Farm & Food
In 2004, the School acquired a 260-acre parcel of farmland just a mile south of campus from Jack Blum ’47, a former trustee who raised Black Angus cattle. Six years later, Hotchkiss purchased an additional 27 acres and four buildings on the Blum property, bringing the total acreage to 287.
Today, the farm has become a vital part of community life and a source of academic inspiration, providing a venue for outdoor classes, co-curricular activities, concerts, and School functions — and supplying the dining hall with organically grown produce.
Hotchkiss leads independent secondary schools in its commitment to providing local, ethical, and sustainable options in the dining hall — thanks, in large part, to the seamless connection between the Dining Hall and Fairfield Farm. In the Fall of 2018, Fairfield Farm supplied 32 percent of the School’s produce; 7% overall for the year We also partner with more than 30 family farms and artisanal producers in the region, supporting the local economy and working towards our mission of sourcing high-quality, low-impact food. We spend more than 60% of the food budget to local businesses. Each year, Hotchkiss offsets food waste by diverting about around 80 tons (160,000lbs) of compost to a dairy farm & compost facility located just 13 miles away from campus.
Our Harvest by the Numbers
- Total yield: 31,611 pounds of produce (totaling $72,917 in dining hall offset)
- 2,389 pounds donated to the Community Food Pantry
- 2018 Harvest details:
- February 60 lbs
- March 148 lbs
- April 475 lbs
- May 939 lbs
- June 462 lbs
- July 1,509 lbs
- August 2,913 lbs
- September 8,215 lbs
- October 11,588 lbs
- November 3,779 lbs
- December 1523 lbs
In 2013, Hotchkiss became the first high school in the country to join the National Real Food Challenge; as of 2017 Hotchkiss proudly received a 60% Real Food Score. Today, Hotchkiss receives more than 60% its annual food supply from ethical, eco-conscious, local suppliers. Hotchkiss Dining works with Farms to New England (FINE) to help support, inspire and educate other institutions across New England to shift their purchasing to a more ecologically responsible model. Lastly, Hotchkiss is proud to collaborate with the State of CT, and the CT Farm to School Collaborative to influence the policy making in Hartford, to bring more CT grown foods to the public schools across the State of Connecticut.
Completed in spring 2015, the grange stores the farm’s 23,000-plus pounds of produce and provides an ideal setting for student and faculty retreats, class reunions, and outdoor concerts in the summer. The building includes a teaching kitchen for cooking classes, a processing space for farm produce, and a magnificent porch.