UMass Dining Exceeds Real Food Challenge Commitment Focused on Building Just and Sustainable Food Systems

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AMHERST, Mass. – The award-winning UMass Dining has done it again – not only did it meet, but it exceeded, the 2020 Real Food Challenge (RFC) with a 29% commitment to budgeting dining on “Real Food.” The UMass RFC is a student-led initiative, in partnership with UMass Dining, that aimed to bring 20% Real Food to campus by the year 2020. In 2013, UMass was the largest institution in the nation to join with other campuses across the country to build a just and sustainable food system. Real Food is defined as food that comes from “local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources.”

"UMass has been an enthusiastic supporter and the driving force for using the wonderful, fresh, local variety of produce our area offers,” said Joe Czajkowski, one of UMass Dining’s local farm partners. “Their support helps my family farm and many other neighboring farms market everything from apples to zucchini. They really are sincere in buying local and the best at what they do.”

Some of the achievements made along the way include:

  • Over 100 farm partners
  • 100% pasture raised eggs
  • 100% fair trade bananas
  • 74% of produce is local, fair trade, and/or organic
  • 68% of the seafood is third-party certified
  • 32% of the animal protein is local, grass-fed, pasture-raised

“UMass Dining’s commitment to providing healthy, sustainable food for our students and the campus community is just one example of how UMass strengthens the economy and supports a sustainable environment in the Pioneer Valley and beyond,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “We are proud of our award-winning campus food, and it is great to know that by partnering with our students, UMass Dining is leading the way in the Real Food movement.”

Sustainability is a core value at the University of Massachusetts. UMass Dining has spent the last decade partnering with local, regional, and national food producers to prioritize Real Food and the relationships that make that possible.

“We are excited to be celebrating this accomplishment and will continue to push ourselves to be leaders in building and strengthening a resilient, sustainable food system. “We will continue to work with students and community to make our world a better place for all,” said Ken Toong, executive director of UMass Auxiliary Enterprises.