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Dining Services offers more locally grown food

Smith College students are finding an increasing abundance of locally grown food on campus menus this fall. As a new member of the "Be a Local Hero Buy Locally Grown" campaign, run by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Dining Services has increased the amount of locally grown food it purchases from area farmers.

“Smith College made a significant commitment to expanding their offerings from area farms when they joined our Local Hero campaign,” says Kelly Coleman, who oversees CISA’s Farm Sales to Institutions program, which connects hospitals, schools, and workplaces to area farmers.

“When large institutions like Smith buy locally grown, they open up significant new markets for our farmers. They also send a message to other institutions in the community that buying locally grown foods is not only possible, but preferable.”

Ann Finley, area manager for Dining Services, says the increase in locally grown food has been a hit with students and parents. “Of course, the students love the food because the flavor of fresh local food is unparalleled. But they also like that their college is helping to keep area farms in business,” says Finley. “They really respond when they see the Local Hero signage.”

Now, when Smith students dine at the Campus Center Café or the Smith College Club, they can choose from a long list of fresh fruits and vegetables - including Swiss chard, kale, green beans, corn or tomatoes - from Outlook Farm in Westhampton and Czajkowski Farm in Hadley. Smith has also been purchasing locally produced milk from High Lawn Farm in Lee. The complete list of locally grown offerings at is updated weekly.

“The nice thing is that it’s been relatively easy to buy more of our foods from local farmers,” says Finley. “And it turns out to be cost-effective way for us to buy.”

After three years in operation, CISA’s Farm Sales to Institutions Program has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars staying in the local economy, according to Coleman.

Smith College is the third local college, along with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Amherst College, to join CISA’s "Local Hero" campaign. Other institutional members include Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Baystate Health System, Lathrop Retirement Communities and Northfield Mount Hermon School.

CISA is a community organization comprised of farmers, consumers, and concerned citizens working together to sustain agriculture. CISA’s program is supported by several Rural Business Enterprise grants from the US Department of Agriculture as well as by donations from individuals.

9/19/07   Community Involved Sustaining Agriculture press release
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