MISSOULA – In honor of Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food on Oct. 24, University of Montana President Royce Engstrom will sign the Real Food Campus Commitment on behalf of the University. By signing the RFCC, colleges and universities pledge to buy at least 20 percent “real food” annually by 2020.
The commitment is designed and administered by the national organization, The Real Food Challenge. It aims to support a healthy food system that is “community-based, ecologically sound, fair and humane.” The pledge specifically details the types of purchases that fall into a “real food” category, including food that is locally produced within 150-250 miles of campus, and food items such as cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef and organic produce.
The RFCC directs the University to establish a Food Systems Working Group that consists of students, staff and faculty who are responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of a “real-food” policy and multiyear action plan that will guide the University toward increased purchases of “real food.” This initiative will augment and complement the ongoing efforts of UM’s Farm to College Program, which has been purchasing local foods for UM during the past decade.
UM Dining will host a local-food Farm Stand from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, in the Corner Store to celebrate local foods and the signing of the commitment. ASUM President Asa Hohman, UM Dining Director Mark LoParco and UM Dining Director of Sustainability and Food Procurement Ian Finch will add their signatures to the commitment at noon during the same event.