Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Success Strategies for Local Food Procurement

New report highlights how local foods facilitate community health, unique educational opportunities, and stronger local economies

Communities across the country are creating innovative and effective ways to procure locally produced foods – schools, hospitals, food banks, and other institutions are partnering with farmers, distributors, and community organizations to bring more local food to community members’ plates.  Exploring Economic and Health Impacts of Local Food Procurement, a report by the Illinois Public Health Institute and Crossroads Resource Center, highlights practical, effective strategies for communities to add locally sourced food to their institutional food systems; recommends ways to conceptualize and measure economic and health impacts; suggests effective funding strategies; and includes Critical Analysis of Economic Impact Methodologies, which discusses the literature on the economic impact of local foods. 

Case studies share insights from food system leaders in school districts, food banks, healthcare facilities, health departments, food distributors, cooperatives, entrepreneurs, and food service companies.

  • Leaders in Southern Arizona are making farmers’ markets accessible to low-income residents; increasing local food procurement by a food bank; creating a flourishing school garden; and providing job training and business development opportunities to low-income residents.
  • Through the efforts and partnerships between growers, food distributors, a local hospital system, the health department, a cooperative grocery store, and school districts, communities in Southwest Wisconsin have created innovative distribution initiatives to increase local food procurement by several institutions.
  • In Jefferson County, Kentucky, the Farm-to-Table initiative brokered more than $1.5 million in local food sales in just four years.
  • In Burlington, Vermont, the school district has made pioneering efforts to build a comprehensive local food curriculum that links with farm to school efforts, and a local hospital system is serving local foods in its cafeterias and hosts community gardens and educational programming.
  • In San Diego County, California, the farm to school program is collaborating with partners to create a sustainable approach to bringing farm-fresh foods to local children. Through this collaboration, San Diego Unified School District has grown its local food purchasing from 2.5% of its food budget in 2010/2011 to 15% of its budget in 2013/2014.

**This study was funded by the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) through its Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more key findings from the study for local communities, click here.

Learn more by reading the Executive Summary and Full Report.