Grants bring new foods and sustainability awareness to campus

Kendall Foundation Food Vision Prizes will fund educational opportunities for students to learn about local, sustainable foods

chef and students at cooking demonstration
Chefs Kevin Gibbons (left) and Arthur Dill (far right) with students before a teaching kitchen demonstration

Dogfish, anyone? Or how about some monkfish tacos? Kelp noodles? UMass Dartmouth students and staff will see some changes to the daily campus menu options, thanks to the Kendall Foundation.

Last fall, UMass Dartmouth was part of two teams that were each awarded a $250,000 Kendall Foundation Food Vision Prize. The prizes will fund educational opportunities for students to learn about the importance of
using local, sustainable food as well as kelp farming, and increase the use of local offerings.

UMassD, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Eastern Connecticut State University will join forces with Chartwells, the campus food service provider, and local seafood companies. The collaboration
will focus on serving more fish with an emphasis on underutilized and abundant species, like dogfish and monkfish. UMassD and its institutional partners have pledged that 75 percent of all fish served on each campus will be locally sourced by 2020.

The initiative makes sense for a campus located just 15 minutes from New Bedford, the nation’s largest fishing port, said Kirby Roberts, marketing director for Chartwells. “College students are receptive to new foods and are more likely to try something new when it’s combined with something they are already familiar with,” she said. “We have a large fish-eating population here.”

The second grant will introduce students to kelp in recipes and meals. The same partner institutions aim to broaden consumer knowledge and increase demand for this vitamin-rich New England sea vegetable.

The Kendall Foundation prize encourages educating students about these initiatives. An intern from the School for Marine Science & Technology will help with developing the program.

Tastings and kitchen demos have introduced students to new types of fish, while a visit to a local kelp farm will explain how kelp can be included in recipes. Students will also visit the Heritage Fishing Center in New Bedford
to learn more about the fishing industry.

UMassD’s Dining Services continues to educate students about sustainability while supporting local farms and organizations. Coffee grounds are donated to Sid Wainer, a local purveyor in New Bedford, and food waste is donated
to nearby Silverbrook Farm for compost. Leftover food is donated to the Salvation Army while leftover meals are donated to Arnie’s Cupboard, the food pantry on campus. The Green Navigators, a group of 25 students, encourage on- and off-campus sustainability among their campus peers through activities and events.

These activities subscribe to three tenets of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social justice, said Jaime Jacquart, assistant director of the Office of Campus Sustainability & Residential Initiatives.

The office is working with NORESCO, a national energy servicing company, to reduce students’ energy consumption. Among their many recommendations are the “Be Bold, Go Cold” initiative encouraging
students to use cold water when washing clothes while “Reduce the Juice” reminds them to unplug appliances.

“If we approach people to do the right thing and explain why, we are more likely to get people to change over a longer period of time,” Jacquart said. “If we can get students to change their routine here on campus, hopefully
they can do it throughout their lives.”


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