Students take Real Food Challenge
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 21:09
Students interested in “real” food were invited to attend the Real Food Challenge Leadership Training session over the weekend, which was hosted by the FGCU Students for Environmental Justice organization.
The Real Food Challenge is a national campaign that “leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair, and green food system,” as stated by its vision. The goal of the campaign is to shift $1 billion from existing university budgets nationally to “real” food.
The training hosted students from all over the southeast, including Louisiana and Georgia, and covered a wide spectrum of topics ranging from leadership and organizational skills to the importance of community-based, organic, ethical food. Included in the weekend training were tours of the Immokalee tomato farm hosted by the Coalition for Immokalee Workers and the FGCU Food Forest.
Food Foresters vice president, Arlo Simonds, said sustainable food not only makes for healthy people, but for a healthy community too.
“Real food is important to me because it is the first step toward a sustainable human society in which we all respect the ecosystem around us and recognize our place in that ecosystem,” Simonds said. “We all have to eat, may as well get two birds stoned at once!”
Rebecca Dart, a junior majoring in environmental studies, said the training session opened her eyes to certain food and sustainability issues that she didn’t previously know.
“I learned just how unhealthy the food provided to the schools in America really is as well as great and efficient ways of curing that and other problems by forming community-based relations with local businesses,” she said. “I now see that the implementation of real food not only in schools, but in every facet of our lives is not only beneficial, but necessary.”
Students are currently running the Real Food Calculator, a tool used to fairly and critically evaluate the health, fairness, and environmental impacts of the food provided on campus.
For more information and opportunities to get involved in the Real Food Challenge and FGCU Students for Environmental Justice (SEJ), contact Raciely Hernandez, co-president of SEJ, at email@example.com.