Bon Appétit-Served Universities Win 2019 New England Food Vision Prizes

Dairy cows in New England landscapeWorking with their Bon Appétit teams, Brown University, MIT, and others have been awarded $250,000 for projects to improve the region’s food system

Palo Alto, CA (Dec. 17, 2019) — Local food purchasing just took a big leap forward in New England. The Henry P. Kendall Foundation has announced that Brown University (working with Roger Williams University) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (working with Lesley University, and Emmanuel College) are among the 2019 winners of the New England Food Vision Prize, an effort to encourage college and university campuses in the region to improve the health, sustainability, and vitality of the region’s food system.

This marks the second annual round of prizes, in which food service leaders from the region’s 200 college and university campuses submit bold ideas aimed at increasing the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus. Each of the six teams of winners will receive an award of up to $250,000 to begin implementation of their project.

“The winning teams and their partners are leveraging their purchasing clout in the marketplace together with engaging their students to create the consistent, long-term demand that local farmers, fishers, and ranchers need to sustain and grow their operations,” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “We believe that the ideas represented by this year’s winners reflect the kind of ingenuity needed to build a healthier, sustainable food system in New England.”

“I am extremely proud of the five Bon Appétit teams for working together and coming up with these innovative ways to help our Farm to Fork farmers and bring even more local foods to their campuses,” said Elaine Smart, Bon Appétit regional vice president. “We are grateful to the Kendall Foundation for this tremendous opportunity.”

Hanging by a Shred: Supporting Regional Dairy Farms through Increased Shredded Cheese Production

The idea is simple: Use the prize funds to purchase the equipment that Providence-based Narragansett Creamery needs to be able to supply pre-shredded mozzarella cheese for its campus accounts, Brown University, Roger Williams University, and others. The implications of this simple purchase, however, are far-reaching. As Narragansett Creamery grows this capacity, it can service other institutional customers in the region. This impacts not only the local cheese market, but also the local milk supply. Cheese-making requires approximately eight times as much milk as does using milk directly, such as in baked goods or for drinking. This project will increase the amount of local cheese produced within the region, and therefore exponentially increase the amount of local milk produced and utilized. (Learn more.)

Transforming Surplus into Stability and Scale

When Bon Appétit leaders at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University, and Emmanuel College came together to brainstorm a project for the 2019 New England Food Vision Prize, they began with a basic assumption: Bon Appétit teams and their university clients want to purchase more local food, and local farmers and fisheries want to sell their product to colleges in the region. And yet 20 years after Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program was launched, there remain significant challenges within the supply chain, such as seasonal shortages, pricing, and inconsistent product quality, that no single entity within a supply chain can resolve. So the MIT, Lesley, and Emmanuel College teams have partnered with CommonWealth Kitchen, Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, Boston Area Gleaners, and Pioneer Valley Grows to create a portfolio of “Food From Here” products that will be utilized across campus kitchens, retail locations, residential halls, and convenience stores. Chefs will work with the processing partners to analyze campus menus and recommend products for the “Food From Here” portfolio. These partners, along with Boston Area Gleaners, will identify local suppliers, who will receive the support they need to become a part of the supply chain. (Learn more.)

More about the Food Vision Prize

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation is a New England philanthropic enterprise that is part of a strong and rapidly expanding network aiming to create a resilient and healthy New England food system. The New England Food Vision Prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a bold vision that calls for the region to produce at least 50% of its food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.. The Prize is designed to support ideas that result in higher procurement of regional food by institutions, more regional food on campus menus, and increased demand for regional food by students while on campus and beyond the campus as alumnae.

Ideas for the Prize were required to be collaborative, meaning winning ideas had to represent two or more campuses working together. Ideas also had to be replicable and sustainable, applicable outside of the specific contextual factors of one campus or one period of time. Applicants also had to demonstrate how they would measure impact, and include elements of movement-building, such as growing demand or knowledge around regionally produced food.

For the full list of prize winners, visit