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Vermont Team Wins $250,000 Henry P. Kendall Foundation Prize to Increase Local and Regional Food on College Campuses

Contact:  Kalila Booker-Cassano

Program Associate

Henry P. Kendall Foundation




The New England Food Vision Prize supports big ideas across college and university campuses in our region

BOSTON, MA (December 2, 2019) – The Henry P. Kendall Foundation is pleased to announce six teams of college and university dining programs, along with their community partners, as the winners of the 2019 New England Food Vision Prize. The $250,000 awards to each team will support innovative ideas among New England colleges and universities designed to improve the health, sustainability, and vitality of the region’s food system by increasing the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.

“We are thrilled to have sparked such interest and creative thinking within just two short years,” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “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.  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.”

Over the two years of the New England Food Vision Prize, dining programs from 70 higher education institutions in New England have formally submitted ideas for consideration. The student population at these schools represent nearly 40% of all higher education students in the region. In addition to the schools represented, each proposal includes strategic community partners such as farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors, distributors, vendors, community organizations, and others. For the 2019 prize, 31 teams comprised of 57 campuses submitted ideas for consideration. Twenty teams representing 50 campuses were invited to submit full proposals.

Today, the Foundation announced each of the following six teams will receive a $250,000 prize to implement their proposed projects:

Brown University, Roger Williams University, and Smith College, in partnership with Providence-based Narragansett Creamery, will use prize funds to purchase the equipment the creamery needs to supply pre-shredded mozzarella cheese for its campus accounts. 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.

University of Maine at Farmington and University of Maine at Presque Isle, in partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank and Maine-based food producer Wyman’s, will establish a vegetable freezing facility in Maine, which represents a first-in-the-area opportunity to meet the demand for locally processed product at a price the local market can afford. The facility will sell products into the institutional market and provide product through hunger relief channels, capitalizing on the Food Bank’s existing network as well as distribution routes to the K-12 market.

University of Vermont and State Agricultural College and Norwich University, in partnership with Sodexo, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the UVM Medical Center, Vermont Food Venture Center, and the Pioneer Valley Growers Association, will use the prize funds to invest in processing infrastructure to improve capacity and efficiency. By investing in infrastructure, this project will enable processors to meet price points agreeable to their institutional buyers. By coordinating higher education and healthcare institutions, the team can mitigate seasonal demand challenges that are created by campuses alone. The upfront investment provided by the prize funds leads to a sustainable model that provides a stable and predictable demand for processed local food for institutional markets.

Babson College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester State University, in partnership with Mountain Dairy, will use prize funds to support the local dairy farm to expand their operation into cheese production. In return, partnering institutions will commit to purchase volumes to ensure a stable market for delivery of its new product. With the award, Mountain Dairy can expand into the cheese business and offer a more competitive pricing structure that will not only be appealing to Babson, WPI and WSU, but also the broader market of New England institutions. This award would give Mountain Diary a competitive advantage against national distributors to offer a similar cost for a New England produced product.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University, and Emmanuel College, in partnership with Commonwealth Kitchen, Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, Boston Area Gleaners, and PV Grows, propose to work with food service provider Bon Appetit Management Company to create a portfolio of “Food from Here” products that will be utilized across campus kitchens, retail locations, residential halls, and at MIT’s at-cost grocery store. Chefs at the institutions will work with the project’s 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.

Western New England University, Springfield College, and Elms College, in partnership with Aramark and Wellspring Harvest greenhouse, will expand local greenhouse production to meet campus culinary needs year-round. Through marketing and education across partner campuses, as well as cost effective experimentation of new crops, this project will seek a continued and growing demand for regionally grown greenhouse produce at each institution. Partners will develop and deliver educational programs both on campus and in the community to present the importance of greater regional food self-sufficiency and increase interest and demand for local purchasing by the college, faculty, staff and students.

The New England Food Vision Prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a bold vision that calls for our region to produce at least 50% of our 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.

Each of the six winning teams will receive a $250,000 award to help implement their idea. The Henry P. Kendall Foundation will track their progress and share it with other partners over the coming months to encourage best practice sharing and replicability.

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.

Full details for each project, as well as previous winners of the prize, can be found at the Foundation’s website.