Cornell students eat Real Food

Colleges across the nation are joining the Real Food Challenge—an initiative to teach young people about healthier food habits—and Cornell was among the first 20 to join. To fulfill the challenge, Cornell promised to purchase at least 20 percent of its food from local, fair, ecologically sound, and/or humane sources by 2020. As Molly Abbattista ’13, one of Cornell’s Environmental Club members who spearheaded the movement, said, “The commitment represents a dedication to the future health of our students, our community, and our environment.” Progress will be measured using the organization’s “Real Food Calculator,” with annual reports published online. According to calculations from Ellen Pajor ’13 and Julia Karvel ’13, who spent a block earning independent study credit by calculating Cornell’s baseline real food score, Cornell already earned a Real Food Calculator score of 15.5 percent during Bon Appétit’s first year of operation at the college.

Bon Appétit, Cornell College's food service provider, is working with the college to ensure locally-sourced, nutritious food.
Bon Appétit, Cornell College’s food service provider, is working with the college to ensure locally-sourced, nutritious food.

Amy Zupanci-Herren, general manager for Bon Appétit at Cornell, is building relationships with local producers and has developed channels for most meats, all eggs, seasonal vegetables and fruits, honey, and other items. Zupanci-Herren is working on finding other foods, such as bread and fish, which have proven more difficult to source locally. Through Cornell’s commitment to the challenge, Zupanci-Herren also seeks to teach students more about healthy eating, but she meets students halfway. She and her staff create their own potato chips, tortilla chips, and mozzarella sticks, using healthier and more sustainable ingredients.

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