New England colleges and universities represent a collective force that has the potential to significantly impact the region’s food system through greater regional procurement, and by helping their students recognize the impact they have as consumers with the food choices they make.Despite progress in recent years, barriers persist that prevent our academic institutions from sourcing more regional food within their dining halls.
New England is home to more than 200 colleges and universities, educating and feeding more than 1 million students. Many campuses are becoming leaders in local food procurement, purchasing over $100 million dollars of local food per year (PDF: FINE, 2017-2018). Obstacles persist which prevent these leaders from significantly increasing their local purchasing efforts.
Meeting the demand for locally sourced ingredients on campus and building stable supply chains for regional products requires increased access to farmland for our farmers, local and regional processing facilities, consistent distribution channels, and engaging marketing campaigns.
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation supports the leaders driving this change through the New England Food Vision Prize, a grant program that drives collaboration and encourages innovative and replicable ideas that help scale regional markets and demand for local products.
Across the region, we’re supporting growers, producers, processors, distributors, retailers, and culinary professionals in their pursuit of community-based solutions that have region-wide potential for scale and impact.
Meet some of our higher education partners and learn about their efforts here: Stories from the Field