Last night, the House of Representatives passed the first stage in the most expansive reform of our nation’s health care system since the 1960s. But we all know this didn’t happen overnight: it was a messy, dragged-out, complex, and (for many) unsatisfying experience.
But at least how the political sausage gets made is a public process. The way most of our food gets made is just as gross, just as filthy, and happens on a daily basis – but there is less transparency about what goes into our bodies than what goes on in the halls of Congress.
As consumers, we are shielded from the myriad processes by which our food is made. We don’t get to see the effects our food choices have on the environment, on animals, on workers, and our communities.
But as Brandeis students who purchase food through our dining plan we can collectively choose real food that nourishes every aspect of the food system from production and distribution through consumption and disposal. What we need to do is change our dining system such that it chooses sustainable, ethical food suppliers, uses local and organic ingredients, avoids unnecessary and unhealthful additives and chemicals, and conveniently and cheaply feeds all members of our community, especially dietary niches including vegetarian and vegan, kosher and halal, gluten-free and lactose-intolerant.
To that end, the Real Food 2020 campaign has a ridiculously simple and eminently sane proposal: by 2020, 20% of the food served at Brandeis should be real food. This goal is both achievable and ethically imperative – unless, of course, protecting the profits of food corporations outweighs the needs of our planet, our local farmers, and our bodies.
Although this goal is entirely sensible, it has proven more than a little difficult to work with a giant (and ethically suspect) corporation like Aramark. The few changes they have made (putting “locally grown” signs on the salad bar, including more vegetarian options) are woefully inadequate, and serve more as a cosmetic to divert us from the lack of transparency in our food system. While the campaign is willing to work with Aramark, we demand that our administration seriously consider other dining options.
Real food will reaffirm Brandeis’ commitment to social justice by ensuring that our food choices are sustainable and healthy. Our current dining system gives us very little choice – locked into expensive and unwieldy meal plans, we are forced to eat unsustainable and unhealthy food that harms our bodies and others for Aramark’s profit. Together, we can turn our dining halls into a place that nourishes our planet and ourselves.
Take action to move Brandeis forward by signing this petition!
Learn more about real food: http://realfoodchallenge.org/about/realfood