The Hotchkiss School was named one of five teams representing New England higher education institutions to be awarded the 2018 New England Food Vision prize for its proposal to develop a replicable model of its whole animal purchasing program.
Josh Hahn, assistant head of school and director of strategic initiatives, congratulated Hotchkiss Dining Hall General Manager Mike Webster and his staff, Fairfield Farm Manager Ellie Youngblood and Allen Cockerline, owner of Whippoorwill Farm in Lakeville, on the award.
Hotchkiss is at the forefront of a movement to procure local food that is having a ripple effect on other higher education institutions in the region. "The whole animal purchasing program is a really great example of the School's stewardship of the local economy and the environment, and how what we do at Hotchkiss has an impact beyond our campus," he said. "We are proud of the way we have been able to partner with these important colleges in the region."
The $250,000 cash prize, awarded by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, is designed to raise awareness of the environmental, economic, and health impacts of food choices, support regional agricultural resiliency, and recognize institutions who use their purchasing power to effect positive change. The Foundation challenged university and college dining service teams across the region to team up with at least one peer institution to identify collaborative solutions to offering more regionally-produced food on their menus.
The Foundation received letters of interest from teams representing 37 New England higher education institutions. Fourteen teams, representing 30 schools and several community partners, were invited as finalists to submit full proposals. The Foundation awarded $250,000 prizes to five teams to implement their proposed projects. Smith College, Westfield State University, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College will work with The Hotchkiss School, Whippoorwill Farm, and Adams Farm to develop a replicable model for upscaling the procurement of whole animals in campus dining. The project will support farmers in the region in adjusting their production and delivery to meet institutional demand and enable the school dining programs to process and store large volumes of beef and pork in a way not possible today.
"I am very proud of our team for their amazing work in helping to develop a regional supply chain for whole animals. I am excited to share our lessons with others as we work to shift purchasing back into the regional economy," said Webster.
"The impact that we have had on our community has been incredible, we are looking forward to supporting more farmers in the years to come."