This March, Chicopee, MA became the first public school system to join GMRI’s Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested® program. That means 7,800 students in the western Massachusetts district will now regularly eat responsibly harvested seafood that is traceable to the Gulf of Maine.
The Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested program represents a community of businesses committed to the sustainability of the region’s seafood economy.
"Serving Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested seafood is a win-win-win scenario,” said Chicopee sustainability coordinator Madison Walker. “We’re supporting our regional food economy and we’re getting a healthy, local food item. Plus, GMRI helps us teach students about the region’s fishing communities and marine ecosystem.”
With 65% of Chicopee students eligible for free and reduced school lunch, sourcing locally is often the best way to serve fresh, nutritious food – an objective of the school’s Chicopee Fresh program. With meal costs limited to $1.20-$1.50 per plate, underutilized species like redfish offer affordability, sustainability, and nutrition.
"School districts, students, and the region’s fishing communities all benefit from these partnerships, so we hope to engage as many schools as possible,” said Kyle Foley, Sustainable Seafood Brand Manager.
Other participating schools include University of New Hampshire, Wellesley College, and Bowdoin College. Chicopee is showing K-12 school districts can source seafood regionally, too.