The National Student Food Charter (NSFC) is a way for students to work together to identify the food issues that are important to them as members of their communities. The Charter represents the student food movement’s vision for food and food systems on campus. Through a series of consultations with students across the country, the Charter’s creation has gathered over 400 student voices, connected ideas to actions, and mobilized a national student food movement.
- Click here to read up on the Charter’s process to date.
Broader background: The Charter process began at the 2011 National Student Food Summit where delegates developed a basis for the charter (click here to read the Charter’s original preamble).
A key development that occurred at the initial session was the creation of six topics that the charter covers. Students who attended the National Student Food Summit decided on: Social Justice, Health, Environment, Transparency and Participation, Local Economies and Celebration as key aspects of a healthy, sustainable, accessible, and equitable food system. It was acknowledged that the creation of a National Student Food Charter would require more voices, perspectives, and experiences.
Between the months of February and April 2012, 25 Consultation Sessions occurred across the country, engaging over 400 students’ voices . These sessions aimed to bring students together in order to discuss campus food systems, and the 6 areas of focus that were outlined in 2011. This process also helped determine how students’ values around food can be lived out on campuses. Students were encouraged to invite stakeholders on campus to listen in on the discussion – many found good connections and have already started working together with their local networks toward a food system that is responsive to the student voice.
Session feedback included:
“We had a lot of very knowledgeable people at our event (including a head chef of a camp, a person who has graduated from culinary school, and a woman who has experienced food scarcity). We also had two of our stakeholders there which was helpful as it made the students feel their voices were heard and there would be more of a chance of having change implemented.”
“The most enjoyable part of our session was listening to everyone’s input and acknowledging the potential that the campus holds to make these ideas into realities!”
After compiling this feedback, a small working group created a revised National Student Food Charter, which was presented to delegates at the 2012 National Student Food Summit, and has since been taken back to several campuses to help guide their food systems work.
The very process of creating a charter – the discussions, connections, and seeds that sessions have planted – are important first steps in becoming active participants in the food systems. We are so thrilled by the fantastic efforts of students and campuses on this initiative!