Dorothy Morua-Fernandes: We all deserve to benefit from healthy eating

Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
To the editor:

Regarding the University of Massachusetts Amherst Real Food Challenge, I am very proud that a prestigious, private family foundation found our proposal, “Real Food: The UMass Healthy and Sustainable Food System,” worthy of a major investment and are thankful for the Gazette’s coverage of that award.

With our numerous eateries serving 44,000 meals a day, we are key to increasing capacity in our regional and local food system and are committed to doing so. As the second-largest university dining service in the country, the scale of what can be accomplished here is enormous.

The impetus for UMass Amherst to become a staunch supporter of “real food” came from UMass students, from the Sustainable UMass community of students, staff and faculty leaders on our campus, as well our Chancellor Kumble Subaswammy, all of whom helped to make this happen. Students worked closely with our Dining Services management to analyze food preparation and disposal practices and develop the menus in the Hampshire Dining Commons. As for soda and junk food, well, students will have to walk elsewhere to get it.

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation grant will also allow UMass Amherst to create a model, an instruction booklet if you will, so that other institutional eateries — hospitals and school systems — can, in fact, move toward more nutritional food and hopefully take the Real Food Challenge. The letter writer is right. We all deserve to benefit from healthy eating. I, too, aspire to the day when a sustainable and healthy New England food system is a reality for all our children.

Dorothy Morúa-Fernandes

The writer works for Corporate & Foundation Relations at UMass Amherst.