UCSC's Real Food Calculator Project

In February of 2012, Chancellor Blumenthal signed the Real Food Commitment, declaring that UCSC would reach 40% real or sustainable food by 2020. Reaching this goal entails using the Real Food Calculator to assess the amount of sustainable food purchased through Dining Services.

The Real Food Calculator was created by a group called the Real Food Challenge, which works to unite students across the country by increasing the amount of sustainable food on college and university campuses. The Real Food Calculator functions like a stoplight, using green, yellow and red categories to track the amount of sustainable food on campus. Criteria for sustainable food include Local and Community Based, Fair, Ecologically Sound, and Humane.

At UCSC, the Real Food Calculator project works to increase the campus’s recently calculated amount of “real food” (28 percent in 2013), assess the current percentage of sustainable food, and identify food items that could be more sustainably purchased. The Real Food Calculator effort alsoreal food sticker informs and engages meal plan holders, UCSC Dining administration and staff, and other stakeholders interested in sustainable procurement by distributing educational brochures and “40% Real Food by 2020” stickers, which can be found at all dining halls and sustainability-related events. Make sure to pick up a brochure and sticker today!

This project is driven by the UCSC Food Systems Working Group’s (FSWG) partnership with UCSC Dining. If you would like to get involved by helping use the Real Food Calculator to assess dining hall items, increase engagement with meal plan holders, or if you have any feedback on the project, please contact FSWG at ucscfswg@gmail.com with “Real Food Calculator” as the subject OR "Like" the UCSC Food Systems Working Group Facebook page. You can also check out our project at the UCSC Sustainability Office’s Project Clearinghouse page under the Provost Sustainability Internship or food folder for more information and resources.