Meal Exchange is looking for Real Food Challenge Research and Coordination Teams

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Callout for Student Applications for Real Food Challenge Research and Coordination Teams:

Meal Exchange is launching the Real Food Challenge in Canada, and we are recruiting students of excellence in British Columbia to join our inaugural team for the pilot phase.  

We encourage students to apply in groups of 2-5, but welcome individual applications for students serious about this project.  

There are two opportunities to join the pilot phase:

  • Cohort 1: Applications due January 4th

  • Cohort 2: Applications due early spring - contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information


About the Project

The project is a partnership between Meal Exchange and Real Food Challenge U.S. that aims to shift $1 Billion of campus food purchasing to meet high standards in social justice, animal welfare, environmental sustainability and community relationships.

Students selected for this research position will receive:

  • The opportunity to be part of the first cohort of students to launch the award-winning Real Food Challenge in Canada

  • Resources for every step of the way, including detailed toolkits, examples from leaders  in the United States, webinars, and templates

  • One-on-one coaching, troubleshooting, and site-visits from the Real Food Challenge B.C. Coordinator, who will work directly with you and the stakeholders on your campus to help you meet your project goals

  • Connections to leaders of the food movement including nonprofit and business leaders, funders, researchers, and a network of peer student coordinators across Canada and the United States - meetings will be in-person, by videoconference, and at events and conferences

  • The opportunity to get course-credit for your work and present at conferences

  • Coaching and troubleshooting to access financial support (if available) from your university


About the Project Partners

Meal Exchange and Real Food Challenge U.S. use applied research, student engagement, and campus-community partnerships as ways to bring together all the different actors who need to be involved in changing how food is purchased, prepared, eaten, studied, and thought about. Our work is based on building relationships between uncommon allies, bridging organizational cultures and politics, and finding breakthrough solutions to some of our food systems’ toughest challenges. We’re looking for students who are strong leaders and are excited about the opportunity of joining an international network to transform food purchasing on their campuses.


About the Opportunity

Real Food Challenge Research and Coordination Teams must be:

  • Currently enrolled in an Undergraduate, Masters, or PhD program at a post-secondary institution in British Columbia

  • Familiar with how change happens on campus and well connected to faculty, administrators, and staff

  • Knowledgeable or seriously interested in food system issues

  • Excited about working with various stakeholders from the chef to the cafeteria manager, from students to professors to administrators, and from community organizations to international businesses

  • A good communicator and facilitator - you don’t need to have the loudest voice in the room, but you do need to know how to explain ideas to different audiences, and be comfortable leading meetings and building trusting relationships

  • Confident in uncertain and complex situations; you are comfortable when you don't have all the answers, and you are passionate about instilling positive change, and challenging your own perspectives, and those of others

  • Solutions focused - you are dedicated and creative in finding ways to reach the best results for everyone at the table

  • Capable of research that requires organization of many spreadsheets, tracking of many numbers, and consultation with many stakeholders

  • Available and able to commit for the duration of a semester, 10-20 hours/week per campus team


Successful applicants will:

  • Collaborate with groups on campus, such as Meal Exchange Chapters, Campus Food Banks, Fair Trade Steering Committees, Sustainability Offices, etc.

  • Use the Real Food Calculator to analyze your campuses’ food purchases

  • Determine what percentage of your campuses’ food purchases qualify as Real Food, and identify opportunities for improvement

  • Host educational events on campus to promote the Real Food Challenge and its impact on food and water systems

  • Attend Real Food Challenge webinars and networking events hosted by Meal Exchange

  • Report findings, and disseminate lessons-learned to networks across B.C. and Canada

  • Design a strategy to get formal commitment from your campus president to commit to shifting 20% of campus food purchasing to Real Food by 2020

Meal Exchange is committed to having a team that reflects the diversity of the issues and communities we work with. We welcome the wide range of experiences and viewpoints that researchers may bring, including those based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ability, age and religion. We welcome both lived and academic experience, and encourage applicants to note this in their application. In our inclusive workplace everyone is assured the right of equitable, fair, and respectful treatment.

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Guest Monday, 23 October 2017