Three types of lettuce have been growing over winter break at UMass Dartmouth’s Freight Farms container. Alkindus, star fighter, and green star lettuce are blooming and ready to be served this week as students return for the spring semester. In November, UMass Dartmouth received a new addition to campus in the form of a 40 ft insulated container from agriculture technology company
Freight Farms. UMass Dartmouth’s Dining Services, through its food services partner Chartwells, is one of several pilot sites for the sustainable and connected food system.
The container is outfitted with vertical hydroponics, LED lighting, and intuitive climate control allowing for the growth of lettuce and herbs year-round. It is also equipped with integrated technology into its system where dining services staff and students can monitor the growing process 24/7.
This farm-to-table initiative is part of a series of new and revamped dining offerings for UMass Dartmouth Dining Services, which recently scored an “A” on youth animal rights group peta2’s vegan report card. UMass Dartmouth earned the grade for offering at least one vegan entrée at every meal, labeling vegan entrées, offering nondairy milk, labeling vegan desserts, promoting vegan options, partnering with students to distribute vegan food, and offering an all-vegan station.
Dining services staff also initiated a new and open way last semester for students to offer feedback on their dining options. A chalk board was placed prominently at The Marketplace, the campus’ main dining hall, allowing students to quickly and easily leave feedback. The comments were recorded by staff each day and the board was cleared for more comments for students to write.
Other new dining services:
Bagel Bar at Plate by Plate
Revamped Salad Bar at Plate by Plate
New offerings at all On the Go locations
Rotating specials on meal equivalency
Introduction of Rooted in Marketplace (offerings that get back to the root of wholesome foods with plant based ingredients)
Herb cultivator located in The Marketplace allows students to see different herbs growing each semester
Revamped Chobani Bar in Corsair Café
Increased offerings of vegan, vegetarian, and “made without gluten” items campus-wide
Halal options available at various locations