Dining Services Commitment

Mount Holyoke College has been buying locally for several years. About five years ago, the 5-College Dining Services Directors decided to approach local purchasing collaboratively. Several of the local farmers / vendors were invited to a meeting at Smith College so we could meet with them face-to-face and let them know about our respective operations and potential challenges as well as our serious commitment to cultivating these relationships and utilizing their crops/products. This has evolved into cultivating good working relationships not only with the colleges and the farmers/vendors, but farmer/vendor to farmer/vendor. Farmers feel very comfortable picking up the phone to ask if we could use product or what we plan to use for product so they can plan their planting around our usage. They also call each other to ask for help for delivering product, sharing resources, or promoting themselves to us and to each other.


Mount Holyoke College is a member of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) and joined to increase our support of the local farmers and increase awareness in the Mount Holyoke College community.  "CISA is committed to strengthening the connection between farmers and the community. Their efforts help to sustain local agricultures and enhance the unique character of western Massachusetts. CISA opens new markets for farmers, increases restaurant and institutional purchases of locally grown food, strengthens farmers markets, and helps them reach broad sectors of their community."  For more information, go to www.buylocalfood.org.


Dining Services features locally grown produce items daily in various recipes depending on availability and seasonality. Additionally, we try to feature and include any available locally grown products for our gracious meals throughout the year.  We start the year with our annual Fall Harvest Gracious Dinner at the end of September, which usually coincides with the Massachusetts Farm to College Week. All the food served on the menu is only locally grown, and will include any vegetables harvested from our own Mount Holyoke College Student Garden. To view last year’s dinner menu, click here. Additionally, the Saturday evening gracious dinner on Family and Friends Weekend, our Thanksgiving gracious dinner, and our Exam M&C’s Hot Breakfast are all sustainable and locally grown meals.


With the help of our produce company, Fresh Point, we are able to identify those produce items we receive that were procured from local farmers.  This is done weekly and all of those menu items that contain any locally grown ingredients are identified with our “locally grown” menu item signs.