Hampshire College's Healthy Food Transition is changing the enterprise of producing, preparing, consuming, and managing food on campus. Food is used as a means to teach students, communicate values, experiment with new models to solve problems, influence our peers, and serve our community.
As one of the very few liberal arts institutions with a working farm, the Hampshire College Farm has been the focus of academic courses for students across the Five College Consortium and individual student research for almost 30 years. Our farm supplies vegetables and meat to our dining services throughout the year. We also sell vegetable and meat CSA shares to the Hampshire and Five College communities. Farm products such as freshly-produced winter greens, eggs, meat, honey, and maple syrup are available at the HampStore year-round.
In pursuit of Hampshire's 100% Local Food Challenge, our dining service provider builds its menus around fresh, local food. Bon Appetit sources produce, meat, and dairy from over 15 local farms, of which a significant amount comes from the Hampshire College Farm itself. Through Hampshire’s Sustainable Food Purchasing Guide, the College has specific guidelines to strive toward when procuring food that minimizes negative impacts on the environment; strengthens connections within communities; and supports the health, human rights, and economic security of the people producing, preparing, and eating the food.
We are in the early phase of developing a Center for New England Food and Agriculture, to be located at the Hampshire Farm. Using the College’s land, curricular innovation, and academic and farming expertise, the center will be a collaborative hub for members of the agricultural community and for the Five College consortium. Hampshire has received two grants totaling nearly $300,000 from the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation and the Henry P. Kendall Foundation to support collaborative faculty research programs, sustainable agriculture apprenticeships, student internships and research projects, and cross-institutional initiatives that will also advance Hampshire College’s goal of sourcing nearly 100% of food locally.
Students are engaged in every aspect of the work on the farm, from planting seeds in the spring to harvesting and delivering food to the dining hall in the fall. In the winter, students help with maple syrup production through tapping trees and boiling sap to make syrup that is sold on-campus at the HampStore. On-farm projects and research opportunities are available and encouraged. First-year students who are interested in learning more about farming can participate in the FARM! LLC, a living, learning community in which they live and work with other students interested in sustainable agriculture. Workstudy positions on the farm are also available year-round.
In addition to participation at the farm, students can engage in a wide variety of other food systems-related activities. For instance, to help students across campus increase their food systems awareness and skill sets, Bon Appetit offers free cooking classes, featuring local, seasonally-available food. Student-driven initiatives are encouraged at Hampshire; recent student-run activities include late-night smoothie events, kitchen tours, and a video interview series with food systems staff. Students are also invited to work at Mixed Nuts, the student-run, volunteer-based collective that aims to promote equality, respect, honesty, and responsibility within the context of food systems and cooperatives.