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The Farm to Institution Policy Project identifies policies that effectively compel state institutions to purchase local foods.  

New England institutions are playing an increasingly significant role in the movement for healthy, sustainable, and regionally produced food. Local food can now be found in the cafeterias of our public institutions, from early childhood centers and college campuses to hospitals and correctional facilities. State policy can play an important role in this process, encouraging or requiring public institutions to begin purchasing food from local sources or to boost existing procurement efforts.  

CAFS’s Food and Agriculture Clinic collaborated with staff, researchers, and the policy workgroup at Farm to Institution New England (FINE) to produce policy snapshots for each New England state, offering a glimpse at how institutions across the region procure local foods. Students and faculty analyzed state procurement policy trends, accomplishments, and gaps; interviewed key stakeholders; and made recommendations for strengthening state procurement policy to advance local food purchasing.    

An accompanying report published in August 2019, Regional Trends in New England Farm to Institution Procurement Policy, built on the snapshots’ key findings. The report compiled and distilled the individual snapshots, offering suggestions for how states can work together to increase the amount of local food purchased by institutions.  

Among its key findings, the report notes: 

  • Existing procurement processes create efficiencies and savings for purchasers, but can limit the effectiveness of state laws that mandate local purchasing. 

  • In the absence of impactful state laws, state agency advocates, institutions, community groups, and local governments are stepping in to advance local procurement goals. 

Ultimately, the authors recommend that when establishing local food purchasing goals for institutions, states need to set specific metrics, commit to a timeline, and allocate resources to track progress. 

This project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

PARTNER:

Farm to Institution New England

Photo courtesy of Farm Fresh Rhode Island.

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