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UNC commits to Real Food Challenge

Chancellor Folt delivers a speech alongside Associate Vice Chancellor Ives moments before signing the commitment to Real Food in Top of Lenoir on Tuesday.
Chancellor Folt delivers a speech alongside Associate Vice Chancellor Ives moments before signing the commitment to Real Food in Top of Lenoir on Tuesday.

“That doesn’t mean we will stop there, but it is a really great pledge to get it going,” Folt said.

Claire Hannapel, the leader of the UNC Real Food Challenge, said the group designed this commitment in fall 2015 through a collaboration with the administration, Carolina Dining Services and FLO Food, which is a student organization that stands for fair, local and organic.

“That has been really what this semester has been about — hearing each other’s opinions and collaborating and finding a way to meet in the middle, and this campus commitment has been that middle,” Hannapel said.

Folt said UNC was a National Grand Prize winner for campus dining sustainability, according to the National Association of College & University Food Services.

“On top of that, we are also trying to build an edible campus so not only can we come to these places, we are going to try to eat the greenery that is out there,” Folt said.

After Folt spoke, she and Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises, signed the commitment.

“I am ecstatic,” Hannapel said. “It’s huge and I think this really provided a lot of closure for me as a senior to set up a framework for students that are leading this effort long term to really jump in too.”

Ives said UNC is already close to the commitment’s goal, with 19 percent of food in the dining halls being fair, local and organic.

Emma Hutchens, who works with the sustainability-oriented N.C. 10 Percent Campaign and is a regional coordinator for the Real Food Challenge, said UNC is the first public school in the Southeast to take on the commitment.

Peter Floyd, a director of sales for Larry’s Coffee, and Casey Lebron, an account manager for Larry’s Coffee, attended the event on behalf of Larry’s Coffee, which provides local coffee for CDS.

“I love the conscious decision to know where your food is coming from and I believe that, as a business and as a University, encouraging that idea will be shared to others, and other businesses and other places...” Lebron said. “It is something that more people should be talking about.”

David Hamilton, co-founder of FLO Food, said he was excited for the future and grateful to the national Real Food Challenge movement for its support.

“It is just incredible to see how this movement has grown with us and is continuing to grow and the people at the Real Food Challenge who helped to really give us the tools to make this a reality — all of them,” Hamilton said.

Hannapel said the movement may expand into other dining services on campus and in UNC Hospitals.

“I think there is just an endless amount of innovation that can come about — but really, by declaring our commitment to this work, we are only getting started,” she said.

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