Humane pork is the latest Real Food Challenge Vote Real item that students selected at Fort Lewis College.
Humane food is about the humane treatment of animals that are used for meat, Rachel Landis, coordinator of the Environmental Center, said.
“It's everything from how they're raised, to how their slaughtered, to how they’re processed, and ensuring that we're doing all that we can for the welfare of that animal in its life,” she said.
Humane meat products, including humane pork, will be featured in several upcoming Real Meals, Landis said.
The Real Meals are a piece of the Real Food Challenge, which is an initiative that FLC agreed to, and the Environmental Center helps make happen, Gina Rios, general manager of Sodexo at FLC, said.
According to the Real Food guide, humane meat allows animals to express natural behavior in a low-stress environment and be raised with no added hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics.
According to the Real Food guide there are four main aspects of Real Food; it must be local, fair, ecologically sound, or humane.
Local food can be sourced to nearby business which are locally owned and operated, fair food deals with the conditions in which workers who process the food are treated, and ecologically sound food is sustainable according to the Real Food guide.
The Real Meals the San Juan Dining hall will be serving features Real Food, including the humane pork, Landis said.
The Real Food Challenge works with the budget that FLC has for dining expenses, Landis said.
As of the 2016 to 2017 year the Real Food Challenge is at 7 percent Real Food, she said.
The goal of the Real Food Challenge is to have 20 percent of the food in the cafeteria be Real Food by 2020, Landis said.
In order to buy the more expensive but more humane products, the Environmental Center takes steps to be more cost effective in the dining hall, Landis said.
One of these initiatives is to eliminate waste and thus excess spending, she said. If Sodexo wastes less food it doesn't have to purchase as much food, Landis said.
Sodexo started using smaller plates in the dining hall to encourage students to get smaller portions, Landis said.
Having small plates helps create less waste because students grab less food, which allows Sodexo to buy less food, Landis said.
The Environmental Center also runs the Vote Real initiative, which allows students to participate in the Real Food Challenge, Rios said.
Vote Real allows students to share their voices and vote on items that the Environmental Center is considering to implement in the dining hall, she said.
The Environmental Center puts out the Vote Real poll online, and, this year, students had the option to choose between Niman Ranch Humane Pork and Wallaby Organic Yogurt, Landis said.
Ellie Ferguson. a freshman Public Health and Sociology major. is vegan and has been for 4 ½ years, she said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever really eat meat again because I’ve read too much and I've seen too much so it's hard, but I think we're moving in a good direction, as a society, but also with the whole Real Food Challenge,” she said.
Serving humane meat in the dining hall is one of the steps that FLC can take to create an environmentally friendly campus, Landis said.
“We're going to continue to eat meat as a society and at Fort Lewis College,” Landis said. “So how can we do that in the most responsible way possible?”
Real Meals Served at FLC
Niman Ranch Pork and local beans served on March 27
Campus Board Dinner in the Student Union on April 13
Late Night meal leading into Finals Week on April 16
Niman Ranch Pork carnitas on April 18