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Brown Dining Services

Farmer Partnerships

Map of BDS FarmsMello FamilyHill Orchards

Brown was one of the first institutions to really catch on to the local and sustainable food movements and Dining worked very hard in the first years of Community Harvest to help grow a knowledge base of what the food system looks like and what Brown, as well as its students, could do to be actively involved with "counter" movements.

-- Jennifer Baumstein, Farm Fresh RI, Brown alumna, former Community Harvest Intern

Brown Dining has maintained a committed relationship to the farmers whom we first forged partnerships with, and which endure today. Arriving at our doors you'll find tomatoes from Mello Farms; sweet stone fruit from Barden Orchards; crisp apples from Hill Orchards; sun basked, colorful veggies from Confreda Farms; and uniquely shaped zucchini and summer squash from the student campus garden.
  • Local Farmers
  • Brown Dining works year-round with more than 30 local farms and farmers for Residential Dining to Retail to Catering. We continuously work with a core group of local farms to bring fresh, local produce to Brown students, staff and faculty:
  • Fair-trade Farmers
  • Establishing relationships with farmers of fairly traded products is important to Brown Dining and is a core mission of the Real Food initiative.
  • Fair-trade means that growers are paid fairer, above market prices, thereby ensuring more sustainable farms. It also means less pressure to use pesticides, enabling many of these farms to become certified organic. With reduced financial burdens from fairer wages, growers can concentrate on producing quality beans and teas.
  • Brown Dining purchases fair-trade coffee from Sun Coffee Roasters in Plainville, CT.
  • School Garden (SuFI)
  • The Sustainable Food Initiative (SuFI), is a student group dedicated to all things food, fair and sustainable.
  • SuFI manages multiple Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs; hosted at the campus farmers’ market in the fall and in Brown’s main dining hall, the Sharpe Refectory, in the winter and spring.
  • The SuFI managed student garden, just a block or so away from our main dining hall; is a small green space where students plant, water, grow, and harvest their own crops each year; Brown Dining has helped to support the garden through purchases.
  • Processors & Distributors
  • Produce: outside of our local farmers, Brown Dining purchases pre-cut or peeled produce from local processors whose commitment is to source as much produce locally as possible. These processors include Community Fruitland and Ocean State Peeled Potatoes.
  • Seafood: Brown Dining purchases most of its seafood from Clipped Seafood, a locally based company committed to both sustainable fishing and the conservation of local fish species. Through our work with Clipper, and following guidelines of NOAA, Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and the MSC, Brown Dining has been able to identify and menu the best options when available.
  • Meat: Our main dining hall, the Sharpe Refectory, operates its own butcher shop where we process and prepare all of the ground meat and beef cuts that are served in the dining halls. In addition, we purchase chicken from Warwick Poultry, a local distributor in RI; 50% of the chicken is raised in PA and the other 50% is raised in Maryland and Delaware.
  • Dairy & Eggs: Brown Dining collaborates with Rhody Fresh, a RI Dairy cooperative, to bring fresh local milk to our dining halls and retail units. Since the fall of 2010, we are serving 100% Rhody Fresh milk in all of our eateries and 100% Vermont Soy milk in our dining halls. We purchase local butter and cheese from Cabot Cheese, a dairy cooperative in VT, and from Narragansett Creamery. Brown Dining purchases all of its eggs from two local egg producers: Little Rhody Farms (part of Rhody Fresh) and Imondi Eggs, both located in RI.
    Rhody Fresh VT Soy
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