Members of ETHOS, Haverford’s ethical-food-advocacy student group, proposed the Good Food Resolution on Sunday at Spring Plenary. The resolution aims to shift the school’s Dining Services’ budget for “food that is ethical, local, ecologically sound, or humane,” from 8% to 20% by the year 2020 to “better align the Dining Center’s practices with our community’s values.” It was presented by ETHOS members Ethan Adelman-Sil ’17, Adriana Cvitkovic ’16, Amanda Friedman ’18, and Morgana Warner-Evans ’16 and was passed by an overwhelming majority of the students gathered in the GIAC.
“The support from students was tremendous,” says Adelman-Sil. “There were a series of powerful speeches speaking in defense of various parts of our mission, and when it came time to vote we were floored. In a room of over 630 students, maybe 20 voted against the resolution. …We feel emboldened, and are committed to upholding the trust placed on our shoulders by the community.”
Though The Good Food Resolution had been in the works for quite some time, it was bolstered by a recent trip made by four ETHOS members during the weekend preceding Plenary. Those students attended the Real Food Challenge Summit in Baltimore, thanks to funding from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. The Real Food Challenge is a program that brings college students together to educate them and help them promote food-justice advocacy on their own campuses. The Baltimore conference welcomed student activists from up and down the East Coast and featured workshops, speeches, and meetings aimed at expanding food justice to campuses nationwide. One such meetings was with U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, who discussed the negative effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on food sovereignty and local trade.
“The conference was a mix of new experiences and continuations of conversations that we have started in our ETHOS student group at Haverford,” says Alison Love ’18, a member who attended the summit. Some of the most impactful experiences, according to the students, came from hearing from local farmers. Amelia Keyser-Gibson ’18 described being particularly struck by the statement, “The most radical thing you can do is start a farm.”
The four Fords in attendance also learned a lot about how to implement their policies by hearing from students at other colleges who have been trying to reach the 20% “real food” threshold. “Learning from other groups about what worked for them and where they hit roadblocks will help us approach our own campaign more thoughtfully,” says Friedman.
The ETHOS members realize that instituting their Plenary resolution is a daunting task. But they are inspired by the overwhelming support of the Haverford community, as evidenced by Sunday’s vote.
“There are a lot of equally passionate students at peer institutions around the country,” said Keyser-Gibson. “If we collaborate together, we can make real change, support local farmers, and shift the food system towards increased ecological and socially sustainable practices.”
-Michael Weber ’19
Plenary Photo by Rae Yuan ’19