Real Food Challenge
In October 2014, Occidental became the 27th national signatory to the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment, with a goal of purchasing 30% sustainable food by the year 2020. As of academic year 2015-2016 we have already reached 24%!
Oxy’s Own Sustainable Food Goals (by 2020):
30% overall Real Food
20% humane animal products
50% ecologically sound seafood - GOAL MET 2016!!
50% local/ecologically sound produce
Reduce dependence on plastic water bottles and decrease usage to under 50,000 bottles per year (currently at approximately 53,000/year)
Purchase all coffee and chocolate from organic and/or fair trade certified sources.
Visit our Suppliers page to learn more about how we source our food.
How can you make a difference? Look for signage in the dining facilities, and choose the products that are labeled "Sustainably Sourced!" We want you to understand the power of voting for sustainable food with your dining purchases. You can do this by choosing items tagged with our "Sustainable Sourced" logo, and by supporting these weekly sustainable meals:
- Monday and Friday SLO (Sustainable Local Organic) Lunches
- Meatless Monday Dinners at Chefs Corner
- Wednesday Night Organic Potato Bar
- Thursday Night Organic Bar
- Saturday Brunch Sustainable Smoothie Bar
Prioritize our sustainable target categories - look for signs in all dining facilities
- Seafood Watch and Marine Stewardship Council approved seafood
- Humane and Free Range Poultry
- Cage Free Eggs
- Local and Organic Produce
- The Marketplace features sustainably grown whole fruit
- Many local and organic items for the salad bar
Contribute to the draft Occidental Food Policy with the Food Systems Working Group (please contact Zoe Alles (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions about or would like to contribute to the policy)
Highlights from our procurement assessment (AY 2015-2016):
24% Overall Real* Food - This is double last year's percentage of 12%
30% Real Produce
Much of our produce is sourced from local, family-owned farms through our suppliers SoCal Farm Network and LA Specialty
We also buy entirely organic produce for many meals, including the weekly Local and Organic Bar, and Organic Potato Bar
We feature local and organic spring mix from Kenter Canyon on our salad bar, and the cherry tomatoes, tofu, and carrots are always certified organic
Our whole fruit is sustainably sourced, local and/or organic
77% Real Coffee and Tea
At the Marketplace, we feature organic locally roasted options from Groundwork Coffee, owned and operated by an Oxy alumnus, and Rishi fair trade/organice teas
The Green Bean also predominantly features organic and fair trade coffee
Tiger Cooler and Coffee Cart espresso is organic
Bottled/canned coffee in all facilities is sustainably sourced according to Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or Organic standards.
54% Real Seafood - GOAL MET!!!
This is primarily attributable to the wildly popular salmon in the Marketplace, obtained from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch approved sources
52% Real Eggs
Despite rising egg prices and shortages, this year we maintained a strong commitment to sourcing sustainable eggs. The percentage is down from last year, but sources look better for AY 2016-2017
22% Real Baked Goods
The Green Bean switched to local bakeries using organic ingredients this year
Elsa's Bakery supplied local and organic pastries to the Green Bean and the Marketplace
20% Real Packaged Goods
Nearly all new packaged goods introduced in the Marketplace, Tiger Cooler and Green Bean this year met RFC criteria
*The Real Food Challenge defines 'Real Food' as:
Local and Community Based: Grown/produced within 250 miles of Oxy and comes from a small business. Items made locally must also contain 51% organic ingredients to qualify.
Ecologically Sound: Organic, responsibly managed (fisheries), or certified by a legitimate third party environmental certification program.
Humane: Cage free, free range, grass fed, or certified by a legitimate third party animal welfare/humane certification program.
Fair Trade: Certified Fair by a legitimate fair certification program (fair wages, working conditions, etc.).
*For a more detailed description of their Guidelines, please refer to the latest version of the Real Food Guide.
“The Real Food Challenge (RFC) leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. Colleges and universities spend almost $5 billion each year on food. Because of concentration in the industry, even small changes in institutional food procurement can have powerful effects on farmers and the entire food chain.
Our primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets (20%) away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what we call “real food”—by 2020.”
History of the RFC at Oxy
Oxy’s Own Dining Services has been participating in the Real Food Challenge since 2008. During the following years we made strong improvements in our procurement and tracking protocols, averaging a 5.25% increase in Real Food each fiscal year, culminating at 25% in the 2012-2013 year. However, in preparation for a push to sign the RFC’s campus commitment, we implemented their newest, more stringent guidelines in 2013-2014. These new guidelines caused our calculated Real Food percentage to drop to 15% - which is what we expected with the new metrics. With 12% Real Food in 2014-2015, that year's assesment saw another small drop as we lost a few major Real Food producers. This 2015-2016 academic year we came back strong, focusing on new procurement initiatives, the addition of new Sustainable Local Organic meals, marketing Real Food to the Oxy community and, with 24% Real Food, doubling the prior year's Real Food procurement. In the 2016-2017 year we plan to approach more local producers and persuade them to switch to organic ingredients and sustainable sources.
Johnson Student Center, 2nd Floor