University News

University Selected by Henry P. Kendall Foundation as Winner of New England Food Vision Prize

Published: December 09, 2019 | Categories: All News, Alumni

Western New England University part of collaborative team to receive $250,000 award to increase local and regional food on campus


The Henry P. Kendall Foundation announced this week that Western New England University is among the 2019 winners of the New England Food Vision Prize, an effort to encourage college and university campuses in the region to improve the health, sustainability, and vitality of the region's food system. This marks the second annual round of $250,000 prizes, which invites food service leaders from the region's 200 college and university campuses to submit bold, collaborative, catalytic ideas to increase the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.

The Foundation announced six teams of winners this week representing 16 campuses, including Western New England University. Each of the six teams of winners will receive an award of up to $250,000 to begin implementation of their project.

"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."

Western New England University, Springfield College, and Elms College, in partnership with Aramark and Wellspring Harvest greenhouse, will expand local greenhouse production to meet campus culinary needs year-round. Through marketing and education across partner campuses, as well as cost effective experimentation of new crops, this project will seek a continued and growing demand for regionally grown greenhouse produce at each institution.

Partners will develop and deliver educational programs both on campus and in the community to present the importance of greater regional food self-sufficiency and increase interest and demand for local purchasing by the college, faculty, staff, and students.

Commenting on the initiative, Melissa Motyka, director of Aramark Food Services at Western New England University said, "We are really excited to be awarded the Henry P. Kendall Foundation Food Vision Prize at Western New England University. We look forward to the next steps of the project in supplying Greenhouse Grown Local Produce year-round to the campuses of Western New England University, Springfield College, and Elms College."

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 as alumni.

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.

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 prizewinners, please visit