Ohio State University Team Wins $5,000 Grand Prize & Campus Visit from Tom Colicchio


Monday, April 18, 2016

Press Contacts:

Navina Khanna
HEAL Food Alliance 
(510) 393-4905

Maggie McKeon 
(315) 730-5101


Plate of the Union Announces Campus Challenge Winners

Ohio State University Team Wins $5,000 Grand Prize & Campus Visit from Tom Colicchio

Washington, DC – Plate of the Union – a grassroots campaign calling for bold action to reform the nation’s food system – today announced the winners of its student-driven organizing effort, the Campus Challenge. A team from the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) was awarded with the grand prize of $5,000 to execute its campus outreach plan to drive engagement around food issues in the 2016 election, as well as winning a visit to their campus from Tom Colicchio and other prominent food leaders.
Three runner-up prizes of $2,500 were awarded to teams from Iowa State University (Ames, IA), Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC), and Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH).
“The vision, drive and intellect of our nation’s young people was on full display in the Campus Challenge submissions,” said Navina Khanna, director of the HEAL Food Alliance. “While each campus presented unique and creative organizing concepts, the OSU team truly captured the essence of the Plate of the Union campaign. Congratulations to all the teams for their hard work and dedication to this cause. We look forward to working together to advocate for food system reform.”

The Plate of the Union is a collaborative campaign created to amplify the voice of millions of Americans who care about food and farm issues during this election season. The group is working to call on presidential candidates to reform the U.S. food system so that every American has equal access to healthy, affordable food that is fair to workers, good for the environment and keeps farmers on the land. The Campus Challenge winning teams will be assisting Plate of the Union in this effort. 
The winning team devised an organizing plan that reaches beyond the borders of the OSU campus. The OSU team will organize and lead a national day of student-led action called The Presidential PICNIC - Potential Impact on Cultivating, Nourishing, and Inspiring Communities - for Food Systems Change (‘PICNIC’) to bring the conversation of food systems reform to the table for the 2016 presidential election cycle.

Alex Lines, team member from Warren Wilson College said: “The reality of our broken food system is that those making the decisions surrounding food policy are merely factoring in short term gains without acknowledgement or concern for future consequences. We must take action to reshape the future that will inevitably be handed over to us.  It makes no difference whether you consider yourself a foodie, farmer, or activist, or whether food is merely something you put into your mouth a few times a day without much thought. If you are a young person in America today, your future rests on the fate of our food system. The future of food is OUR future.”

Oliver Edelson of Growing Change at Dartmouth College said: “Growing Change is honored and humbled to have been named runners-up in the Plate of the Union Campus Challenge contest. As committed farm-to-school educators, we are frustrated with the incongruence between what we teach our students about healthy eating and the current dominant agricultural system and policies that make it nearly impossible for our nation’s children to balance their food plates. With funding from the Plate of the Union, we are eager to do our part to correct this disconnect by making food policy reform a major political consideration and topic of discussion on college campuses throughout the nation.”

Adam Wright, team member from Iowa State said: “As an agricultural leader and the first state to host a presidential caucus, Iowa is the perfect place to enact a Plate of the Union Campus Challenge project. We are thrilled to receive this honor and look forward to enacting change at Iowa State University in the months ahead.” 
The Campus Challenge was focused in the key battleground states of North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado. The judging panel included Tom Colicchio, chef, restaurateur, Food Policy Action co-founder, and “Top Chef” head judge; Sam Kass, chef and former White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition; Anna Lappé, sustainable food advocate, author and educator; Karen Washington, urban farmer and community activist; Sam Talbot, chef and restaurateur; Anim Steel, co-founder of Real Food Generation; Raj Patel, award-winning writer, activist and academic; Joann Lo, Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance; and Rep. Chellie Pingree, U.S. House of Representatives.

Plate of the Union is a collaborative campaign organized by Food Policy Action Education Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the HEAL Food Alliance to raise the voice of Americans who care about food and farm issues during this election season. More can be found at

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