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A $250,000 grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation is supporting Hampshire College’s effort to eventually provide nearly 100 percent of food on campus from local sources.
The two-year grant will be used to help increase local food purchasing while also fostering deeper collaboration with agricultural leaders in the area. This funding builds on a $50,000 grant given by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in 2014 that helped Hampshire build collaborative networks with local farmers and community agricultural organizations.
“As we move forward with the College’s strategic plan, healthy food and sustainability are part and parcel of what we do here,” said Beth Hooker, director of food, farm, and sustainability. “This grant allows us to achieve our goals more quickly and with the support of an organization focused on improving health and local economies as well as regional food resilience in the face of climate change.”
Between food grown on the campus farm and close connections with the area’s agricultural community, the College aims to become a model for local food usage.
“Cooperation with our neighbors in the agricultural community to build local supplies and local markets will benefit us and the community. Our students will face complex issues involving food and sustainability in the future. We hope that addressing questions around our own food supply will prepare them to deal with those issues,” said President Jonathan Lash. “The generous support of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation moves Hampshire closer to achieving our goals in education and sustainable food procurement.”
One goal is to increase local food consumption on campus to 40 to 50 percent by the end of the grant in 2016, Hooker said. Products that cannot be sourced locally, such as coffee and citrus, would still be provided.
“By 2019, the goal is to have 70 percent purchased locally,” Hooker said. “The proposal we made to the Henry P. Kendall Foundation set out our vision and goals for the next five years. There will be an increasing ability to serve the campus community through the dining commons, the Bridge Café, and other locations.”
Hampshire’s dining service provider, Bon Appétit Management Co., is working closely with the college community to make meal plans more enticing and accessible. The hope is to provide students with access to fresh local ingredients with which they can prepare meals in their student housing, creating an even stronger web of local agricultural support.
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to building a healthy food system in New England that increases the production and consumption of local, sustainably produced food.