State Agriculture Commissioner Greg Watson at UMass Amherst for All-Massachusetts Menu on Sept. 24



DATE:            Wednesday, Sept. 24

TIME:             4:40 to 5 p.m. media availability

WHAT:           Greg Watson, Mass. Commissioner of Agricultural Resources

WHERE:        Hampshire Dining Commons, Southwest Residential Area


A Massachusetts-focused meal and panel discussion will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 24 in Hampshire Dining Commons. The “Massachusetts Day” meal begins at 5 p.m. and the panel opens at 6 p.m. Media may interview Commissioner Watson, campus sustainability organizers and local farm broker Joe Czajkowski at 4:40 p.m. 

Panelists discussing “What’s the Hype About Local Food?” will be Greg Watson, Massachusetts commissioner of agricultural resources, Amanda Brown of UMass Extension and manager of the campus’s student farm in South Deerfield, and Czajkowski, a Hadley farmer who serves as a broker for local and regional farmers selling produce and other food to campus dining services.

Meg Little, senior sustainability coordinator for campus auxiliary enterprises, says the idea for this event came about through the campus’s recent collaboration with Watson and his department “to increase awareness among students, faculty and staff of the benefits of supporting our local food system, as well as the challenges and opportunities we face in the Northeast.”

She says the dinner in Hampshire Dining Commons, “the aspiring national model for healthy and sustainable campus eating,” will feature beef, turkey, barramundi, pollock, flounder, cheese, produce and cranberries, all exclusively from Massachusetts. “We decided to challenge ourselves to source as muchMassachusetts food as possible for one meal, as a way to bring visibility to the importance of purchasing local food and the effort UMass Dining is making to do so.”

The meal is free, with a regular meal swipe, for those on meal plans and $13 for others.