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Fort Lewis College joins the national campaign for “real food”

FLC's Real Food Challenge Team
Members of Fort Lewis College's Real Food Challenge Team

DURANGO, CO - Fort Lewis College is only the second college in Colorado to sign the Real Food Challenge (RFC) Commitment. To commemorate this milestone, the College is hosting the Real Food Chow Down on March 18th in the Student Union’s San Juan Dining area. The Chow Down showcases the RFC’s definition of “real” food, which is food that upholds social welfare, environmental sustainability, and physical health. Community members are invited to both lunch from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and dinner from 5-7 p.m. Campus dining facilities are open to all with lunchtime a la carte pricing and with a dinner all-you-care-to-eat option offered at $9 per person.

In addition to the Real Food Chow Down, Fort Lewis College will also be hosting RFC National Campaign Director David Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz is a nationally renowned speaker and entrepreneur and was recently named one of Forbes’ “Top 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.” Mr. Schwartz will be holding a number of free community workshops from March 16th-19th, as well as offering a keynote address following the Real Food Chow Down on March 18th at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Real Food Challenge is a campaign geared at shifting $1 billion of institutional food service purchasing power towards “real” foods. To aid the national campaign in achieving its goals, the FLC Environmental Center, FLC administration and on-campus food-service provider, Sodexo, have partnered to work towards allocating 20% of their on-campus purchasing dollars to fair, humane, ecologically-sound, and/or local foods. To learn more about the Real Food Challenge, visit their website at: www.realfoodchallenge.org. 

The positive implications that this campaign holds nationally for food security, health, and economic well-being will be mirrored at a local level. With the Real Food Challenge’s emphasis on increasing local food purchasing, local food producers and vendors will have greater opportunity to participate in this new market. Additionally, more “real” foods in FLC’s dining hall will mean that all FLC students will have access to the health benefits associated with consuming foods that are free of hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. This is especially relevant as a student’s college experience sets consumer trends for the remainder of their lives. 

Students from FLC are aware of the benefits of real food and are excited for this change. In a survey compiled by the FLC Environmental Center in 2012, 76% of the student body considered moving towards more sustainable food options their top environmental priority. To underscore their value for sustainable food choices, students have played a key role in driving the Real Food Challenge campaign forward. Environmental Center student staff members have been involved in everything from purchasing system audits, to identifying local producers, to providing campus-wide education on the value of “real” foods. The leadership training and hands-on experience that students have gained has been a great compliment to their classroom learning. 

Charles Clayton, a student who has worked on the Real Food Challenge campaign since fall 2013 stated that he has “really valued this learning process, as it has shown how to actually make change and where my place is within that process. When (President Thomas) signed the RFC Commitment, the realization hit that ‘Wow! We are actually doing something big here.’”

About the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center: The Environmental Center continues to work hard to make the most of the energy and passion of Fort Lewis College’s diverse student body. We are celebrating our 22nd year as an organization and aspire to excel in providing environmental leadership to the campus and community. Through our deep connections with numerous organizations, the Environmental Center is able to stretch its resources and focus our energy on initiatives that have the greatest environmental impact. The most important impact we have, however, is on the students who work with us and receive the experience and skills today to be tomorrow’s environmental leaders. Learn more at: www.fortlewis.edu/environmentalcenter. 

About the Real Food Challenge: The Real Food Challenge is an effort by FLC students, the FLC Environmental Center, FLC administration and Sodexo to shift 20% of our purchasing dollars to “real” foods by 2020. Our work is done in collaboration with and to support the national Real Food Challenge Movement’s goal of shifting a total of $1 billion dollars in campus dining spending to Real Food by 2020. To learn more about the Real Food Challenge, visit their website at www.realfoodchallenge.org. 

About Sodexo: Sodexo is proud to work together with clients to improve quality of life by promoting health and wellness, reducing energy consumption, preventing waste and sourcing sustainable products. With our shared commitment to sustainability we are making a difference for our health, for our environment and for our communities. To learn more about Sodexo, visit their website at www.sodexousa.com. 


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