By Hyunjee Lee
Food brings families, friends, and even strangers together; it nourishes the body and sustains life. Yet it is often taken for granted. Food Week 2015, which begins Monday, October 19 and leads into National Food Day on October 24, will be an opportunity for Northwestern students and community members to learn more about and celebrate real food (and, not to mention, win prizes).
Organized by Real Food at NU (NURF), Food Day 2015 will focus on sustainability and plant-based eating, with the theme “Toward a Greener Diet.” Meat production contributes 18 percent of the greenhouse gases produced each year, a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report stated. In 2014, more than 30,268,000 commercial and farm cattle were slaughtered in the U.S., according to the Livestock Slaughter Summary released by the Department of Agriculture. Plant-based eating “is a sustainability issue but it’s also a humane issue,” said Kara Rodby, NURF co-president and McCormick junior.
This is the third year Food Day, which is a national campaign, will be held at Northwestern. In previous years, the event was sponsored by the ASG Sustainability Committee and other food-minded students, but was passed off to NURF last year.
Last June, NURF won a huge victory when NU president Morton Schapiro pledged to have 20 percent of Northwestern dining purchases meet real food criteria (local, sustainable or humane) by 2020, making NU the first campus in the Big 10 to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. Now, NURF works on implementation and education, by working with Sodexo and raising awareness by hosting events like Food Day.
“We’ve been preparing since summer,” Rodby said. “We’re really excited. It’s our first year hosting and we’re already learning so much.”
Food Day 2015 will feature a series of events to spark a conversation about greener eating on campus. The full schedule and links to sign up for events can be found at the Real Food at NU website. See below for featured events.
Monday, 10/19 – Tuesday, 10/20: Plant-based food demos all day in the Hinman Dining Hall, aiming to “[give] students tools” to implement a more sustainable and humane diet, according to Rodby.
Tuesday, 10/20: A screening of short documentary “Food for Thought, Food for Life” held in Annenberg G15 at 6:00 p.m., with free food followed by a discussion.
Wednesday 10/21: “Gala for Growth,” held at the Segal Visitors Center from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Rodby calls the event the “highlight of the week.” Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for The Humane Society, will present an award to NU at the gala Wednesday night.
Friday, 10/23: “Hidden Harvest,” a social media scavenger hunt for Chicago Food Day. Participants will have to look for clues starting at 2:00 p.m. by following NURF on Twitter (@RealFoodNU) to find envelopes, each with up to $200 in gift cards, cash and promotions in the city.
Saturday, 10/24: Join NU students on a tour of Loyola University from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to check out the sustainability features of their campus, including greenhouses, an aquaponics system, and their biodiesel lab. Sign up here.