Rutgers Forward Food Conference: Creating Healthy, Sustainable Menu Options

Paggy and Ian preparing food; photo courtesy of Chris Gunning

Thursday, September 21, 9:15 am to 3:30 pm

New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH), Room 101
61 Dudley Road
New Brunswick NJ 08901

The New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) building is located on the Cook Campus of Rutgers University, with easy access from the NJ Turnpike (Exit 9), from Routes 1, 18, and 287, as well as public transportation to campus via NJ Trains to New Brunswick and the Rutgers bus system.

italian dish tray with lunch greens food options grapes on vines vegetable options green vegetables

Conference Description

We are excited to bring you this Forward Food conference which focuses on developing plant-forward based eating initiatives for foodservice professionals, chefs, dietitians, doctors, public health leaders, and environmental organizations. Forward Food is partnering with Rutgers as part of its initiative toward building a healthier, more sustainable food system through an emphasis on plant-based foods and proteins. Participants will leave with recipes, ideas and connections to others who wish to advocate for healthy and sustainable change.

Enjoy delicious food at IFNH's Harvest Cafe during our plant-based food cooking demonstration by Chef Ian Keith, and network with individuals seasoned in the art of setting and reaching goals to bring healthier menus to their guests.


This conference is a collaboration between Forward Food, a Program of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Rutgers New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health. Other sponsors include Rutgers Dining Services and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing education credits are available for professionals (RDs and DTRs, CDM, CFDP and CEH).

Event Coordinators

Rutgers Co-organizers are

  • Peggy Policastro, Ph.D., R.D., Rutgers University
  • Xenia Morin, Ph.D., Rutgers University
  • Kate Watts, Forward Food, The Humane Society of the United States

Event Contact

Kate Watts:


Follow this link to the symposium agenda (178k PDF)

Speakers and participants include:

  • Dr. Michael Parkinson, Senior Medical Director, UPMC Health Plant and WorkPartners
  • Cory Booker, U.S. Senator, New Jersey (video)

  • Kate Watts, Forward Food Program, The Humane Society of the United States
  • Rachel Orr, Food Service Director, West New York Schools
  • Dr. Peter Gillies, Director, New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health
  • Joe Charette, Executive Director, Rutgers Dining Services, and member of Rutgers Committee for Sustainability
  • Ian Keith, Rutgers Chef, IFNH Harvest
  • Dr. Peggy Policastro, IFNH Director of Behavioral Nutrition/Student Ambassador Program, Rutgers Dining Services Nutrition Specialist
  • Dr. Xenia Morin, IFNH Program Leader for Food Systems and Agriculture, IFNH; Rutgers Undergraduate Program Director, Agriculture and Food Systems Program


This conference is free but registration is required. It is open to food and nutrition professionals, public health leaders and members of the Rutgers community.

Registration for the conference has reached seating capacity. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please click on the following link: Wating list registrants will be contacted (in order of registration) as seats become available.

Directions and Parking

Driving directions to IFNH with RU Maps

Lot 97, opposite IFNH at 61 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, with overflow parking directed to Lot 98B

Public Transportation:
Use the greener option to get to campus: take NJ Transit trains to New Brunswick then catch the Rutgers EE bus to Cook Campus. The Train Station Rutgers EE bus stop is on Somerset Street near George Street in New Brunswick. Get off at the Food Science bus stop and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) is across the street and east of the Food Science and Food Nutrition Building. Use the Rutgers App for updates on bus schedules and maps.


If you are planning to stay overnight, there are multiple options for hotels, see:
Rutgers University–New Brunswick: Lodging and Dining

Forward Food Program logo
IFNH logo Rutgers dining logo Humane Society of the United States logo
IFNH building