UMass Dining Services Becomes “A Local Hero” By Supporting Western Mass. Produce Program

AMHERST, Mass. – Starting this fall, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will become a major supporter of the “Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown” agriculture program.

The program provides the university with an alternative source for buying produce for its dining services. With an annual budget of nearly $1 million dollars for produce, UMass Amherst hopes to dedicate $150,000 (15 percent) of that to buying from farms in the Pioneer Valley.

UMass Dining Services is taking full advantage of the fall harvest occurring throughout Massachusetts, according to Ken Toong, dining services director. UMass Dining Services wants to demonstrate that it strongly supports the local economy as it provides a variety of healthy meals for students.

“We are proud to be taking a leadership role in support of the local farmers and growers,” Toong says. “Our students have commented on the freshness and taste of local products. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Be a Local Hero program was founded in 1999 by the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, a non-profit organization whose goal is to establish a strong local produce market in Western Massachusetts.