Two weeks ago, a group of Carleton students experienced the opportunity of a lifetime when David Freudberg interviewed them for his National Public Radio program, “Humankind.”
Taylor Owen ’12, Winnie Zwick ’13 and Lyndsie Guthrie ’13 were chosen by the national organization The Real Food Challenge to represent Carleton’s accomplishments in providing sustainable food on the NPR show.
“Carleton students have really worked hard to implement big changes in food policy on campus,” Guthrie said. “Thanks to the work of its students, Carleton has been able to increase its real food consumption from 17 percent in fall 2010 to 20 percent by the winter of 2011.”
The Real Food Challenge is a national campaign to increase the presence of “real food” on college campuses, with a goal to increase real food by 20 percent nationally by 2020.
“Real food is ecologically sound, fairly traded or local,” Guthrie said.
According to the organization’s “real food calculator,” which audits institutional food spending, Carleton has already reached this 20 percent goal within its dining halls.
“We are now optimistic that we will be able to put 40 percent of Carleton’s food spending towards real food by 2020,” Zwick said.
Over the past year Carleton students have worked with Bon Appétit to buy only fairly traded bananas. Bon Appétit has also recently committed to providing 50 percent certified humane meat and 100 percent cage free eggs in the dining halls by 2015 because of student lobbying.
In the eyes of The Real Food Challenge, these accomplishments made Carleton the perfect example of ideal implemented change that students make on their campuses.
For the interview, Freudberg asked general questions about the progress that Carleton students have made with Bon Appétit.
“We mostly talked about our work, why we are interested in food, and why it is important for students to act to solve world challenges,” Zwick said.
Freudberg also spoke with Carleton Biology Professor Susan Singer, ACT Center Assistant Director Kelly Scheuerman, Real Food Challenge national staff member Katie Blanchard ‘10 and two Bon Appétit managers. Additionally, he toured the Carleton student farm and Open Hands Farm.
“It was an honor to have our work recognized by such a prestigious institution,” Owen said.
The students do not yet know when the show will air but are excited to listen when it does. Until then, their next project is to hold a food policy discussion with students from Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf, featuring speakers from across the country involved with food sustainability.
“We hope to be able to work more closely with other schools in Carleton’s ‘food shed’ to purchase sustainable foods together in order to bring costs down,” Owen said.
The discussion, titled “Carleton Gets Real Food Forum and Dialogue Across the Food Shed,” will be held this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Weitz 236.