Beginning this summer, Dartmouth Dining Services (DDS) will begin an experimental local produce purchasing initiative by buying 11 varieties of produce directly from several farms in the Upper Valley area. The program is the result of two years of collaboration between DDS and Valley Food & Farm, part of the non-profit organization Vital Communities. The trial program receives additional support from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), a program that provides grants to advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and beneficial to communities. Fresh local produce was already part of DDS's offerings to students, purchased through the distributors, Upper Valley Produce and Black River Produce. Under the new program, DDS has also committed to purchasing produce directly from farmers.