There are many initiatives underway in the New England region designed to support a thriving sustainable regional food system. Among these, there has been recent enthusiasm for efforts to bring local and sustainable food to large institutional purchasers, including local governments, school districts, and state agencies. Advocates and government representatives promoting local food purchasing see institutional contracts as a useful tool to help scale up demand for — and production of — local food in the region.
Under a grant from the John Merck Fund, RPN conducted research to identify the best practices for institutional purchasing of local food in the New England region. Though the complexity of fresh food purchasing can form barriers to large-scale change, a behind-the-scenes look at food purchasing allowed RPN to provide recommendations for overcoming each challenge.
Key barriers identified include:
Key recommendations and best practices include:
The recommendations are intended for purchasing officials to implement, but are explained in a way that is accessible for advocates and inside institutional champions such as State Departments of Agriculture. Ultimately, they are designed to advance institutional purchasing to contribute to a strong New England farm and food system.
Is your state government interested in expanding purchase of locally and sustainably farmed agricultural products? Creating markets for these products can contribute to the regional economy, preserve farmland and support a thriving, healthy food system.
Listen in to an RPN webinar supported by the John Merck Fund that highlighted best practices developed in the New England region to foster state government procurement of local and sustainable food.
This webinar covered strategies to:
This webinar featured: