FARM TO COLLEGE
ABOUT OUR DATA
This page uses data from FINE’s 2018 Farm to College Survey (see detailed report here). The 32-question survey was a follow-up to a survey of campuses completed by FINE in 2015. The 2015 survey sought to identify farm to institution trends across colleges and universities in the region; the resulting report established a baseline for New England college procurement of local food in 2014-15. In order to measure the progress of New England colleges, the 2018 survey asked many of the same questions as the first survey. It also asks additional questions about tracking local foods, regional food definitions, training and technical assistance needs, and the relationship between dining services and campus food pantry programs.
The survey was sent to 200 colleges in New England with dining services and 110 responded to the survey, a 55% response rate. The participating colleges in 2018 accounted for 70% (or 534,130 undergraduates) of the undergraduate enrollment among the 200 colleges.
The original survey tool and the clean raw data will be available for download soon. Please note that this data is self-reported and may conflict with other data sources.
CAMPUS DINING REPORT
In April 2019, we will release our second campus dining report. This report is one in a series designed to help food system stakeholders understand the impact of institutional markets on New England's food system.
We will be updating this section with key indicators once the report is released. In the meantime, you can take a sneak peak at some of the findings below.
Local Food Purchases
Ninety three percent of responding colleges reported that they purchased local food for their dining services program. On average, those colleges reported spending 21.5 percent of their annual food budget on local food. Overall, responding colleges reported spending $67.7 million on local food in the last fiscal year and serving 87.2 million meals.
While the percent of budget spent on local food did not increase significantly between 2015 and 2018 for those campuses that took part in both surveys (21 percent and $56.8 million respectively, in 2015), survey results suggest that colleges may be using more meaningful tracking systems. To track local food, 35 percent of colleges use either distributor reports and/or in-house customized spreadsheets/tools, and 27 percent use a tracking tool provided by their food service management company. About a fifth (21 percent) do not use a tracking tool to track their local purchases; down from the last time the survey was done, when 35 percent of respondents reported not using a tool to track local purchases.
Campus Farms & Food Pantries
Forty-five percent of the participating colleges reported that their campus had an onsite garden or farm. Of these, 63 percent utilized at least some amount of product from the garden or farm in their dining services. A total of 83 percent of the responding colleges had a campus food pantry. In addition, dining services was providing some type of food for the pantry at two-thirds of the campuses.
Technical Assistance & Looking Ahead
Eager to understand how FINE and our partners can provide targeted assistance to New England colleges, we asked about the usefulness of a number of technical assistance areas. Respondents reported that the most useful support would be around increased distribution and processing of local foods, followed by access to larger/cooperative farms, access to marketing materials to promote local food on campus, and matchmaking between farmers/fishers, distributors, processors, and institutions.
Respondents were asked to report on how they thought their procurement of local foods would change over the next three years. Only one respondent believed it would decrease; 57 percent of respondents believe that it would increase up to 10 percent and 21 percent believed it would increase more than 10 percent.
The survey also asked respondents to tell us about specific goals they had in place around local procurement. Fifty-two percent of respondents reported that they did have a goal in place, although the specific goals varied. Most reported a goal related to a percentage of their total budget, with many listing 2020 as the year by which they have chosen to accomplish it. A full list of goals reported are included in the report.