DURHAM, N.H. — A University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture food drive recently generated more than 12,500 meals at area food pantries after the college “came together while apart” to help reduce food insecurity. The effort is part of the college’s commitment to put belief into action by supporting the greater New Hampshire community, especially during this unprecedented time that has seen such grave economic impacts due to COVID-19.
“As a college that seeks to advance the sustainability of communities and ecosystems, we study and inform healthy production of food and the nutritional needs of those across New Hampshire. It is important to us in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture that we find a way to support those across the state who are unsure of where their next meal comes from. I’m truly inspired by the giving nature of our college community and look forward to growing the impact next year!” said Anthony S. Davis, dean, UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.
The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment generated the most food and money donations in a friendly competition with other departments to capture the inaugural “Golden Gourd” with food and money donations that resulted in 4,931 meals. The college plans to make the food drive an annual college tradition.
“It was a group effort – staff, faculty, grad students – everyone pitching in. NREN is a great team, and we weren’t going to let this challenge go, especially when it meant helping people in need,” said Mark Ducey, chair of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.
“The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment is a true family who work really well together. Food insecurity is a huge concern for us, so we were excited to be able to help our community in this way. I am so proud of all our faculty, staff, and students. NREN rocks,” academic program manager Wendy Rose said.
In total, 3,167 lbs. of food, including squash from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, was donated to the Waysmeet Center and the St. Thomas More Catholic Church food pantries. In addition, $5,155 was raised for the New Hampshire Food Bank.
The college and the experiment station have a strong tradition of contributing to the needs of local communities. The experiment station is part of the college and conducts a variety of fruit and vegetable research at the Woodman Horticultural Research Farm, the Kingman Research Farm, and Macfarlane Research Greenhouses.
“While our broader research mission is to strengthen long-run agricultural production and food access for all Granite Staters, it is extremely rewarding for all of us to see our work directly helping to reduce food insecurity. We’re excited to be able to make an even greater impact as part of the college-wide effort for many years to come,” said Anton Bekkerman, associate dean and director of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station.
The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation, and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts, and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF, NIH, and USDA, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea, and space.
–UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture
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