Making Local the Easy Choice: Wisconsin’s Farm to Institution Procurement Strategy
This session will share the results of Wisconsin’s Farm to Institution Procurement Strategy, a two-year USDA grant-funded project to align the supply and demand for local food in Wisconsin’s cafeterias. Workshop participants will learn about the project’s methods, key successes, and major challenges in developing supply chain pathways for five minimally-processed, locally produced products—applesauce, broccoli florets, fresh-cut carrot coins, potato wedges, and yogurt. Attendees will then workshop their own procurement strategies for the cafeteria settings in their region, and consider new partnerships that they may be able to leverage for long-term institutional food transformation.
Marie Wilson, Wisconsin Farm to Institution; Kymm Mutch, Wisconsin Farm to Institution
Grocery stores: Four, from-the-field strategies activating retailers to grow equitable, regional food systems
Billions of food dollars are spent every year at grocery stores in the United States. Yet many smaller independent stores, which are often the sole outposts of healthy food in urban and rural communities, struggle in an era of Wal-Mart and Amazon. Food systems advocates are increasingly partnering with traditional grocers on efforts that increase local food sourcing and healthy food access, while supporting the bottom line of participating stores. This interactive session will spotlight four interlocking strategies from the field including: SNAP produce incentives to boost the purchasing power of low-income families; financing and technical assistance geared to healthy food retailers; food hub connections to increase local sourcing; and innovations in online ordering and delivery to better serve hard-to-reach, vulnerable communities. Stories from the field will be followed by break-out sessions where participants can map out how to incorporate such grocery partnerships in their own communities.
Noah Fulmer, Fair Food Network; Jean Chorazyczewksi, Michigan Good Food Fund and Fair Food Network; Laura Edwards Orr, Red Tomato
Food Service Management Companies — Structures, Incentives, & Strategies for Collaboration
One of the main strategies for hubs and other social enterprise aggregators is to “scale up” operations by selling into institutional food service-specifically dining services at universities, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and the like. In this session get an insider’s view and a reality check on what is possible when working with institutions where dining is managed by a national food service management company. Presenters will describe the structure of managed institutional dining, including the role of Group Purchasing Organizations, and the pathways from farm to food service. Resources from a two- year farm-to-university initiative in North Carolina will be shared, along with practical advice and workable strategies to build relationships and market connections to institutional dining.
Rebecca Dunning, North Carolina State University; Matt Rogers, Aramark
For the Love of Local: A Value-Chain Perspective on Making Local Sourcing Work
The key component of food value chains is the awareness that building and having transparent and trust-based relationships can produce positive outcomes for all parties. Or, in other words, partnerships create more value overtime than purely transactional relationships. In this panel discussion, Kristen Osgood, Regenerative Strategy Manager for Stern Produce, will discuss her experience building Stern’s local buying program, Arizona Fresh Together. As a formalized, stand-alone program, Arizona Fresh Together engages and involves farmers, foodservice operators, institutions and retail locations in effort towards building a robust local food system for Arizona. Allison Blansfield, Value Chain Manager for Sweetgreen, and Henry Catalan, COO of Jayleaf Farms, will share their experience engaging produce distributors to build value chains, and their journey in building a lasting partnership that has positively impacted both businesses.
Allison Blansfield, Sweetgreen; Henry Catalan, Jayleaf, LLC; Kristin Osgood, Stern Produce
Farm to College: The Undiscovered Institutional Goldmine
While many think of “farm to school” and “farm to hospital” as primary institutional markets, the college and university market holds some of the greatest market potential for local food hubs. Although not all, many colleges have a combination of activist community members, a more flexible budget than public K-12 schools, and various dining facilities on campus, all which allow a way for hubs to start as small suppliers, and offer the potential of scaling up. In this session you will hear different perspectives on the college market. Farm to Institution New England has gathered, and will share, a significant amount of practical data from their region’s colleges, building a deep understanding of the market from the buyer’s side. Farm Logix is a highly successful supply chain management system that provides the infrastructure that facilitates farm to institution sales. They will share how they have been successful selling into colleges, and how that market is different from other institutional markets.
Linda Mallers, FarmLogix; Nessa Richman, Farm to Institution New England; Hannah Leighton, Farm to Institution New England