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 since the 1970s. 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 increasing local food consumption, our food services, including the dining hall, the Kern Kafe, the Bridge, and the HampStore, build their menus around fresh, local food, of which a significant portion comes from the Hampshire College Farm itself. To support and improve the local food system, the College has received several grants, including from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation, and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. Recently, the Hampshire College dining hall, in collaboration with several other local college dining halls, was the recipient of the Kendall Foundation's New England Food Vision Prize to promote local meat production. 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.
Students are engaged in every aspect of the work on the farm, from planting seeds in the spring to harvesting and delivering food 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. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of on-farm projects, courses, and research opportunities. 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, the dining hall offers free cooking classes, featuring local, seasonally-available food. Hampshire College encourages student initiatives as much as possible; recent student-driven activities include late-night smoothie events, kitchen tours, and a video interview series with on-campus food systems staff. Students are also invited to work at Mixed Nuts, the student-run, volunteer-based co-op that aims to promote equality, respect, honesty, and responsibility within the context of food systems and cooperatives.
Like the rest of the College, the Hampshire College Farm has worked hard on its sustainability efforts. From organic vegetable production to solar-powered tractors, the farm strives to create a future that is safe, environmentally sound, and equitable for generations to come. Learn more at the farm's sustainability page.