SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga University is pledging to get more of the food it serves on campus from local providers.
The university and its food service partner, Sodexo, committed to the "Real Food Challenge," pledging that 25 percent of food served on campus will be sourced from ecologically sound, fair and humane, and local- and community-based providers by 2020.
The Real Food Challenge, a nonprofit organization, aims to shift existing university food budgets away from unhealthy processed food products and toward healthier organic and locally produced “Real Food” products. The national initiative aims to leverage youth and universities to create a more healthy and fair food system.
Gonzaga senior Breanne Flynn, a member of the student club Gonzaga Ethical Awareness Together (Gonzaga E.A.T.), pushed for the commitment for two years. Once the commitment is signed, Flynn said a working group will be formed – made up of students, faculty, administrators, and Zag Dining staff – to draft policy on how the University will implement the commitment.
“The commitment is saying ‘we are setting this goal.’ The next step is the actual nitty-gritty shift of those food dollars to Real Food,” Flynn said. “The goal is not to increase Zag Dining’s budget for food but to shift the budget, policy and products toward more Real Food.”
Gonzaga will be the first Jesuit university to commit to the challenge, which is in keeping with a commitment by the Society of Jesus toward more ecologically sensitive and sustainable practices. President McCulloh credited Flynn and the other Gonzaga students involved in making Gonzaga’s participation in the Real Food Challenge a reality.