Yale Hosts Student Summit on Enlightened Eating

Changing the way students eat, think and talk about food is the focus of “The Real Food Summit” to be held November 3-4 at Yale.

Hosted by the Yale Sustainable Food Project (YSFP), the Summit will bring together students from 50 colleges in the Northeast area to develop strategies to change the culture of food on campuses across the region and, ultimately, the nation.

According to organizers of the event, Yale can serve as a model to other colleges. Since it was founded by students in 2001, YSFP has worked with university staff and administration to enact lasting changes in how food is purchased and served—and its importance valued. The Project has introduced a sustainable dining program with a seasonal menu in all of Yale’s dining halls, established an organic campus farm and initiated a number of programs with guest speakers, film screenings and educational presentations to raise awareness of the cultural, environmental, social and health implications of our eating habits.

The two-day Summit will include workshops, panel discussions and a collaborative art project. It will culminate in the ratification of a written declaration of principles and a call to action. Summit delegates will bring this declaration back to their college administrations, providing them with a list of specific goals.

The Summit is open to everyone, but is geared to students working on projects centered on food on their campuses, from running college farms to finding organic, local food sources; from safeguarding farm workers’ rights to seeing that products are fairly traded.

The Summit will kick off the Real Food Challenge, a collaborative network that will serve as a resource to students seeking to change colleges’ food culture, providing them with educational information and an infrastructure for communication.

The Real Food Summit is being organized as a joint effort of students and staff at The Food Project in Boston, the Brown Sustainable Food Initiative and YSFP, in conjunction with a planning committee comprised of student leaders at Princeton, New York University, Sarah Lawrence, Boston University and Mount Holyoke, and with support from the Small Planet Fund.

More information about the summit is available online at the The Real Food Summit web page.

The Yale Sustainable Food Project was founded in 2001 by Yale students, faculty and staff, Yale University President Richard Levin and Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant. It was established with the understanding that many of the world’s most important questions regarding health, culture, the environment and the global economy are deeply connected to what we eat and how it is produced. The Sustainable Food Project seeks to foster a culture that draws meaning and pleasure from the connections among people, land and food. For more information about the Sustainable Food Project, go to www.yale.edu/sustainablefood.