Joe Czajkowski's farm operates on over 400 acres of land in Hadley, MA and is so close to campus that you can see the UMass Graduate Research Center from his fields. In comparison to conventional produce, which uses hundreds of gallons of fuel to travel from California to Massachusetts, vegetables from Joe Czajkowski's farm use less than a quart of gas to get to campus. Not only is this much more environmentally sound, but as Joe points out, local food is simply “fresher and better.”
Joe also has a close relationship with many farmers in the Valley, and acts as a central point or aggregate for many of them. Farmers who work with Joe will drop their products off at his farm, which he then delivers to UMass and other customers. Joe's ability to fulfill the role of both farmer and aggregator allows UMass the ability to support a wide network of local producers in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Another amazing perk of Joe's close ties with the local farming community, is that whenever we at UMass are in need of a specific local item, we know who to go to - no matter what it is, we can count on Joe to know if that item is produced locally, and if so, by whom.
Through this ongoing and ever-growing partnership, UMass Dining has a trusted source of local products, and Joe Czajkowski has a trusted buyer with a reliable customer base, as there will always be hungry students! Together with other local institutions and producers, UMass Dining and Joe Czajkowski have the amazing opportunity to enact real and lasting change in the Pioneer Valley.
“I love to see things grow. It's one of the things I like best.” - Joe Czajkowski
Thanks so much, Joe, for working so hard with UMass Dining to make our campus a more sustainable place!
Photo credits to Keith Toffling.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.