State Agriculture Commissioner Will Help Campus Celebrate All-Massachusetts Menu on Sept. 24

Agriculture Commissioner Gregory C. Watson

Students, faculty, staff and interested community members are invited to a special Massachusetts-focused meal and panel discussion 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.

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’ student farm in South Deerfield, and Joe Czajkowski, a Hadley farmer who serves as a broker for local and regional farmers selling produce and other food to Dining Services.

Meg Little, senior sustainability coordinator for 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.”

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