Image courtesy of

Our Goal

Mac demonstrated its commitment to local and sustainable agriculture by signing onto the Real Food Campus Commitment in fall 2012. The commitment requires that a percentage of all food purchased by Macalester meets the qualifications for being real. Real food is food that is local, organic, humane, or fair trade. By purchasing more local, organic and humane food, Macalester exercises leadership by modeling ways to support ecological, humane and socially just food systems.

Our Progress

According to The Real Food Challenge Calculator, a Real Food product is ranked based on how many of the four Real Food categories it meets the criteria for. Real Food A is a food item that qualifies as Real Food in more than one category (e.g. meat that is Local & Community Based and Humane). Real Food B is a food item that qualifies as Real Food in only one category (e.g. produce that is only Ecologically Sound).”

Macalester Programs

Bon Appétit at Café Mac

Café Mac is Macalester’s main cafeteria, run by Bon Appétit Management Company. Learn more on the Sustainability Office’s Bon Appétit page.

Real Food Challenge (RFC)

  • RFC, is a national campaign with the goal of redirecting university food budgets to local, ecologically-sound, fair, and humane sources of food.
  • RFC improves lives of producers, consumers, communities, and the earth.
  • We are currently in the process of estimating how much of our current spending fits into that category and where we can make improvements.

Food Recovery Network in Cafe Mac

  • Once a week, volunteers go to the dining hall after dinner and put leftover food into containers
  • Weigh, label, package, and place extra food into a walk in freezer
  • The frozen food is picked up the next day by Loaves and Fishes, a charity which provides local shelters with food.
  • Average night yields 150 pounds of food.

Food-Related Student Organizations

  • Chartered in the spring of 2014, MacFEAST is Macalester’s primary food justice and sustainability student organization. The name stands for Food, Ethics, Advocacy & Sustainable Transition. Students in this org support ongoing food projects such as Food Recovery Network and Real Food Challenge as well as host other events and initiatives.
  • MULCH stands for Macalester Urban Land and Community Health. MULCH runs the on-campus student community garden and chicken coop. The organization also puts on events and does outreach and education around sustainable food and agriculture.