Challenging the University to get ‘Real’

This letter is in response to the article “Students push for sustainable food” from the Oct. 14 edition of the Minnesota Daily.

I was excited to see the Daily’s coverage on the national student gathering for Real Food Challenge in Minneapolis this month.

Nearly 200 students from 75 colleges and universities attended in solidarity with University of Minnesota students who want to see more sustainable food options on campus.

A student in the article said “only a few schools” have agreed to Real Food Challenge’s goals.

In fact, university presidents and chancellors have pledged to shift nearly $50 million in food purchasing toward local, organic, fair and humane food.

Dining services at more than 60 schools are working with students to assess their purchasing practices, including large schools like the University of California-Irvine and Western Washington University, who also have Aramark Dining Service. This is a large national movement.

While the University has made great strides in food sustainability, the dining service owes its customers (students) transparency and a voice in the campus food system.

Just as we don’t shop with a blindfold at the grocery store, we shouldn’t blindly eat food served on campus without knowing and supporting the source of that food.

As a volunteer organizer for the conference and a University alumna, I see the University as an institution with great potential to drive demand in our region for local, sustainable, socially responsible food.

Connect with student group “U Students Like Good Food” to learn more. Encourage the dining service to provide Real Food on campus.