Real food challenge
The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a national campaign to encourage campuses to increase the ratio of food purchased from "conventional" to "real" food. The Office of Sustainability has been working with Lehigh Dining Services and Sodexo to take on this challenge for the last four years.
President Simon recently signed the “Real” Food Campus Commitment, which pledges that Lehigh will purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, or humane sources by 2020. This commitment will help Lehigh to support a healthy food system that not only supports environmental stewardship, but also respects human rights and facilitates campus involvement.
What is "real" food?
What is the process?
Using the Real Food Challenge Calculator, students analyze invoices from campus dining areas for foods that are Local, Fair, Ecological, and Humane to determine the percentage of the food budget that is being spent on "real" food. This percentage is broken into the two categories of Real Food A; foods that meet two or more of the four real food criteria, and Real Food B: foods that meet one or more of the real food criteria. The percent of real food A is included within the percent of Real Food B.
Yearly Assessment Results
The first assessment was based on food purchases from the 2013-2014 academic year in Rathbone Dining Hall. This first assessment resulted in 2% of Rathbone Dining Hall's total being "real" food.
First Assessment 2013-2014 Results
The second assessment was based on food purchases from the 2014-2015 academic year in Rathbone Dining Hall and Stabler Arena. This second assessment resulted in 11% of the total being "real" food. This second assessment was a great improvement from the first assessment, and displays the commitment that Dining Services has given to this project and to the goal of increasing the amount of sustainable food that is consumed on campus.
Second Assessment 2014-2015 Results
The third assessment was based on food purchases from the 2015-2016 academic year in Rathbone Dining Hall and Lower Cort Dining Hall. This third assessment resulted in 9% of the total being "real" food.
Third Assessment 2015-2016 Results
The fourth assessment was based on food purchases from the 2016-2017 academic year in Rathbone Dining Hall, Catering Services, and Fud Truck. This fourth assessment resulted in 10% of the total being "real" food.
Fourth Assessment 2016-2017 Results
The results from our report allows Dining Services to identify focus areas for improvements, such as the new partnership Lehigh Dining has with the Common Market of Philadelphia to increase the amount of food that is purchased from local farms.
Click Here to see all of Lehigh Dining Service's commitments to sustainability!