule of events starting on October 24. The Excess Food for Others Recovery Team kicked off Food Day with a plate scrape in our cafeteria. Throughout breakfast and lunch, volunteers put the leftover food waste into garbage cans which they displayed to the student body during dinner. They collected about eight trashcans full of waste! The Community Health Education Club arranged for the cafeteria to serve local produce. Buy Fresh Buy Local Northeast PA and the Environmentally Concerned Organization (ECO) hosted showings of Fresh and Food, Inc. ECO also hosted a lunchtime Farmer’s Forum where local young farmers conversed with students about farming as a career. They hosted discussions of plant-based diets, Fair Trade, and the Philosophy of Food, hosted by ECO, United Students for Fair Trade, and Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy Honor Society). JUSTICE Club petitioned for farmworkers’ rights, Photography Club took pictures, and Marketing Society provided the advertising. The week gave students a comprehensive view of food issues. Their goal for the week was to raise awareness of food issues and of the need for food advocacy on campus.
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Food activists at Carleton College tabled for the entire week preceding Food Day to raise awareness of each of the tenants of Food Day. They used these tabling events to attract the attention of single issue students, so they could draw them in from their area of interest and expose them to the interconnectedness that is the food system. On Food Day they arranged a meeting between their local food activist club our their food provider. They established a monthly check in to coordinate food decisions to include the student body. They also used Food Day to get signatures for a petition to get 40% Real Food on campus by 2020 as part of they campus food commitment. The petition was a success and their next steps are to secure endorsements from departments and student clubs.
Smith College, Northampton, MA
Smith College Student Government Association planned a series of Food Day events throughout the week. On Monday, they hosted a Farmers Market and a Local Food Festival to showcase local farmers and food producers with ready-to-eat items available for purchase, bringing Smith students, staff and faculty closer to the food produced in the area. They also hosted Dr. Tom Wessels of Antioch New England who spoke on sustainability in the food system. On Tuesday they hosted a panel of women who have been instrumental in re-shaping food in New England. Food Day also gave them an opportunity to meet with representatives from Dining Services as well as a local distributor to open the line of communication and work towards getting more real food in dining halls. To close out the week they welcomed Tasha Phillips, a founding member of Concerned Citizens of Mason Square Farmers Market and employee of the Food Bank of Western Mass to discuss urban food policy.