The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture Project: A Gillings Innovative Laboratory

2nd Annual Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit
February 3, 2010, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture project has engaged many students in local food issues here at UNC Chapel Hill.  Some of these conversations have resulted in spin off projects.  The post below is guest authored by Sabrina Lopez, a UNC Journalism student in the masters program.  Sabrina is working with some of the folks involved in the Gillings Project on a sister project to develop a local food system in a very rural part of northern NC.

This coming weekend, February 5-7th, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s FLO (Fair, Local, Organic) Food student-led organization and the Real Food Challenge will be hosting the second annual Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit (SYFAS).  SYFAS will bring over 150 young people from across the Southeast for three days of networking, strategizing, and cultivating ideas for a more sustainable Southern food system.

Some highlights include renowned author Anna Lappé as the Summit’s keynote speaker on Friday night, several speaker panels featuring professionals including Dr. Ammerman and Dr. Creamer from the Gillings Project on Saturday, and a community gardening service project on Sunday.

SYFAS is a summit organized by the Real Food Challenge, a student-led national organization dedicated to creating a more sustainable food system through student activism. A central campaign of the Real Food Challenge is to increase the procurement of sustainable or “Real” food on college, university and high school campuses, with a national goal of 20% Real food in school institutions by 2020. The Real Food Challenge defines Real food as food that is local and community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. The Real Food Challenge is currently piloting its Real Food Calculator, which provides an in-depth description of these categories and a way for students to track the institutional purchasing of food at the university and college level.

It’s exciting to see young people drive the food movement forward and address the food system through social activism. Young people are effectively engaging universities in procuring more local produce and securing fair wages for campus dining staff. Local student activism across the nation is driving larger institutions to make important policy and structural changes. Stay tuned for more information on the significant changes of UNC-Chapel Hill’s dynamic student-led organization FLO (Fair, Local, Organic) Food; the Real Food Calculator; and some on-the ground updates on the SYFAS Summit.

To learn more about the SYFAS conference check out their website. Click here for more information on the Real Food Challenge or watch the below You Tube video.


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