West Coast Real Food Challenge


The Real Food Challenge is a national organization of students advocating for healthy, just, and sustainable food on their college campuses. The Real Food Challenge began as a partnership between the CSSC and The Food Project, and it serves as both a campaign and a network. The campaign is to increase the procurement of real food on college and university campuses, with the national goal of shifting $1 billion toward real food by 2020. Since colleges and universities spend about $5 billion on food every year, our goal translates to 20% real food by 2020. By leveraging the purchasing power of colleges and universities, we can catalyze the transformation of the larger food system. The network offers a chance for students and their allies (those working on the campaign along with those who’ve yet to sign on) to make connections, learn from one another, and grow the movement.

Get Involved

  • Contact your regional coordinator today at westcoast@realfoodchallenge.org
  • Sign up for our email list to get regular updates, news, and opportunities to get involved
  • Attend a regional event or gathering — we host summer leadership trainings, winter regional summits, and workshops at the CSSC Fall & Spring Convergences.
  • Join one of our regional conference calls! We talk on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 4pm PST.  Join us on the line at 218-844-3380, access code: 8236631#
  • Sign up for our newsletter to receive information about these calls and more.



  • Alexandra Villegas, Regional Field Organizer – alexandra@realfoodchallenge.org
  • Chloe Rice, Regional Field Organizer – chloe@realfoodchallenge.org
  • Kitty Bolte, Real Food Challenge/CSSC Organizer – kitty@realfoodchallenge.org
  • David Schwartz, Program Coordinator – david@realfoodchallenge.org
  • Tim Galarneau, Advisor – solseeker3@gmail.com

Don’t be shy…get to know us! Learn more about our team

History and Accomplishments

Campaigns: What we’re all about!

The Real Food Campus Commitment

In the fall of 2011, RFC started the Real Food Campus Commitment campaign. Students across the nation have taken the initiative to connect with their campus stakeholders to formally commit their campuses to working towards a 20% by 2020 goal. Since it’s unveiling last fall, seven schools have signed on to the commitment thus far! UC Santa Cruz is the only California school to sign the commitment, committing to 40% by 2020, doubling the UC-system wide policy of 20% real food by 2020. Learn more about the campaign by visiting the Real FOod Challenge website!

The Real Food Calculator

Since its launch in 2008, 30 schools across the nation have completed the Real Food Calculator; some more than once. The Real Food Calculator is a tangible translation of what the Real Food Challenge is all about: measurable change in university dining halls that support fair, humane, local and organic food producers. Through an organized tracking system students can work alongside their dining staff members to measure how much real food is actually being purchased and served on campus, in dollars and cents. California schools that have completed the calculator so far include:

  • Cabrillo College
  • Pomona College
  • San Rafael College
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • Santa Clara University

Contact your Regional Field Organizer if you are interested in learning more about the calculator process! We are more than happy to talk about the details with you and help you get started with the baseline survey on your campus.

Food Day

October 24th, 2011 marked the first ever nation-wide celebration of real -nourishing- food, known as Food Day. The intentions of this day is to bring about discussions around the table regarding the food system and how we can work towards creating one that benefits everything and every person involved in growing and preparing the foods we enjoy. RFC encourages students to organize a day on action on their campus to celebrate REAL FOOD through any creative event you can imagine!

National accomplishments

Since its official launch in Fall 2008, the national Real Food Challenge campaign has made great strides toward our mission of uniting students for a just and sustainable food economy:

  • Nearly 4,000 students at 350 universities have joined the challenge by participating in regional events and trainings, planting student farms and gardens, developing campus-based food policy, and implementing sustainability initiatives within their dining halls.
  • The Real Food Challenge hosted seven regional gatherings (including our west coast Strengthening the Roots: Food and Justice Convergence) and one national summit thus far. Together we have engaged over 1,000 students in developing campus-based initiatives around food justice and sustainability.
  • Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Anna Lappe, and others have joined our Advisory Committee, and we’ve been recognized by The Nation, Change.org, and the Earth Island Institute.

Regional accomplishments

California students have taken the lead in implementing the Real Food Challenge on their campuses:

  • After a statewide student campaign, the University of California adopted the UC Policies on Sustainable Foodservice, which include our goal of 20% sustainable food by 2020.
  • The Real Food Challenge has hosted annual intensive leadership retreats since 2009 and three regional summits to train hundreds of students to launch Real Food campaigns.
  • The Real Food Calculator has already been piloted by students at UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Pomona College, Cabrillo Community College and others.
  • Students are planting campus gardens, changing their curriculum, educating their peers, implementing sustainability initiatives, and cooking (and eating!) real food.

Campuses Involved*

*Since 2008; Partial list.