Vassar College

Vassar kicks off new local foods partnership that will benefit area farmers

POUGHKEEPSIE — Do Vassar students have what it takes to be the "Iron Chefs" when it comes to sauces? Well, celebrity chef Michel Nischan – who founded the Westport, Connecticut restaurant Dressing Room with Paul Newman – will decide, during the college's first ever "Big Sauce Challenge" Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

The competition marks the kickoff of Vassar's "Local Foods Week," when the college encourages students to eat local all week long. And this year, Vassar is announcing a whole new local foods initiative that will allow the college community to eat local all year round, instead of just during growing seasons. The Farm-to-College pilot project will be administered through Green Wave, an organization that includes farmers, educators, activists, and culinary experts who work together to promote healthy eating habits and sustainability.

"This program really makes me feel great," said Nate Silver, Chair of the Vassar Student Association's Food Committee. "It is a tangible way that we can support our local farmers and our community."

Food policy activists Chef Michel Nischan, Founder/Executive Director of Wholesome Wave LLC and Chef/Owner of Dressing Room, A Homegrown Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, former Undersecretary of Agriculture Gus Schumacher, Food Arts Magazine Editor-in-Chief Michael Batterberry, and Lila Gault of Gault Green Communications, have joined forces to create the Farm-to-College program to bring locally grown, healthy food to college campuses on a year-round, profitable basis.

Green Wave founders, along with Davenport Farms, Migliorelli Farms, Cyre Inc. at Hudson Valley Foodworks, and Maureen King, Senior Director of Campus Dining at Vassar, will provide sauces, salsas, and sides, made from Hudson Valley vegetables and fruit. Vassar's campus dining will use recipes from Chef Nischan and Vassar Head Chef Mike Conlin for pizza sauce, tomato sauce, ratatouille, and salsa. Corn, carrots, onions, and apples are also being offered. All of the produce is minimally processed by Cyre at Hudson Valley Foodworks, frozen in conveniently sized bags, and delivered to Vassar kitchens for use throughout the year.

Since 2002, Vassar Campus Dining, in partnership with ARAMARK Higher Education, its campus dining provider, has been a strong advocate for making the connection between farms and colleges, forging relationships with farms, orchards, and dairies throughout the Hudson Valley. The college's work has been recognized by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and her Farm-to-Fork initiative. The food service at Vassar has been managed by ARAMARK since 1989.

More about Green Wave's Farm-to-College program

Green Wave Farm-to-College functions as an ecosystem with all parts working together towards the same goal, where none could exist without the other. Green Wave Farm-to-College is pioneering the road to healthy living, providing a viable business model for others to replicate, and acting as the catalyst of change for the global community.

The project will provide benefits for society on multiple levels:

More about the Big Sauce Challenge / Local Foods Week Kick Off

Green Wave Farm-to-College will be launched on Wednesday, September 26, when Vassar students will compete in an Iron Chef-style "Big Sauce Challenge" at the All Campus Dining Center (ACDC). Chef Nischan will introduce the Green Wave program and act as Competition Chief Judge, along with Vassar Head Chef Conlin and Dean of the College, Judy Jackson. All contestants will receive a copy of Homegrown, Chef Nischan's latest cookbook and the winning sauce will also be featured on ACDC's menu for the remainder of the year.

Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Location: Vassar College, Students' Building, All Campus Dining Center (1st floor)
Time: 5:30 pm -7:30 pm


5:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Welcome - Maureen King; Green Wave Introduction – Chef Nischan

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
"Big Sauce Challenge" - Chef Nischan, Chef Conlin and Dean Jackson, Judges

7:30 pm
Awards - Q&A – Maureen King, Chef Nischan

More about Green Wave

Green Wave Farm-to-College, an initiative of Wholesome Wave LLC, provides healthful, delicious, locally grown food for college dining menus by building new partnerships among chefs, farmers, processors and foodservice professionals. Beginning in 2007-2008 with a pilot program at Vassar with ARAMARK Higher Education, Green Wave is creating a new and viable business model for college foodservice nationwide.

More about Dressing Room

Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant (27 Powers Court, Westport, CT; 203-226-1114) serves updated American heritage cuisine, food that emphasizes excellent regional ingredients and pure flavors offered in a welcoming setting and served with genuine, neighborly hospitality. Chef/owner Michel Nischan, who is credited with creating a cuisine of well-being, focused on a respect for green, local, organic ingredients, has channeled his passion into a menu that offers healthy, sustainable food, supporting the local artisans, farmers, fishers, and producers who make these foods possible.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities, (845) 437–5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

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