About Real Food Challenge

The Real Food Challenge is a nationwide campaign to shift dining services food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources — what is called “real food.”

As defined by the Real Food Challenge, real food can be community-based, ecologically sound, humanely raised, and/or fairly procured. RFC sets the guidelines for what qualifies food into one or more of these categories.

Real Food Calculator

The Real Food Calculator is a tool used by a sub-committee of the Food Alliance to determine how much real food Bon Appétit, Carleton’s dining service, purchases, and to look into ways to shift purchasing toward real food.

Thus, the Real Food Calculator sets high and consistent standard among all the institutions that use it and supports users in setting quantitative goals and in tracking their progress. Currently, over 130 higher-education institutions are implementing the Real Food Calculator. 

The calculator is run by a coalition of paid student-workers and volunteers from the Sustainability Office, the CCCE, and Bon Appétit. This year’s primary calculators are  Tali Emlen ’22, Lucy Shapiro ’23, Ella Hein ’23, Lindsay Boettiger ’23, and Simran Kadam ’23.

This task force also aims to use the Real Food Calculator data as a learning tool, collaborating with ACE courses and publicizing findings.