The commitment, which was developed by the student-led nonprofit group Real Food Challenge, is a pledge that commits school administrators to formally prioritizing real food* through increasing procurement of such food as well as community engagement and transparency around food issues. The Real Food Challenge focuses on college and university campuses specifically to leverage the purchasing power of these large institutions to “catalyze the transformation of the larger food system.” Students in Macalester College’s Food Roots group have been working on the Real Food Calculator for over a year now, which is a tool the Real Food Challenge developed to determine whether or not food qualifies as “real” in the categories of ecologically sound, fair, humane, or community based.
The standard Real Food Commitment asks for the administration to commit to 20% real food by the year 2020, but thanks to longtime Bon Appétit Management Company initiatives such as the Farm to Fork program and to sustainable seafood, students found that Macalester College was already sourcing more than 20% real food!
Bon Appétit Food Sustainability Worker Karen Weldon, who ran the calculator along with other Food Roots members, and I (as the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation’s Midwest Fellow)
looked over the calculator data to see where improvement could be expected, such as when our new humane commitments are fully in place. Using that knowledge, students were able to successfully campaign to have the commitment signed at 30% real food by the year 2020, showcasing that real food is a baseline standard at Bon Appétit — one we are continually improving upon.
Bon Appétit is proud to have been able to team up with the students and university administrators to work together to improve our already strong commitment to real food, making Macalester College a leader in the real food movement.
*The Real Food Challenge defines “real food” as “food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth. It is a food system — from seed to plate — that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.”