University President Morton Schapiro signed a campus commitment Wednesday with Real Food at NU, pledging 20 percent of Northwestern’s dining hall food will meet “real food” criteria by 2020.
Miranda Cawley, co-director of Real Food at NU, said the group hopes NU will exceed the goal of purchasing 20 percent “real food,” which is defined as “ecologically sound, community-based, humanely produced or fair trade” by the national organization Real Food Challenge.
NU is the first university in the Big Ten to sign a campus commitment for an increase in the percentage of “real food” in dining halls, Cawley said.
“This is a huge achievement for Northwestern, for sustainability,” Cawley said. “There are people working in fields whose lives will be impacted by this decision, and that cannot be underestimated.”
Real Food at NU met with Schapiro after months of campaigning for support from students, faculty and administrators.
“He just walked in and sat down and told us that everybody he has spoken to in the administration supported it,” Cawley said. “He thought it was a great idea. He doesn’t know why we haven’t been doing this for longer and asked us what he could sign.”
The group will soon begin its implementation phase, Cawley said.
“We are going to be working with the administration, with workers on campus and within our group to figure out exactly which product changes make the most sense for our school and increase more real food on campus,” Cawley said.
Now that Real Food at NU no longer has to focus on campaigning, the group will work on hosting more events related to “real food” education, Cawley said. The signing is a great chance for Real Food at NU to show NU can be a leader in sustainability, she added.
“We will be partnering with more organizations to see how our food system touches all the different issues that students care about here and make this a flagship school for real food,” Cawley said.
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