by Christina Cilento
If you heard distant jazzy crooning and smelled a faint waft of lemongrass tea around Norris on Saturday, you weren’t imagining things– you were experiencing the Rally for Real Food hosted by Real Food at NU (NURF).
Students hung out on the Wild Roots lawn as the sun set, gardening, drinking tea, listening to student musicians, and expressing support for real food. Miranda Cawley, co-director of NURF, estimates that 80 to 90 students attended the rally, and said she hopes the event helped foster awareness for their cause.
Founded last spring as part of the national Real Food Challenge movement, NURF aims to commit NU to sourcing 20 percent “real” food by 2020. Real food is defined as “local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane”, according to the Real Food Challenge website.
But besides drumming up support for their cause, the rally was also about recognizing the group’s progress.
“It’s a really fun end of the year celebration for just all of the amazing progress we made this year,” said Cawley. “It’s about our one year anniversary of existence, so we just wanted to kind of celebrate that in a way that was a low stress environment.”
This year, NURF succeeded in launching the Real Food Calculator, which is a tool that helps universities determine how much of their food budgets are already going to real food. Through cooperation with NU Dining, NURF has been able to determine that NU currently buys about six percent real food.
The team has also been having regular meetings with NU Dining and student life administrators, who have expressed support for the movement.
“Everybody’s kind of on board with the concept, but we’re just making sure it can happen,” said Cawley.
The ultimate decision on whether or not real food comes to NU lies with President Schapiro, who has to sign on to a campus commitment to make it a reality. NURF is currently gearing up for a meeting with Schapiro, which will take place on June 3rd. The group hopes that he’ll agree to sign onto the commitment at the end of the meeting.