This year the ECOS Sustainability Resource Center has been working on a campaign to make SOU a more sustainable and eco friendly campus. This new campaign is called the Real Food Challenge, a challenge that has been taken on by many campuses across the country in order to get more "Real" food in university dining halls.

The mission of the Real Food Challenge is to divert money away from industrial farms and heavily processed foods and in turn move more money into sustainable food systems. With the help of SOU dining, a group of ECOS students has been looking at SOU's current food purchases to determine how much of of SOU's food is currently considered "Real." 

"If you're asking yourself what food is determined Real," we have been using standards set by the Real Food Challenge that other campuses are also using.

These standards consist of:
Locality – Being within 250 miles of the institution
Fair – Made in safe and clean conditions with the workers making fair compensation
Ecologically Sound – Using practices that are not harmful to the environment
Humane – Animals are raised in a stress free environment without the additives of hormones or antibiotics

We are currently still in the process of finding out how much of SOU's current purchases falls under these four categories and hope to know the results by Fall of 2017. Once we figure this out we will start working with SOU to meet the goal of 20% real food by 2020, and that's where we need your help! We are currently gathering a group of students to work on the Real Food Challenge campaign during fall of 2017. Ideal students for this group would be anyone who wanted to become more engaged within in the SOU community, who are interested in food systems, or want to be a part of creating institutional change on the SOU campus.

If you feel up to the challenge, visit the ECOS office in room 105 of the Stevenson Union, or contact Ben Huffine, the Real Food Challenge Campaign lead, at huffineb@sou.edu