The combined power of two of the region's prominent higher education institutions – one an internationally recognized food authority, one an internationally recognized design authority – and a venerable local food hub is changing the way college students eat.
Johnson & Wales University (JWU), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Farm Fresh RI will share a 2018 New England Food Vision Prize, a $250,000 award from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, to encourage colleges and universities to increase the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.
The award will support a two-year collaboration to research and develop food products that will be tested and integrated into the dining services at each campus with subsequent plans for distribution through Farm Fresh RI.
Under the direction of Amanda Rotondi, director of Campus Dining at JWU and Ginnie Dunleavy, executive director for Auxiliary Services at RISD, food products specifically targeted to the large-volume needs of university dining will be developed, replacing current purchases with items that are abundant locally in New England. Central to the team’s project is the opportunity to use significant amounts of surplus produce that might otherwise be disposed or composted.
"This award is a bonus for Rhode Island," Jesse Rye, co-executive director, Farm Fresh RI says. "The combined powerhouse of JWU and RISD faculty and students will innovate local food choices for the demanding palates of our region's college students – with the goal to optimize efforts so they benefit the regional agricultural community as well as Rhode Island businesses and consumers."
JWU and RISD dining programs are one of five New England multi-institution teams receiving awards this year. Last April, the Foundation challenged foodservice leaders from the region’s more than 200 college and university campuses to submit bold, collaborative, catalytic ideas for consideration. The New England Food Vision Prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a regional goal to produce at least 50 percent of New England’s own food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and creating thriving communities. One high-leverage strategy to accelerate the region towards this goal is to unlock the market power of large food purchasers, such as colleges and universities. The Prize is designed to support ideas that result in higher procurement of regionally grown and produced food by institutions, more regional food on campus menus, and increased demand for regional food by students while on campus and beyond as alumni.
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation is a New England philanthropic enterprise that is part of a strong and rapidly expanding network aiming to create a resilient and healthy New England food system.
“For more than 60 years, the H.P. Kendall Foundation has supported visionary projects and leaders,” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “By leveraging the large-scale buying power of the region’s colleges and universities, we can create the consistent long-term demand local farmers, fishers, and ranchers need to sustain and grow their operations. The ideas represented by this round’s winners reflect the kind of ingenuity we need to build a healthier, more sustainable food system in our region."
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 14,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; North Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, design and engineering, education, health and wellness, hospitality, nutrition and physician assistant studies. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 124 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit jwu.edu.
About Rhode Island School of Design
The mission of RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”), through its college and museum, is to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation. Our immersive model of art and design education emphasizes robust liberal arts studies and conceptually driven studio-based learning in full-time bachelor's and master's degree programs across 19 majors. RISD's exceptional faculty foster student growth and development in extensive specialized facilities, enabling students to become confident, cross-disciplinary thinkers and nimble problem-solvers ready to confront the complexities of global practice in the 21st century. More than 27,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of a RISD education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in defining global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit risd.edu.
About Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Farm Fresh RI is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2004. The local food hub’s mission is to grow a food system in Southern New England that values the environment, health and quality of life for both the farmers and eaters in the region. To build healthier communities, increase access to fresh food, strengthen community-based businesses, and improve the impact of food production and distribution on the environment, Farm Fresh RI offers a wide range of programs and services that support hundreds of farmers and food producers, and connect tens of thousands of consumers to locally grown food each year. Farm Fresh RI farmers markets and transparent enterprise systems help local farmers, fishers, and small food businesses reach more customers. And the organization’s work with the community through outreach, nutrition incentives, and educational programs help increase the accessibility and affordability of fresh, local foods. For more information, visit www.farmfreshri.org.