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Executive Summary

The UW Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a registered student organization (RSO) seeking the involvement of the University community to increase the volume of locally and responsibly sourced foods available for sale in campus dining and retail facilities. The Real Food Challenge is also the name of national organization that is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. The University of Washington student group is a concordant body of this organization.

To effectively bring about change in the campus food system and to recognize where each university stands in regards to how much “real food” (ecologically-sound, locally based, fair, and humane food) it provides to its consumers, the Real Food Challenge has developed a web application called the Real Food Calculator. Universities and businesses may use this utility to gauge the percentage of real food they procure.

The students of RFC at UW are using the Calculator utility this academic quarter to assess the amount of real food that HFS purchased during the months of January and February 2013. This amount will be quantified as a percentage of the annual food procurement budget. We are requesting a grant of $3000 to fund future Calculator work after the completion of the spring project. To be explicit, this grant would support the Calculator project of 2014, ensuring its endurance as an annual assessment. The Calculator is an entirely student-driven project that relies on the support of HFS Vending Manager Micheal Meyering. Extensive outreach and educational efforts are required to engage the student population in the immediate campus food system, and we believe this grant and responsible spending will allow us to have a larger presence and impact on campus.

Using the results of the Calculator audit we are conducting this spring, we can provide an analysis of where UW stands in the greater national food system. If our Calculating work is continued as an annual institutional assessment, the progress reflected in the results can be charted and used by the University not only to improve its own food procurement standard, but the national standard as well. We intend to formalize the results of the Calculator and use them to propose the Campus Commitment. The commitment is a food sustainability policy that commits institutions of higher education to an increase in real food procurement.

Check out the complete assessment here!

Primary Contact:
Dani Gilmour