The University of Maine Farmington (UMF), The University of Maine Presque Isle (UMPI), and Food Services Provider Sodexo was one of only six teams to win the 2019 New England Food Vision Prize Award. The $250,000 prize will go toward increasing the amount of locally sourced food on campus menus.
The awards, given out by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, invites food service leaders from the region’s 200 college and university campuses; today the Foundation announced six teams of winners representing 16 campuses. Each of the six teams of winners will receive an award of up to $250,000 to begin implementation of their project.
“We are immensely proud of being selected as co-recipients of the 2019 Food Vision Prize by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation This initiative brings our Universities and our strategic partners to the table for a vital, common purpose, to increase access to sustainable, locally produced food year-round, and in doing so, improve the quality of life for Maine citizens,” said University of Maine at Farmington President Edward Serna and University of Maine at Presque Isle President Raymond J. Rice.
The Maine University Team, led by food service provider Sodexo and in partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank and Maine-based food producer Jasper Wyman & Son (Wyman’s), will endeavor to develop vegetable freezing capability in Maine, which represents a first-in-the-area opportunity to meet demand for locally sourced and processed product at a price the local market can afford. Vegetables that are sustainably grown in New England will be sold into institutional markets and will also enhance nutrition in hunger relief channels, capitalizing on the Food Bank’s existing network as well as distribution routes to the K-12 market.
“We are excited by the possibilities and the opportunity to expand access to Maine-grown products throughout the year,” stated Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank.
The New England Food Vision Prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a bold vision that calls for our region to produce at least 50% of our food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. The Prize is designed to support ideas that result in higher procurement of regional food by institutions, more regional food on campus menus, and increased demand for regional food by students while on campus and beyond the campus as alumnae.
“Sodexo is committed to partnering with our clients to identify and create sustainable food solutions that will benefit our customers and communities in which we serve,” said Phil Harty, senior vice president, Sodexo Universities North America. “We are excited to partner with UMF, UMPI, Good Shepherd Food Bank and Wyman’s in seeking to provide fresh vegetables year-round.”
Ideas for the Prize were required to be collaborative, meaning winning ideas had to represent two or more campuses working together. Ideas also had to be replicable and sustainable, applicable outside of the specific contextual factors of one campus or one period of time. Applicants also had to demonstrate how they would measure impact, and include elements of movement-building, such as growing demand or knowledge around regionally produced food.
“We are thrilled to have sparked such interest and creative thinking within just two short years,” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “The winning teams and their partners are leveraging their purchasing clout in the marketplace together with engaging their students to create the consistent, long-term demand that local farmers, fishers, and ranchers need to sustain and grow their operations. We believe that the ideas represented by this year’s winners reflect the kind of ingenuity needed to build a healthier, sustainable food system in New England.”
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 a full list of prize winners, please visit kendall.org/prize.