Saint Mary’s College to be 1st College to Endorse the Real Food Commitment

Contact:
Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
(574) 284-4579

October 21, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College will become the first college in the country to officially endorse the Real Food Commitment, a pledge to purchase at least 20 percent “real food” by 2020, increase transparency and engage more students and community members in the process. College President Carol Ann Mooney and Barry Bowles, director of dining services (Sodexo), will sign the Commitment between 12 and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25 in the Noble Family Dining Hall of the Student Center. The media is invited to attend.

The endorsement is part of the student-driven Food Day, which will also offer special meals and events open to the public. The goal of Food Day, according to the website foodday.org, is to transform the American diet by inspiring a broad movement of people who want healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.

“Saint Mary’s is pleased to partner with our food service provider, Sodexo, on this national effort to promote healthy eating. I was very pleased to learn that we are already close to complying with this organization’s goals,” said Mooney.

“This will be a great step in sustainability practices at Saint Mary’s, and Dining Services is committed to the challenge because it is the right thing to do,” said Bowles. He said the challenge’s vision is much the same as Dining Services’. “Students would be surprised with the effort the chef makes to purchase in-season local produce to incorporate into the dining hall menus. We have partnered with Shelton’s Produce in Niles, Michigan, for flexible ordering and more local products.”

The Real Food Challenge sponsors Food Day and has mobilized students and faculty at 216 college campuses in 46 states to organize events on or around October 24. The Real Food Challenge seeks to shift university/college food budgets towards locally produced, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what the organization calls “real food.” The organization’s goal is to get every campus in America to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. According to David Schwartz, campaign coordinator of the Real Food Challenge, groups at 33 other schools are campaigning for their presidents to sign on as well.

Mooney praised Kimberly Roland ’12 for bringing the challenge to the College. Roland is the Midwest Regional Field Organizer for the Real Food Challenge and is passionate about the cause. “There is a rising interest across the country in what students consume on their campuses. Students no longer want frozen, artificial and over processed foods. They want good, clean food that is produced humanely and fairly. Most important, students want food that is delicious, filling, nutritious, and wholesome. I am proud that Saint Mary’s College is a pioneering food force and I hope that through our example, other colleges and universities, faculty and students will start asking critical questions about the food they are eating and demand ‘real food.’”

Food Day at the College will include special lunch and dinner menus featuring organic and vegetarian recipes by world-renowned chefs, such as Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Oliver, who support the Food Day initiative. Dishes could include fennel and apple soup, Tuscan kale and white bean ragout, couscous salad with dried cranberries and pecans, chopped salad, and curried lentils with walnuts. Lunch and dinner will be served in the Noble Family Dining Hall and are open to the public. Lunch hours are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the cost is $8 per person ($4.10 for Saint Mary’s faculty and staff). Dinner hours are from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the cost is $10 per person ($6.42 or faculty and staff).

At 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre in the Student Center, the public is invited to attend a free screening of the food documentary “Forks over Knives.” The film examines the profound claim that most, if not all, degenerative diseases can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. A panel discussion led by faculty and students, including Roland, will follow the 7 p.m. screening.

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About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2012 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

About the Real Food Challenge is a student-driven campaign to create a more healthy, just and sustainable food system. Working with students at over 350 colleges and universities, the Challenge has, to date, shifted $35 million in institutional food purchases to family farms and fair food businesses. For more information, visit http://realfoodchallenge.org or contact David Schwartz, Campaign Director, at 401-527-8777, david@realfoodchallenge.org