Dining Services Receives Grant to Boost Sustainability

A two-year grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation promises to bolster sustainability efforts at Smith. The $168,751 grant will support the ongoing efforts of Smith College Dining Services to develop sustainable, local and healthy food practices.

Efforts supported by the grant include:

• Hiring additional staff and student workers to establish sourcing protocols aimed at encouraging the use of locally grown produce and locally raised meat and fish.

• Evaluating Smith’s student-run community garden, which currently lacks a long-term planting and business plan, in an effort to guarantee future sustainable success.

• Conducting an evaluation of current menus to determine beef usage that will inform Smith’s practices regarding purchasing local and/or grass-fed beef.

• Identifying local products that can be processed, chopped and/or frozen, via the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, and then stored for future use.

Dining services’ current sustainability practices include: purchasing cage-free eggs, fair-trade coffee, local yogurt and granola, and using a bicycle-delivery system for catering Smith events.

About 22 percent of Dining Services’ food purchases are from local, sustainable sources, and humane or environmentally friendly sources, according to Dining Services Director Kathy Zieja. “We would like to increase that number,” she says. “Currently, we purchase as much local fruit and vegetables as is seasonally possible from about 10 to 15 farmers and producers in our Massachusetts valley and in southern Vermont. The Kendall Foundation grant will allow us to explore further opportunities.”

Founded as the Norfolk Charitable Trust in 1957, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation began to emphasize environmental concerns in the early 1970s by supporting land, water and wildlife conservation.  A decade later the foundation focused on nuclear nonproliferation and arms-control activities. In 1999 the foundation initiated a climate-change program, and in 2006 it re-oriented its focus to strategies for reducing greenhouse gases and developing early steps for adapting to the impacts of global warming on the landscape. In 2011, the foundation began focusing on creating a sustainable and resilient food system in New England.