In late September, members of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute had the opportunity to share current best practices and learn from others who play an active role in creating platforms that support students’ basic needs on college campuses across the United States at the #RealCollege Conference. The two-day conference connected professors, students, campus staff members, non-profit organizations , campus food pantry directors and others to work on alleviating hunger and homelessness among the college student population. Over 500 attendees were hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and were welcomed to the new The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.
Most observers of the 2016 election would agree that to date food and food policy has not been a front burner issue. But are there other top tier election issues that could provide an opening for food advocates—climate change and energy policy, trade policy, income inequality and minimum wage, the role of government in safety net programs? Can food activists use the distrust of corporations by many of Bernie Sanders supporters and some of Donald Trump’s followers to focus on the role of Big Food in health and hunger? Can the threats to democracy that “dark money”, campaign contributions and PACs pose enlist food and other activists to join the fight for campaign finance reform? On June 7, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute sponsored a forum on Food and the 2016 Election to consider these and other questions.