On Thursday, Oct. 3, UMass Dining welcomed farmers to join a private dinner to celebrate local partnerships and the farmers’ contributions to the campus community. The dinner showcased the bounty of the season and featured items sourced directly from the farm partners.
The event highlighted the fresh ingredients used in UMass’s award-winning menu items from all dining commons and retail locations on campus. Several of the university’s longstanding local vendors attended the event, as well as Andrew Mangels, vice chancellor for administration and finance, and Phil Korman, executive director of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).
“Organizing this appreciation dinner was a great way to honor the collaboration between the UMass Student Farm, local farmers, and UMass Dining. It was very exciting to give our partners a taste of how their produce is prepared in our dining halls and to celebrate how much our local food system does for this campus and the larger community,” said Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises.
UMass Dining has transformed its food service program into the leading model for sustainability through regional procurement and the generous contribution of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation. The dining program serves over 8 million meals per year. Locally-sourced food plays a major component in its success and UMass Dining has relationships with more than 100 local farms, spending $2.4 million annually with Massachusetts farmers and vendors and a total of $5 million in New England.