Sustainable Food

Oxy is committed to purchasing and serving sustainably-grown, ethical, local, and humanely-raised foods across all three of our dining facilities. Using the Real Food Challenge standards, we prioritize foods from growers that share our commitment to sustainability. 

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. While RFC revisits and updates their standards, we continue to use their standards.

"Real Food" is:

  • Ecologically Sound: Comes from food operations that practice environmental stewardship that conserves biodiversity and ecosystem resilience and preserves natural resources. This includes the USDA Organic certification, regenerative agriculture practices, and/or approval from the Marine Stewardship Council or Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
  • Local and Community Based: Ingredients that are grown within 250 miles of Oxy, or meat/seafood that has been sourced within 500 miles. Businesses must also be owned privately or through a cooperative and make below $5 million (for produce) or $50 million (for meats and multi-ingredient products like bread).
  • Fair: Foods are considered "fair" if the individuals involved in food production work in safe and fair conditions and receive fair compensation. Examples of fair certifications include Fair Trade Certified, Fair for Life Certified, Fairtrade America, and Food Justice Certified. 
  • Humane: "Humane" foods are usually animal products, like eggs, meat, and dairy, that are sourced from animals that have their mental, physical, and behavioral needs met in a low-stress environment. Humane certifications include American Humane Free Range/Pasture Raised, Global Animal Partnership Steps 3-5 and/or Animal Welfare Approved Grass-fed.

RFC's Mission:

"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."

– Real Food Challenge

In the 2018-2019 acadGraph showing the changes in our Real Food percentage over timeemic year, Oxy's Own Dining Service purchased 29% Real Food, just one point away from our goal of 30%! The 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years were disrupted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, earning us a score of 13% Real Food during the 2021-22 school year. 

  • You can help us get back on track! 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. 
  • Visit our Suppliers page to learn more about where we source our food from.
  • For a more thorough understanding of our RFC scores, goals, and other food-related initiatives, View the 2021 Food Resource Guide.

Sustainable Meals

To promote sustainability and highlight certain Real Food Challenge foods in the Marketplace, Dining offers the following 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 

In addition to these weekly meals, Dining staff organize sustainable meals to celebrate notable holidays, including:

  • Food Justice Month (October)
  • Earth Day (April)
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas and Hannukah
  • Valentine's Day