Worcester State Receives Food Vision Prize to Increase Local and Regional Food on Campus

December 5, 2019
By: Maureen Stokes

A team including Worcester State was awarded a Henry P. Kendall Foundation New England Food Vision Prize, an effort to encourage college and university campuses in the region to improve the health, sustainability, and vitality of the region’s food system. This marks the second round of $250,000 prizes, which encourages food service leaders from the region’s 200 college and university campuses to submit bold, collaborative, catalytic ideas to increase the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.

The six teams of winners, representing 16 campuses, will receive an award of up to $250,000 to begin implementation of its project.

Worcester State University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Babson College, in partnership with Mountain Dairy, will use the award to support the local dairy farm’s expansion 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 Worcester State, but also the broader market of New England institutions. This award would give Mountain Diary a competitive advantage against national distributors by offering a similar cost for a New England-produced product.

“Chartwells at Worcester State University is thrilled to partner with Mountain Dairy and serve its  cheese product on campus,” said Denis Brown, director of dining services. “With this partnership, we will be giving students a ‘farm to table’ experience like no other. Giving Mountain Dairy the opportunity to expand its operation, and supply our schools with a quality local cheese, serves two purposes: supporting local farmers and increasing our local offerings to students.”

“We continually look for ways to improve meal choices for our students, and provide opportunities for students to learn about food sustainability,” said President Barry M. Maloney. “This partnership offers yet another option for students to make conscious, healthy food choices.”

“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.”

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 percent 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 alumni.

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