I support the Real Food Movement because it promotes a tangible connection between people and their community. Not only does it support the farmers that grow the food, but it sparks conversation, nourishes our bodies, establishes a respect of life and ethical treatment of animals, and it is an expression of stewardship towards the earth’s resources. I have a passion for conversation that I discovered when I first started going to the farmers market in my hometown. No longer did food purchasing exist as merely a transaction, but as a connection between people and the start of worthwhile relationships. My disillusionment with purchases was vanquished and I awoke from my slumber. I opened my eyes to the world around me–the members of my community, the food that was entering my body, and the connection that we all have to the source of our nourishment.
Food Day 2013 (now over one month ago) at the University of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa, AL was a whirlwind of activity and engagement. We tabled outside for about 6 hours during the day to increase campus awareness of what the Real Food Committee is doing to incorporate more “real” food into the campus dining halls. We teamed up with Bama Dining and the Student Dietetic Association to anchor the hype of Food Day and the Real Food Challenge. We hosted a photo petition and also asked students to sign statements of support for our movement. Hoorah! It was a great success. And that was still while the sun was up….
Later on, the real excitement kicked into full gear. We’d been planning a local food dinner since January and Thursday night was finally the night. It was what we’d been waiting and planning for and we had to do everything just to calm our nerves and step into the roles we had claimed for ourselves.
At the beautiful and gracious Epiphany Café on Greensboro Ave, right in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa, we hosted a 100-mile Dinner for the community – city and campus included. Everything served was grown or raised within 100 miles of our town to be aptly labeled “local.” Furthermore, much of the food we had acquired was sustainably raised by other real food standards (fair, humane, and ecologically sound). And not only was our food local, but it was all donated, the space was opened freely for us to use, and the staff and chefs at Epiphany cooked all of our food for us at no charge. The music was provided by two friends of mine & their fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, and a student at UA designed our logo that was spread far and wide on posters and emails and flyers and tickets.
We served guests from 8:30 until 11:30 and I heard only positive remarks about the food and atmosphere. Many claimed it was the best food or the best type of dish they had ever eaten. Needless to say, we were thrilled and we are still on a cloud of disbelief and satisfaction from our evening at Epiphany. We just about made our fundraising goal of $1600 and we have established our campus organization as legitimate and worth supporting. I can only imagine the ground we will cover and strides we will make as our committee continues to grow in conversation and action with the Tuscaloosa community. I look forward to sharing our progress here. As always, it is a pleasure to share my journey with you all and I encourage you to ask me anything or share your own real food journey in the Comments section below or on the Ask page.
Wishing you love and joy today!