‘Real food’ advisory measure passes with 86 percent approval

Chico State students show their support for sustainable food on campus. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

Chico State students voted in last week’s Associated Students election to commit to the nationwide Real Food Challenge, offering healthier and environmentally sound food choices on campus/

With 86 percent of students voting yes on the advisory measure, A.S. will partner with the university to meet the standards set by the Real Food Challenge.

The challenge was added to the ballot as a result of a class project by the “Environmental Thought and Action” course offered each spring at Chico State.

Schools cannot automatically enforce these regulations. Student support was needed to put the policies in place. The measure was incorporated into the elections in order increase annually the purchase of “real food” with a goal of reaching 20 percent by 2020.

Though many labels claim that foods are “all natural,” many of them don’t meet all of the health and safety standards outlined by the Real Food Challenge.

Real food is classified as humane, local and ecologically sound. The program allows students to make their own decision to eat healthier food while making a positive impact on their community.

Although this may rise some of the food prices on campus, it will stimulate the local economy and support responsible business practices.

The motto has come to be, “What is the cost of your health?” said Sarah Anderson, a student in the “Environmental Thought and Action” class.

Initiated in 2008, the national student-run network has accumulated $60 million worth of pledges committing to real food programs. This work has been done using the two main tools: the Real Food Calculator and the Real Food Campus Commitment.

The Real Food Challenge goal is to shift $1 million of existing university food budgets towards the purchase of real food.

“The goal is to make a positive impact on campus, and to start a nationwide movement,” Anderson said.

So far, all schools in the California State University system and 10 in the University of California system have made the pledge to connect their on-campus dining practices to the sustainability policy.

Elaine Knudsen can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.