Needs and challenges:
One of our biggest challeneges is figuring out exactly where a lot of our produce is coming from, and whether or not it counts as being local. We work with an individual sourcer who goes to farmers markets and orders our produce for us. This arrangement guarantees that we always get the freshest produce, but it also means that the farm growing our produce changes week to week, making it difficult to keep track of where each item is coming from. Currently, the Student Assistant for Sustainability Research and Implementation (who manages the Real Food Challenge database) must go through all of the produce on a daily basis as it is delivered and find the zip code of the farm where it was grown. Luckily, with our small campus of only 2,000 students, this system is possible, and although it is time consuming, it has allowed us to capture and count local items that we used to miss.
Successes and achievements:
2008-2009- 4% Real Food
2009-2010- 8% Real Food
2010-2011- 18.5% Real Food!!!
We have made significant progress over the last 3 years! Although, we think some of increase is due to improved record keeping, we have made a huge effort to order local, organic, fair trade, and humane products for our dining hall.
Our success was made easier by our location in Southern California, a climate that allows for year-round growing
pre-consumer food waste, post-consumer food waste, other organic waste
fair trade purchasing, organic purchasing, humane purchasing, local purchasing, academic programs, student organizations, student farm/garden, farm-to-college program
research, other educational, food consumed by volunteers, other
comments: Occidental College has an on-campus organic farm that is managed and taken care of by the students of F.E.A.S.T (Food- Energy- and-Sustainability-Team). The organization aims to learn about sustainable, local, and organic food through hands on experiences and to teach the cultural, environmental and economic impacts of food. Our overarching goal is to create awareness about sustainable, healthy food on the Occidental Campus and ultimately in the Eagle Rock community.
comments: Occidental College (Oxy) has a variety of academic and extra-curricular programs focusing on food issues.
Every year, the school offers a "Food Justice" pre-orientation trip for incoming freshman. We participate in Food Justice Month every October and throw a variety of events around campus, including speakers and fairs.
The Urban and Environmental Policy department offers a course entitled "Food and the Environment" which "examines the range of issues associated with the food system, including environmental, economic, health, cultural, and social impacts related to how food is grown, processed and manufactured, distributed, sold, and consumed."
Student groups like F.E.A.S.T(Food- Energy- and-Sustainability-Team), Well Fed (a student dinner club focused on creating local, organic, humane, and vegetarian menus), and Veg Heads (vegetarian club) regularly sponsor events for the campus, including an "iron chef" competition, and promote "Real Food" around campus.
Campus Dining employs a part-time Student Assistant for Sustainability Research and Implementation, who manages the Real Food Challenge database and promotes the program.