Boston-area foundation leverages buying power of college to increase local food

local produce
Photograph: Shutterstock

From The Henry P. Kendall Foundation.

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation has spent more than 60 years investing in people and projects designed to make the world healthier and more sustainable. For the past six of those years, the Foundation has focused on the health and vitality of the food system within its native New England, with an eye toward increasing the amount of locally sourced food that is consumed in the region.

To do that, the Kendall Foundation looked to large-scale institutions, such as colleges and universities.

“By leveraging the buying power of the region’s colleges and universities, we can create the consistent, long-term demand local farmers, fishers, and ranchers need to sustain and grow their operations,” said Andrew Kendall, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “These campuses are literally serving up millions of meals throughout the year. They can have tremendous influence over our food system, especially if they work together.”

In April, the Kendall Foundation challenged the dining services of New England’s more than 200 college and university campuses to team up and submit bold and innovative ideas to improve the health and sustainability of New England’s food system. Specifically, the Foundation wanted ideas designed to increase the amount of regionally-produced food on campus, educate students about the importance of a healthy regional food system and unlock supply chain barriers to scaling up regional sourcing.

Called the New England Food Vision Prize, this program is aimed at accelerating progress towards the New England Food Vision, a regional goal to produce at least 50% of New England’s own food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing and creating thriving communities.

The inaugural prize round received ideas from teams representing 37 college and university campuses in the region as well as several community partners, such as farmers, maritime processing facilities, food distributors and other vendors and advocates. Fourteen teams representing thirty campuses were invited to submit full proposals. Five teams made up of thirteen total campuses were selected to receive the prize.

Winning ideas include introducing and creating demand for kelp in campus dining, infrastructure for whole animal procurement, improved sourcing and purchasing systems for underutilized fish, seasonal extension through processing and incentives for farmers to expand farmland and diversify crops.

Each winning team will receive $250,000 to implement their idea and will share their findings along the way with their colleagues throughout the region.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
healthcare foodservice coffee

From Smucker Away From Home.

Foodservice operators face a tall order when it comes to managing coffee service efficiently and profitably, not to mention meeting the standards of high quality and variety that consumers demand these days. According to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage report, consumers purchase an average of 3.8 beverages per week away from home; in terms of coffee, 37% of consumers say they are ordering it more now than they were two years ago.

That means there’s a lot of opportunity for foodservice establishments to attract consumers’ coffee dollars. In the...

Managing Your Business
kitchen staff

If noncommercial operators hope to pull job candidates away from restaurant jobs, here’s what they’ll need to offer, according to a flurry of new research.

The data underscore that pay, once third or fourth on most lists of the reasons foodservice employees leave a position, is becoming a far more important consideration for taking or keeping a job. Financial security is particularly important for members of so-called Gen Z, or what’s being defined as young people age 21 and under, according to the study just released by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (...

Ideas and Innovation

Not all the rivalry during a weekend of college football is limited to action on the field. Restaurants are intensifying their competition with college and university foodservices for the game day spreads that fans will set up in stadium parking lots and countless living rooms this season.

Operators ranging from Taco Bell to small independents are adding platters and meal packages this fall to capture more of the big-dollar spending by sports fanatics for tailgate parties and “couch gating,” the at-home version. They’re awakening to the opportunity many C&U foodservice...

Sponsored Content
chicken wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Consumer demand for comfort foods is at an all-time high. Classic choices such as mashed potatoes, ice cream, French fries, meat loaf and macaroni and cheese continue to attract fans—even in senior living residences, cutting-edge college dining halls and office cafeterias where there are dozens of other on-trend menu choices.

One comforting ingredient that’s in high demand is chicken, but what is it about chicken that makes it such a feel-good food? Well, consumers grew up on Mom’s chicken soup and chicken pot pie, so it could be that it reminds them...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code