CSUN Dining

The Real Food Challenge


What is the Real Food Challenge?

  • The Real Food Challenge is a national student movement advocating for a sustainable food system. The objective is to increase the level of food at university eateries that are categorized as Real Food.
  • Schools who sign onto the Real Food Commitment pledge to shift 20% of all food spending to Real Food sources by 2020.
  • Click here for more information on the Real Food Challenge.


What is Real Food?

Real Food are foods that is categorized as one of the following:

  • Local and Community Based
  • Fair Trade
  • Ecologically Sound
  • Humane

Real Food Guide

What is the Real Food Calculator?

  • The Real Food Calculator is an assessment tool used by student participants to identify campus food purchases based on the four Real Food standards.
  • Associated Students and The University Corporation invites students to be part of the Real Food Challenge! To be part of the Real Food Calculator team or to receive more information on how to be involved or updated on CSUN's Real Food Challenge email karina.ward@csun.edu
  • Click here for more information on the Real Food Calculator. 


Meet the Real Food Challenge Calculator Team

The Real Food Challenge Calculator student team are responsible for reviewing ingredients, contacting vendors, studying food labels, and determining which foods can be considered “Real Food”. 

Spring 2016

      Mildred Guillermo

    - Accounting; Sophomore
    - "As a part of the Real Food Challenge team, I learned that the product
    shifts we need for many foods are really important if we want to have a
    better system that promotes good health, food, and nutrition in our schools. 
    It is also encouraging that students and leaders in other parts of the country
    are taking a big step towards a healthier and sustainable future in food with
    the Real Food Challenge."  

      Lawrence Ochoa

    - Journalism; Sophomore






RFC Spring 2016 MR

     Michele Ramirez

    - Business Management; Senior
    - "The Reall Food Challenge made available some great tools that described
    challenging factors that happen to our food and consumption habits.  I
    encourage everyone to be mindful to purchase products that are truly
    humane and eco-friendly.  Together, and with our dollars, we can
    make a difference."




 RFC Spring 2016 ER     Eugenne Rivas

    - Public Health; Senior
    - "Now that a second assessment has been done, I have learned that
    the Real Food Challenge is striving to do its best to make food purchasing
    more sustainable.  It may be a struggle to convince operations and huge
    businesses to provide "Real Food" but at least the Real Food Challenge is
    in a way helping local businesses thrive by having CSUN and other universities
    purchase locally." 


RFC Spring 2016 GS

     Gavin St Cyr

     - Philosophy; Sophomore
     - "
Now that we have completed our second year with the Real Food
    Challenge (RFC), food on campus continues to climb towards a more
    just and sustainable source. Although the majority of our food on
    campus comes from large corporations, such as US Foods and Frito
    Lay, CSUN Dining pursues not only more healthy alternatives to
    highly processed foods, but also a more local based produce and
    dairy line of products."

Fall 2015

RFC Fall 2015 IC     Isabela Campos

    - Biomedical Engineering; Senior, exchange student from Brazil
"What interested me about the Real Food Challenge is working in a
    sustainability program to help improve the food for all students at
    CSUN, promote our health and welfare, and an amazing job experience
    working on the Real Food Calculator. 
    I hope to learn how to eat better and how this project can help students,
    CSUN, and the small (local) economy."



RFC Fall 2015 MG      Mildred Guillermo

    - Accounting; Sophomore
"My experience on the RFC Calculator team has been rewarding to see
    all our hard work pay off after seeing our [Real Food] percentage from
    our research.  I have gotten to know more about the foods we are eating
    and find myself surprised about what foods can be in the food chain and
    in stores."



2015 RFC Fall MR

     Michele Ramirez

    - Business Management; Senior
"Being part of the RFC Calculator Team has been a very enlightening
    experience; I have learned so much about our food supply system and
    healthy eating, but also a lot about the literal poisons we consume. 
    The most important thing that I take home is that the date is timely
    - many students don't know where their food comes from or what it
    contains.  I'm happy to see that society's view of food is slowly changing
    and people are becoming concerned about their nutrition.  I'm glad to be
    part of this project as it will truly affect how people are nourished at CSUN."


 RFC Fall 2015 ER     Eugenne Rivas

    - Public Health; Senior
"Working on the RFC Calculator Team has given me an understanding that
    food and supply chain are beyond just getting it from the market.  Through
    researching and contacting food businesses, I have learned that some foods
    are detrimental to our health and to the environment.  At the same time,
    there are food businesses that are making their efforts into producing food in
    a healthy and ecofriendly manner.  RFC is a great way to work on this urgent
    need of changing our food system."


 RFC Fall 2015 GSC     Gavin St Cyr

    - Philosophy; Sophomore
"My experience working for the calculator team has been tremendous. 
    It has allowed me to learn more about the food industry and how we can
    always be making improvements on our campus for our students and faculty. 
    While researching for the RFC, I have come to the realization that although
    our food and supply chain is not where we want it to be, strides are
    consistently being made to help improve our food system here at CSUN."

Spring 2015

 Mildred Guillermo

Accounting; Freshman
 - "What got me interested in being part of the team was the opportunity to work in a network that operates with real food and how other Cal State  Universities and colleges are also taking part in the Real Food Challenge.  I hope to learn to work diligently and efficiently with others and to communicate better."



J. Harrison RFC Spring 15

 Jocelyn Harrison

Nutrition & Dietetics; Graduate student
- "My professional goal is to change the food environment so that everyone has easy access to fresh nutritious foods.  Because the Real Food Challenge is designed to make sure that food nourished our bodies, our communities, food producers and Planet Earth, I think it is a comprehensive model for public and private sectors.  I want to learn everything I can about the criteria, the process and how RFC affects all parts of the food system."



 Ed Preciado

Computer Science; Freshman
- "Once I learned that it was a Challenge I was instantly hooked, I had to be a part of this program. I am very competitive so I had to help CSUN be one of the top schools participating in the RFC.  I hope I learn which companies provide food that are real and which are not real. I would also like to learn which types of companies provide food here at CSUN. I would also like to learn how to be in the RFC so that way when I go on to live later in life I know how to check with a company to make sure that it serving real food."



MRamirez_RFC Spring 15

Michele Ramirez

- Business Management; Senior
- "Just the fact that it has to do with food got me interested.  I'm excited by the opportunity to help make a change in the type of food we are consuming at school and to expand people's knowledge about food; eating healthy is important. 
I'm eager to add to my own knowledge of food, learn more about how larger kitchens functions, and understand more about food labeling."





ERivas RFC Spring 15

Eugenne Rivas

- Public Health; Senior
- "What interested me in being a part of the RFC Calculator Team was the privilege to work with a team where we can improve the CSUN community in a better and healthier way.  I would want to see how much the Real Food Challenge can impact the way CSUN dining are serving food right now and in the future.  I want to learn from this experience if we have somehow impacted the way the CSUN community will look towards what is real food or not."




GStCyr RFC Spring 15

Gavin St. Cyr

 - Business Management; Junior
 - "What interested me most about joining the RFC Calculator team was the opportunity to do something meaningful for my campus and the students that come here.  I hope to learn more about how vital food truly is for our bodies. 
Also, I would like to educate myself on how important it is to nourish ourselves with delicious yet humane food, giving our bodies the best product available."





     KTauil RFC Spring 15Karen Tauil

     - Nutrition, Senior in Brazil and Exchanged Student at CSUN
     - "As a future nutritionist, I thought that work in a project related with
     food would be great. However, when I met the RFC principles, I become
     amazed. I identified with the project because I believe that we really
     need to implement " Real Food " on campus to improve the health of all
     the CSUN community and still worry about the local economy, the labor
     situation and the respect for animals and the environment. It amazing
     to see the youth struggling to have a health and safe food in the