The Real Food Challenge is an organization that trains and supports students leading campaigns demanding a shift in the food available on their campus to support local, humane farms and advocate for greater consideration of environmental consequences. Their goal is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets from industrial farms and unhealthy food to these kinds of foods that are better for us and our environment. This provides a framework of action that we can learn from and language that we can adapt to our own food choice campaign.
“Home.” Real Food Challenge, www.realfoodchallenge.org/.
Fort Lewis College of Durango, Colorado has signed on with Real Food Challenge, what has a set of food standards for lower environmental impact and healthier food products. On Fort Lewis College’s Environmental Center blog, a particularly interesting post describes the result of the most recent Vote Real campaign, a vote held for the student body to decide between two options that their dining services should implement. The choice was between buying from an organic yogurt producer and a farm that produces humanely-raised pork, the pork coming out on top. This is a fantastic system, and will provide insight on how student-led campaigns can produce change in a college’s dining services.
Thorne, A F. “Fort Lewis College Environmental Center Blog.” Fort Lewis College Environmental Center Blog, Fort Lewis College, 21 Feb. 2018, http://blogs.fortlewis.edu/ec/category/teams-projects/real-food-challenge/.
Prof. Bates, do you think that the expository scenes in the movie detract from the main plot line, and is telling the story of Tampopo the goal of the film?
Prof. Yang, with the rise in popularity of food videos globally, why do you think Li Ziqi’s videos are so popular and successful? Surely she is not the only one doing slice-of-life food preparation of family recipes.
The report Behavior Change for Nature: A Behavioral Science Toolkit for Practitioners is a guide for professionals on how behavioral science can be better applied to campaigns and programs that seek to change the behavior of a group of people. Firstly, it explains why behavior change is so critical for tackling the many facets of environmental decline that we face and looks at audiences that should be addressed to help combat this loss. It also emphasizes the importance of regulation and legislation, but discusses situations where they are ineffective. The development of new strategies for motivating behavior change is absolutely critical, and this report addresses some of those strategies and how to put them into practice. This report is useful because it dives deeply into behavioral psychology’s relevance and applicability to our society to meet the goals that are necessary if we want to stop the global climate crisis and habitat loss that we face. In our project, knowing these techniques while also understand how to go about implementing them will be extremely valuable, as our campaign will seek to change student behavior here at Dickinson.
Rare and The Behavioural Insights Team. (2019). Behavior Change For Nature: A Behavioral
Science Toolkit for Practitioners. Arlington, VA: Rare.
The article Food Science Challenge: Translating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to Bring About Real Behavior Change is the result of two discussions between food and nutrition scientists on how to meet the goals of shifting the American diet to be more aligned with dietary recommendations set by the US government. The importance of the family in integrating food-related behavior change stood out to me in this article, and made me wonder about how that is different here at Dickinson, where everyone is in charge of their own diets. A point of commonality is that these changes were stressed as needing to be as seamless as possible to integrate into our daily routines, otherwise they will not work. Everyone on this campus has likely at least heard of the climate crisis and probably has their own opinion. It will be difficult if not completely impractical to try to convince people to change their beliefs – if they do not already align with actions that are less impactful on the environment – just by throwing raw information about the environmental impact of choosing certain foods over others. This article also made me think about how it will be important for Giuseppe and I to be in communication with Dining Services throughout this process and adapt to their goals. I know that Dining Services has a plan to reduce meat consumption on campus by 25%, so it will be critical for us to meet with them to see what they have planned already, and how our project can contribute.
Rowe, Sylvia, et al. “Food Science Challenge: Translating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to Bring About Real Behavior Change.” Journal of Food Science, vol. 76, no. 1, 2011, pp. R29–R37., doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01973.x.
I learned more about the importance of lesbian potlucks in strengthening and expanding communities. Especially in the beginning of LGBTQ movements, when it was illegal to be open about one’s gender and sexuality if they were not within the heteronormative framework, it was difficult for lesbians in particular to find a shared sense of community. Whereas gay men often had access to higher income and faced less societal pressure, lesbian women were not only threatened by sexism, but by homophobia and other discrimination as well. Potlucks became and important tool for creating and strengthening lesbian communities in this environment, and became stages for political discussion as well. This was important in the ability of women to organize and plan resistance movements.
I interviewed Lynne Morgan at Farmers on the Square about Whistleberry Farm, the farm she and her husband run, in order to connect further with a local farmer that I have met a couple of times and learn more about fungiculture, one of my personal interests. I found it so interesting that the Morgan’s farm started as a hobby and has grown so much but that Lynne and her husband both still have full time jobs while managing the whole operation themselves. The amount of work they must put into the farm is impressive considering she herself considers the farm to be a full-time job in addition to their other work, and they have grown the business a lot despite this challenge. They started at their old house, where they wanted to grow something but lived in a forest, so mushrooms seemed like a good choice. From there, they expanded into beekeeping and had scaled up enough to start going to farmers markets. It was great to hear how important their base of loyal customers is, and Lynne mentioned that her and her husbands families have bother been so supportive. Since moving to their farm, they have expanded further by growing many kinds of produce. They grow mushrooms throughout the year, and I was surprised to learn that they even grow shiitake indoors despite shiitake being typically grown on logs and them having thousands of logs on their property for growing mushrooms. We had a short but very interesting conversation after the interview about specific growing practices for mushrooms that opened my eyes to the different approaches one can take.
Like many other monoculture commodity crops, oats may be grown with chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides but take little human labor. Once harvested, oats are dehulled – the hulls being used for animal feed or for biomass to burn and create power. The oats are then washed with a spray of water and sifted, then steamed. They are rolled flat, crushed, or cut, then roasted and finally packaged. The Dakotas are the two biggest producers of oats in America, followed by Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. These states all have cool and wet summers, making them great for growing oats. Oats can make an excellent cover crop especially over the winter season, helping to prevent runoff and erosion of soils as well as providing a green manure. Oats can also be grown on pastures for animal forage. On average, oats have traveled about 2,421 miles to get to my bowl of oatmeal.
Black beans prefer warm temperatures to grow, so in the US they are typically planted in May and harvested between August-October once the pods start to turn yellow. They are often grown with conventional farming methods, requiring pesticides and fertilizers likely derived from fossil fuels, and are harvested mechanically, also requiring fossil fuels. China, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are the world’s biggest producers, followed by the US. In the US, North Dakota, Michigan, and Nebraska are – surprisingly to me – the top three states. Black beans are a great alternative protein source to meat. Since they are plant based, they also take vastly less energy to produce than meat, making them potentially a more sustainable option, depending on what methods are used to grow the beans and how the meat animals are raised. Black beans are also high in fiber and resistant carbohydrates that take longer to digest, meaning they do not lead to a spike in blood sugar, and contain healthy phytonutrients. Depending on where the beans are sourced from, likely US, Mexico, or South America, they have traveled on average around 4,033 miles.
Here is a video of black beans harvested via combine:
Oranges are grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates in a wide range of soils. Commercially, oranges trees are often grown by grafting buds of a mature tree onto seedling rootstocks, creating hybrid clones of cultivars that have good yields and desirable fruit. Oranges are harvested when they are pale orange, and often by mechanical canopy shakers that require fossil fuels, though hand picking is not uncommon. Insecticides may be used to prevent pests or insect vectors that spread plant pathogens. Brazil produces around 30% of the world’s oranges, followed by 10% coming from the United States, and 8% from China. Almost 90% of oranges produced commercially in the US are used to make juice. Like many people employed as fruit-pickers in the US, those who pick oranges often have to work extremely hard to make any money at all and many are undocumented, making it very difficult to advocate for their rights as workers. On average, oranges likely from Brazil have traveled about 4200 miles to reach me.
Hello! My name is Matt Zaremba and I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a Biology major pursuing the Food Studies Certificate. I find sustainable agriculture, our relationships to food, and food choice very interesting. I interned at a regenerative farm in the Shenandoah Valley last summer, learning production aspects of agriculture such as organic vegetable production and animal husbandry, and I look forward to learning more about the integration of different kids of food production with market demand and how behavior change can play a significant role in solving issues related to the food industry.