Farmer's markets in Corcoran Commons dining hall is one example of how Boston College Dining highlights local produce. (Lee Pellegrini)
Boston College Dining Services’ innovative and collaborative efforts to bring more quality local fare to campus menus, and to create a more sustainable food system in the region, have been recognized by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.
BC, with partners Tufts and Harvard universities, is a winner of the 2018 New England Food Vision Prize, a $250,000 award that aims to raise awareness of the environmental, economic, and health impact of food choices, support regional agricultural resiliency, and use the purchasing power of institutions to influence consumers.
“I am very proud that our talented Dining Services team is being recognized for the great work that they do to provide great food and service to the BC community each day,” said BCDS Director Elizabeth Emery. “Our team has implemented a number of innovative programs that have been well received such as mobile ordering, and FRESH to Table. Our Pop Up events—‘The Ultimate Dessert Experience’ and ‘Plant-Based Dinner’—and our annual Sunday Jazz Brunch are very popular with students. Our entire team has worked hard to reduce food waste campus-wide and partnered with student organizations and faculty on a few of these initiatives.”
The Kendall Foundation challenged more than 200 college and university dining service teams across the region to identify collaborative solutions to shared challenges of offering more regionally-produced food on their menus. Five teams were selected for the prize.
“This prize is significant because it recognizes BC Dining, and our partners at Harvard and Tufts, as leaders and innovators in our region who are seriously committed to increasing the capacity of New England farmers to feed our region.”
To implement the team’s winning proposal—titled “Farming More Land & Extending the Season”—BC, Tufts, and Harvard will work with the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, Costa Fruit & Produce, and Commonwealth Kitchen, to bridge the region’s seasonal growing gap with strategic storage and processing solutions. New England farmers will be incentivized to expand acres of farmland in production and campus consumers will be able to enjoy more of the region’s bounty year-round.
“This prize is significant because it recognizes BC Dining, and our partners at Harvard and Tufts, as leaders and innovators in our region who are seriously committed to increasing the capacity of New England farmers to feed our region,” said Julianne Stelmaszyk, Dining Services manager of regional and sustainable food systems. “To be awarded this prize halfway into the grant we received from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in 2017, we feel more motivated than ever to continue pushing the envelope.”
The proposal, according to Stelmaszyk, addresses the challenges of New England farmers’ short growing season and lack of access to land, by leveraging the universities’ collective purchasing power to support new or emerging farmers in extending their growing season through augmenting storage equipment and storage capacity, and to extend the growing season through greenhouses and more land. The prize money will be used to build capacity among shared suppliers to meet the produce needs of the three institutions.
The foundation—a New England philanthropic enterprise that is part of a network seeking to create a resilient and healthy regional food system—received submissions from teams representing 37 New England higher education institutions. Fourteen teams representing 30 schools and community partners were invited as finalists to submit full proposals—which were required to be collaborative, replicable, sustainable, measurable, and movement-building—from which the five winners were selected.
For more information on the Food Vision Prize, and a list of 2018 prize winners, see kendall.org/prize.
—University Communications | November 2018