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University News

‘Real food’ popular, according to group’s surveys

Contributing Writer
Friday, October 8, 2010

Mouth-watering smells filled the Sharpe Refectory as diners lined up Sept. 22 to get a taste of the food that 71 percent called “the best meal at the Ratty.”  

The local food night at both the Ratty and the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall was a hit, according to a survey conducted by the Real Food Initiative, a group advocating for more sustainable food on campus. Students almost unanimously praised the local food, and 17 percent responded to the survey saying it was the “best meal ever.”

The meal was also a hit for the Real Food Initiative. Jonathan Leibovic ’12, one of four sustainability interns for the Initiative, said that this local food night, or “Real Meal,” was one of a handful of events planned by the Brown Dining Services Sustainability Program in which dining halls work together with local farmers and businesses.

This Real Food Initiative at Brown is part of a larger “Real Food Challenge” in which 341 institutions across the country find food “which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth” and is local, fair, ecological and humane. Leibovic said that on a regular day, about 15 percent of the food in dining halls fulfills one of these requirements. He said he hopes that by 2014, that number will rise to 40 percent.

The Initiative has been sponsoring an event like this about every semester for the past two years. Surveys have been given out at each event, and results have always been similarly positive, Leibovic said.

324 students responded to the Sept. 22 survey, which was handed out at the doors of the Ratty. Ninety percent said that they would like to see similar events in the future. Leibovic said the planning and resources required for the event limit them to one per semester, but he is hopeful that in the next few years more events and sustainable food will come to the dining halls.

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