On November 8th, FFAC hosted a webinar in conjunction with Real Food Challenge and the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED), entit...
The format was slightly different than our standard presentation; we incorporated Real Food Challenge's Real Food Wheel, which breaks the food system into four component parts - producers, the earth, communities, and consumers. It was easy to map FFAC's presentation onto the Real Food Wheel, which provided a useful new conceptual framework for interpreting the effects of industrial animal agriculture. You can view the webinar here. After the presentation, students from around the country shared success stories of real, on-the-ground food activism at their schools. It was incredible to be able to end on such a hopeful note. It's one thing to say, "We can make a difference," and another to say, "Look at the tangible difference people have already made!" You can hear students' inspiring stories here. There were technical problems between speakers, so use the cues to find the beginning of each student's story. First we heard from Linsday of Carleton College, who is working to increase students' consumption of plant-based protein and shift campus buying practices by using the Real Food Calculator. They have increased the purchasing of cage-free eggs on campus and decreased meat purchasing. In addition to working with the dining hall, they are integrating awareness of these issues inside and outside the classroom by providing, among many other things, plant-based nutrition classes and cooking demos.
Next Alisa from NYU shared her success story. Alisa helped secure one of NYU's Green Grants to implement a program called "Climate Change - It's What's for Dinner." This program united a diverse coalition of both undergraduate and graduate student groups. They hosted an event series, featuring a wide variety of speakers and luncheons. One challenge they have faced is reaching people who are not already vegetarian. But they're enticing new people to try plant-based options by partnering with local restaurants to offer discounts on vegetarian options on Mondays. They are also working with the dining hall stakeholders, and as a result NYU now has one dining hall that is entirely meatless on Mondays.
Victoria from UC Santa Cruz is also working on Meatless Mondays, along with other sustainability-related projects. As the campus Sustainability Intern and a member of the Food Systems group, she helped complete a campus 2010-2013 campus sustainability plan designed by a wide range of students, staff, and faculty. Within the food portion of the plan, there are two objectives: increase real food sourcing to 25% (a goal they accomplished this year, using the Real Food Calculator), and decrease meat consumption 10% from 2008 levels. They're also rolling out a 100% cage-free and organic egg program.
Last we heard from Jordan of Grand Valley College. He started Meatless Mondays with one other friend, and the two of them gathered over 4,000 pledges and brought many diverse student groups on board. They got students excited about the Meatless Monday brand by designing 4 distinctive Meatless Monday buttons to distribute to students. Thank you so much to Real Food Challenge and CoFED for sponsoring and organizing the webinar, and to the students who shared stories of their affecting and effective activism.