The University of Vermont has announced that it has become the fifth school in the nation, and the first large university east of California, to sign on to a program launched last fall called the Real Food Campus Commitment. The commitment obligates the university to serve 20 percent “real food” at all its campus food outlets by 2020.
"Real food" is defined as that which is locally grown, fair trade, of low environmental impact and/or humanely produced. Currently, the school says 12 percent of its menu falls within those categories, but it is confident it will exceed the 20 percent threshold before 2020.
Other schools signing the commitment include the University of California at Santa Cruz, St. Mary’s College in Indiana, Western State College of Colorado and Drew University in New Jersey.
“The current global food system has produced cheap food but is not sustainable,” says Interim President John Bramley. “It relies heavily on petroleum and large energy inputs and has contributed to societal health challenges such as diabetes and obesity. We need to develop regionally based systems that protect our soils and water, are more energy efficient and contribute positively to public health.
“UVM can play an important role not just in educating students or researching the issues but by actually seeking to be part of the solution, in the way we choose to feed the 15,000 members of our community,” he adds. “I am proud of the part UVM and its food providers are playing and of the leadership role our students have taken in this important initiative and global challenge."