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FLO seeks to shift 20 percent of University’s food budget by 2020

For a UNC student group, today is all about local food.

In celebration of Food Day, a national event that pushes for consumption of food produced in a sustainable way, Fair, Local, Organic Food will host a four-day Food Day film festival coupled with panel discussions.

FLO is a student organization that seeks to educate students about issues surrounding the food system and to promote sustainable food.

Through the event, members of FLO hope to highlight some lesser-known problems in food supply, such as farmers’ rights and genetic modification, said Laura Schoenfeld, FLO’s events coordinator.

“There will be some alternative ideas presented to students about how they can make better choices in their meat consumption in order to protect animals as well as the environment, and also to benefit their personal health.”

Through the event, FLO is also seeking to gather student support for a campaign created by the national organization, Real Food Challenge, said Sara Skelton, a member of FLO.

The campaign aims to shift 20 percent of the almost $5 billion of food purchased by universities nationally to locally produced food by 2020.

“The Carolina Dining Services representatives said they are happy to collaborate if students ask for the change,” Skelton said.

Schoenfeld said the range of healthy, sustainable food in the dining halls improved thanks to work between FLO and dining services.

Grass-fed beef, which is lower in fat and calories than grain-fed steak, and eggs that come from cage-free birds are available in Rams Head and Lenoir dining halls.

Students have fresh food options from local and sustainable sources on and off campus, such as 1.5.0. in the bottom of Lenoir, Schoenfeld said.

“Eating healthy food is not elitist,” Skelton said. “Cooking fresh, local food can save you a lot of money and keep you healthy.”

Alice Ammerman, director of the nutrition department in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, will speak at the post-screening panel after Thursday’s documentary.

She said she hopes Food Day will inspire students to help rebuild local food economies around the state that also improve access for low-income individuals.

The Carrboro-based hunger relief organization TABLE will accept food donations throughout the event to assure that low-income families are assisted, said Skelton, who is also the campus outreach coordinator for TABLE.

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