Expand existing, and support new, farm-to-school programming to increase the amount of healthy and locally produced foods purchased and served by pre- and K-12 schools, childcare, and after-school facilities. Incentivize expansion and creation of farm-to-school programs with public and private funds to support school districts.
MFSC regularly updates Action items with information about related projects, organizations, legislation, news, and other activities. If you have a suggestion for an update, please email Director Winton Pitcoff.
Image courtesy of MAPC
The freezer at the (WMFPC) is cranking out flash-frozen, locally-grown, sliced carrots, broccoli, and peppers at a rate and quality that the WMFPC has never seen before. With their Individual Quick Freezer, the Food Processing Center produces 40 pounds of deep-frozen, high-quality produce in five minutes. In a year, WMFPC has the capacity to freeze about 250,000 pounds of locally grown produce. Once frozen, the vegetables are packed and delivered to local schools, hospitals, and other locations.
Picking up just one of their frozen carrot slices, as simple as it looks, connects you to an initiative that is making a significant difference for local growers, area schools and institutions, and for the WMFPC. One of many farm partners, the 300-acre Czajkowski Farm, is growing thousands of pounds of produce for the WMFPC. The WMFPC’s frozen vegetable enterprise is opening new markets and supporting value-added production. The WMFPC is working with large contract food service companies, and frozen vegetables are making their way into hundreds of schools, including UMass Amherst and Boston University. Through these efforts food access is improved, as more individuals dine on dishes made with high-quality, local produce – an experience that some might not otherwise afford.
Related Actions: Processing 4.1.1, Processing 4.1.2, Processing 4.1.3, Processing 4.1.4, Processing 4.1.5, Processing 4.1.6, Processing 4.1.7, Processing 4.1.8, Processing 4.1.8, Processing 4.1.9, Processing 4.1.10, Processing 4.1.11, Processing 4.1.12, Processing 4.1.13, Distribution 2.1.1, Distribution 2.1.2, Distribution 2.1.3, Distribution 3.2.1, Distribution 3.2.2, Distribution 7.3.1, Distribution 7.3.2, Distribution 7.3.3, Distribution 7.3.4, Distribution 7.3.5, Distribution 7.3.6, Distribution 7.3.7, FASH 4.2.1, FASH 4.2.2, FASH 4.2.3, FASH 4.2.4, FASH 4.3.2
Image courtesy of UMass Dining
When it signed the Real Food Campus Commitment in 2013, UMass Amherst became one of the largest schools in the country to commit to sourcing 20% “Real Food” by the year 2020. Real food is defined as food that is local, fair, ecologically sound, and humanely-raised. UMass Amherst’s efforts toward the Real Food Challenge couple Real Food procurement with other activities, including an audit of dining services to promote transparency and to track changes in purchasing over time.
Students are engaging UMass dining, faculty, staff, and community members in developing a food policy and multi-year action plan for UMass Amherst. And they are working with partners along the supply chain, from local farmers to local fishermen. These efforts are leveraging institutional purchasing power to enact positive food systems change in the state and region.
Related Actions: Distribution 7.2.1, Distribution 7.2.2, Distribution 7.2.3, Distribution 7.2.4, Distribution 7.3.1, Distribution 7.3.2, Distribution 7.3.3, Distribution 7.3.4, Distribution 7.3.5, Distribution 7.3.6, Distribution 7.3.7, FASH 4.2.1, FASH 4.2.2, FASH 4.2.3, FASH 4.2.4
Image courtesy of Hawlemont Agricultural Initiative
An exciting idea related to re-introducing home economics as a way for children to learn more about food has been implemented by Hawlemont Elementary School in Charlemont, in the form of a farm- and food-focused curriculum. Strengthening students’ connection to food and their knowledge of food preparation is all part of the school’s plan. It’s not uncommon for students to learn about math, science, and other subjects while boiling sap, feeding goats, and making pickles, to name a few of the many activities that are part of their everyday school experience.
The Hawlemont Ag Initiative was started in 2014, with farming equipment and educator training programs funded in part through a $130,000 Community Innovation Challenge Grant. The school grounds now feature barns (complete with farm animals on loan from local farmers) as well as a greenhouse, chicken coop, and fruit and vegetable gardens. The support of community members and local farmers has been vital to the successful implementation of the Hawlemont Ag Initiative.