Supporting local farmers is more important than ever, and doing so just got a little easier for the Bon Appétit Management Company team at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.
Hampshire was named one of the winners of a 2018 New England Food Vision Prize, an effort by The Henry P. Kendall Foundation to encourage college and university campuses in the region to work together to increase the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus. The prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a regional goal to produce at least 50% of New England’s own food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and creating thriving communities.
Last April, the Foundation challenged food service leaders from the region’s more than 200 college and university campuses to submit bold, collaborative ideas for consideration of awards of up to $250,000.
“For more than 60 years, the H.P. Kendall Foundation has supported visionary projects and leaders,” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “By leveraging the large-scale buying power of the region’s colleges and universities, we can create the consistent long-term demand local farmers, fishers, and ranchers need to sustain and grow their operations. The ideas represented by this round’s winners reflect the kind of ingenuity we need to build a healthier, more sustainable food system in our region.”
Five winning ideas emerged, and among them, a proposal by a multi-institution team that includes Hampshire. General Manager Andrew Fleischer, Executive Chef Jamil Asad, and the rest of the Hampshire dining team will join forces with their counterparts at nearby consortium partners Smith College, Westfield State University, and Mount Holyoke College. The partners will support farmers in the region to adjust their production and delivery to meet demand and enable the institutions to process and store beef and pork more effectively.
Andrew said Hampshire has been making progress the past five years in increasing the amount of dining commons food from local farms and sources, to roughly 40% this year. He explains that this Kendall grant will help Hampshire and its project partners better manage local livestock from the Hampshire College Farm and other local farms, including storage and distribution of beef and pork.
“We’re thrilled about this grant,” said Andrew. “We’re hoping it will allow us to get more cold storage, which will make it easier to deal with the seasonality of pastured beef and lamb.”
Founded in the early 1970s for faculty research, the Hampshire College Farm expanded its mission in 1992 to include sustainable production of food and has become one of the most successful educational farms at a liberal arts college. Hampshire’s Farm was one of the first farms to pioneer the CSA model that would transform the food landscape around the country. The 80-acre farm employs dozens of students; hosts dozens of academic courses and projects by students, faculty, and staff; produces tens of thousands of pounds of vegetables; tends a wide variety of animals; produces gallons of maple syrup; and provides food to hundreds of CSA shareholders including the campus dining commons and cafés.
For a full list of 2018 Prize winners, please visit kendall.org/prize.