Real Food Road Trip Stokes Student Activist Fires in the Midwest

January 19, 2011

This January and February, two student-activist alumna will stop at eight midwest colleges to give student leadership workshops and real food presentations. Katie Blanchard (Carleton College ’10) & Katelyn Hale (Lewis & Clark College ’09) are hitting the road for student-led food justice with the Real Food Challenge (RFC), a national campaign and network empowering students for more just and sustainable food on campus. Their goal is to provide tools and resources for student organizers and share their stories with the larger food movement.

As college students, Blanchard and Hale both led student campaigns to bring more real food onto their college campuses with RFC. Now, as recent alumna, the two aim to strengthen the national real food youth movement through their travels, sharing stories, skills, and energy.

“We’re traveling through the Midwest because it’s a region that deserves much more attention,” explains Blanchard. “This is the belly of the beast; most Midwestern campuses are surrounded by fields and factories of industrial food. Students are eager to better understand their school’s place within this food system and how they can work for more just, sustainable food on their campuses.”

Along with giving presentations, Blanchard and Hale are creating a multi-media project based on students’ stories and experiences which will be housed on their blog,

Hale remarks, “Our timing reflects the fact that the Real Food Road Trip is not about us, it’s about the students. While January may be cold, it is a perfect time to be visiting student groups. It’s the beginning of their second semester and they’ll be planning for a strong follow through with their campaigns before the school year ends. Our travels, presentations, and blog posts are meant to strengthen their individual campaigns and build the larger student-led movement for just, sustainable, and healthful food.”

The Real Food Challenge is a student-led, nation-wide, campaign and network, uniting students for a more sustainable and just food economy. The Challenge is for colleges and universities nationwide to purchase 20% real food by 2020. The Real Food Challenge supports and develops student-led campaigns and projects for real food, focusing on youth empowerment, social justice through grassroots organizing to create a new food system.