Real Food Challenge, the largest student food justice organization in the country, recently released the Real Food Standards 2.0, the most comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of credible food labels and certifications on the market. Fairtrade America, the US branch of the international Fairtrade system, was given a green light in the standard meaning that products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark exemplify ‘Real Food’.
The standards shed light on the work of countless farmworker activists and food producers around the world who are creating new systems for valuing the agricultural workforce, humanely raising animals and bringing sustainability into their business practices.
“Fairtrade and the other practices in our revised Real Food Standards show the direction our food economy needs to go. This is the future of food, and this standard is the roadmap,” said Hannah Weinronk, National Program Coordinator at Real Food Challenge.
Real Food Standards 2.0 was researched over the course of 18 months, with input of more than 100 academics, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, farmworker groups and food industry experts. 130 certification and label claims were vetted; 40 now qualify as “green light” or “yellow light” in the final version of the Standards 2.0.
The updated Real Food Standards 2.0 features:
- Clear explanations of the labor abuses and egregious human rights violations that must be eliminated from our food supply chains
- Guidelines for determining if a product originates from a truly “Local & Community-based business” and not just a Coca-Cola bottling plant down the road
- Disqualifications for animal products that are produced under confinement (also known as CAFOs) -- which are known to pollute and contaminate rural communities
- New recognition for innovative “Worker-driven Social Responsibility Programs” that bring products supporting farmworker dignity to cafeterias and grocery stores near you
“Our original Real Food Standards have been adopted by 80+ colleges and universities and used to rate nearly 600,000 individual products as ‘real’ or not. We’ve used the Standards to train more than 1,000 student researchers to investigate their school’s food supply chains and influence purchasing decisions,” said Anim Steel, Executive Director of Real Food Generation. “We’re thrilled to release this 2.0 guide and amplify the work of grassroots groups fighting injustice in the food industry”
Real Food Challenge helps schools track sustainable food purchases with the Real Food Calculator, an online app that pairs with the Real Food Standards 2.0 and helps institutions process and analyze thousands of line-item purchasing records.
“Fairtrade America is thrilled to be recognized by Real Food Challenge as a “green light” in the world of food production,” said Margot Conover, Fairtrade America’s External Relations Manager. “Food is tied to all of the most pressing issues of our time, and we’re so proud to partner with RFC as they empower young people to influence food in their own communities. Big social change has always started with youth.”
Real Food Challenge (RFC), a project of Real Food Generation, leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. Our primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what we call “real food”—by 2020. The Real Food Challenge maintains a national network of student food activists—providing opportunities for networking, learning, and leadership development for thousands of emerging leaders.
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