By Charlotte Kugler ’14
In a significant recognition of Mount Holyoke's commitment to providing students with healthy and environmentally friendly food options, Ruby Maddox-Fisher, program coordinator at the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, has won the Real Food Award in the Administrator/Faculty category.
The Real Food Challenge, the sponsor behind these awards, is a national grassroots organization that seeks to create a healthy, fair, and green food system in colleges and universities across the country. Students nominate and choose the winners for Real Food Awards, which honor individuals and groups for their excellent work in promoting real food, developing new leaders, and bridging communities involved in campus food systems.
"There is so much passion in the valley around promoting real food in our schools and in our communities," says Maddox-Fisher. "Our students advocate tirelessly for support for our local farms and local sourcing in our campus dining options, and our campus has responded to that challenge with overwhelming encouragement."
To Maddox-Fisher, the award represents not just her efforts, but the combined efforts of students, staff, and local farms and volunteers to change Mount Holyoke’s food system to reflect the College’s values of community and sustainability.
For the past ten years, she has been involved in the food justice movement, studying not only ways to create real food options, but also how participation in such activities can empower and engage community members.
"At Mount Holyoke specifically, I've connected students to farmer support organizations, local food initiative organizations, and other outlets for advocacy," she says. "I've also supported the MHC Student Garden and the Food Justice Society student organization through the Miller Worley Center and encouraged students in their own initiatives around local food."
Tim Farnham, director of the Miller Worley Center, describes Maddox-Fisher as an inspiring mentor with invaluable experience for both the College and the Pioneer Valley.
"Ruby has been a central driving force behind the Mount Holyoke Student Garden Project for many years," he says. "Mount Holyoke is so lucky to have her, and it's fabulous that Real Food Challenge has chosen to recognize her many contributions to the national food movement."