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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Club challenges to choose real food

A demonstration was held in front of the Viking Commons on Monday, Oct. 26, to bring attention to the Real Food Challenge by the Students for Sustainable Food club.

One of the leaders of the Real Food Challenge campaign, Melinda Vickers, said the club chose to be outside the Viking Commons for a reason.

“Western, like many other campuses, has a dining contract with a large, corporate food producer, ours being Aramark,” Vickers said. “Aramark makes a lot of large purchasing decisions, which means that there is not a lot of what we define as real food.”

Real food, Vickers said, is food that is local, sustainable, community-based and ethically grown.

Grant Goheen (left) signs the Real Food Challenge while members of the Students for Sustainable Food club answer questions Monday, Oct. 26, outside Viking Commons. The club hopes to get Bruce Shepard to sign a pledge to purchase 20 percent of the campus' food from local, sustainable and ethically grown sources. // Photo by Caleb Galbreath
Grant Goheen (left) signs the Real Food Challenge while members of the Students for Sustainable Food club answer questions Monday, Oct. 26, outside Viking Commons. The club hopes to get Bruce Shepard to sign a pledge to purchase 20 percent of the campus’ food from local, sustainable and ethically grown sources. // Photo by Caleb Galbreath

Sophomore Bryn Hirschfeld believes that events like this are important to show students what the issue is, and show administrators that students are interested in this.

“We need to show that Western wants to continue to be one of the top schools for sustainability,” she said.

Sophomore Rosa Rice-Pelepko, one of the leaders of the club, is currently working to get President Bruce Shepard to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. The commitment states that a campus will purchase at least 20 percent real food a year by 2020.

“We’ve been talking to the administration, and there’s been a lot of collaboration,” Rice-Pelepko said. “But we really want to get more students involved, to show that it’s not just our club that wants this.”

The club hopes to get the pledge signed by the end of the year. “After that’s done, we’ll work on the implementation phase,” she said. “This event is happening because we wanted to spread the word, and educate students about the campaign.”

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