Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Food Vision Prize



Our three institutions are recipients of the 2018 New England Food Vision Prize which challenges university and college dining service teams to offer more regionally-produced food on their menus. Our project, "Farming More Land & Extending the Season" is seeking New England farmers interested in partnering with our institutions to increase their capacity to grow more food and achieve more revenue through high volume customers.  

Read more about the prize here and see below for specifics on how to submit a Letter of Interest.




Massachusetts & Neighboring Small Farmers:

Tufts University, Boston College and Harvard University are all committed to serving nutritious, locally sourced food. Thanks to support from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, we are inviting farmers to participate in a project aimed at increasing the availability of local produce to our three institutions by either expanding the amount of land farmed or by growing in new manners, such as greenhouses, to provide year-round-product.



Small farmers (revenue of $500,000 or less annually) are invited to consider how they might grow produce either on currently fallow land or with year-round growth methods. Our institutions have grant funding to provide seed money to farmers – for tangible items like land leases, for equipment needed to farm additional land, or for growing structures. We will provide small “start up” grants (no repayment required) to subsidize what you need to get started. For example, a grant might be for the 10% deposit on a two-year land lease, or the down-payment on a greenhouse structure to extend the growing season. We will also enter an agreement with the farmer to purchase, at market pricing, all the produce grown on that land.

The grant request has to be proportional to the volume of food you propose to produce. We want to see how you will partner with us to grow more food!


What do we want to buy?

The growing season does not line up nicely with the academic year. As such, we have focused our interest primarily on products which can be grown and cold-stored, or can be grown year-round in greenhouses or hoop houses.

We are open to products that either yield during the school year (beginning as early as September 2019, but extending through February of 2021) or can be stored with a minimum of “infrastructure” (such as freezers). As examples, we identified a number of products, and our collective purchases from August 2018 through February 2019, as follows:

  • Cucumbers – 77,970 pounds

  • Peppers – 69,609 pounds

  • Beets (large) – 24,869 pounds

  • White Onions (colossal - 4”) – 82,042 pounds

  • Carrots - 76,158 pounds

  • Kale - 26,394 pounds

  • Swiss Chard - 10,586 pounds

  • Brussels Sprouts - 4,315 pounds

That said, we also welcome other potential products - regenerative crops such as sunchokes or legumes? Leeks or winter squash? Other ideas?

On a smaller scale, and as individual institutions, we have experience with similar purchasing relationships with farms, including Ward’s Berry Farm, Czadowski Farm, Green Thumb Farm and Wilson’s Farm. We now seek to expand that network.



  • All produce must have the Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality Seal (working with partners, we will provide educational opportunities to support small farmers in meeting the necessary standards)

  • All produce must be processed through Costa Fruit & Produce (our produce vendor, who has the capacity to pick up product, prepare it and re-deliver it to our institutions, as well as to provide the farm payment within seven days of receipt of product)

  • All parties - the farm, the institutions and Costa - would enter into a two year agreement that defines the terms of the partnership (funding, liability, cost of goods, natural emergency contingencies, etc).


Next Steps:

  1. Participate in a webinar on Friday, March 29, 2019 at 10am, during which the parties will review the opportunity and answer questions. Sign up by emailing or

  2. Complete the online “Letter of interest” by Wednesday, April 17, 2019:

  3. If selected to move forward, participate in a planning meeting with the institutions and Costa to outline the terms of the partnership.

  4. Start planting!

Please direct all inquiries to Crista Martin ( or 617-496-6705) or Julianne Stelmaszyk ( or 617-552-2115).