Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Fall 2015


This study investigated the University of Maine’s food purchasing using the Real Food Calculator to determine the Real Food percentage. Real Food is defined by the Real Food Challenge as local, humane, fair, and ecologically sound. The Real Food Challenge is an organization that seeks to create systemic food system change through student efforts on college campuses by shifting food purchasing to 20% Real Food by 2020. The University of Maine had 5% Real Food in the 2012-2013 academic year. While there are limitations to Real Food and the Real Food Calculator, it may produce a change in the food system nationally if many colleges and universities purchase Real Food. The University of Maine has a variety of options to increase food purchasing to 20% including buying organic eggs, purchasing more local food, avoiding disqualifiers, and focusing on other organic products. Applying a variety of strategies would increase the University of Maine’s impact on the food system.