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Good Food Hero Summit Day 2 (Part 1)| Good Food practices on campus to jointly improve the food system

Good Food Hero Summit Day 2 (Part 1)| Good Food practices on campus to jointly improve the food system

On August 6th, the Second Good Food Hero Summit has entered its second day, in which more front-line professionals shared their precious experience of building sustainable food systems through collaboration with educational entities.

This article covers the key content discussed in the morning of Day 2

 Keynote Speeches

 Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President of Yale Hospitality

"Experience Sharing on Building Sustainable Food System on College Campuses"


As the leader of Yale Hospitality, Rafi Taherian believes that colleges should shoulder great responsibilities of social sustainable development. To be more specifically, colleges are obligated to promote a sustainable food system through innovation, exploration, and leadership.


At Yale University, dining halls are not only eating places, but also platforms where promotes interpersonal communications and relationships building, incubators for innovation and future growths, and a place where spreads love and strengthen connnections between students and food.


Yale University has the following standards for food:

1.     Food should be beneficial for huamn bodies;

2.     Food should ensure social equity,

3.     Food should be able to boost local economic growth,

4.     Food should be environmentally-friendly,

5.     Food should be aligned with food ethics.


Turning standards into action, logistics department has increased the proportion of fruits and vegetables supply by 30% from 2010 to 2013, and subsequently increased by another 20% from 2013 to 2016. Since 2016. Since 2016, it has began adding more plant-based options and increase the proportion of plant-based protein to subsitute animal products. Up to now, plant-based food accounts for 85% in overall Yale dining options.


In the meanwhile, the logistics department is inclined to reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates, salt and low-quality fats in favor of more coarse grains, natural flavoring and quality fats.


Yale University ensures that small amounts of meat available in dining halls are hormone-free, antibiotic-free and sourced from humanely-raised animals. Apart from the meat, the seafoods are also sustainable products certified by a third-party environmental protection agency.


Collaborating with American Mushroom Institute, Yale University created a type of “blended burger” which replaces meat with muchrooms to reduce red meat consumption. Yale University is also the first institution that offers “Beyond Meat" burgers. 


Erwin Li, Yale Sustainable Food Program, Scholar in Food and Agriculture.


"Organize Students to Co-create A Sustainable Food System on Campus"


Erwin LI introduced the food campaign at Yale from a student's perspective. Launched in 2000, Yale Sustainable Food Program was initiated by a group of students, aiming to spread the knowledge and basic understanding of food from multidisciplinary and multi-dimensional perspectives.


Principles of YSFP’s action include:


First, be humble. We the humans have limited knowledge of food, land and nature.


Second, farm like a housekeeper. Humans are neither capable nor qualified to own any piece of land. We cannot just seek short-term benefits, but manage land for future generations from a long-term perspective.


Third, use critical thinking. We ought to take a system-wide look at current issues rather than limiting ourselves to tasks in hand.


The work of Sustainable Food Project generally consentrates on the following three aspects:

1.     Farms. Students learn organic farming on campus farms, solve various problems, and educate local communities and high schools about food. They also study business ethics, as they regularly sell self-grown farm products at farmers' markets.

2.     Classes. Since the complex food system covers numerous subjects, YSFG intends to look at food issues a multi-disciplinary view and find the solutions. Although Yale does not provide a degree targeting at food at present, the university is promptly trying to advance, encouraging professors to use the campus farm as classrooms and discuss food-related issues with students.

3.     Global. YSFG plans to invite professionals like chefs, lawyers and policy makers to give series of speeches regarding their own stories on food. Also, an international scholarship is set up for students who conduct research on food all over the world.


 Panel Discussion

          Doris Pui Ying Lee | ProVeg International, Regional Manager of East Asia

               Point of view Cooperation Between Social Communities and Schools


  CAO Naizhen | BIOFarm, BD Manager

              Point of view: Cooperation Between Farms and Schools


 YANG Tingting | “Happy eating”, Co-founder and Vice President

        Point of view: Cooperation Between Catering Enterprises and Schools


WU Min |  Hangzhou Shihua culture media Co., Ltd., Founder

Point of view: cooperation between communication agencies and schools


Q1: What is your ideal sustainable food system on campus like?

Doris (Pui Ying) Lee: I prefer organic ingredients and little animal products. Everyone should develop a healthy eating habit from an early age.


WU Min: Schools could design a variety of scenarios in dining halls, enabling students with a comprehensive feeling as finishing the loop of scenes. Never ignore the role of faculty, parents, and even the staff at dining halls. Their engagement is crucial as building everyone's perceptions of sustainable food.


YANG Tingting: It is important to enhance the catering departments' leaders' understanding of plant-based sustainable diets. This requires efforts at all levels of society and could start with local changes.


CAO Naizhen: Students should have the quality of scientific spirit and executive ability as “Good Food Heroes”. Indispensable scenic education is very important at this point. Through real-life-like scenes of dining halls and eco-farms, it helps students absorb information faster.


Q2: What support would you provide for those schools which call for change but do not know how to start with?


CAO Naizhen: I suggest these schools to do refuse sorting. Not only it cuts down on waste, but also the waste can be composted as fertilizers.


YANG Tingting: First and foremost, these institutions should improve on-campus dining options using their current resource. Interaction with student organizations is an easier start that students themselves are the most powerful influencers at school.


WU Min: We could start with cooperations in colleges and elementary schools, collaborating with professionals in food science and psychology.


Doris Pui Ying Lee: Schools need to ask themselves why they want to make changes. They could hold panel sessions with students to come up with a solution together.


Q3: What is the greatest support that you ever received from schools? What kind of support do you anticipate for future?

Doris Pui Ying Lee: We once gave training to a vocational school, and they really liked it. They even sent trained students to other schools to do training, which set a good example.


WU Min: Schools always have the courage to explore with you, and they are willing to provide time and space. However, I think it is not easy to truly influence the whole school. Thus, both we agencies and schools ought to make joint efforts in terms of support.


YANG Tingting: We have the support from universities, like the investment in dining halls. Then we will use the left amount to invest for more value, such as adding organic, plant-based ingredients. The recognition and authorization from school leaders are profoundly important.


CAO Naizhen: For our group, the greatest support is schools’ willingness to take their children to our fields. Through experiences on farms, students begin to understand and gradually generate the passion for agriculture, coming to the realization that agriculture can be a huge changemaker to the future and their future career.


Gourmet in Summit


By the end of the morning of Aug. 6, the seven-flavor veggie burgers had left all the hungry audience raving. Please stay tuned for more exciting content in the afternoon!