University News

University to Host Earth Week Pop-Up Food Tasting

Published: April 19, 2021 | Categories: Alumni, All News

Thursday, April 22 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Western New England University, in partnership with Aramark and Wellspring Harvest greenhouse, will be hosting a pop-up food tasting event on Thursday, April 22. The campus community is invited to join students and staff, on the patio outside the University Commons from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in celebration of Earth Week and support of the Greenhouse Grown project.

The event will include information on how hydroponic growing systems work, participant competitions, participant surveys, and prizes. In addition, the WNE campus will have multiple hydroponic demonstration units on display for the campus community to see firsthand how vegetables and herbs are grown. The food sampling menu item, a specialty salad, will be prepared by Chef Joel Weingert and his staff, using lettuce grown only three miles from campus at Wellspring Harvest greenhouse.

In the fall of 2019, the University was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation to promote locally grown produce. Through a developing partnership with Wellspring Harvest, a hydroponic greenhouse in Springfield, the grant allows for enhanced opportunity to educate communities and distribute locally grown produce 12 months a year. As part of this partnership, WNE currently receives several cases of lettuce each week from Wellspring Harvest.

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation project encourages campus-wide food tastings of locally grown produce, which was initially lettuce. WNE joins Elms College and Springfield College as recipients of the grant. The three schools are collaboratively sponsoring pop-up food tastings during Earth Week 2021 as well as educating each campus throughout the year. Through marketing and education across the partner campuses, as well as cost effective experimentation of new crops, this project strives to meet a continued and growing demand for regionally grown greenhouse produce at each institution. The food tasting events take place once per semester on each campus.

Read more about WNE and the Henry P. Kendall Foundation Grant.