images of garden veggies and eggs

HARTFORD, Conn. (November 22, 2023) - The Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) is pleased to announce a grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation to create a collaborative food prep kitchen at the Swift Factory in Hartford, which will support local farmers and deliver more local, culturally preferred produce to students in Hartford.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to pursue our shared vision of a deep collaboration with the Hartford schools,” said KPSP Executive Director Herb Virgo. “Our goals are a continuum that goes from field to plate - providing optimal nutrition to students and supporting and strengthening local farmers and food production.”

“In Hartford, we have been intentionally purchasing locally grown produce for several years now and have found that it has a positive effect on our local community and is very well received by our students,” said Brunella Ibarrola, MS, RD, CD-N, Assistant Director of Nutrition Support for HPS’ Child Nutrition Services. “When they learn that a vegetable is grown right here in Hartford, they are excited about trying new foods. The Kendall Foundation award is exciting news for us all as it will allow us to expand our fresh local offerings and serve even more quality nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in our city schools.”

KPSP is among nine awardees from 38 applicants to earn the New England Food Vision Prize.  

The  Prize, offered annually, awards grants up to $200,000 to winning teams. Prizes are awarded to projects that build resilience, relationships, and capacity within New England’s academic institutional food supply chain, resulting in increased preparation, sourcing, serving, or use and consumption of local and regional food at K-12 schools and higher education institutions.  

The Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) aims to create the next generation of healthy, productive, and environmentally conscious citizens.  Our programs are based in the federally designated North Hartford Promise Zone, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, and predominantly black and Hispanic.  KPSP is also launching an Urban Ecology Wellness Center, leverages 693 acres of urban forest in Hartford’s Northeast Neighborhood and serves an asset to meet residents’ health and wellness needs while providing stewardship for the conservation of this magnificent greenspace.

The HPS Food and Child Nutrition Services provides nourishing meals to students throughout the school day. Their vision is that Hartford Public School students will make healthy food choices that promote a vibrant and successful future.

Launched by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in 2018, the New England Food Vision Prize Program aims to increase the amount of local and regional food prepared and served on New England college and university campuses and within K-12 public school districts, helping to strengthen the region’s food system.