Local Foods Initiative

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Local Foods Initiative

Promoting local food every day of the year!
Meeting Information
Place: Merrill Living Room
Time: 6:00pm every Thursday
Contact Information
Email: mjoh13URIs of the form "mjoh13" are not allowed.
Signer Information
Signer 1: Sidney Katz
Signer 2: Matthew Hecking
Signer 3: Emma HallBilsback
Advisor Information
Advisor name:
Signer Resources
Group Account Number: 753
Submit a Funding Request
Funding Request Decisions
Student Group Signer Manual


Mission Statement

To promote local foods and sustainable agriculture at Hampshire College.

If you want to stay informed join our listserve here.


We cook and eat a local foods dinner each week as a group in the Merrill Living Room. Join us! This semester we are going to screen movies, offer CEL1 credit, and continue eating delicious amazing food from the Valley!


Hampshire Dining Commons

Check Out Their New Website!

Hampshire Dining Commons

Frog Food

Frog Food is a system of defining the origin of certain items of food with Hampshire Dining Commons. Frog Food was first implemented in the Spring of 2010. Different color frogs represent whether the food is from Hampshire or locally, regionally, or organically produced. The green frog represents food that comes from the Hampshire Farm, the yellow frog represents locally grown food, the orange frog represents regionally grown food, and the blue frog represents organically grown food. White boards and stickers with the four colored frogs are placed in certain areas of the dining commons in order to label the food. The goal of frog food is to allow people eating in the dining commons to have a better understanding of where there food comes from which allows them to make a more educated decision about what food they choose to eat.

Frog food map.png

The following are descriptions of the terms Hampshire food, local, regional, and organic.

ORGANIC: As defined by the USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony” (NOSB). Organic farmers produce food using more environmentally sustainable means than conventional farmers. Although some conventional pesticides are allowed to be used as part of organic agriculture, chemicals are used as only a last resort. In the United States, a food item is considered organic if 95% of its materials are organic. There are many benefits to organic agriculture. Several benefits include the minimized release of synthetic pesticides into the environment. Those pesticides cause potential harm to soil, water and wildlife. Organic farms are normally richer in `1biodiversity, use less energy, and produce less waste. Organic foods contain less artificial ingredients and preservatives than conventional foods.

LOCAL: Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice (“The Idea of a Local Economy” Wendell Berry). What is local food? Local food refers to food that is grown as close to the customer as possible. The exact mileage of what makes a food item be local is not clearly defined but the Local Food Initiative (LFI) group developed a standard extending as far as 150 miles from Hampshire. It is ideal to buy food directly from your neighbors. Local food systems are created in order to minimize the control of the ‘middle man’ and to help build more of a connection between the farmer and the fork. On average, food travels about 1200 miles to get to our plate, which has detrimental environmental impacts. By eating locally produced food, one can easily avoid wasting valuable resources. Local foods are known to have an increased quality because it is sold fresh and close to harvest time. Many people buy local foods at community gardens, food co-ops, farmers’ markets, seed saver groups, and through community supported agriculture (CSA). There are countless local farms, farmers’ markets, and CSA opportunities in the Pioneer Valley. Besides the Hampshire Farm, the local food provider for Hampshire Dining Services is Joe Czajkowski’s farm in Hadley, MA. Here at Hampshire we consider food to be local if it comes from anywhere in Massachusetts, southern Vermont and New Hampshire, Connecticut and South Eastern New York. There are countless local farms, farmers’ markets, and CSA opportunities in the Pioneer Valley. Besides the Hampshire Farm, SAGA’s main local provider is Joe Czajkowski. Other local food can come from Cooks Farm down the street to Brookfield farm also in Amherst, just to name a few. Local food can come from anywhere in Massachusetts, southern Vermont and New Hampshire, Connecticut and South Eastern New York. Always remember, “As local as possible is the best you can do.”

REGIONAL: Sometimes it may not be possible to buy all local foods. The next step is to buy foods regionally. It is common for people to consider regional food to come from anywhere up to 400 miles away. At Hampshire we consider regional food to come from anywhere in New England, New York, and the edge of Pennsylvania.

HAMPSHIRE: Hampshire College has a working farm on campus that not only allows students to participate in work study and agricultural education, it also provides students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to purchase a community supported agriculture (CSA) share. In the fall, weekly shares are made up of all the fresh vegetables, flowers, and herbs produced at the farm. Hampshire dining services purchases 20 CSA shares from the farm annually. During the growing season, the farm delivers weekly shares directly to the dining commons which are used in a variety of menu items for the Hampshire College dining program.

Food Suppliers

Sysco Food Service- Rocky Hill, CT

Fowler- Hartford, CT

    Torrey Farms- Elba, NY

    Twin Oak Farms- Hadley, MA

    Harvest Farm of Whately- South Deerfield, MA

    Baggott Family Farms- East Windsor, CT

    Cercarelli Farms- Northford, CT

    Fair Weather Acres- Rocky Hill, CT

United Natural Foods- Chesterfield, MA

Garelick Farms- Lynn, MA

   Allendale Farm- Panton, VT

   Melborne Farm- Shoreham, VT

   Milkyway Farm- Westport, MA

   Larry Smith- Bangot, ME

   Stonyvale Farm- Exeter, ME

   Stoneholm Farm- Walpole, NH

   Piper Farm- Embden, ME

J Polep- Chicopee, MA

Hot Mama's- Springfield, MA

Green Mountain Coffee- Burlington, VT

Joe Czajkowski- Hadley, MA

   Twin Oaks Farm- Hadley, MA

   Harvest Farm- Whately, MA

   Long Plain Farm- Whately, MA

   Jeck Farm- Hadley, MA

   Honeybee Orchard- Brookfield, MA

Hampshire Farm Center- Amherst, MA

Joe Czajkowski

Our main local food supplier is Joe Czajkowski Farm in Hadley. The 350 acre farm of Joe Czajkowski lies in rural Hadley, MA.  Joe Czajkowski is the third-generation farmer of his land, following the footsteps of his grandfather who started the farm in 1914.  Joe grew up always knowing he was going to be a farmer, feeling comfort in the fact that he knew what his future held for him.  As his farm grows, he is obliged to spend more time on the business side of things, working on inspections and orders, but that does not stop him from still spending time in the field.  Joe loves farming best and one will often be able to find him at 6:00AM as he is planting or harvesting alongside his other workers.  Joe has a steady staff of 20 workers in the summer and 8 in the winter, some who have been with the farm for as long as 25 years. Joe’s farm is unique to others in western Massachusetts because Joe has successfully completed the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) Management Course that allows him to sell his produce to larger companies such as Sodexho.  Joe’s farm is the main provider of local foods for Hampshire College Dining Services.  Not only does Joe provide Hampshire College with vegetables and fruits from his own farm but he also buys from about 20 other local farms that would not be able to sell to large companies otherwise.  Along with Hampshire College, Joe’s farm sells produce to about 40 different larger companies such as Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, University of Massachusetts dining services, and Amherst College dining services, and many other independent customers.  Anyone is able to go visit his farm in Hadley and pick up any of his produce ranging from organic carrots to strawberry-rhubarb jam.  During the summertime customers are able to go to the farm to pick their own fruit.       Of Joe’s 350 acres, 200 of those are used for organic produce.  His organic produce includes sweet corn, parsnips, turnips, carrots, and onions to only name a few.  During the winter, Joe is still selling up to about 25 different crops, and come summertime, that numbers increases.  Joe is able to pre-wash and prepare many of his produce right at the farm.  One will be able to find anything from carrots sticks to ready to make potato fries and pressed apple cider.         Joe strongly believes in producing and selling food locally.  By providing local produce for many large companies, he knows that he his decreasing his and many other’s carbon foot-print and helping to keep his home area living strongly, both in health and economically. Joe is indeed a “local hero” who is doing what he loves while sharing it with many others. 

Hampshire Farm Center

The Farm Center was created in the 1970s shortly after the founding of Hampshire College. It started as an experimental project for the Natural Science department and has now developed into a 400 acre working farm that is open for students and faculty to use as an educational supplement for agriculturally based projects and other interests. The Hampshire Farm consists of both a vegetable CSA farm and an animal farm. Farm manager Leslie Cox has been with Hampshire College since 1999 and now runs the animal farm, working with groups of work-study students to keep the alpacas, chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, and sheep alive and fed all year long. Leslie is an experienced maple syrup maker and every year in February and March, gathers a group of students to collect sap from the trees and learn the steps of making maple syrup. Hampshire Maple syrup, meat, and eggs are available for sale throughout the year. Nancy Hanson is the farm manager of the vegetable portion of the farm. Starting in May, Nancy works with a small group of interns to prepare the land and plants the seeds for the fall harvest. When students come back in August, the crops are ready to begin being harvested and are sold to students, faculty, staff, and the dining commons in the form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. Work-study students and volunteers help harvest and prepare the shares for member to pick up once a week. The bountiful shares are full of fresh vegetables ranging from beans, cabbage, kale, and leeks to celeriac, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, and turnips to only name a few.

Where do the Leftovers Go?

All composted food goes to Martin’s Farm Recycling in Belchertown, MA. Composting leftover food is a great solution to the problem of waste. It is not, however, an ideal solution to the cycle of excess food production, which turns wasted food into fertilizer used to produce more waste food.

Interested in the Nutritional Information?

Check out this link:


Volunteer Opportunities in the Valley

Interested in getting involved with projects in local and sustainable agriculture? Here are some great places to start!

Nuestras Raices

Nuestras Raices is a grass-roots organization located in Holyoke, Massachusetts that works to promote sustainable agriculture and make it accessible to people from different cultures, a large majority from Puerto Rice, to grow their own crops. In promotes community development while working on agricultural projects. Contact info: info@nuestras-raices.org http://www.nuestras-raices.org/en/home


CISA or Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture is a non-profit that works to maintain sustainable agriculture and environmental awareness in Western Massachusetts. They have created many successful campaigns that support their mission, such as the Local Hero Campaign. Contact info: volunteer@buylocalfood.org   http://www.buylocalfood.org/


NOFA or the Northesast Organic Farming Association is a non-profit that strives to promote organic agriculture. It works to educate farmers and other involved in agriculture and the general public about the benefits of a “local organic systems based on complete cycles, natural materials, and minimal waste for the health of individual beings, communities and the living planet” (NOFA). Contact info: outreach@nofamass.org http://www.nofamass.org/index.php



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