This week, student organization Real Food Cornell is hosting the second annual Cornell Food Days in order to promote sustainable and ethical food solutions on campus.
The three-day event kicked off Tuesday with “A Greener Dinner” at Okenshields Dining Hall where students, faculty and other members of the Cornell community sat down to both sample sustainably and ethically produced plant-based foods and learn about a variety of issues related to food production.
The dinner was followed by a Wednesday event called “Scary Ugly Foods,” which featured demonstrations and sampling of sustainable food production at Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Students could taste a variety of edible applications of foods that tend to be wasted in food manufacturing, which included final products such as juice, cider and smoothies.
Cornell Food Days will conclude Thursday night at Martha Van Rensselaer Hall with a training session where students will share recipes and ideas about sustainable food at home or in the dorm room.
The general goal of Cornell Food Days is to confront key issues within the food industry through its consumers, according to Real Food Cornell co-founder Jessi Silverman ’17.
“People are so removed from where their food comes from that they often don’t think about the impact of their choices on people and the environment,” Silverman said.
By participating in Real Food Days, Cornell joins a national community of several hundred universities, cities and organizations that sponsor food activism events in promotion of more sustainable food diets and policies. These organizations recognize national Food Day on Oct. 24 and endeavor to organize sustainable and ethical food events around this day.
Some of the American food industry issues Real Food Cornell and its counterparts across the nation hope to address include worker justice, accessibility to healthy food and animal cruelty, according to Silverman.
Silverman said she believes Real Food Days has revealed a widespread desire across the Cornell community to address issues with food sustainability and ethics. Real Food Cornell hopes for Real Food Days to further engage this desire on campus as the event becomes larger in future installments and, eventually, for it to lead to campaigns for sustainable campus food reforms and practices like Meatless Mondays.
Real Food Cornell is a young club on campus, having only become an official student organization this semester, according to Silverman. In addition to organizing Cornell Food Days, the organization is looking to act as supplement to the more specified food activism of related campus organizations throughout the academic year. These associated clubs consist of groups like the Vegan Society and Food Recovery Network.
The Cornell Food Days events, hosted by the club Real Food Cornell, was a collaborative effort between groups including Cornell Dining, Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm, Anabel’s Grocery, the Division of Nutritional Sciences and a large number of volunteers.