Institutional Procurement Tools for Local and Regional Food Buying
Does your organization or institution need a template to assist with articulating your goals for buying local? Over the past two years, Abbie Nelson and Erin Buckwalter of NOFA-VT have worked with a variety of partners and institutions to research how institutions incorporate values in their local and regional purchasing programs. Through this work, we developed tools that support institutions to define and communicate their food purchasing values, and subsequently develop and market a values-based tiered buying system that includes local and regional foods.
In this webinar, Abbie and Erin will provide an overview of our research and show the tools that we have created. It will be useful for anyone working with an institution looking to set goals for buying locally and regionally.
We have succeeded in growing institutional demand for ‘ultra-local’ purchasing relationships, yet many of these purchases remain small volume and value. These purchases most frequently take the form of small direct sales by farmers to institutions in their immediate area or county. These sales are limited due to the size and product availability of the farms interested in selling directly to institutions, the number of direct relationships institutions are able to administer, and the area that institutions are looking for ultra-local purchases (which has been primarily produce). We believe that in order to really scale-up Farm to Institution (FTI) sales, institutions need to develop a tiered buying approach.
Over the past decade, the state of Vermont has been widely recognized for its commitment to, and excitement about, local foods. Interest and innovation has lead to growth in local purchasing yet the Vermont Farm to Plate goal of doubling local purchasing by 2020 (from 5-10% statewide) still feels like a reach, especially within institutional settings. Why? And what can NOFA-VT do to support this goal?
We believe that supporting institutions to communicate their food purchasing values, along with the development of a values-based tiered buying system that includes local and regional foods, will stimulate the market and help institutions play a larger part in meeting the statewide Farm to Plate goals.
The webinar will highlight our findings over the past couple years and the Values-based tiered buying tools. We will walk folks though our rationale, and how to use the available tools, which are made to be flexible to meet the different needs of different institutions and other food businesses.